18
Nov
2008
0

Inspiring Relationships – and Loyalty

Today was my second day here at the NACCM Customers 1st Conference, and it was filled with pre-conference summits and the official kick-off to the event by Kevin Carroll, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball.  Here is an overview and some nuggets from Disney Institute, nGenera, JetBlue, and of course, Kevin. (Note – if you follow me on Twitter, you already have a taste of what went on at the summit!)

Disney Loyalty

The day started with Bruce Kimbrell from The Disney Institute who keynoted with a great speech on Disney and their keys to customer loyalty. Bruce asked a great question: Who are you loyal to and why? Some of the answers included the following:

  • Nordstrom – they treat you like you matter
  • Keen shoes – high quality product, and solid customer service if there is a problem
  • Sports team – get a sense of community
  • State Farm Insurance – they are there before the police!
  • Kroger Foods – great customer service experience

Each responder had their own reason for being loyal. Bruce shared that at Disney, they believe the greater the connection, the greater the loyalty!  Relationships are built when two things happen:

  1. Customers want to associate with your brand beyond the transaction
  2. Your customers and employees interact positively with each other

Disney gets 80,000 people at their parks in one day. How do you positively interact with all of them? On average, each guest (Disney speak for customer) has 60 interactions with Disney cast members (employees) per day. This is 60 opportunities to make or break the experience; they are the face of Disney! If 59 are great, but number 60 is a jerk, what do I go home and talk about?  Disney uses experience mapping to identify all points of contact with customers, look at the experience through the customers’ eyes, and then align Disney strengths to “moments of magic”.  Key takeaway: plan it out! Identify and prioritize key opportunties in the customer experience, match specific tools to each opportunity, select partners to involve, then go make it happen!  Thank you, Bruce, for all of your Disney insight.

Swarming the Magic Kingdom

I spent most of my day in this highly interactive activity, led by Frank Capek of nGenera (Don Tapscott’s company). He laid the foundation for the day by discussing the next generation customer experience. In other words, with the potential for collaboration found in social media (such as blogs, wikis, social networks, YouTube, etc), how can we enable customers to actively co-create their own experiences?  This isn’t experience by intent (improving service levels) or experience by design (creating based on customer needs and priorities) but experience on demand (engage and co-create).

After talking about this for awhile, Frank set us loose in Disneyland to take a closer look at what customer experiences are taking place there – down to the smallest detail.  We rode rides, analyzed Main Street USA, and listened to Christmas music being aired in the park. We observed what it felt like to be a first-timer, what it felt like to stand in line, and how easy/difficult it was to get around the park. At the end of the day, we came back together and used our collective thinking to brainstorm ideas around not just improved customer experiences, but specifically how customer experiences could be different for those who are “digitally connected” (especially young people who live on social networks). Ideas included the following:

  • “Log in” at the park to learn about wait times in lines, get a personalized experience
  • Have Disney “follow you” around the park (opt-in, of course) via your mobile phone or simply your park ticket (inserted at various attractions) to log your activities and create a “storybook” of your day that could be emailed/link sent to you. You could even opt to have your log update your Facebook or MySpace status throughout the day, sharing your experience with your friends.
  • Using texting/Twitter to share issues with Disney in real-time

It was a great session to get out in the sunshine, look at things from a different perspective, then take and apply it back to our own companies: Walk in your customers’ shoes. Innovate the customer experience. Don’t forget social media!

JetBlue and “Jetitude”

Rob Maruster, Senior VP of Customer Service at JetBlue held a great session to share how they are bringing humanity back to air travel through servant leadership. Here are some tidbits:

  • JetBlue administers 35 customer surveys each flight (regardless of how full they are); 8% of customers give their feedback (a decent response rate)
  • They use Net Promoter Score (NPS), rather than just customer satisfaction, to gauge how well they are performing and look for opportunities for improvement.  It seems to be directly correlated to whether they are running flights on time in a particular month!
  • If something doesn’t go as planned, JetBlue invokes their Customer Bill of Rights and, within 7 days of the flight, they send out flight vouchers to help make up for the inconvenience. “Please, let us try again!”
  • You have to be relevant to customers in order to drive customer loyalty.

I liked the way Rob shared about JetBlue’s customer-focused thinking as he discussed one of the key inputs to their Balanced Scorecard: Drive a Low Cost Culture. He was quick to point out that it is important to be smart about costs, but not to be cheap! “Don’t touch the things that touch the customer.” Great motto, Rob!

Rob also talked about their JetBlue attitude, or “jetitude”. They have five “Be’s”:

  1. Be in Blue always (you are always on stage – see my related post!)
  2. Be personal
  3. Be the answer (don’t pass the buck; execs, please walk the talk)
  4. Be engaging (reach out to customers; don’t wait for them to come to you)
  5. Be thankful to every customer (actually thank them for their business)

Finally, Rob talked about the importance of “servant leadership”. Leadership brings all of the above together to serve the employee and, in turn, the customer. They need total transparency, and they need to be willing to get their hands dirty in order to help make it happen.  Great talk, Rob!

Oh, by the way, JetBlue collected business cards from everyone in the summit and gave away 2 JetBlue travel vouchers! Wow!  Great way to show appreciation.

The Red Rubber Ball

Kevin Carroll opened the official conference at day’s end with his inspiring speech on the importance of play. Per Kevin,

“Play is serious business!”

Kevin started out his talk by sharing his experiences as a 6 year old boy trying to find his way out of a bad family situation.  In this video clip, he talks about the power of belonging and community. Have a listen:

Kevin encouraged all of us to harness the power of sport and play in everything we do – including our jobs. What inspires you? For Kevin, a simple red, rubber ball (like a playground ball) inspired him to live differently, with purpose, passion, and intention. In fact, he has an amazing life story that took him from a difficult childhood to the military, the NBA, to Nike, and ultimately to being a speaker/author who helps others reach for their dreams. He is a life-long learner, and he shared his “lessons from the playground”:

  1. Commit to it (find what you are passionate about and commit to it)
  2. Seek out encouragers (surround yourself with people who give you permission to dream big)
  3. Work out your creative muscle (need to reawaken our creative side)
  4. Prepare to shine (create your vision, make it clear)
  5. Speak up (stand up for something, what you believe in)
  6. Expect the unexpected (be forever curious, you never know where you will end up!)
  7. Maximize the day (live each day to the fullest – don’t try to get to tomorrow too soon)

Kevin was inspiring, entertaining, and unpredictable. He even tossed out balls into the audience and shared a video of playing “tag” at Nike – with 4,000 coworkers! He challenged us to get the most we can out of each day, as well as out of this conference.

After his talk, Yemil Martinez (Director of New Media for the conference) and I had the opportunity to video Kevin’s discussion with Joanna Brandi, conference co-chair, as they discussed the future of this country and how play can help. I will upload that video later this week.  Kevin then freely gave me a nice gift for my older son to encourage him to find his passion in life. Thank you, Kevin!

Kevin was also nice enough to give me two minutes of his time to share with you, my readers, his thoughts on the importance of building community with customers and with each other. Also listen through to the end for his thoughts on the Carroll connection!

Thank you so much for your time and energy, Kevin! We will be following you.

(Photo credit: nruboc)

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