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The State of Customer Focus Around the World: 2007 in Review

by Jeanne Bliss  |  
February 12, 2008

In 2007, thanks to many of you who reached out, I had the privilege of delivering over 75 speeches around the world—all in the quest to help your companies deliver a better customer experience.

What I learned is that in every part of the world making this work happen is a challenge. The struggle remains to connect the silos and get everyone on the same page—moving in a unified direction for customers.

In Brazil, for example, the challenges sounded uncannily the same (although much more beautiful-sounding in their language) as the challenges I heard from audiences and clients in New Jersey and San Francisco.

With all of these audiences, what we talked about is where they are making traction in the customer crusade, how they are making that happen, and what still gets in the way of moving past lip service and getting to action.

A Review of the State of the Crusade in 2007

Optimism Over Net Promoter

The Net Promoter concept and idea has taken hold the world over. The simplicity of one "ultimate" question is compelling. And it gives CEOs something to easily grasp and point to regarding a customer target. Those who have started to work through this concept have hit some walls, though none of them insurmountable. I state them here to hopefully prevent you from hitting them:

  1. Don't make Net Promoter just be about the "score." If you do, all you are doing is replacing the old customer satisfaction survey for the Net Promoter survey.
  2. Don't set arbitrary targets for how far you will improve. Especially, don't look at across all industries of Net Promoter scores and set yours. There are clear differences by industry. Don't set yourself up with a goal that isn't connected with your operation or customers. You'll be revising and revising and revising...
  3. Create the back-end action loop that the Net Promoter concept success is based on. The whole idea behind this concept is to identify customers who love you (Promoters) and those who don't (Detractors) and to tickle out the issues causing both situations. You must have a process for getting to those customers and resolving those issues and then driving wholesale change through your operation to fix the problem for all customers. If this sounds a lot like hard work—it is. But just setting up a stretch target without the work process behind it will have you treading water like you are now with the standard customer satisfaction survey approach.

Customer 'Service' Gaining Traction—If It Moves up From Underdog Position

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Jeanne Bliss is the founder of CustomerBLISS (, a consulting and coaching company, and the author of Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action.

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  • by Adam Dorrell Thu Feb 14, 2008 via web

    thanks for good "state of the union" article on Net Promoter score. I especially liked the mandate for executives to call customers each month - that is a new idea in many organisations we deal with - it seems that as companies get bigger they feel that it's not an execs job to communicate with the customers... Glad you are leading the way to help change this culture.

    Adam Dorrell, CustomerGauge

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