EXPLORE what we know and do
EXPLORE what we know and do



Contact Us

COFFEE OR TEA? Drop by for a cup.

Blog January 22, 2016

What is a customer?

Part of my job as a BI consultant is to help my clients to define and structure their data so they can analyse their business and make better decisions. Although my clients are in widely differing industries, they often have certain concepts in common.

Customer satisfaction serves as a yardstick for how your colleagues feel about their work.  

BMI (Body Mass Index) is currently the international standard for weight assessment. To calculate a person’s BMI, one divides the individual’s weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters. This means that a person who weights 75 kg and is 1.80 meters tall has a BMI of 23. That individual could feel good about that number, too - it is firmly within the average range. For adults, normal weight falls within the reference range of 18.5 to 24.9 - unfortunately, if your BMI is 25 or above, you are overweight. However, this truth is somewhat flexible; BMI is not a “perfect fit” for assessing weight. It does not correct for age or adjust for women during  pregnancy, and the formula often proves inaccurate when it is applied to  bodybuilders  and  elite athletes. In other words, there are plenty of excuses for disregarding one’s BMI, should one be so inclined. I hate to disappoint you, but no matter what evidence or theories you might use to excuse your high BMI, there is no denying that these numbers are highly accurate indicators. If your BMI is 28, you are overweight - period.

The same argument can be made when it comes to colleagues who criticize customer satisfaction surveys. For example, let’s examine one of the most commonly used evaluation tools in this field: NPS (Net Promoter Score). The result is based on the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” Respondents answer the question using an eleven point scale, from 0-10. Those who respond with ratings of 0-6 are referred to as ”Detractors,” those who respond with ratings of 7-8 are called “Passives ,” and respondents who give ratings of 9 or 10 are deigned “Promoters.” A Net Promoter Score can range from -100 to 100. To determine the NPS, one calculates the proportion of respondents who gave a rating of 9-10 (Promoters) and then subtracts from this number the proportion who gave a rating of 0-6 (Detractors).

In other words, this formula has much in common with the way we calculate an individual’s BMI - and critics make similar arguments to discount NPS results. They argue that it is an unqualified assessment tool, that the results depend too much on how and when one conducts the survey, and that the questions posed to customers are too broad. I disagree. Certainly, there are more sophisticated tools and analyses that can be used to assess customer satisfaction. However, just like a person’s BMI, NPS indicates a trend and allows your business to gain an outside perspective on its reputation among consumers. Indeed, when it comes down to it, no matter the “how, what, or when” of your customer satisfaction survey, there is no getting around the fact that when your customer answers a question such as “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”, his/her response will reflect the truth. That truth can seem cold and hard if the responses you receive are largely unfavorable.

I disagree with the skeptics of this evaluation method, and argue that customer satisfaction surveys are actually a great tool and present an invaluable opportunity to businesses - regardless of whether or not the numbers work out in your favor. Why? A business’s NPS “takes the temperature” of the company, and says more than you might think about its overall health.

Many people bandy around the expression that “satisfied customers are a result of satisfied employees.” These are the same sorts of individuals who talk about how they want to develop a “service-minded” environment that focuses on creating added value. However, few of these people understand the way the two sides of this dynamic actually fit together. As is demonstrated in Christian Grönros’s model (see below), the truth is that satisfied customers are a result - an outcome achieved when employees are in control and have a solid strategy for the earlier steps in the process - the ones that lead to customer satisfaction. The model elucidates the fact that the correlation between quality and customer satisfaction is not coincidental. Rather, it is a dynamic achieved through genuine commitment and plenty of hard work. Above all, the model demonstrates that customer satisfaction is part of a process - a process in which there can be no shortcuts.



Source: ”Putting the service profit chain to work” Harvard Business Review, 1994




My point is this: all too often, people take an overly simplistic approach to achieving customer satisfaction. Endeavoring to satisfy a screaming customer, or one who has a low satisfied customer index score (Detractor), amounts to nothing more than putting out fires. To succeed in becoming a company with high customer satisfaction, you must have a coherent strategy that permeates your each and every decision and action. How you introduce your co-workers on their first day of work, how you encourage their development and guide them toward success, the atmosphere of company meetings, and how you communicate with your customers - these decisions, and so many more, are all part of this holistic strategy.

I have over 10 years of experience as a sales manager in 3 different industries, and here’s what I have learned: There is very little that can set one company apart from its competitors in the same field. Distributors within the training industry and IT companies often have very similar products to offer their customers. My years on the job have taught me that there is one key factor that can give one company an advantage over another: the customer’s experience of the company’s service mindset. The companies that we now associate with good service are those that have taken this aspect of their business model seriously, which have invested in their employees and which “sweat the small stuff” in their quest to achieve outstanding results. Take Zappos, for example. The company invests in providing employees with 8 weeks of training before they ever speak to a customer for the first time. At Ritz Carlton hotels, coworkers meet 3 times a day to go over customer feedback and other operational issues. Last but not least, Walt Disney mandates that its employees take every opportunity to “create happiness.” With Google at the forefront, more and more companies have created a position known as Chief Cultural Officer. They specifically hire someone whose job it is to create the right internal conditions - the right “vibe” within the company - and to ensure that the company continues to live up to and honor the culture that it has created for its employees.

 In summation, I have just a few words of advice for all you business leaders: assess customer satisfaction on a regular basis, because it will not just tell you how your customers are feeling - it will indicate how your co-workers are feeling, too. If you dare to dig into the analysis of your results and find out what kind of concrete feedback you are getting, and how you can go about fixing any problems, you will not only get happier customers, but happy employees as well. It’s really true! At Enfo Integration, we asked our co-workers what they, as individuals, feel is the most important factor when it comes to feeling proud of the work they do here at our company. Out of eight answer options, 21% of respondents answered that “high quality and customer satisfaction” was the most important factor - more than twice as many votes as the second most popular option. 

These days, the competition out there is ruthless - and to tell you the truth, there’s not a lot that sets rival companies apart from one another. Sometimes they even are selling exactly the same tech solutions. That’s why it’s so important that your company dares to stand out from the crowd. The best way to achieve this is to invest in an internal culture that you continuously work to develop and honor. This, in turn, will foster a service mindset that will permeate the entire organization. In other words, if you assess your customer satisfaction index, analyze the results, and endeavor to improve them, you will achieve not only satisfied co-workers, but a result that reflects the success of your company as a whole - in exactly the same way that your BMI reflects your overall health!

I have taken on the challenge of working on Enfo Integration’s NPS score. This gives me the opportunity to work together with each and every person in our organization, and to unite us around a common focus. That focus is Enfo Integration’s single most important asset - namely, our customers.


Kristina Hagström-Ilievska

Sales Manager

Enfo Integration