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Drivers: The Secret to Customer Experience Success

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 10/17/2013

I was meeting with a global restaurant company’s COO, Chief People Officer, and key franchisees. I knew I was losing in the first 10 minutes.

We met to discuss ways to improve sales.  I brought a driver analysis on what drove repeat business with his restaurants, and the leading driver was “The Warmth of the Greeting.”  But as a stereotypical COO, he obsessed with repeatable processes – cleanliness, speed of service, etc.  He was unwilling to consider that perhaps something as fuzzy as a greeting was responsible for repeat business.  This led to a very long meeting.

This last week I gave a keynote presentation to Star Bank, a regional bank in western Minnesota, and I presented this COO’s problems to their staff.  I gave them the top six drivers of repeat business, and asked them to select the top driver.  I was thrilled to see over 60% select “The Warmth of the Greeting” – the most I’ve ever seen.

Focus on Drivers

Drivers isolate what really matters to your customers, part of the Second Step to a World-Class Customer Experience.  The Three Steps to a World-Class Customer Experience are: Create Customer Intelligence; Build Customer-Based Capabilities; and Craft a Customer-Focused Culture.  Drivers help you Build Customer-Based Capabilities by helping you understand what your customers need most.

Drivers are secondary questions about the experience – is the greeting warm, is it easy to login to the website, are the call center agents friendly?  A great study applies these to the primary metric (such as satisfaction or net promoter score) to identify how best to improve that number.

Unfortunately, most companies do not measure drivers against their customer experience scores.  Too many companies just select the Net Promoter Score because it’s popular, throw in a few support questions and go.  Great companies take the time first to identify which metric best links to their financial goals, then build the drivers to see what really matters in their customer experience.

How to

A great example is a health insurance company I worked with a few years back. They focused extensively on their card – they felt that was the gateway to their services.  We knew that satisfaction mattered – satisfied customers were cheaper to serve and renewed more often – but we didn’t know what drove that satisfaction.  I put together a driver study that showed us that the top driver of that satisfaction was the ease of logging into the website – something that had been neglected in favor of sexier projects, like the debit card.

Doesn’t that often happen?  We are often so tied into our projects and our products that we forget to take a step back and identify what really matters for our customers.

Instead, most organizations are like an example from another speech I gave this week.  They select Net Promoter (for example).  Then they go to their delivery teams and say “You need to improve our Net Promoter Score.”  The immediate answer is, “Okay.  But how?”  Drivers show you how.

Are you taking the time to understand what drives your customer experience?

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