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Differentiate Based on Service and Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Sep, 11, 2018 @ 17:09 PM

 

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It was great to hear Joseph Pine II of Strategic Horizons, LLP at the TIBCO NOW 2018 conference. Joseph is the author of The Experience Economy and spoke on “Innovating Beyond Goods and Services.”

Joseph began his presentation talking about the Wizard Gumball Machine which was introduced in 1993 and provides an experience for kids to pay 25 cents for a gumball. It's essentially a slot machine for kids where they'll get a quarter from their parents for a gumball. Watch the gumball go around and out the bottom of the machine and then ask their parents for another quarter.

The Wizard Gumball Machine is a great example of the progression of economic value that all commodities go through. Today, most goods are commoditized to price and services are being commoditized. Goods and services are no longer enough. To differentiate your product or service, you need to move to a new level by staging experiences for customers providing a distinct economic offering.

Create a memory which is the hallmark of the experience. Experiences are where we need to innovate.

Starbucks has driven innovation in the coffee drinking experience = Starbucks and now Nespresso is attempting to do the same thing by getting coffee drinkers to prepare their daily breakfast drink at home with the tagline, "the best café is your café." Nespresso innovated the capsule system. They designed their Nespresso machines to be an experience, and they innovated in their stores – a.k.a., espresso boutiques. They provide a service with an espresso club which replenishes your supply before you run out.

Coffee is a great example of the progression of commoditization. The grower of the beans gets two or three cents for the beans necessary for a cup of coffee. Maxwell house gets 10 to 15 cents a cup for providing a product. While the Starbucks experience is anywhere from three to seven dollars a cup.

Disney is the world’s experience stager. If selling B2B you need to provide an experience. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is Disney for adults. Case Construction Equipment has an "Experience Center" in Tomahawk, Wisconsin where prospects can come and try the equipment in a veritable playground for construction equipment. According to Case, 20% of prospects that go to a dealer close. The close rate is 80% if the prospect goes to Tomahawk.

We’re living in an experience economy – design accordingly. Provide distinctive experiences. Make the customer's life simpler, easier and better. Distinctive experiences are memorable, reach inside, engage, create memories the customer wants to share with others.

Convenience is the antithesis of this. Services are about time well saved. More and more people spend time and money on experiences they enjoy – they value the time they spend with you = time well spent.

Las Vegas is the epicenter of the experience economy. The iPhone is the antithesis of the digital experience economy. Once you get the iPhone in your hands you customize it with your contacts, pictures, email accounts, and apps. Everyone's iPhone is unremittingly unique. That's the power of customization, it turns a good into a service.

If you customize a service you are providing an experience – a memorable experience. Progressive Insurance takes a negative experience of coming to your accident and delivering you a check on the spot along with a rental car thereby turning a horrible experience into a positive and memorable one.

We have been living in the age of mass customization. We have a portfolio of customers and everyone is unique. We offer a portfolio of capabilities. Customers get what they want at a price they are willing to pay. Anything you can digitize you can customize. That’s how you lower your cost – only give the customer what they want, nothing else, don’t overwhelm with too many choices

Know who everyone is to mass customize around each individual guest. Creating a learning relationship with every interaction. Learn > Customize > Benefit > Innovate.

If you don’t stage experiences for individual customers you will be commoditized.

Tags: CX, customer service, customer experience

How Analytics Can Help You Improve Your Customer Experience

Posted by Kayleigh Alexandra on Mon, Aug, 13, 2018 @ 12:08 PM

Image credit: Pixabay

 

The importance of exceptional customer experience (otherwise known as CX) continues to rise proportionately alongside usability standards and the surfeit of consumer options in the ecommerce world. Today, any given site must contend with more viable rivals than ever before, and provide a level of functionality that would have been top-end just a few years ago.

 

To adapt to this hotly-competitive marketplace, retailers must consistently identify and implement improvements, whether to their content, their technical configuration, or their operational procedures — and improvement wouldn’t be possible without digital analytics.

 

It is rich digital analytics that can tell you not only how your business is performing but also how each segment of your setup is contributing to the whole, and if you’re planning to bolster your CX, you should start by delving into your analytics. Here’s how they can help:

Attributing value

For ecommerce, product value is obvious and easy to follow. The price is on the page, and an order logs a set value on the system — simple. But what about the value of everything that goes into yielding that order? What is a lead worth, or a form submission? What kind of traffic matters the most?

 

Using your analytics platform, you can create custom goals with values of their own to make the distribution of value through the sales funnel infinitely more understandable. For instance, if you can see from the stats that 1 out of every 100 Twitter visits results in an order, and that the average value of an order from a Twitter referral is $100, you can attribute the value of $1 to each Twitter visit.

 

Why is this important for customer experience? Because it allows you to direct your attention where it matters. While customer experience should surpass a certain baseline of quality across the board, it’s perfectly rational to work harder to keep the most valuable customers happy, and being able to see a clear value split that takes your whole funnel into account will equip you to allocate your people-pleasing work accordingly.

Highlighting weak points

Since everyone likes and dislikes different website elements, personal tastes gets involved in websites assessments far too commonly. Perhaps a developer personally feels that a particular piece of content is underwhelming, and concludes that it needs to be removed or reworked — but the system isn’t there for the staff, it’s there for the users.

 

Assuming correct configuration, analytics will make it abundantly clear which parts of the site are working effectively and which are driving people away. Simply looking at a page funnel will quickly and unambiguously indicate which pages are losing customer interest and which are performing excellently.

 

Armed with that awareness, you can then commit time and resources to shoring up the overall chain by rehabilitating the worst performers, knowing that the investment is fully justified (as opposed to making improvements on a whim and hoping that they’ll prove significant). Since there’s no such thing as a perfect digital design, working efficiently is essential.

Revealing demographic information

If you’ve previously glossed over your analytics, then you’ll have a very unclear notion of the people using your website. You might even have extrapolated wildly-inaccurate notions of your user base from occasional support tickets, direct enquiries, or social media mentions. And if you don’t know who’s using your website, how you can provide them with an optimized experience? Beyond the basics, difference demographics have markedly different preferences.

 

By installing Google Analytics (or using an existing installation, as is more likely given the ubiquity of the software), you can take a deep dive into your metrics and find out more information about the people who spend time on your site. You can then glean insight from the commonalities about what you need to do (you may be best served using an integration-rich webstore package to start from scratch, or you may need only minor adjustments).

 

Here’s an example: the older your user base skews, the more important it will be to provide accessibility features (such as adjustable font sizes and robust support sections) and legacy compatibility (ensuring that your site is functional in old versions of Internet Explorer, etc.). However you achieve it, you must attune your system to those who’ll ultimately use it.

Identifying opportunities

Analytics grant tremendous insight into user searches, pulling data from on-site search systems and external search engines (albeit to a lesser extent in the case of the latter), and that insight is invaluable for plotting your future content and feature updates. Every case of a user searching on your site for something that isn’t there is an opportunity for growth.

 

And the prospective expansion might not even require all-new content. Suppose that your analytics showed that many of the visitors to your site were searching for a non-existent guide to using one of your products. Since product pages often feature basic instructional information as it is, there’s a good chance that you’d be able to quickly throw together a decent guide using existing copy and images, and plug that search gap with minimal effort.

 

In some cases, you may not have a clear idea of what your users are looking for with particular searches, but then your analytics data can serve as a jumping-off point for some community consultation. Reach out to your customers through social media, your website, and/or email surveying and ask them what improvements they’d make, then align the feedback with the analytics for confirmation.

 

Trying to create a great customer experience without taking full advantage of analytics is like trying to complete a puzzle in the dark. It’s technically possible, but extraordinarily unlikely, and you won’t even know if you achieve it. Only through keeping a close eye on the data can you achieve the consistent improvements that deliver consistent results.

 

Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to keeping people informed about everything relating to entrepreneurial ambition and online startups. Check it out for the latest insights and stories, and follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

 

Tags: customer experience, CX, big data

Integrated Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Jul, 11, 2016 @ 08:07 AM

 

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When I started in marketing and advertising years ago, I learned the importance of integrated marketing - ensure there's consistency of message across TV, radio, print, direct mail and out-of-home. Today, integration is more important than ever given the addition of web, social, email, mobile, and SEO/SEM.

Consistency builds trust. Inconsistency builds confusion and distrust.

Given the number of channels across which our messaging is disseminated, it's easy for marketing communications campaigns to fail.

  1. Message are fragmented, or incongruent, across media channels.
  2. There's little to no strategic planning, let alone messaging planning.
  3. The campaign process is slow, or non-existent, and uncoordinated.
  4. Companies are unprepared to share information across the organization (i.e. silos) and the information is frequently inconsistent.
  5. There's a lack of transparency and cross-channel communication.
  6. There's no on-going dialog across the organization, sharing insights, how the customer interacted with tthe communications, what worked and what didn't.

Integrated marketing today menas collecting all customer information from all channels and integrating it to provide a 360-degree view of the customer so you can meet their needs and wants without asking them to tell you what they've already told someone else in your company.

Incorporating all online and offline data provides you the opportunity to personalize your communications with customers and ensuring you are providing information of value that's relevant to them and where they arein the buying cycle. You can answer the customer's question before they ask it. You will save them time and become easier to do business with, thereby earning their trust.

More knowledge, greater segmentation, more consistent and relevant will lead to more conversions in shorter sales cycles.

In addition, tracking the customer experience (CX) after the sale, across multiple touch points, enables your to build an ongoing relationship with the customer and gives you a better opportunity to create a "customer for life" rather than a single sales event.

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: integrated marketing, consistent messaging, customer experience, customers for life

A Great CRM Is Critical For A Great Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jul, 06, 2016 @ 09:07 AM

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Moving forward I believe successful companies will positively differentiate themselves versus the competition by providing an outstanding customer experience. Zappos started the trend online and Amazon was smart enough to acquire them and learn from them. Ritz Carlton continues to lead the way in the brick and mortar world.

The key to providing a great customer experience is by giving everyone in your company a 360-degree view of the customer - their wants, their needs, what they've bought from you in the past, what they've returned, what questions they've asked, what issues they've had.

In order to provide this holistic view of the customer, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) database that captures this information and lets your employees access it in real-time. 

The benefits are myriad:

  1. It's a great central repository for all of your customer data that all of your employees can access and update across all devices.
  2. All team members can see what actions have taken place with a particular customer in the past and know what actions need to take place in the future based on your sales process and customer relationship management process.
  3. All team members can see all of the interactions with the clients enabling them to provide more relevant help thereby making the customers' lives simpler and easier.
  4. Your CRM can be integrated with calendars and marketing automation software for appropriate follow-up after the sale or lead nurturing marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads.
  5. The CRM provides real-time metrics so you can see where prospects and customers are in the sales, post-sales follow-up, or problem/resolution cycle.
  6. You can scale your business in an organized way. In order to do so, everyone needs to be encouraged to keep the data clean and up to date.

Having worked with a number of companies over the course of my career, it's interesting to see the lack of emphasis put on the CRM, its adoption and use, and the cleanliness of the data, given that it is a keystone to providing an outstanding customer experience.

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: CRM, customer relationship management, outstanding customer experience, customer experience

Customers' Emotional Connection to the Brand and #CX Pays

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Apr, 27, 2016 @ 12:04 PM

 

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Great insights from Bruce Temkin and Temkin Group with the following statistics from "ROI of Customer Experience 2015" which looked at the connection between customer experience (CX) and loyalty for 10,000 consumers and 300 companies across 20 industries.

Key findings:

  • 87% of consumers who give a high rating for emotion were likely to make multiple purchases, compared to 13% who gave a low rating.
  • 76% of consumers who gave a high rating for emotion were promoters compared to six percent who gave a low rating.
  • 63% of consumers who gave a high emotion rating were likely to forgive a company's mistakes compared to 11% giving a low rating.

The findings from Temkin Group are reinforced by findings from Forrester:

  • CX leaders grow revenue three times faster than CX laggards. On average the eight CX leaders had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of15% while the laggards grew at an average of 2.5%.
  • Companies with superior CX can charge more for their products and services. This is especially true for customers who rate an experience as "outstanding."
  • Superior CX drives customer loyalty and purchase intent. When customer has a good experience they'll tell their friends about it - in person and online, they'll spend more with you and be less likely to move to a competitor if you have a hiccup in service.

I've written numerous posts of the need to create an emotional connection to the brand.

I've worked with companies where the SaaS customers were not engaged with the brand and renewal rates were dismal. I've worked with a professional services who was much more concerned with sales than customer sat, CX and retention with similar results.

You need to establish a two-way relationship, ideally a dialogue, with your customer where you are learning what's important to your customers, while at the same time convincing them of your commitment to meeting their needs. The more you learn about customers' needs and wants, the more you'll be able to make their lives simpler and easier which will lead to a "customer for life."

The more you establish an emotional connection with your customer, and provide a solid CX, the more loyal they will be, you'll see less churn, and greater revenue.

As more companies learn about the positive ROI in engagement and CX, perhaps they'll reallocate their marketing spend from lead gen to customer retention?

What are you doing to enhance the emotional engagement and CX of your customers with your brand?

 

Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

 

 

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, CX

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Mar, 07, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

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According to Forrester, a customer-centric culture is “a system of shared values and behaviors that focus employee activity on improving the customer experience.” While more than 90% of executive say that improving the customer experience (CX) is a "top strategic priority," a majority of firms are ill-prepared to achieve their CX goals.

A survey by the Temkin Group indicate that 90% of North American firms aspire to be CX leaders in the next three years; however, only 10% are truly customer centric.

Following are 15 steps to build a customer-centric culture:

  1. Make customer centricity and providing an outstanding customer experience part of the corporate culture by inculcating into the vision, mission and values of the firm.
  2. Make a commitment to differentiate your brand based on customer service and providing an outstanding customer experience.
  3. Hire people with aligned values that understand the importance of the customer and have examples of providing outstand customer experiences.
  4. Align recruitment criteria with customer-centric values.
  5. Empower employees to find like-minded people.
  6. Tune the selection process to test for desired results. Zappos offers new hires up to $3,000 to quit following the four-week training period.
  7. Provide guideposts with onboarding and training.  Companies who fail to have a onboarding program are doomed to having a misaligned employee base.
  8. Empower employees to use their judgement to provide outstanding customer experiences.
  9. Create an emotional connection with storytelling. Ritz-Carlton has a daily line-up at all properties which includes a “wow” story during which “ladies and gentlemen” (staff) share great things they’ve done for guests.
  10. Reinforce day-to-day activities with routines and rituals. At Disney, “cast members” (employees) are expected to take five minutes from their normal daily duties to do something special for guests.
  11. Recognize and celebrate personal achievement. Starbucks encourages personal recognition with MUG awards which partners give to employees as a thank you for “moves of uncommon greatness.”
  12. Compensate and promote based on customer-centric metrics. Mercedes-Benz is now evaluating dealerships on customer satisfaction measures as well as sales.
  13. Hire, socialize and reward process mavens. Fixing internal processes to reduce problems that lead to increased call volume and line in retail branches.
  14. Tie rewards for product and service innovation to customer metrics.  Intuit attaches a Net Promoter Score to each new product release.
  15. Develop support systems for a culture of empathy in which you listen to customers and reach out to them to determine how you can improve their experience.

When is the last time you publicly recognized an employee for providing an outstanding customer experience?

 

Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer centric

Top 10 "Insights From Analytics" Blog Posts of 2014

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Dec, 30, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

 

Following are the most read blog posts during 2014.

 

Thank you for reading and sharing with others you think would be interested.

 

Please let me know if I can assist you, or your firm, in any way.

 

  1. Top 10 U.S. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for 2013

  2. The Importance of Face to Face Communications

Happy New Year, have a great 2015!

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, integrity, accelerate sales, net promoter score, NPS, face to face communications

6 Steps to Creating Relationships Using Social Media

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Dec, 05, 2014 @ 00:12 AM

social media is about relationships

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good white paper from Astute entitled, "Holistic Social Relationships: Breaking down social media silos and enabling a coordinated brand voice."

Lesson #1: The majority of social media conversations aren’t relevant to the business, but those that are can be incredibly valuable. Listen intensely to find relevant conversations. Those that are not relevant to business can be a good way of building relationships and putting a human face on your company.

Lesson # 2: Social isn’t something you can own, it needs to be leveraged as an integral, vital and strategic channel. Getting access to relevant information is important. Delivering it to key stakeholders is critical. Strive to create relationships in social media. Provide information of value. Answer questions before they are asked. Be a trusted, transparent source of information.

Lesson #3: It’s not enough to simply monitor social media. You must be able to find and act on critical issues in real-time. Responsiveness is key. The more timely the response the more trust you build.

Lesson #4: Consumers want to tell you more about what they like and don’t like. They’ll tell you in great detail about how they use your products and services. Make their feedback a strategic part of your organization and engage them further to understand the emotional connection they have with your products and services.

Lesson #5: Integration is important and connecting of all parts of the organization to social systems is critical. Build a common platform based upon the needs of your service origination and you’ll find more flexibility and access to the most important information.  It's critical that everyone speaking for the firm in different social media channels are delivering a consistent message that is "on brand." Consistency breeds trust. Inconsistency breeds confusion and distrust.

Lesson #6: Collecting data is terrific, but look closely for actionable feedback from consumers AND act on it! Train your firm's social media participants what is "actionable feedback" and why it's important. This is their, and you firm's, opportunity, to be "awesome," be responsive and provide an outstanding customer experience. 

By empowering your employees to engage with customers via social media, you are putting a human face on your company.

To ensure you are delivering an integrated message, make sure your employees understand the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of the firm and are able to articulate them in the appropriate manner via social media.

Have a "go to" person for any potentially problematic situations and get everyone participating in social media together on a regular basis to share what they are seeing, hearing and learning.

How are you leveraging social media in your organization?

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Tags: customer experience, be responsive, consistent messaging, listen intensely, social media

Improve the Customer Experience (#CX) by "Checking In"

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Dec, 02, 2014 @ 00:12 AM

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Once you or your company has made a sale of a product or service to a customer what do you do next?

 

Do you know if the customer was satisfied with their purchase?

 

Did they find value in what they bought?

 

What's working or not working for them?

 

What are they telling others about you and your product or service?

 

Customer experience management and customer satisfaction and retention are still woefully underfunded and underemphasized relative to demand creation, lead generation and sales even though an existing customer is more likely to buy from you again than a new customer is for the first time.

 

Once a sale is made, let the customer support team know so they can send the new customer a satisfaction survey to learn how the buying process went.

 

When the company engages with the customer after a transaction, it makes the interaction feel more personal, like a relationship is being formed, rather than a one-time experience.

 

The insights you gather by interacting with customers will be invaluable.

 

Get sales, marketing and customer service to sit down and map the customer engagement experience you would like customers to have and then use you marketing automation platform or customer service reps to implement the multiple touch-point program.

 

Don't stop there. Ask your customers about what they think of your plan.

 

This will vary depending on the type of product or service being sold, as well as what the customer defines as a positive, or better yet, outstanding customer engagement experience.

 

Learn when to send a Net Promoter Score survey and how to follow-up on the results of the survey. Have a closed-loop process for handling feedback and resolving all detractor comments.

 

Determine how many times you should touch a customer who has bought an annual subscription/contract so that they're not just hearing from you in month 11 when it's time to renew.

 

Mapping the customer experience journey, measuring customer satisfaction and then committing to improve it is a great way to generate more revenue from the same customers and have customers for life.

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: customers for life, consumer insights, customer experience, net promoter score, connecting emotionally with customers, customer retention, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement

Use Mobile to Make an Emotional Connection with Your Customer

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Nov, 21, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

use mobile to make an emotional connection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great presentation by Tim Hayden (@TheTimHayden) author of The Mobile Commerce Revolution at yesterday's Triangle American Marketing Association's (#triama) monthly luncheon.

 

Tim's presentation on "Mobile Marketing: How B2B and B2C Marketers Can Stay Ahead" reiterated several points I have made in earlier blog posts about the power of SoLoMo (social/local/mobile) to drive revenue and relationships.

 

 

Mobile offers a very unique opportunity to establish a 1:1 relationship with customers and prospects -- the one that Peppers and Rogers starting promoting more than 20 years ago.

 

Mobile gives you the opportunity to be connected and personal.

 

I saw statistics at the Internet Summit (#isum14) that said we check out smart phones an average of 150 times a day. The person who presented that statistic admitted that she checked her phone more often than that.

 

According to Business Insider, 90% of 18 to 29 year olds, sleep with their smart phone. I know I use mine as an alarm clock -- what about you?

 

Tim showed how Dell has been placing a QR code on every server so that systems operators could access the "Quick Resource Locator" on their smart phone whenever there was an issue with that particular server. The Quick Resource Locator enables users to get immediate access to extensive system information and detailed how-to videos using their smartphone.

 

Unfortunately Dell did this in response to all of the "Dell Hell" feedback they were getting for their poor customer support. Imagine what Dell's reputation, and revenue, would be if they'd come up with the "Quick Resource Locator" as part of a proactive customer satisfaction and retention program in advance of all the hate on social media.

 

Sadly, most companies are more interested in making the near-term sale than ensuring they have a satisfied customer that will generate more revenue over the long term.

 

Starbucks has a mobile app that now accounts for 10% of their sales and is responsible for anywhere from 5 to 40% incremental revenue depending on the store.

 

If you remove friction to buy, people will buy more and more frequently.

 

If you save people time, if you make their lives simpler and easier, you're on your way to having a customer for life.

 

The opportunity to make people's lives simpler and easier with a smart phone is everywhere.

 

CVS Heath has expanded their digital marketing team from 6 to 200 in the last two years. They plan to expand from 200 to 400 in the next two years.

 

Do you think CVS Health can help address the chronic adoption and adherence problems with regards to people taking their medication thereby improving health outcomes and reducing medical expense? I sure do and I applaud them for taking the lead.

 

Sadly, most of the companies with whom I meet do not have CRM systems that provide a 360-degree view of the customer required to provide this level of service; however, the early adopters do and are taking advantage of it.

 

The more you show your customers and prospects you're committed to making their lives simpler and easier, the more likely you are to have that customer for life and not lose them to a competitor.

 

Chipotle, Healthtrax and Whole Foods are missing huge opportunities to connect with me and use the information they have about me to improve my customer experience.

 

It will be interesting to see if any of their competitors begin focusing on delivering an exceptional customer experience through smart CRM, beacons and mobile to get me to switch.

 

Have you thought about how you can use mobile to make an emotional connection with your customer and provide an outstanding customer experience?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

 

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, improve customer experience to accelerate sales, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement