How and why to gather client feedback

1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations.  On Friday, I share something we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

This week we’ve been exploring how focusing on hospitality drives business success, as outlined in Danny Meyer‘s terrific book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.

Another secret of Danny’s business success is intentionally seeking out feedback from his guests, something we are also passionate about at PCI.  Doing so provides us important information and allows us to take a deeper interest in our clients, and encourages them to do the same with us.

“I want to go on the offensive to create opportunities for our customers to feel that they are being heard,” writes Danny.  “I always actively encourage them—when I’m on my rounds, in our comment cards, and in letters or e-mail to us—to let us know if they feel something’s not right.  When they do, I thank them.”

Danny is intentional about the wording on the comment cards: “We want you to return to Union Square Cafe and eagerly seek your comments or suggestions.”

Early on, he would respond personally to every comment card.  Today, with 18 restaurants, that job belongs to the chefs and managers who read and respond to upwards of 100 cards each per week.  “It’s an excellent way to build trust, encourage and enrich dialogue, and give our guests the confidence that, at our restaurants, their suggestions are taken seriously,” Danny writes.

2: In his book, Danny shares the story of a friend who opened an office in Florida.  “My friend, who is a very successful businessman—and, I should note, a Democrat—opened an office in Florida with about forty employees.  On the day the company was incorporated, out of the blue, he received a personal phone call from then Governor Jeb Bush (whom he had never met) thanking him for doing business in Florida,” Danny shares.  “Here’s a special number,” the governor said, “that I want you to use if you ever need any roads moved or bridges built for your company.” 

This type of personal touch makes a huge difference.

3: At PCI, we use three different proactive strategies to gather client feedback: First, I send a personal email to the signer of our contract introducing myself and encouraging them to contact me any time I can be of service.  

Next, we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology to survey all of our organizational clients.  Our projects typically last about twelve months and we survey each client three times asking them a version of the NPS questions: “On a zero to 10 scale, based on your experience to date, how likely are you to recommend PCI to a colleague or peer?” and “Please explain the primary reason for your rating.”

In the NPS methodology, a 9 or 10 is a “promoter;” a 7 or 8 is a “passive” and 0 to 6 is a “detractor.”  The NPS score is calculated by taking percentage of promoters and subtracting the percentage of detractors.  Anything above 50 is considered world class.  Our goal is to raise our current score of 43 to 50 consistently by the end of 2022. 

Note: we personally follow up with all passives and detractors to address any issues and look for opportunities to improve our systems and processes.  We also report our NPS score every morning at our daily 10@8:30 huddle as well as each quarter at our all-hands NotTheTypicalQuarterlyBusinessMeeting.

Lastly, we also send an email survey all 10,000 people we talk with each day asking for feedback.  Again, we ask a version of the NPS question: “On a 1-5 scale, please rate your experience with your Professional Storytelling Guide [insert name], who helped with the update of your data and story interview on [insert date].”  

We are super proud that more than 99% of the people who respond give us a 3, 4, or 5, and more than 60% rank us as a “5” top box score.  We use these scores to help coach our agents and recognize those with the highest scores as part of our quarterly awards.

More next week!

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Reflection:  How proactive and consistent is my organization about reaching out to clients and gathering feedback?  

Action:  Discuss some of the ideas listed above with my team or with a colleague.

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