50-Strand Template for Building a Word-of-Mouth-Worthy Business


It’s been a month in a half since my last post. Yikes. I’m hoping you (haven’t) noticed. 🙂
I’m back.

One of the reasons for the absence has been a lot of traveling, including a trip to London. See my picture here in downtown York. U.S. history is nothing compared to a place like this!

I also spent one day in the UK with David Rance, CEO of Round. I worked with David to bring a customer centricity framework into Dell several years ago.

There are two powerful parts of the Round system. First is the simplicity of a baseball metaphor and measurement system. As you analyze the customer centricity of your company, you move along the bases, closer to a home run. The bases even bring a language that your people can use to explain why things don’t line up.

Second is the sophisticated part of the system: the “Strands”. The Strands represent key areas in your organization, each of which can be measured towards customer centricity based on feedback within the organization…like looking in a mirror. Strands are things such as leadership style, employee engagement, customer data, marketing metrics, etc.

On a jet-lagged bank holiday at David’s 400-year-old house in northern England, I shared my opinions of what it took for a company to have word of mouth. David opened up his laptop, opened his software, and over the next hour we identified the key strands that are critical for a company to earn word of mouth.

  1. Brand Values
  2. Collection & Debt Recovery Processes
  3. Communication of Company Vision
  4. Company Goals
  5. Company Leadership style
  6. Company Organisation Structure
  7. Company Planning Process
  8. Company vision
  9. Competitive Differentiation
  10. Contact Center Platform
  11. Customer  Complaints & Compliments
  12. Customer Acquisition Process
  13. Customer Base Development Plan
  14. Customer Contact Routing & IVR
  15. Customer Data Accessibility & Analysis
  16. Customer Email Platform
  17. Customer Fault Management (Tech Support) Processes
  18. Customer Information & Insight
  19. Customer Process Adherence
  20. Customer Process Design
  21. Customer Process Governance
  22. Customer Propensity & Contact Plan
  23. Customer Service Metrics
  24. Customer Service Organisation Structure
  25. Customer Servicing Processes
  26. Debt Management KPIs
  27. Decision-making Authority
  28. Employee Culture
  29. Employee Engagement
  30. Fault Management Metrics
  31. Frontline Skills
  32. Knowledge Management Culture
  33. Knowledge Management Systems
  34. Management Information Systems
  35. Marketing Metrics
  36. Marketing Organisation Structure
  37. Operational Alerts
  38. Organization Metrics
  39. People Development
  40. Performance Review
  41. Personalisation & Customer Decisioning Systems
  42. Pricing
  43. Process Workflow & Automation
  44. Product Development Cycle
  45. Quality Management
  46. Recruitment
  47. Reward & recognition
  48. Tailoring The Customer Offering
  49. Team Management Style
  50. Web Customer Platform

These Strands represent about half of the strands that are part of an organization. The measurement of each strand is based on the answers to questions that is Round’s secret sauce.

For example:

Customer Service Metrics            

  • How do you use high level performance measurements to effectively manage customer service activity?
  • What overall measures are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?
  • What customer group measures are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?
  • What measures from other functions are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?

What’s the takeaway?

Word of mouth comes BEFORE word of mouth marketing. Advocates should talk about you before you amplify their voices. To garner word of mouth requires building a customer-centric business, from the top down, inside to out. Each of the strands above can have a positive or negative impact on your customer experience and therefore word of mouth. Consider, each of them and look at your company in the mirror regarding each of them.

And if you want the secret sauce for the questions to ask, and to measure this for your organization drop David an email. (That’s word of mouth for his company!).

One Response

  1. Mark Vane says:

    Hey, while searching for widgets for my blog, I stumbled upon http://www.widgetmate.com and wow! I found what I wanted. A cool news widget. My blog is now showing latest news with title, description and images. Took just few minutes to add. Awesome!

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