Happiness Affects How Consumers View Companies

After an inspiring weekend at the 2017 World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal, I decided to take a look at some of our data that connects positive psychology with customer experience. I started by examining the question:

Does the innate happiness of a consumer influence how she perceives her experiences with companies?

The answer is yes!

I analyzed the happiness of consumers (based on the degree to which they agree with the statement “I am typically happy“) and the Temkin Emotion Ratings ( a subset of the Temkin Experience Ratings) that they gave to companies with which they’ve recently interacted. The data represented more than 106,000 interactions across 20 different industries.

As you can see in the graphic below, consumers who are happier are more likely to rate their interactions as being positive emotional experiences and less likely to rate them as being negative emotional experiences.

The bottom line: Happy people make more emotionally connected customers.

Report: Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program

We just published a Temkin Group report, Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program.

Here’s the executive summary:

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs are essential to any customer experience effort. In recent years, VoC efforts have continued to expand and support their organizations; however, going forward they will need to adapt to significant changes in data sources, technology, operational pressures, and consumer behavior. In this report, Temkin Group details how companies can propel their VoC programs into the future by:

  • Identifying Six Customer Insight Trends that will reshape VoC programs: 1) Deep Empathy, Not Stacks of Metrics; 2) Continuous Insights, Not Periodic Studies; 3) Customer Journeys, Not Isolated Interactions; 4) Useful Prescriptions, Not Past Descriptions; 5) Enterprise Intelligence, Not Customer Feedback; and 6) Mobile First, Not Mobile Responsive.
  • Sharing 30 examples that exemplify innovative VoC practices across each of the trends.
  • Helping companies lay the groundwork for VoC innovation with a description of how to drive change through three distinct stages.

For this report, we received submissions of innovative VoC practices from Confirmit, InMoment, Rant & Rave, Qualtrics, Verint, and Walker.

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Here are the best practices described in the report:

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2017 Temkin Effort Ratings, U.S. & UK

In this post, I examine the 2017 Temkin Effort Ratings for the U.S. and UK, which is one of the components of the overall Temkin Experience Ratings, the openly available standard for CX metrics.

In January 2017, we surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers and 5,000 UK consumers about their experiences with companies. We used that feedback to calculate the Temkin Effort Ratings for 329 companies in the U.S. (see U.S. companies) and 157 in the UK (see UK companies). You can access the full datasets in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, US and in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK.

As you can see in the charts below:

  • Supermarkets earned the highest average scores in both the U.S. and UK.
  • In the U.S., TV/Internet service providers and health plans earn the lowest ratings (58%), but they are still much higher than the lowest UK industry, rental cars & transport (35%).
  • Publix (91%), QVC (90%), and Hardees (90%) are on the top of the U.S. ratings. HealthNet (41%), Medicaid (44%), and Blue Shield of CA (49%) are on the bottom.
  • Co-op (89%), Waitross (89%), Lidl (87%), and Marks & Spencer (87%) are on the top of the UK ratings. Audi (-5%), BMW (11%), and Flybe (13%) are on the bottom.

Read More …

Positive Attitudes Differ By Gender And Age

As part of our ongoing consumer studies, we measure a number of different attitudes. Given our belief in the importance of Positive Psychology, we recently started tracking a few new ones:

  • I feel loved and appreciated
  • I am optimistic about my future
  • I lead a purposeful and meaningful life

Since I’m in Montreal at the World Congress of Positive Psychology, I decided to examine these attitudes in our most recent benchmark study of 10,000 U.S. consumers. I analyzed the data by gender and age (“genderations”) and found that:

  • Older people feel the most loved and appreciated, along with 25- to 44-year-old males. Females older than 45 feel more loved and appreciated than males, whereas younger males tend to feel more loved and appreciated than females.
  • 25- to 34-year-olds are the most optimistic about their futures. The largest gender gaps are with 45- to 54-year-olds, where females are more optimistic, and with the oldest group, where males are the most optimistic.
  • Older females and 25- to 44-year-old males most frequently agree that they lead a purposeful and meaningful life. Females older than 45 are more likely than males to believe they are leading a purposeful and meaningful life. The opposite is true with younger consumers.
  • Across all three attitudes, 45- to 54-year-olds fall to the bottom.

The bottom line: We all can (and should) find ways to flourish!

The Human Conversational Model (Infographic)

In the report, Humanizing Digital Interactions, we decoded successful person-to-person interactions as a step in developing the Human Conversational Model. It’s the foundation for building compelling interactions with customers. This infographic provides an overview of the model and shows how to apply it to your digital efforts.

You can download the infographic in several forms:

Report: Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017

We just published a Temkin Group report, Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017. Here’s the executive summary:

Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) is a popular metric that companies use to analyze their customer experience efforts. But how does this metric actually relate to loyalty? To uncover the relationship between NPS and loyalty, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to give an NPS to 331 companies across 20 industries, and we then looked at how this score correlated with four key loyalty behaviors. Here are some highlights from this research:

  • Compared to detractors, promoters are over four times more likely to repurchase from a company, over five times more likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake, over seven times more likely to try new offerings from a company, and almost five times more likely to trust a company.
  • We performed a detailed analysis of the loyalty data for promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 different industries: airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotels and rooms, insurance carriers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, rental car and transport agencies, retailers, software firms, streaming media services, supermarkets, TV and Internet service providers, TVs and appliance makers, utilities, and wireless carriers.
  • Ultimately, if a company wants to benefit from using NPS as a key metric, it must focus on improving customer experience, not obsessing over the metric itself.

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Note: To see NPS for individual companies and industries, download the report, Net Promoter Benchmark Study, 2016.

These two graphics from the report show the average connection between NPS and loyalty across all 20 industries, while the report also contains data for each of the 20 industries:

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While this report provides clear evidence that promoters are more valuable than detractors, it is not an endorsement of NPS as a metric. The data shows that companies should be able to increase their customer loyalty if they create promoters and cut down on detractors. As you will see on our VoC/NPS Program Resources, the processes for improving is more important than the specific metric being used.

La Quinta “Gaming” Highlights Flaws in NPS

I’m in Las Vegas to watch some NBA Summer League games (Go Celtics!), and am staying overnight at a La Quinta near the airport. I found this note on the table next to the bed.

While there’s no problem with a nice thank you note, one section caught my eye…

*********
You may be receiving a guest satisfaction survey from La Quinta in the near future and we hope you feel confident that you may answer the question “Would you recommend us to your family and friends” with a 10.

If you should be surveyed, La Quinta uses a 1-10 scale (10 being the best). Although the scale ranking is from 1 to 10, scores of 8 or below results in a negative impact on the overall rating for this hotel.
*********

First of all, this is what I would call “gaming” the system. Anytime you ask for a specific score or range of scores, it’s gaming. Instead of getting a true response from the customer about his/her experience, the customer is forced to balance her honest feedback with a request for a specific score. Some customers are likely to be intimidated, since they may think that the hotel has visibility into their specific response. This would lower response rates and alter true feedback.

The second problem this highlights is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) calculation (since this is clearly an NPS question). As you probably know, NPS segments responses into three categories: Detractors (6 or less), Passives, (7 or 8) and Promoters (9 or 10). Is there really that much difference between an “8” or “9” on this scale? I think people giving either of these ratings would think that they are saying that the experience was good, but not the best that they’ve ever had. The choice of an “8” or “9” may be more driven by an internal rating gauge (that is different in each person), then it is being caused by a distinctive difference in the actual experience.

[Side note: La Quinta’s NPS is 9 points below the hotel industry average in Temkin Group’s latest NPS benchmark study]

The final, more substantial problem is how the metric is being used. My guess is that La Quinta is using NPS to substantially impact the compensation of some hotel employees. This pushes people to focus on “the number” as opposed to what’s really important, the ability to continuously improve.

To be honest, the issues I discuss above are not NPS-specific. I’ve seen them with a variety of metrics, and we work with many companies that are successfully using NPS. So let me share some advice for improving your use of CX metrics….

I wrote a post a few years ago that listed these five rules to stop employees from gaming your feedback system:

  1. Don’t mention or refer to a score
  2. Don’t mention specific survey questions
  3. Don’t mention any consequences
  4. Don’t say or imply that you will see their responses
  5. Don’t intimidate customers in any way

Check out my most about nine recommendations for NPS programs:

  1. The choice of metric is not as important as people think
  2. Driving improvements is what’s critical
  3. Promoters & detractors need their individual attention
  4. Sampling patterns really, really matter
  5. NPS is for relationships, not transactions
  6. NPS is for teams, not individuals
  7. Compensation can be a real problem
  8. Target ranges make more sense than single numbers
  9. There are four loops to close

The bottom line: CX metrics need to focus on improvements, not numbers

2017 Temkin Trust Ratings, UK: Nationwide, John Lewis, and M&S Food on Top

Trust is a critical component of a strong relationship with customers. That’s why Temkin Group has been measuring trust for several years in the U.S.

This year we’re publishing the 2017 Temkin Trust Ratings, UK, which evaluates 157 companies across 16 industries based on a survey of 5,000 UK consumers in January 2017 (see full list of companies below).

At the top of the ratings are Nationwide, John Lewis, and M&S Food.  At the bottom of the list are Audi, Bank of Scotland, and BMW. Nationwide, Nissan, and Virgin Atlantic are more than 20 percentage-points above their industry averages, while Audi and Bank of Scotland are more than 40 points below their peers.

You can see a summary of the results in the charts below, and you can also purchase the dataset with 2017 Temkin Trust Ratings, UK for all 157 companies. And it also includes industry average Temkin Trust Ratings across age groups.

Download dataset for $295 (see sample file)

Read More …

Embrace Your Unalienable Right to Be Happy

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Happy July 4th!

While not everyone who reads my blog is celebrating a holiday today, I hope that everyone can embrace the sentiment described in the famous line above from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. If we look through the mindset of the time and replace “men” with “all people,” then this sentence is a powerful blueprint for our collective well-being.

It’s interesting that one of the three unalienable Rights that the founders of the country chose to highlight is the “pursuit of happiness.” As it turns out, happiness is also one of the three items that we’ve included in the Temkin Well-Being Index (along with healthiness and financial security).

As shown in the blog post The Human Side of Employee Engagement, happiness is a key ingredient to engaged employees. So how do you take advantage of this information?

Here are three simple steps:

  1. Be Happy. If you’re not happy, then you won’t have much capacity to think about other people, employees or customers. So how do I recommend being happy? By being grateful. A growing body of research shows that the act of being grateful actually makes people happy. So take some time every day to focus on the things that you are grateful for.
  2. Hire Happy People. Your organization probably screens employee candidates for professional experience, skills, and maybe even cultural fit. But those only tell a portion of the story about successful employees. If you want to build organizational empathy, screen candidates to make sure they are typically happy. Another way to say this is: Don’t hire unhappy people.
  3. Keep Employees Happy. HR processes focus a lot on hiring, firing, reviewing, and adjusting employees’ titles and compensation. But these are not the key drivers of employee happiness. What does motivate employees? Four intrinsic rewards: The sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. Make sure that you focus on providing those things to your employees.

The bottom line: Have a very, very happy July 4th!

The Human Side of Employee Engagement

As you probably know, Temkin Group spends a lot of time researching and writing about employee engagement. It’s one of our Four CX Core Competencies and a critical component of a customer-centric culture.

While our research typically focuses on the work environment that drives employee engagement, that’s only one part of the picture. To fully understand employee engagement, it’s important to look deeper at the people who are our employees. Why? Because employee engagement is driven by two things: Human Attitudes & Work Environment.

What do I mean by “Human Attitudes?” Your employees are people who have a set of feelings and beliefs that they bring with them to work. These underlying attributes may have absolutely nothing to do with their work. Here’s some data that looks at the level of employee engagement based on two sets of attitudes, the degree to which people feel happy, and the degree to which they feel loved and appreciated. (Note: we used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to assess the level of engagement).

As you can see, people who are typically happy and those who feel loved and appreciated are significantly more engaged employees than other people. While their work may contribute to these feelings, it’s more likely that they feel this way because of their underlying perspectives and as a result of what’s going on in the rest of their lives.

The first implication of this insight is that you need to do a better job of recruiting and screening for people who are more likely to be engaged. This data shows that more positive people tend to be more engaged employees. So look for those people when you are hiring.

Another implication is that organizations need to deal with the underlying attitudes of their employees. In addition to applying traditional employee engagement strategies, you need to help employees develop more positive attitudes. There’s a lot of good resources to tap into from the Positive Psychology movement.

I’m joining other members of our team at the bi-annual World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal in July where we explore this focus on employee engagement in more detail. After the previous congress, we published this table connecting positive psychology to customer experience (including employee engagement):The bottom line: Employee engagement requires human engagement.

 

 

 

Report: Activating Executive Commitment to CX

We just published a Temkin Group report, Activating Executive Commitment to CX. Here’s the executive summary:

Organizations that want to drive sustainable customer experience (CX) improvements need to have senior executives who are committed to propel change throughout the entire journey. Successful transformation efforts require senior executives to set the direction, lead communication efforts, model desired behaviors, align resources, and hold the rest of the organization accountable. However, CX leaders and their teams often struggle to obtain the commitment and involvement necessary from senior executives to ensure these change efforts succeed. In this report, we provide a model for how CX teams can effectively engage their senior leaders. Here are some highlights:

  • The blueprint includes six levers CX leaders can use to gain and strengthen senior executive commitment: Create Vision Clarity, Share Compelling Opportunities, Amplify Emotional Empathy, Feed Intrinsic Motivations, Enable First Steps, and Fuel Ongoing Confidence.
  • To illustrate how these levers work, we share examples of 24 best practices from companies including Anthem, CA Technologies, Cisco, Fidelity, Microsoft, Penske Truck Leasing, and Regions Bank.
  • We provide CX leaders with an assessment they can use to identify the commitment stage of their senior executives and offer advice on which of the six levers can have the greatest impact by stage.

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Here are the six levers for activating executive commitment:

  1. Create Vision Clarity. Many senior executives are enamored with the idea of customer experience, yet lack a clear picture of what CX really means for their organization. As a result, they aren’t able to persuasively advocate for the required changes. Therefore, CX teams should provide leaders with a clear understanding of where the CX efforts are heading.
  2. Share Compelling Opportunities. Senior leaders will only stay committed to a CX effort for as long as they remain convinced that it will help the organization succeed. That’s why CX leaders must continue to make and reinforce the CX business case to senior executives. This requires establishing a tangible business case and setting realistic expectations for the upside of action and the downside of inaction.
  3. Amplify Emotional Empathy. An executive who is emotionally committed to CX efforts provides a different level of support than one who is only intellectually bought-in. To gain this emotional commitment, the CX team should enhance executives’ natural empathy by bringing customers’ experiences to life for them.
  4. Feed Intrinsic Motivations. Executives are motivated by a myriad of different objectives, such as being seen as successful or reaching some self-defined goals. Intrinsic motivators – like meaning, choice, competence, and progress – can be particularly powerful levers for activating commitment. CX leaders should connect their efforts to the personal goals of executives and should make them feel good about the efforts underway.
  5. Enable First Steps. Even executives who are fully committed to the CX agenda may not know exactly what they can do to help propel the CX efforts forward, especially since they are often juggling many different priorities. It’s up to the CX leader to make it easy for the senior leaders to participate in the efforts by recommending specific, doable steps that they can take.
  6. Fuel Ongoing Confidence. CX teams need ongoing support from their executives; however, senior leaders are prone to distraction and doubt. To keep them on track, CX leaders need to keep executives informed of the progress and success of CX efforts and need to demonstrate to executives that resources are being used well and risks are being managed well.

Here are the best practices discussed in the report:

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2017 Temkin Customer Service Ratings: USAA and Mercedes-Benz Are On Top

Temkin Group announces the release of the 2017 Temkin Customer Service Ratings. Based on a study of 10,000 U.S consumers, the ratings benchmarks the customer service of 295 companies across 20 industriesUSAA earned the highest score in the Temkin Customer Service Ratings for the fifth year in a row. Its banking business earned the only excellent rating, while its insurance, and credit card businesses tied with Mercedes-Benz for the second highest rating. Here’s a list of all companies in the ratings.

You can see all of the high-level results on the Temkin Ratings website, or purchase a full dataset.

Purchase dataset for $295+
(see sample spreadsheet)

Highlights of the 2017 Temkin Customer Service Ratings include: Read More …

Amazon Buys Whole Foods: Hip, Hip Hooray For CX!

In case you missed it, Amazon.com is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, and the news immediately drove down the stock price of competing supermarket chains.

My take: I love this move. I’m not talking about what it means for Amazon, which spent about 3% of its net worth on Whole Foods. Instead, I’m focusing on what it might mean to the supermarket customer experience (CX).

The supermarket CX has become so repetitive that consumers don’t expect too much new from it. That’s part of the reason why supermarkets perform so well in the Temkin Experience Ratings. They were the top performing industry this year. (In case you’re interested, Amazon Fresh is tied for 6th and Whole Food is tied for 11th out of 21 supermarkets in the 2017 ratings).

Supermarkets may have changed their product mix over the years, but the experience hasn’t dramatically changed in decades. The physical environment has certainly improved, becoming larger and brighter, but what a customer goes through inside of a supermarket is roughly the same.

Your grandparents went into a (probably smaller) market with a list of things they were planning to buy. They grabbed a cart and wandered up and down aisles, periodically grabbing an item to either read its label or to place it into their cart. They tended to repurchase many items, and would hunt around the store to find any new items on their list. When they were done, they’d take their cart to a check out line where a clerk would ring up their order and someone else would bag their groceries.

Maybe the biggest changes in the CX are that the clerk now scans the product instead of keying in the prices, and your grandparents likely had their groceries carried out to their cars. So, overall, the CX may have even declined slightly.

A lot has changed since your parents were small children, so it makes perfect sense that the supermarket CX is do for a makeover. And what retailer is irreverent enough to disrupt the long-held status quo? Amazon.

Let’s just imagine what some of the changes could look like when Amazon.com updates the supermarket CX:

  • You develop your list of groceries online (easily reselecting repeat items) and you’re provided with a supermarket map of the items, and informed if some of the products are out of stock. You may even be able to pick up the entire order at drive through.
  • Based on your selections and your known preferences (e.g., gluten free, nut allergy, Whole 30 diet, etc.), Amazon.com will make recommendations for products that you may want to add or replace from your list.
  • If you’re looking to cook a nice meal at home, then you can tell Alexa your menu and how many people you’re cooking for and Amazon will create a full list of ingredients. You can deselect any items you already have and it will create a new shopping list. Alexa may even suggest changes and additions to your menu.
  • Or lets say that you don’t have any idea what to make for dinner. Alexa may just come up with some suggestions based on your known preferences (and potentially on knowing the preferences of your guests as well).
  • These same capabilities will of course be available via a mobile device while you’re in the supermarket.
  • And forget checkout lines. As you leave the supermarket, all of your groceries will be remotely scanned and your Amazon Pay account will be charged.

These potential changes only describe the supermarket CX. Amazon.com may also turn these stores into pickup centers for other types of things that you order online. So there’s even more to imagine.

The bottom line: Supermarkets are overdo for a CX makeover.

How Comcast Ignored This Customer’s Journey

We recently had an experience with Comcast that shows the importance of Customer Journey Thinking™. I’m not sharing this example to pick on Comcast (although it can be an easy target for bad customer experience given its consistently poor performance in the Temkin Experience Ratings), but instead I want to get across a key lesson for all companies.

We had a problem with our cable box and the Comcast phone agent said that we could bring it to the local Comcast center and get a new one. It’s a good move by Comcast to let people self-repair as much as possible; it keeps costs down and allows customers to accelerate the corrective action.

I wasn’t sure which of the cables that plug into the cable box I needed to bring, so I just grabbed the power cable. We went to Comcast and got the new box. Voila, success!

Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. We got the cable box home and it didn’t work. There were no instructions. It wasn’t until a Comcast repairman showed up in a couple of days that we found out that the problem wasn’t with the box, it was with the remote. We needed to reprogram our remote.

What went wrong? Comcast treated our experience as a set of isolated interactions, instead of viewing our experience as a multi-step journey. We were looking for our TV to work again, and Comcast treated us as if we wanted to get help over the phone and swap a box at the local Comcast shop.

That’s where Customer Journey Thinking (CJM) comes into play. CJM is a way to focus on customers’ journeys when you are creating a new product, service, interaction, or experience. It requires people to always ask (and answer) these five questions:

  1. Who is the customer?
  2. What is the customer’s real goal?
  3. What did the customer do right before? (repeat three times)
  4. What will the customer do right afterwards? (repeat three times)
  5. What will make the customer happy?

Let’s say we were working at Comcast when they were looking at the self-service transaction of swapping a cable box at the Comcast stores. Here’s how a simple use of the CJM might have worked.

The team working on what looked like a modem swap st the Comcast store would have gone through the questions something like this:

  1. Who is the customer?
    • Are we targeting people who regularly swap out cable boxes and programs our remotes, or is our key market people who are much less familiar with our products and processes. We need to keep in mind any steps that might not be obvious or easy to understand for this type of customer (Note: As a best practice, it would be great to name an explicit design persona that we’re focusing on for this process).
  2. What is the customer’s real goal?
    • This customer probably wants to get his/her TV to start working again.
  3. What did the customer do right before? (repeat three times)
    • Unplugged the cable box and cables and drove to the Comcast store.
    • Went online to find the local Comcast store and its operating hours.
    • Spoke to someone at Comcast (or went online) where they found out that they could swap out the box.
  4. What will the customer do right afterwards? (repeat three times)
    • Take the box home.
    • Plug the box in.
    • Try and use the television… oops, they might not know they have to reprogram their remote.
  5. What will make the customer happy?
    • Getting their TV up and running quickly without any frustrations along the way.

If you were part of the team that went through these CJM questions, then you might have realized that the in-store element was only a piece in the overall journey, and that target customers would likely run into problems.

Using that Insight, the team might have identified these types of opportunities to improve the customers’ journey:

  • Have phone agents explain (or send a link to simple instructions about) which cables to bring with you when you swap out the box and explain that you will likely have to reprogram your remote.
  • At the store, provide instructions on reprogramming the remote and explain that it is a natural part of the process.
  • Send an email to customers who swap boxes with a link to instructions (including reprogramming of remote) and a diagnostic app if the box is not working properly.

The bottom line: Companies (not just Comcast) need to obsess about their customers’ journeys.