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Is your IT Team Building Customer Loyalty?

By Jeff Cann, Chief Strategist & CIO, Encore Electric

Jeff Cann, Chief Strategist & CIO, Encore Electric

Providing IT services to a construction company is a challenge. Our IT team supports 5 conventional offices and 20-30 temporary offices at construction sites. The construction sites require temporary internet connectivity provided to an office trailer on the site. There is an inordinate amount of dust and dirt and the IT gear is punished.

Unlike our offices, the support at the construction sites is a challenge because we are financially able to dispatch technicians only as needed to construction sites. The dispatch model means our customers at the sites make extra effort to engage IT support. This adds frustration for the customer because the service provided requires additional back-and-forth prior to resolution.

To better understand these challenges, one of our goals this year was to measure the customer satisfaction of our dispatch model. Often IT service teams use standard customer satisfaction surveys which I have found to be tedious for internal customers unhelpful for the IT service team.

"Customer loyalty is the result of consistently positive emotional experience, physical attribute-based satisfaction, and perceived value of an experience"

I wanted our team to receive meaningful feedback without taking too much of our customers’ time. I also wanted something that was a single metric that we could track over time. After some research I landed on Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS is frequently used to measure customer loyalty. Briefly NPS is a weighted calculation that scores between –100 and +100. The higher the positive number the higher the loyalty of our customers that use the IT service. To calculate the NPS, we ask a sample of our customers each month to rank our service on a scale from 0-10. The responses are placed into three categories. Customers that score 0-6 are detractors. Detractors are not satisfied with the service and will actually detract other people from using it. Customers that score 7-8 are passives—they have no strong opinion about your service. Finally customers that score 9-10 are promoters. Promoters are satisfied with the service that they will promote it to other customers.

Our first NPS score was–8. By comparison, the average NPS ranges from +2 for internet service providers to +58 for specialty stores. This was eye-opening for the team as we received comments from promoters, passives, and detractors. We were fortunate that our detractors provided constructive comments in their complaints. However, we need to build customer loyalty.

To build loyalty, we first must understand it. In the book “Intuitive Customer”, the authors state that customer loyalty is the result of consistently positive emotional experience, physical attribute-based satisfaction, and perceived value of an experience.

To build customer loyalty, I asked our IT team to focus on the blend of physical (IT equipment and software), emotional (customer service), and value (timeliness) elements of our support, particularly to our customers working on construction sites. We reviewed case studies of effective vs. ineffective support. We learned about the personality types of ourselves and our customers. Finally, we are focused on four foundations of good service: personalization, responsiveness, competency, and convenience.

These initial efforts led to an NPS increase to +5. We are not satisfied with a score that is below the average cable company. However, we have a clear path in place and now it’s a matter of providing customer service to turn passives into promoters and detractors into passives.

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