My Take - Gary Lemke's Official Blog
Chief Customer Advocate, CRMAdvocate
Welcome to my blog.
You are probably here because you care about the customer experience. That makes you an advocate too!
"My Take" is a collection of daily vignettes covering my spin - perspectives, opinions, epiphanies - on the customer
experience, CRM, and the contact center.
I've been involved in the customer experience for the better part of three decades. I've worked in support operations on the front
line. I've managed the development of customer interaction technologies. And I've served as an industry guru covering best
practices, business processes, and technology.
"takes" (and counting), I invite you to follow my customer
experience conversation. Please join CRMAdvocate and I will delivered "My Take" via email.
Get ready to expect the unexpected. And, don't be shy about sharing your take.
Last week, I highlighted ForeSee's findings that "NPS overstates detractors by 270% on average because it doesn't distinguish between positive and negative word-of-mouth." The finding were released in conjunction with a proposed new metric (see Move Over NPS?).
The case can also be made that NPS understates detractors. Various studies have shown that detractors tend to be louder than promoters. They are more likely to tell their friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. about a poor experience. While likelihood to share (positive or negative) varies greatly by product, industry, geography, etc., the ratio of negative comments to positive comments can be in excess of 5:1.
Therefore, the ratio of the number of positive references to negative references is not based solely on population as NPS would suggest. For example, if you had an NPS of 50 (70% promoters, 20% detractors), the number of positive comments minus negative comments might actually be negative because the 20% speak up five times as often as the 70%.
Does a lack of likelihood to actually "speak up" positively or negatively create an overstatement or understatment in the NPS metric?
The current calendar of CRM and Contact Center events listed on the CRMAdvocate web site offers quite a selection of ways to learn more about the latest strategies, technologies, and trends. Each event offers its own learning experiences and I encourage you to investigate whether or not such an investment of your time could help advance your CRM agenda. I'll bet it could.
While we willingly and freely list any and all relevant events, we also offer space in this newsletter for event producers to market their programs to you. So I'm careful not to endorse one event over another.
Today, I share a free event opportunity - an Expo pass to Call Center Week next month in Las Vegas. By my count, over 100 solution provider will be telling their stories. That's an excellent opportunity to learn more about what's available and what's hot. (Consider the cost of meeting with each of these companies individually.)
There is a lot more than the exhibition going on at Call Center Week - classes, workshops, tours, presentations, networking opportunities, etc. - and they do have a cost. But then again, one great idea can create outstanding ROI if put into action.
Reactions to past discussions on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicate the metric is of great interest to a large number of CRMAdvocate readers. As such, I bring to your attention Foresee's effort to offer an alternative. They call it the Word-of-Mouth Index (WoMI). Here's the details of their announcement.
Interestingly, ForeSee spent 18 months testing the WoMI methodology with nearly 300 companies and found that NPS overstates detractors by 270% on average because it doesn't distinguish between positive and negative word-of-mouth. They feel the overstatement can be a costly and misleading mistake for businesses that are either spending resources pursuing detractors in an attempt to convert them to promoters or compensating executives.
Over the years, NPS has had a number of detractors. Regardless, NPS has remained the metric of choice for many organizations. It's too early to tell what will become of NPS versus WoMI. However, I believe those who have embraced the NPS will be among the first reviewers of the new metric because they have already proven a cultural acceptance to measuring customer loyalty.
We will have to keep an eye to see if the early reviewers become the early adopters of WoMI. In the meantime, I encourage you to share your thoughts on WoMI as an NPS alternative. I plan to share a summary of feedback in this column.
Although there is a big difference in the value of good customers versus everybody else, both groups are often treated equally. When the customer experience is the same for both groups, the good customers receive less than they deserve and everybody else receives more than they return in value to the organization.
The issue is not that organizations strategically want to treat everyone the same. It's more of a problem of being able to discern one from the other. If five people walk into your store, how can you tell which one is the "good customer" versus the four who fall in the "everybody else" category? Online anonymity has similar issues too.
The bigger question may be that good customers are not being told they are good customers. There is a great opportunity for most organizations to educate and encourage the "good customers" to self-identify themselves lest they be assumed to be in the "everybody else" category.
There are good customers . . . and then there is everybody else.
Is that how you divide those who buy your products and services? Probably not. If only business were as simple as treating the few good ones one way and treating the rest another way. Business would be simpler if we could divide the big fish, the loyalist, the frequent shopper, the top klout scorers from the run-of-the-mill average customer.
Reality is that we often can't recognize the good customer from the rest. Reality is that a few of the current "rest of the bunch" will be tomorrow's really good customers. So we treat everyone the same. Yes, we might have a first class section, we might offer bonus loyalty points, or we might throw a perk or two their way now and again. But the good customers are usually dumped into the same pool as everyone else.
Consider a restaurant that offered certain dishes only to their "good customers. What if a movie theatre offered opening night seats only to the "good" customers? Perhaps the electronics manufacturer should first sell their latest limited availability gadgets to the "good" customers. If you had exclusive products and services that were only available to the "good" customers, how might you change the way you view the good customers from the rest?
The dramatic drop in inquiries to Gartner about SAP CRM leads one to ask, "Are SAP's best days behind them?" It goes without saying the overall company has a very broad product offering and is very embedded in most of the biggest companies in the world. Therefore, this is not a question of company viability. Rather, it's about their CRM.
The company didn't grow up in the world of CRM but recognized CRM could not be ignored as a natural extension to its core product lines. Likewise, the company has never been known for the agility and speed of a start-up but it more than makes up for lethargy in terms of strategic determination and available resources.
As we look at the drop in inquiries (interest) regarding SAP CRM, should we take this as an indication that there is less demand for the product? Or should we take it as an indication that the SAP installed base feels comfortable getting their SAP analysis from an alternative to Gartner?
Now there's a statement we didn't hear a few years ago. In the age of on-demand viewership of television series (among other types of entertainment like movies, specials, sporting events, and the like), it is a common statement.
Thanks to the DVR and streaming services, the statement is indicative of a new approach to watching entertainment. I've heard it called "Binge Viewing." It's not uncommon that someone might sits for hours at a time, maybe all day, watching episode after episode.
So much for thinking that attention deficit is on the rise. It's a good reminder that attention is rarely an issue if the audience is interested.
If you find that your "audience" - your customers, prospects, partners - lack attention, maybe it's a deficit of interest rather than a deficit of attention.
Every so often, Gartner releases statistics on the type of questions received from their clients. It's a little peak behind the curtain of what is on the mind of companies looking to make investments in technology.
Louis Columbus used the Gartner database to contribute a perspective on CRM inquiries. Gartner only allows for five vendors to be compared at once, so he took the market share leaders in CRM and found that Salesforce and Microsoft each had 32% of the inquiries, Oracle had 25%, SAP pulled 9% and Adobe 2%.
The quote of the week goes to Eric Berridge, CEO of business consulting firm Bluewolf. He is certainly suspect of the messages coming from the big boys.
MyCustomer.com quotes Berridge, "If you read the Oracle rhetoric and then look at the numbers, you can't really discern what's going on. If Oracle had such great products, they could be eating Salesforce.com's lunch by now because they could afford to take the price point down."
It has been reported that the Oracle installed base is not moving en masse to the new generation of Fusion applications. Is it because Oracle's commitment to support existing versions of applications in place or the cost of the effort to make the move? Or could it be a case of buying time while planning a replacement to a different technology base?
Is your organization currently on an Oracle-owned CRM solution? What's your next move?
Have you been involved in the world of CRM long enough to remember the analyst reports that proclaimed the majority of CRM implementations were failures? Report after report claimed that half or more (sometimes up to 70%) of all implementations failed. It certainly begged the questions of risk and ROI. It also created a healthy conversation on the definition of success and failure.
Fast forward to the present. Where are the reports talking about current failure rates? Or have we made enough progress to now track the metric as a success rate?
Have implementation risks been mitigated? Have we lowered expectations? Do we have better solutions and tools? Is there better alignment between customer requirements and service providers? Where does the rate stand today? Why don't we hear more from the analyst community on this? What, no follow-up?
Yes, the discussion continues on what constitutes success and what is deemed failure. And expectations have certainly been elevated. Would you say things are better, worse, or the same?
Not everyone is Superman so leaping tall buildings in a single bound isn't going to happen regardless of ability or training. But how do you take your CX to the next level, the next floor of the tall building? That can still be a formidable challenge especially if one tries to do too much at once.
One reader wrote, "How many more people can get to the next floor by taking the stairs than by leaping from floor to floor? Continuous improvement leveraging existing investments, existing knowledge, and avoiding upheaval are an unpopular notion because they take more patience and have a much slower payback."
For those who think they can leap from floor to floor, I say, "go for it." For the rest of us mere mortals, one step at a time is a more sure way of reaching the top. If you are in good shape, you may skip every other step. Remember to keep your head up!
Is your organization using all the CX capabilities - technology or otherwise - already installed and shovel ready? You might just discover you already half way to the next level.
For centuries, people believed Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects, one heavy and one light, and dropped them to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after his death.
The story goes that Galileo went to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa launching a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same instant. The power of belief was so strong, however, that the learned academics of the day watching at the base denied their eyesight. They continued to say Aristotle was right.
Basically, people believe what they want to believe, what they choose to believe, often times what is convenient to believe. Maybe you find it difficult to change thinking within your organization. Or perhaps, customer perceptions of your products, services, or organization seem stuck.
Is it time to drop some weights to dispel long held beliefs? Will your audience believe their eyes?
Have we done a disservice to what is good about CRM by adding 'social' to the front of the acronym? I ask the question not to suggest that Social CRM isn't relevant or otherwise important. Rather, I ask the question to suggest the term may be imposing limits on the real potential.
Like CRM, social networks have many different definitions . . . some worthy of argument, many that are not. At a high level, most would agree that social media is about the creation and exchange of user generated content. The exchange happens between friends, colleagues, and most interestingly, strangers. Those definitions don't jump off the page (at least they don't for me) until one makes the comparison to traditional mediums like print and broadcast.
The old mediums are unidirectional. The new ones are multi-directional. So it's no surprise many use the conversation metaphor to describe social media and Social CRM. However, that is a bit simple as social is often more powerful in broadcast mode than conversation mode.
In the world of CRM, problems arise when one thinks that social CRM is about having a conversation when, in fact, one is broadcasting. It's as if the telephone conversation meant for an individual customer is available to the ears of the entire world. It's indeed a different place when friends, colleagues, strangers (and even enemies) get equal access to the conversation.
Think back to your last employment interview and the type of questions asked and answered. Regardless of your role as interviewer or interviewee, the unique exchange of information really boils down to three questions.
1. Can you do the job? 2. Will you love the job? 3. Can we tolerate working with you?
The same can be said for the "customer interview." Before deciding to commitment to your product and/or service, the customer is trying to determine strengths, motivation, fit.
Are these the three questions you are trying to answer to your next prospect?
Who are you in the morning? Who are you in the afternoon? Regardless of who you think you are, you are probably not the same person especially as it relates to decision making. Want to make better decisions? Here are some thoughts from Baba Shiva of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Most of our actions, decisions, behaviors, experiences happen at the instinctive level . . . about 95% of all decisions. It is the emotional brain that wins over the rational brain. Actually, the rational brain is best at rationalizing the emotional brain.
Let's talk about risk-taking during the day. In general, you are far better off making your decisions in the morning. In the afternoon one is likely be risk averse which means sticking with the status quo. Afternoon decisions often are postponements of change.
Baba Shiva also believes sleep and exercise can be good fuel to good decision-making. And a high-protein breakfast is another source of decision-making fuel. If you have four minutes, I encourage you to learn a little more of the science regarding How to Make Better Decisions . . . especially those CX decisions.
If I offer a case on why webcasts fail, it only makes sense to talk about what can be done about it. Before I do . . . a reminder: today is the deadline if you want to submit your webcast as a candidate for free promotion in CRMAdvocate. Just send me a title and one paragraph description.
First let me say that not all webinars fail. There are many good ones. But even the good ones could be better. Let me share a few suggestions based on my firsthand experience producing hundreds of CRM webinars. In an attempt to put these views in a customer-centric perspective, this is the dream webinar.
Respect my time. Consider that attention spans have been conditioned by the length of a TV sitcom (about 23 minutes without commercials). Keep it moving and on point so I'm not tempted to check e-mail, social media or that project deadline.
No monologues. Leave the monologues to the conferences and sales presentations. Respect the medium. Think conversation vis-a-vis talk radio/television rather than presentation. The interview approach really highlights the "expertise" offered by the subject matter expert.
Ditch the pitch. Let the subject matter expert be an expert of best practices and strategies. Keeps the slides to a minimum (dare I say none?) and never, ever demo. There's a place for demos and it isn't the webinar.
There are currently 24 webcasts scheduled on the CRMAdvocate web site. I'm impressed by the many excellent topics and exceptional subject matter experts willing to share their knowledge and experience. The great news is that none of these webcasts have a monetary fee to attend. However, the price of admission - the viewer's personal information - is often too high a price to pay.
And it's often an equally sad story for the minority who do register. In fear of overzealous marketing/sales initiatives, many of the most interested viewers offer aliases or incorrect contact information for protection. It's no wonder leads generated from webcasts are of suspect value.
It's a very discouraging situation for the webcast producer today. The numbers don't lie. Start with 100 self-qualified people interested in your webcast and you're lucky to get a dozen of them to show up. And many attendees remain anonymous to you because of bogus registration information. It's no wonder leads generated from webcasts are of suspect value.
Think it can't get worse? Alas, half of the registrants are no-shows on the day of the event.
I've got an answer on how to make a better webinar. And I'm willing to promote your next webinar to prove it.
You might remember my recent trip down memory lane about when I hosted a regular CRM webinar program, a weekly conversation with a wide range of industry experts. Think talk radio. It certainly kept the sales pitch and powerpoint slides to a minimum.
The CRMAdvocate broadcasts were also different than what you see today because the program was pre-recorded. Thus the viewer could watch when it best suited him rather than being at the mercy of the broadcaster's schedule. Such a move made time zones irrelevant. It also made the ratio of viewers to registrants much higher than the industry norm of 50%. Just as one wouldn't make people register for a whitepaper that hadn't been written, why make people sign up for a conversation that hasn't taken place yet? Yes, there are advantages to a live broadcast but I'm not sure they outweigh the advantages of on-demand.
One CRMAdvocate reader wrote in, "I intentionally miss webinars I sign up for. I'm betting that they'll be archived and available after the fact, which is when I view them. If it looks like an archived webinar is going to be just an infomercial, or mind-numbingly boring, I know I can either skip ahead, or deep-six the whole thing. It's a better use of my most valuable resource . . . time."
In the spirit of the on-demand advantage - think Tivo - I would like to invite you to enter your already-broadcast webcast for gratis promotion on CRMAdvocate. Submit your webcast for consideration (title and one-paragraph summary). Friday, March 15th is the deadline.