The Ultimate Question 2.0

Summary Written by Jill Donahue
"It always seemed to me that success in business and in life should result from your impact on the people you touch."

- The Ultimate Question 2.0, page 1

The Big Idea

The One Sure Path to Success: Delight Your Customers

"The only way to grow is to treat customers so well they come back for more, and tell their friends about us."- Andy Taylor, CEO of Enterprise, quoted in The Ultimate Question 2.0, page 36

These days there is more emphasis than ever on customer centricity. And it’s no wonder. The internet empowers customers to not only find all the information they need but to share their experiences. They are in charge.

Additionally, good leaders understand that most talented employees want more than a J-O-B. They want to pursue a mission, a purpose that transcends profits and shareholders. Being customer centered creates more meaning and satisfaction for the employees.

Have you ever felt however that your organizational leaders talk out of both sides of their mouths? They claim they want to be customer focused yet the culture remains staunchly profit-centric, ruled by quarterly financial objectives and accounting metrics.

Despite all the talk companies have had about being customer focused and creating a purpose for their people, the vast majority haven’t made much progress. Reichheld shows us with many examples of companies that have grasped the Net Promoter System are finding their way.

Insight #1

We want to be customer driven... but how?

"If organizations take seriously the goal of turning customers into promoters, then they must take seriously the need to measure their success."- The Ultimate Question 2.0, page 123

Are you ready to be obsessed with your mission to be customer driven – to enrich the lives of your customers? Here is a snapshot of the necessary steps to obtain measurement consistently.

1) Use the question: How likely would you recommend us (or our product or service) to your friends or colleagues on a scale from 0–10?” You can follow it up with What is the primary reason for the score you just gave us?”

2) Categorize the results:

  • Scores of 9-10 – Promoters. These people are suggesting that their lives have been enriched by their relationship with you/the company. They are loyal and may talk up the company to their colleagues. They represent good profits and sustainable growth.
  • Scores of 7-8 – Passives. These people are passively satisfied and not loyal. They wouldn’t likely talk enthusiastically to others about you. They have not been “delighted” yet.
  • Scores of 6 or less – Detractors. These people are dissatisfied, disaffected or even dismayed by how they are treated. They may talk badly about you/the company. This represents an opportunity to discover the problem, apologize and solve the problem.

3) Close the loop – Shortly after the score is obtained, managers should engage passives and detractors in dialogue around their experience that led to the score. They could ask “What is the most important improvement that would make you more likely to recommend us?”

4) Celebrate success and share best practice – Managers should share the promoters’ comments with all to acknowledge great work and teach others through example. This stimulates the journey to customer centricity.

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Insight #2

Learn from those who have gone before us: 3 keys to success

"Becoming truly customer-centric and turning customers into promoters is a very long journey. ‘It’s as much about culture change as it is about organizational design and metrics.’ Says Guerrino De Luca, chairman of Logitech."- The Ultimate Question 2.0, page 224

We can benefit and learn from those who have walked before us. Reichheld discovered that in virtually every successful application of the system, whenever NPS helped produce extraordinary improvements, the following three characteristics were prevalent:

1) Senior leadership teams and specifically the CEO made it a mission-critical priority. They embraced the improvement of customer loyalty through NPS. Why? They understood that being customer driven is morally imperative and creates profit simultaneously.

2) They wove NPS into the fabric of daily and monthly priorities. NPS customer feedback was hardwired into key decision processes up and down the organization.

3) Companies organized the NPS initiative as a long journey of cultural change and growth rather than a short-term project. They understood that NPS had to touch every part of the organization for it to generate profitable, sustainable growth.

Everyone wants to make a profit and many want to leave a legacy. The real magic happens for those who realize it’s reversed. Create a legacy of caring about customers and employees, a legacy of enriching the lives you touch and the profits with follow. Once you accept this and want to achieve and measure it, learn everything you can about the Net Promoter System. It’s not just a way of thinking but a practical guide; a blueprint for long-term growth and success. It’s indispensable.

Read the book

Get The Ultimate Question 2.0 on Amazon.

Fred Reichheld

Fred Reichheld is a Bain Fellow and founder of Bain & Company’s Loyalty Practice, which helps companies achieve results through customer and employee loyalty. He is the creator of the Net Promoter® system of management.

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