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All posts in Customer Satisfaction

Our New (Free) E-book is Now Available for Download: What Do B2B Buyers Really Care About?

B2B Buyers
A lot of time, money, and effort goes into your sales and marketing campaigns aimed at B2B buyers. But are you saying and doing the right things to close the sale?

From thousands of in-depth interviews with senior B2B decision-makers, we’ve identified five things that really matter to B2B buyers. These are issues that we’ve seen in every sector from office products to network infrastructure – and from the purchasing department to the C-Suite.

Download the full report here.

So what things do B2B buyers care about?  Here’s one of them…

“Just tell me what it actually does.” B2B buyers aren’t impressed with product descriptions that are loaded with fluffy language and jargon. It doesn’t help them with their purchase decision. Instead, it mostly just causes confusion and makes them question the knowledge and integrity of the seller.

Download the full report for more on this topic (and four others you need to know). We’ll also share steps you can take to increase the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts.

Building an Authentic Relationship With Customers (Way to Go, Walgreens)

Walgreens is making a bold move with their “Steps with Balance Rewards” initiative.  Especially, since many other organizations — namely, employers and insurance companies — have struggled to implement programs that promote good health.

Historically, there have been privacy concerns.  Understandably, consumers want to protect personal or more sensitive information about their health.  In addition, many fear that revealing their health practices will come back to haunt them (e.g., imposed, undesirable insurance-related changes).

However, could a wellness program be successful if positioned by a less intimidating source — your friendly drug store “at the corner of happy and healthy”?

Full disclosure — I used to frequent a Walgreens’ competitor. But when I received this email from Walgreens and looked at the Balance Rewards program (earn points toward in-store purchases for every “healthy move”), I was more than intrigued.  I was totally game.

Walgreens Balance Rewards Email

The thing is, I love tracking my steps.  Ever since I got my Fitbit,  I’ve been hooked.  So when I saw I could add my device to earn points –and since I was already trying to hit 10,000 steps a day – it was an easy add-on.

What Walgreens is doing for their customers and community reminds me of a recent talk I heard at the Marketing to Women conference in Chicago, this past April. Bob Garfield and Doug Levy spoke about the importance of customer connections to drive results (also the subject of their book, Can’t Buy Me Like).

Specifically, they cited the evolution of marketing  which is no longer a product era or even a customer era, but rather a relationship era.  So companies need to evolve and understand that customers want them to truly care about something bigger than the product they sell.  They want them to demonstrate beliefs and values similar to their own.  

Those are the companies that are successful today (and many of them aren’t spending tons on advertising either).  And they’re walking the walk, so to speak.  Because in this age of social media, if a company fakes it, they’ll surely get ‘called out’ to the masses– on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Unlike their competition, where with every receipt you have an endless stream of coupons attached (that requires saving and remembering to bring for your next purchase), Walgreens has developed a program that is easy for customers to implement and keeps their brand top-of mind when they see their points adding up, daily.

They have really put together a program that connects with their customers — making wellness a priority and rewarding them for healthy behaviors.

So, learning from Garfield/Levy and Walgreens, what are you doing to create long-term relationships with your customers that are genuine and fit with their beliefs and values?



How to make your Net Promoter Score useful

A lot of marketers and executives love NPS®.  The appeal is clear – a single number that can tell you how happy your customers are and, as its creators claim, can actually predict the finical success of your company.  All this from one single question.

The NPS score looks good on a dashboard and it provides the coveted “single number.”  There’s a problem, though.

In and of itself, your NPS score is totally useless.

Like the scores on standardized tests you took in school, the score doesn’t mean much by itself.  What mattered about your test scores was how you did relative to everyone else.  Similarly, your company’s NPS score can only be interpreted in the context of how other companies perform and how your company has performed in the past.

Even then, the score might tell you that things are “good” or “bad”, but don’t give you any actionable information that you can use to improve your company’s performance.

So how can you make the NPS tracking that you’ve invested in useful?

The NPS score is the start, not the end, of understanding your customer’s satisfaction.  Only by understanding the context in which a customer scored your company the way they did can you get actionable information.

How can you do that?

Find out why

The first step is to follow up the NPS rating with an open ended question that asks why.  This is recommended in the Reichheld book, but I’ve seen many cases where this was omitted by people implementing NPS.  This step alone can greatly increase the value you can get from NPS, but there’s more that can be done.

Understanding drivers

Applying quantitative analysis techniques to the NPS score and the reasons given for the score can uncover patterns that help you understand what elements drive satisfaction.  The easy way to do this is to ask a series of rating questions about various aspects of the customer experience and to perform a regression analysis on the data.  The danger in this approach is that you miss what actually matters to customers.

An alternative is to code the open ended responses and use those codes as explanatory variables in a quantitative analysis.  Depending on the volume of responses you are working with (I’ve seen companies with tens of thousands), a manual coding of open ended remarks may be impractical or prohibitively expensive.  Manual coding of large volumes of open ends also invites data problems from inconsistent coding of responses.

Some of the current text analysis software does a good job of automating much of this process (no thoughtful analysis can ever be totally automated), which makes the processing of large datasets much more feasible. At a minimum, these systems speed up the process and ensure consistency in the coding of comments.  The best systems can also help interpret meaning and sentiment, as well as uncover relationships (X and Y are often mentioned together, for example).

Once coded and used in quantitative analytics, a much better picture of customer satisfaction starts to emerge.  As you start to understand why your NPS score was what it was, you can take action to improve business outcomes.

Round out the data with who and where

By adding some profile and purchase context information to the mix, you can begin to understand what customer groups you are serving more or less successfully.  This information helps you find other people like the happy customers, focusing your customer acquisition activities.

So, NPS is a good start, but it isn’t enough to really understand your market or successfully compete.  Add the understanding of why (open ends), who (profile), and when (purchase context), apply some thoughtful analysis, and you’ve got a recipe for real customer insight.

If you’d like a copy of this article suitable for printing, click here for a PDF version.

® Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld