Connecting Strategy and Customer Service

John Goodman is Vice Chairman of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting (CCMC). CCMC’s customer  John Goodmansatisfaction and loyalty surveys and analytics are used by leading Fortune 500 companies from every industry to produce a better ROI from their investments in customer experience. John has managed more than 1,000 separate customer service studies, including the White House sponsored evaluation of complaint handling practices in government and business and studies of word of mouth and the bottom-line impact of consumer education sponsored by Coca-Cola USA.

Download PDF Transcript of Podcast

Note: This is a transcription of a podcast. It has not gone through a professional editing process and may contain grammatical errors or incorrect formatting.

Related Podcasts

Where Strategy and Customer Service Meet, Part 1 of 2

Where Strategy and Customer Service Meet, Part 2 of 2

Transcription of the Podcast

Joe Dager: Welcome everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host of the Business 901 Podcast. With me, today is John Goodman. John is a principal at Customer Care Measurement and Consulting and a fellow presenter at the ASQ Service Quality Conference in Las Vegas this October. John has been dealing and wrestling with customer experience before it was even called that or even had the initials.

He is one of the few that has taken past experience and applied it effectively to the industry buzz words of Big Data and the Net Promoter Score. His book, “Strategic Customer Service” is outstanding, and I believe he has another book soon to be released. John, I would like to welcome you and can you clean up that intro and fill in a few gaps for me.

John Goodman: Absolutely Joe thank you very much. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years, which is kind of scary. We first got into this managing a study sponsored by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs in the mid-70s and then replicated again in the 80s. One of the things we found in a National Cross Section Survey was if customers have a problem and don’t complain, their less loyal. If they have a problem and complain and are satisfied, they are much more loyal. That actually instigated the creation of the GE Answer Center and the use of 800 numbers for customer service.

From there, we then moved on to quantify the payoff of better service and quality both from a loyalty and revenue perspective, and also from a word of mouth perspective. In 1999, I acquainted the term “word of mouth” with the Consumer Electronics Association and started assisting organizations and quantifying the payoff of better service and quality from a marketing perspective.

Joe: Your presentation ASQ is titled, “Beyond the Buzz Words”. Can you summarize what you mean by that?

John: What we find is there are a lot of buzz words Big Data, Net Promoter Score, Chief Customer Officer or Voice of Customer. A lot of those are used as simplistic code words when, in fact, the entire process is much, much more complicated than that. For instance, in most organizations Voice of Customer is viewed as being surveys and maybe looks at some complaints. We think that’s a simplistic approach. Both of those are looking in a rear view mirror. They’re lagging indicators. We find in most organizations that Big Data is a big opportunity. In most cases, organizations have all kinds of data saying what they are about to do to the customer.

My favorite example is at Federal Express; they know 10 hours before you do that packages are not going to arrive because it missed a flight in Memphis. Then they get the frantic phone call and 3 days later they do the satisfaction survey. Our contention is that, in most cases; you know what you’re about to do to a customer before the customer knows. That should be viewed as part of the Voice of Customer. I think that’s a huge opportunity for quality. Quality tends to in many cases be cleaning up messes. If quality went back into the organization and not only looked at the data to say how are we about to do something to the customer but also to look at how our customer expectations are being met by sales and marketing. We had seen some of the biggest impacts of Lean Six Sigma Teams when they’ve actually visited the sales and marketing function within the organization and said, “Why are we telling the customer this? Why aren’t we warning the customer about that?” We’ve seen some rather dramatic impacts when proactive anticipatory communication is done.

Joe: You mentioned something to me and which I think you alluded to there is that big disconnect between quality and marketing, or quality and sales and even quality and finance. I hate to group all of them together but are there similarities to the disconnects?

John: Absolutely, I think that the problem is quality tends to be tactical and after the fact. Everyone views qualities as one that says no you really can’t do that, or you didn’t do that well enough. There always the bearers of bad news. I actually had an article in Quality Progress in 2012 entitled “Take the Wheel”, where I’m suggesting that quality if they sold their services the right way to marketing and finance and operations, would be able to take the role of Chief Customer Officer. The requirement to become Chief Customer Officer is you first have to understand the customer experience, and that includes not just taking surveys and complaint data but all the internal quality data and the kind of operations data I describe.

Cobbling it together into a picture of the end-to-end customer experience, in many cases, quality is more comfortable doing that than say market research or customer service or anyone else. We find that quality in many cases is well positioned to take over the customer experience. They’re afraid to do it because its heavy lifting plus they’re going to be getting into everybody else’s sandbox. Quality has always been renascent to do that. I think there is a big opportunity, for quality to move upstream into design which they have done to a degree but also into sales and marketing.

Joe: Readers of my blog and listeners of the podcast know that you’re singing my tune there. You’re the first person that I’ve ever heard connect the Chief Customer Officer to Quality. That make sense to me; I have to commend you for that.

John: Ran into this probably six years ago at Cisco Systems where the VP of Quality was basically the de facto Chief Customer Officer. He was looking end to end including at the marketing side.

Three years ago at one of the two or three leading insurance companies the Lean Six Sigma Team went back upstream to sales and marketing and operations and had a bunch of successes. One of the most interesting ones sort of illustrates that you need to change your thought process. They were brought in to the operations area because their customers just weren’t cooperating when cashing in of the annuity program.

What would happen is an annuitant would die, and they would say okay the person has died we now need to pay out to the beneficiary. They would send the forms to the beneficiary and the beneficiary wouldn’t send back the forms. They would have to make 3 or 4, 5 phone calls that these darn customers weren’t cooperating. Finally, they went out, and asked a bunch of the customers why aren’t you sending in these forms and the answer back was, “Well can I just take the annuity? Can’t you continue to manage those assets? I don’t want the money back I’d rather have the income.”

Now in the investment industry the gold standard is keeping the assets. We want to keep managing the assets. They were saying, “We want to give you give this money.” The customer was saying, “Could you please keep it?” No one had ever asked the customer what the issue was. The minute they understood the customers motivation all of a sudden this wasn’t a problem this was a huge opportunity.

Joe: When I see all these workshops where they’re building this customer journey maps or they are claiming that the Lean or Six Sigma guy comes in and builds value stream maps and gets rid of 85% waste. They seemed to be done so much in isolation without the customer.

John: Actually, the last world conference on quality an auto company who will go nameless was their big presentation about that their goal was to improve the customer experience and also to reduce warranty expense. They had three-place accuracies exactly what the impact was on the warranty expense. At the end when they’re giving results nothing was mentioned about the impact on the customer. Afterwards I went up, and I asked the head of worldwide quality well what was the revenue impact of improving the customer experience, “We haven’t quite sure about how to measure that.” That is the crocs of the issue.

The basic way that you get the attention of finance and marketing is to show how to improve the quality, and improved customer experience actually leads to enhanced revenue. The word of mouth is enhanced revenue because companies like Allstate, Chick-Fil-A; Harley Davidson gets 70% of all their new customers from word of mouth referrals. The Cheesecake Factory has a marketing expense 20% of what the rest of the industry is because to quote their former president he said, “We basically have our customers do our selling for us. We don’t have to spend much money on marketing.” That’s a big flaw in most quality operations, is they have not taken the time to quantify the revenue and word of mouth implications of the improvements that they’re achieving.

When that is done, all of a sudden they become marketing and finances best friend. There’s a third benefit; we have definitive research, and probably 20 different industries that to the degree that I have fewer problems with your product or service I’m dramatically less sensitive to price which means you can enhance your margins. What we have found is the minute a customer has one problem, sensitivity to price doubles. If I have two problems, it doubles again. Now you’re in a position of what I’m paying for this I shouldn’t be having all these problems. Between the impact on revenue, word of mouth and margins if quality would simply quantify that even in a rough way, they would all of a sudden get dramatically more support from all of those other functions.

Joe: People always blame leadership for Lean culture not going through the organization. My opinion is that you’re not talking the language of leadership. You’re telling them they have to stay their course. If you showed the difference in the marketplace that it’s making, that’s what leadership needs to see. If you can relate your internal and external quality measurements of the marketplace, leadership is very supportive. Are you willing to comment on that?

John: Absolutely, yes. The big problem is you sort of pinpointed what I see in a lot of organizations which is what I call nobody pays attention to me. You need to have a small success. We always say better a small success than a big disaster. Both my current book and the new book were laying out how do you become Chief Customer Officer and it starts out find one manager who has a small problem and help him fix that and show how that enhances the customer experience and give him all the credit for solving it. Over time you solve more problems and finally you get the reputation for being the person who can help people not only solve the problems, but also enhance revenue. For instance, the Senior VP of Consumer Affairs at Wegmans which is widelysuccessful is the quality person within the organization and people come to her with all their problems. She helps them fix it from a customer focus perspective, and she lets them get all the credit. She’s been wildly successful. What you need to do is identify one small problem and then identify some prerequisites data points. The first one, which I’m just flabbergasted how few companies have a simple answer to is “How much is your customer worth?”. We’re doing that with a leading manufacturing company right now. No one has arrived with an answer yet. If you don’t know how much your customer is worth, how can you possibly decide how much to spend to keep them happy or improve the quality.

The second thing is you need to understand what percentages of your customers who are encountering problems are even telling you about it. We find that that percentage normally ranges only from about 25% maximum down to about 2%, depending on how many channels you have between you and the customer. In many cases for each complaint you’re getting or warranty return there could be anywhere from 20 to 50 other occurrences out there that while you’re not hearing about them, and you’re not incurring any warranty expense there’s a huge amount of revenue and word of mouth damage.

The other question that it is great to talk to someone in marketing and say, “How much does it cost us to win a new customer?” I was the person who did the analysis in the 70s that it’ll cost five times as much to win a new customer. That actually came from an auto company where we looked at how much we spent on advertising to get a new customer; it was about $750. How much did it cost on average to handle a complaint and turn the customer around, and that was $150. That’s where we came up that cost 5 times as much to get a new one. Now in a business to business environment that goes up to as much as 20 to 1. The quality staff needs to be armed with what the customer is worth. How many of the problems we’re not even hearing about? What is the problem level that’s out there? What is the cost us to get a new customer? All of a sudden you can almost always make a very compelling financial case for investment and quality to eliminate problems so you can keep the customers opposed to having to go out and get new ones.

Joe: I always have people build a marketing funnel. Whether it’s just a simple three-step pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase, then I ask to show me where their budget goes, it’s amazing how front loaded it is and how little they’re spending on the post purchase side.

John: That’s because no one has ever asked marketing the hard questions, and I actually have an article out of Brandweek which lays out the 4 or 5 key questions. “Is Word of Mouth important? Are we measuring it? Are we managing it? Well, not really. It’s just a lot easier to put another 10 million dollars in the advertising than actually trying to measure or manage word of mouth. The quality process because it prevents problems, and the service process because it fixes problems is the best way of managing word of mouth.

Joe: I read that less than 10% of Word of Mouth occurs online.

John: Yes, an article in Marketing News says don’t go overboard on word of mouth which some of the technology companies don’t like, but with our research finds that about 75% of all word of mouth is still face-to-face or over the telephone there’s a bunch by e-mail and such. The people who post, blog and go to review sites are still only about 10% of the interactions. One of the reasons is that we find that Americans want to complain in private. Teenagers will put everything on their Facebook page. When you have a problem and for the most part people complain in private. They only go public when stuff doesn’t get handled. My favorite example, I was having lunch with a woman, a producer from the Discovery Channel and she saw something icky in her kids’ cereal the day before. She had sent an e-mail to the company, hadn’t gotten a reply, so when she got home she called at 7 PM the 800 number. They were closed. Then, she took of a digital photo of what she found and posted on their Facebook page saying, “Please see the rat droppings I found in your cereal.” Well, it wasn’t rat droppings, it was burnt product. My point is she had given them two shots at it and when they hadn’t responded she went social. We find that’s the main behavior that takes place in most situations.

Joe: Let me jump back, the title of your book “Strategic Customer Service”, your original book, raised a question in my mind before I even opened the cover. Does a customer facing person need to have an understanding of the strategy of the organization?

John: Absolutely, and again another embarrassing question I always ask. If you’re asking me to look at your contact center, or your quality process, how does it fit into overall customer experience strategy and then 80% of the cases the client comes back and says, “Actually could you help us draft that strategy because we don’t have a customer experience strategy.” A lot of it has to do with corporate politics because the customers experience strategy does, in fact, go end to end across all the silos. Most organizations’ functional executives don’t want to give up the prerogative that having an end to end customer experience strategy actually implies. For instance, the EVP at USAA in charge of customer experience, after reading my book said, “I don’t have somebody that’s looking at how each of the silos coordinates effectively, and I have to create that function.” That’s a highly political, highly threatening function. It also starts raising questions; we actually have a paper entitled “Brand Alliance Service” that starts asking: “Are you doing honest marketing?” Most organizations don’t find that to be a very comfortable question because the prerequisite is you have a clear brand promise that’s sets reasonable expectations.

Then you have accountability for fulfilling that expectation across the organization. In one insurance company recently, we were doing a survey where we were asking customers what problems that you encountered. In the list, I always put I was misled by your literature; I was misled by your agent. I get a call from the general council of this big deal insurance company who says, “We can’t ask those questions, because if anybody checks those boxes we’ve committed fraud”, and my counter back was, “Would you rather not know?” He grudgingly relented. Guess what; those two issues were 2 of the 5 issues that we run into. I’ve work with most of the major insurance companies and what we find is that there’s an inherent problem with insurance, financial services, anything that has a complex contract or user’s manual, is that no one reads anything. So everything is an unpleasant surprise in the contract or in the warranty. There’s a 10-year bumper to bumper warranty, some of the auto companies have. Well, when you read it there are 17 exclusions and footnotes, each of those is an unpleasant surprise waiting to happen. That’s a long winded answer to your question of why isn’t this being more effective. It’s a highly political issue where you’re getting into everyone else shorts.

Joe: I think of the McDonald’s worker, think of the Starbucks worker and I think, okay, do they understand the strategy of an organization or should they just worry about the window? What is the balance?

John: Yes, they have to understand that the objective is to satisfy the customer because in one supermarket industry, Mrs. Jones buying the carton milk, is just not buying the carton milk, she’s worth $17,000 over the next 3 years, and she’s paying your salary. The idea is you need to be reasonable and treat her like you would be treated; the golden rule does apply.

That’s different than what a number of companies would say you are empowered to satisfy this customer. They always talk about the heroics, in my new book I talked about how everyone talks about Nordstrom’s taking back tires when they don’t sell tires. That did happen once, but that’s widely expensive. If you do that systematically, you’re going to go out of business. Where a lot of companies think they have to go who want to continuously exceed customer expectations. We think that’s dumb because you’re spending a lot of extra money and getting no pay off from the market place. So, what we suggest is sensibly delighting customers by picking your battles and many cases this can be simple cheap things. For instance at Chick-Fil-A, they have now hired your grandmother to cruise the dining room and pour sweet tea and say, “Oh, would you like a few more fries?” Her job description, and this is their term; not mine is to create microburst of emotional connection. Now, I’m not sure granny knows what a microburst is, but the point is that in 20 to 40 seconds you can connect with that customer.

Coming all the way around to your question, the McDonald’s employee has to understand the value of the customer, and that their well-being is based on that value and they are empowered to do what we call “cheap delighters”. In many cases, they would be given examples of here are the kinds of things that you can do. In some environments, we say pick six customers today that you feel good talking to and invest an extra 30 or 60 seconds with them. We’re actually doing an experiment in manufacturing company right now, where we’re going to have the reps check off the box, “Hey, this is someone I connected with.”

Then we’re going to be measuring the loyalty and word of mouth of those customers versus the average customer. I know how the data’s going to come out ‘cause we’ve done similar research that you’re going to find that connection has a 20 to 30 point lift.

Joe: In your new book, I think you address something you call a customer experience framework. Can you tell me what that is and more about your new book?

John: “Yes, it’s called “Customer Experience 3.0”, and it will be out in the spring of 2014. What we’re basically doing is we’ve expanded on my previous basic framework by adding one more step. Ideally, you want to do the job right the first time. That’s where most organizations get into trouble because they define quality as we deliver the product according to specification. In most cases delivering the product according to specification has unpleasant surprises built into it simply because it’s miss-marketed or is complicated, and nobody read the manual. Then, if the customer does have a problem, you need get the customer to the correct service function. We’ve created a new box called “Access”. Which isn’t you just need somebody there answering the phone. There’s a step ahead of that which is you need to motivate the customer to take the time to communicate with you.

This is the iceberg that I talked about where most customers we find no longer bother complaining or asking for assistance, simply because life is too short, and it’s too busy. The most that they do is go to your website. If they don’t find it in the first three clicks, they simply give up by not using that functionality in your product and continue to cuss you out while they’re not using it. So, the first step in access is saying we can only solve problems we know about, here’s how to communicate with us. Allowing for the 20 something who won’t even call an 800 number, what you need to do is on your home page of your website have the 4 or 5 top issues that people are calling the service system about. Right there, when I go to the home page here are the 4 or 5 issues. “Oh yeah, that’s the one that I am interested in”, and they get their answer without ever having to call you. If you’re smart, it’s a living list that this week’s list of five issues is based on the call you were getting last week in the contact center. So you’re proactively, preemptively educating the customer on how to stay out of trouble. This is what I call “Psychic Pizza” and I’ll come back to that in a couple of minutes. It’s basically ringing your doorbell and saying here is the answer to the question you were about to ask or the pizza you were about to order.

The third part of the box of the framework is the customer service system which again should preemptively provide service whenever possible. Amazon knows that you want to ask when you are shipping my book, so they send you an e-mail before you ever get around to it and that’s sort of delivering psychic pizza.

The fourth piece of the framework is a feedback loop, which is listening and learning. The big problem we find in most organizations is that you listen, but you don’t learn, and part of learning is not just fixing the issue but feeding it back to the customer, “Hey, we did the survey and here’s what we’ve heard and here’s what we’ve done about it.” We find that when you start feeding back to the customer with the issues you have identified based on their input, the customer number one feels you are a much better company; you care, and number two it’s: “Oh, you’re paying attention to this input? Well in that case here’s some more input.” We’ve actually seen that input goes up dramatically as you start feeding back to the customer base here’s what we’ve heard. That also applies to employees; we were working with one of the big technology companies, and they were getting input from their employees, and when they started doing a monthly e-mail saying last month we got 1,200 pieces of feedback and here are the three of the biggest issues, and here’s what we are doing about it. The reaction was, “Oh, you were doing something about it? Well in that case here’s a bunch of stuff”, and we found that the input went up by a factor of 20.”

Joe: I think that’s a brilliant piece of advice. I’m going to ask you for one more brilliant piece of advice? You have so much experience in measurement, and that in itself seems to be a buzz word and out there. Is there a relatively easy guideline to follow in developing service measurements?

John: A couple sort of caveats upfront. The big fad at the moment is Net Promoter, and I’d say probably a third to a half of all companies are now using it, and for those who aren’t aware of it, you use a 10-point scale, you take the people who’ve given you a 9 or a 10. They’re the ones up promoting your product. You subtract the sixes and below; the people who are detracting from your product and what you are left with is the net number of people who are promoting it.

Now, in principle that sort of works but there’s a significant glitch. Which is that Reichheld who developed this whole process basically says that if I gave you a 7 or an 8, I am passive or benign? Those are the two terms he applies. We have an article entitled “The Passives are not Passive”. If I came to you and I said, “I just went in this restaurant, and I definitely would give it a 7.” Are you going to run right out to that restaurant? Not at all, because I said they’re adequate or mediocre. We think mediocre is not positive word of mouth. We think that it’s definitely negative. We think that the 7s and 8s in the Net Promoter, in fact, are significant opportunity and in most organizations, unless you have a train wreck; you have less than 10% sixes, and below, and probably 40 or 50 percent of your whole marketplace is in that 7 and 8 category. So the big opportunity for most organizations is how I take the people who are getting me 7s and 8s and move them to a 9 and a 10.

The other metric that a lot of people are starting to use is customer effort. The problem with customer effort is it says how much effort you had in trying to get this problem fixed. It’s inappropriate to apply customer efforts to a contact center or service system. In most cases, the first place the customer went was the website, which in most organizations is not controlled by customer service. In fact, I think it’s ironic that the primary channel of communication with most customers now – the website – is under the purview of the least customer focused department in most organizations, the IT department. It’s sort of what’s wrong with this picture. So we basically find that customer effort in many cases is giving a bad rap to the whole service system.

Back to the original question, what we find is the most effective way of identifying what’s going on in servicing quality and being able to convert it into a revenue and word of mouth implication is to ask a random sample of your customers, have you had any recent problems or really great experiences. Here is a list of the problems you might have encountered and which ones of those have you had, and then have you told us about it and how much damage did they do. What you will find is that the vast majority of problems you’re not hearing about and especially sales and marketing problems are dramatically underreported. We think that this is because in a business to business environment if I’m unhappy with my sales rep because he’s not confident; he has misled me. I’m renascent to complain that person ‘because he’s going to come back next month

I’m still going to have to do business with him, and that next meeting is going to be very uncomfortable because he’s going to say, “Why did you complain about me?”, “Well ‘cause you’re an idiot.” I don’t want to say that. Well, gee I did ask you about..?. What we find in most organizations, the sales and marketing problems do four times damage when, in fact, they’re dramatically underreported. The items that you need to know about the most are exactly the items you’re not hearing about unless you aggressively go to your customer base and say, “What are the problems? And have you told us about them?” Then you can start setting priorities.

Joe: Create this customer journey maps but does anybody ever ask a customer if he wants to be on that journey or not?

John: Oh yeah. Is this trip necessary? This is another thing that we suggest besides the clear brand promise; you need to have clear processes, and this goes back to your question about the McDonald’s frontline employee. The employee has to see where they fit in that process and has to see the logic of it, and when the customer disrupts that process by making a weird request. You know, “Can I have the burger without pickles?” The employee has to either know how to fulfill that request or in this again is something that most of the world doesn’t describe to; the employee has to know how to say no to the customer.

Then there’s the standard score that the customer is always right. No, the customer is not always right. The customer asks, makes a stupid request and they don’t read stuff, so our contention is it’s perfectly fine to say no to the customer if I can give you the clear, believable explanation as to why the answer is no. It leaves the customer feeling like they have been treated fairly. My favorite example is if the airline pilot gets on and says we have a one hour delay due to a mechanical, or they’re a bunch of pileups. On the other hand, if he said there’s a leak in the hydraulic system, everyone says, “I want a good hydraulic system. Take an extra half hour if necessary.” We joke at Lexus when you say no to the customer or giving him bad news. The object of the Lean is to tell the customer to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the trip.

Joe: I think that’s a great explanation.

John: But you need to arm the front line employee with that clear, believable explanation and we find most frontline employees can articulate the policy. If they’re asked why you have that policy, in most cases no one has ever told them, and this goes back to your process map. Here’s the process map, here’s why we do what we do and here’s the range of flexibility you have to go off script if the customer makes sort of a weird request.

This whole term of flexibility came up about probably five years ago at American Express when the head of customer experience said, “You know; I wish we could just get the frontline to be willing to break the rules for good customers.” I had fought for him, and I said, “Okay, give them Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance. It isn’t going to happen ‘cause if you break the rules, you go to jail. However, if you redefine the rules at the issue level, for this issue, there are four ways you can handle it depending on who the customer is and the circumstances. Use your best judgment. Now, I can break the rules without breaking the rules. It’s what we call “flexible solution spaces”, and you don’t need to have that for everything but for the top 5 issues which at McDonald’s maybe, “I would like this without pickles”, you need to have “How do I respond to that?” It might even be if there’s not a line; it’s a slow time of the day; we’re going to ask somebody to pick the pickles out.

Otherwise, we may say, “Well we can’t pick the pickles are because I’ve got 30 people standing behind you but feel free, there are going to be pickles in it but feel free to take them out.”

Joe: In Lean language, I call that the ‘understanding of standards”, and I think standards are completely misunderstood many times.

John: Yes and you don’t want to micromanage the standards. You want to say, here is what we’re trying to accomplish and then you have the flexibility, and we find even compliance and legal people, when you structure them that way with the flexibility within reasonable guidelines, even the lawyers are willing to accept that.

Joe: Is there anything you would like to add to this conversation? I could go on and talk to you for a couple of hours. So to sum it up, is there anything you’d like to add?

John: Well I think that one of the big challenges that I’m going to be covering this in the workshop at the ASQ conference is how you reconcile multiple voices of the customer. We have one faucet manufacturer that I presented with it at ASQ that has plumbers. They have home builders. They have big box stores and John Q Public. Some of whom are very handy with tools and others are not at all, and the issue is how you reconcile all those different voices of the customer into a unified set of priorities. This goes across all the different business segments and functions within the organization. Does everyone have to be on board? We find that the grand unifier is if you basically distill this down into here are the revenue and word of mouth impact of this issue when we looked at this from 4, 5 different perspectives. Then, you can set rational priorities based on revenue payoff rather than the squeaky wheel which is the way, an awful lot of organizations work. Or, the last complaint that got to the executive or one particular set of customers who may be very important but, in fact are demanding that you do huge damage to a much larger set of somewhat less valuable customers, but in aggregate, you’re losing more money.

Joe: Outside the ASQ conference, what do you have upcoming?

John: The first book has come out in Japanese, so I’m going to Japan to do a whole series of conferences there. We’d do a lot of work with Arizona State University, in fact; we are now feeling our sixth wave of the National Rage Study which basically asks a cross-section of the US population, “What interaction have you had with the company that has led you to the point where you were swearing at the company?” That study will be released at Arizona State in early November, and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today always give it a tremendous amount of coverage. So you can just Google National Rage Study, and you’ll see the results of the previous studies.

Joe: What’s the best way for someone to contact you?

John: Probably go to, and that’s our website, and my e-mail is, and also you can follow me on Twitter @jgoodman888.

Joe: I would like to thank you John. I appreciate it, and I have to mention that, well maybe I’ve have one more last question, what type of lab did you have in the basement as a 10-year old?

John: Interesting. I had a chemistry lab that I, nowadays I would probably go to jail as a terrorist because I had all kinds of explosives, and we built rockets and I actually blew up the basement one time and melted my glasses and burnt off all of my front hair. So, it was a chemistry lab, and I was a chemical engineer before we started doing customer service. We basically see that quality in customer services is just applying engineering to a very squishy topic.

Joe: This podcast is available at the Business901 website and the Business901 iTunes Store.

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Special Marketing with Lean Book and Program offers on Facebook