Perception v. Reality
In a recent meeting with a CEO of a $50 million + provider of print and digital print, we got into an in-depth conversation on the industry, his company and his company’s differentiators. Here is shortened version of the conversation:
Me: What differentiates your company from the other 22,000 competitors in the marketplace?
CEO: Our service is second to none. We truly value the customer and every interaction we have, our people are trained to make the best of it.
Me: Can you prove that is a differentiator? That your service is superior?
CEO: Yes, you can talk to our customers.
Me: As a potential customer, I don’t have time to do that. Do you have any internal satisfaction or loyalty surveys from a third party that would substantiate your claim?”
CEO: I believe we ran a customer satisfaction survey a couple of years ago. I could probably dig that out and give you the numbers. They were very good.
Me: How many questions? What was your response rate? Who administered the survey?
CEO: I believe there were 20-30 questions (it was 40!). We had a 2-3% response rate, which I am told is normal for these types of surveys. And it was administered by our Marketing Department.
Me: And therein lies the problem. First, your response rate is statistically invalid. Couple that with the fact you administered the survey yourself raises additional questions around the validity of the survey. And it was done a couple of years ago?
CEO: Actually, I believe it was more like 3-4 years ago. Late 2013 or early 2014.
Me: So, if your revenue is down, (which it was 3%) and the industry is growing at approximately 1.5%, you are losing market share, correct?
CEO: I assume that is correct, if you believe that the market is growing.
Me: It is. Given the fact the market is growing, and you are in decline, what makes you think that your service is superior?
CEO: Well, I think it is more complicated than that. Technology is eating away our core product, I have an aging salesforce…
Me: (Interrupted) Those are socially accepted excuses in the industry to rationalize poor performance (my version of “tough love”).
CEO: What do you mean by “socially accepted excuse?”
Me: People fail in direct proportion to their willingness to accept, socially accepted excuses for failure. It is the rationale we see and hear in the print industry for poor performance. I call it playing the victim card. Being an externalist. Everything around you fails. You rationalize that you have no control over it. The fact is, you have not surveyed your customers in at least three years and technically, the survey you did three years ago, is not statistically valid. Additionally, we have customers in this space growing 30-80% a year.
CEO: Ok, I am listening. How are they achieving this type of growth?
Me: They all started with a Net Promoter Score® Survey administered by Butler Street Research. They achieved 30-50% response rates, and then effectively managed the results, changed the way the sold, and created more opportunities for growth. Are you familiar with NPS®?
CEO: I am. What is the cost to do such a survey?
Me: $3,695 and here is the output you get. You will not only receive invaluable information about your existing customers in terms of satisfaction and loyalty, you will understand how you stack up against the rest of the industry and develop a detailed plan for continuous improvement.
CEO: That’s all? To survey all of my customers? And get this type of output? I’ll take two (smiling)!
Want to learn more about how you can grow your business through Net Promoter Score® Survey? Contact us to learn how to combine NPS® with your financials to drive a plan, sales rep by sales rep to profitable growth.