• Jonathan Goldhill

Is Your Company Ready to Deliver Great Customer Service? Ask the Janitor

Updated: Apr 16



Wondering what it takes for a company to deliver the kind of customer service that can scale a business rapidly? Consider the tale of JFK and the janitor.


In 1961, President John F. Kennedy was touring NASA headquarters when he ran into a janitor who was mopping the floor. When JFK asked what he did at the organization, the janitor’s reply was golden: “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”


In today’s world, where every interaction between a company and a customer can break a relationship, it’s that kind of deeply embedded purpose that can make the difference.

So how do you get your company to a place where customer satisfaction is a top-to-bottom priority? A good first step is to have all executives and managers have a four-question conversation with your customers on a regular basis.


The Four-Question Conversation


By asking four simple questions in person with at least one end user weekly and bringing your assembled feedback to the management team, you can really learn a lot about your company and how it compares with others in the industry.

The questions are this simple:

  1. How are you doing?

  2. What’s going on in your industry / market?

  3. What do you hear about our

  4. competitors?How are we doing?

The first question will give you an understanding of their current situation, their pain points and their priorities.


The second question will help you gain insights into what’s going on in their industry.

The third question will give you insights into how your customers perceive your competition.

And the fourth question will give you feedback on your customer service as well as your company offerings.


When the Four-Question Conversation becomes a habit (Rockefeller Habit #6), you’ll find your team is making better strategic decisions that align to meet customer needs better and become a more valuable company.

Net Promoter Score


A good next step is to measure your customer satisfaction with an index-type score. The Net Promoter Score (NPS), developed by Fred Reichheld, a Fellow from the strategy firm Bain & Company, is considered the best and most statistically reliable approach. Let’s dive into NPS and how it can illuminate your customer service efforts.


This scoring system is pretty simple: It asks consumers how likely they are to recommend the company, on a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Those voting 9-10 are considered “promoters”; those voting 7-8 are “neutrals”; and those voting 0-6 are “detractors.”

The score is simply the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. The average is 15, and if you’re earning a 50+, that puts you in league with these market-leading firms: Netflix's NPS (68) is well above their competition; Starbucks' NPS (77); Amazon's NPS (62); Airbnb's NPS (74); and Tesla's NPS, which is an astounding 96.


NPS is a simple, effective measurement of customer loyalty that can help you better grasp what customers are thinking and feeling. But it also quantifies these aspects of the business so you can work on turning detractors into promoters.


Companies often use this tool to measure a customer’s first experience with the company, but NPS doesn’t outlive its usefulness so soon. The method can be implemented throughout the customer journey to gather even more valuable information about consumer sentiment after they know the business and services better.


Another good idea when implementing NPS is to offer a field for a customer to leave comments, or to offer choices for why they responded to the initial question the way they did. While this isn’t exactly necessary to get the results you want, it can’t hurt to offer the option to customers who’d be willing to talk.


Why customer satisfaction matters for scaling


Happy customers put companies in a good position to scale up. Research from Bain and Company showed that companies with a high NPS outperformed competitors in regards to organic growth. Fred Reichheld, who led the research, found that it was rare for a company with a poor NPS to experience significant growth.


Keeping customers satisfied and coming back for more products and services means more revenue. McKinsey data shows that brands that improve the customer experience and thus improve satisfaction can see increased revenue of up to 10 to 15 percent. And experts consistently put the cost of acquiring a new customer at around six to seven times higher than retaining an existing customer.


And, because of our current internet-driven era, customer satisfaction is perhaps more important, and more apparent, than it has ever been. Customers are leaving online reviews, interacting with brands on social media, and making online referrals, all in full visibility of the rest of the marketplace.


A complete guide to understanding NPS can be found at Trustmary.


Competitive considerations


As marketing analyst Jake Sorofman pointed out, customer experience is “the new battlefield” where most companies compete, making it the only stable and long-lasting competitive advantage. It is also a focus of my business coaching. My Five-Minute Engagement Video touches on my approach, which instills a strong core purpose and core values into the companies I coach. And those clients, by the way, routinely get their NPS to the world-class level of 50+ within a year of working for me.

The Goldhill Group is a strategic planning and business coaching company headed by Jonathan Goldhill, who has nearly 30 years of experience as a business coach. We understand how important customer satisfaction is for your business, and we can help you improve your approach. Serving a variety of industries, we help businesses reach record levels of growth. Contact us today to learn how we can help you transform your business.

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