Fearful Freddy, Samantha Smarty Pants & Your Voice of the Customer Initiative

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At the Clarabridge user conference last week, Jeff Mango, vice president of consumer and business intelligence for a major telecommunications company, discussed the art of winning over people when launching a new Customer Experience or Voice of the Customer initiative.

“You are a disruptor,” he said, “you are changing the fabric of your company. And you have something really important—data. ‘Believe in God, others bring data.'”

When he was first given this new role, after managing a business unit, he was eager to take the company’s game to the next level. “I went to a couple executive meetings. ‘Mango, what are you doing in this meeting?’ ‘Oh, I represent the Voice of the Customer now.’ ‘Right, so what are you doing in this meeting? You shouldn’t be in this meeting!’ If we are acting like the customer is in the room, then the Voice of the Customer has to be at the table.”

Mango said that, when dealing with different personality types, you have to determine what they need so that you can move the customer experience initiative forward. He encountered six main personality types.

  • Fearful Freddy is risk averse. “He thinks we are good enough. ‘Hey, we’ve been using NPS since 2006. If you’re a detractor, the store manager is going to get that information and call you. Why do we need to make these changes?'” Fearful Freddy often doesn’t get social media – “my kids do that Facebook stuff on the weekends. I don’t know why.” To get him on board with an added investment in social media monitoring, Mango looked for items that would resonate. He found Twitter handles with executive names on them but they weren’t actual executives; they were all imposter handles. After seeing these, now Fearful Freddy is more afraid of not knowing what’s been said on social media than he is afraid of not doing anything. He helped provide approval to invest in a half-million dollar social media war room.
  • Harry the Data Hog seems like an ally at first. He’s a good early adopter, asking for data for meetings. “Harry is great for building early excitement, then we found out that one person had consumed 40% of my resources.” How much of a data hog was he? He’d read 12 hours of verbatims on a Sunday. We told him, “If you were to read them all, you would have to read for 40 hours a week for 66 years.” Now he gets the benefit of using the tools himself.
  • Samantha Smarty Pants already has all the answers. “I will show you some data. I have 1000 spreadsheets on this stuff.” To win the Samantha Smarty Pants of the world over, you need to invite them into the design process. Figure out what they love, and how you can help them get that information. “They want one version of the truth as much as you do. They just think they already have it.” If that version is different than yours, and you bring them into a meeting, they are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”: “Don’t bring them into executive meetings too early, or you will be doing lot of damage control.”
  • Competitive Carlos is always looking for that unfair advantage. Unlike Harry the Data Hog, most of them are not too involved initially. To get them involved, you need to pit one Carlos against another. “Find somebody competitive who gets it and is engaged, go to the other person, and say, look we did this analysis, and this is what they are doing with it and they are going to change this as result.” Then they’ll say, “‘Let me see that!’ And you will have another Carlos looking for an advantage.”
  • Marvin Money Bags has all the money. He’s a CFO or IT director. “He’s emotionally attached to ROI, but he doesn’t realize that VOC translates into dollars. You really have to work this one to get your funding.” Mango gave an example of processing executive complaints versus standard calls. “No one had ever quantified the difference between call center call at $13 and the executive complaint at $300. When we miss it a couple times and it gets to a an executive, this is what it is costing us. Quantifying things builds your story.” Quantifying isn’t always enough, especially in a large organization. “We do over $100 billion in revenue, which I can’t even conceptualize. You have to get the amount to a point where it matters to people. We balled together 14 examples of broken promises, quantified them, then we could get some attention.”
  • Left Behind Louie is the laggard. “He’ll call us and say, ‘I heard you have this thing, this black box, it does some text stuff.’ Yeah, they’ll call it the ‘black box.’ Left Behind Louie wants to a get ride on the train, and he doesn’t even know where the train is going.” He wants to get involved, but doesn’t know how to.

All of these stakeholders are important, and it takes time to win them over. Mango concluded his presentation with a quote from Ghandi. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” If you think about meeting the needs of these personality types, you can win.

Jeffrey Henning, PRC, is president of Researchscape International, which provides “Do It For You” custom surveys at Do It Yourself prices.  He is a Director at Large on the Marketing Research Association’s Board of Directors. You can follow him on Twitter @jhenning.

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