Fostering a listening culture is the best way to deliver better customer and employee outcomes – Interview with Rob Pace of HundredX

Listening

Today’s interview is with Rob Pace, the founder and CEO of HundredX, a technology platform/app that works with major brands such as professional sports teams, Mary Kay and the University of Notre Dame, to provide listening solutions and collect real-time feedback from customers and employees. Rob joins me today to talk about a number of things including customer feedback, HundredX’s research, listening, outcomes and why they use emojis rather than numerical scales?

This interview follows on from my recent interview –Many brands are losing touch with crucial ‘moments of truth’ – Interview with PV Kannan of [24]7 – and is number 201 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Rob:

  • Founded in 2012, HundredX is committed to making listening easy, both for the provider of feedback and those receiving the feedback.
  • A few months ago HundredX worked with YouGov and Ogilvy & Mather to conduct a piece of research that asked 500 executives a number of questions on listening, feedback, retention and outcomes to try and establish the linkages between those and business performance.
  • They found that:
    • 98% of executives believe that employees are a company’s most valuable asset.
    • The most important issues in business are: do you connect with your customers and do you build a great team. And, if you get those two things right then you will be successful in whatever you do.
  • Here’s a more detailed summary of their findings.
  • While nearly 90% of Business Executives believe that receiving instant feedback from customers helps their company quickly capture opportunities and solve problems, fewer than three in four (73%) report that their company uses tools that leverage customer feedback to develop real-time strategies.
  • A lot of what HundredX does is talk to its clients about a cultural shift i.e. moving to a listening culture from a broadcast culture.
  • Great and world-class companies listen as much, if not more, than they broadcast.
  • The number one determinant of whether a company has a listening culture or not tends to come down to leadership mindset.
  • Increasingly, it is becoming less and less about providing a product and is now more about providing an outcome.
  • What’s the difference between listening and surveying? When surveying, the prompts drive the user whilst listening tends to take a much more ‘human’ and open approach and focuses on asking questions like ‘what should we know or what do you want to tell us?
  • Listening produces a very different data set to that of surveying where the user is in control and they drive how long and how much feedback they want to give.
  • Listening tends to focus more on outcomes i.e. something was good, something was not good or something didn’t matter.
  • The absence of feedback on something or something that is deemed not to matter is incredibly useful and valuable.
  • 80+% of people will tell you something positive if you make it easy for them to tell you and it is in the moment. Moreover, they will also tell you lots of great stuff about your employees.
  • Many companies are not accessing this type of feedback.
  • An example of understanding the things that don’t matter comes from the restaurant industry where for many diners menu variety doesn’t matter. However, many restaurants have extensive menus and are spending a fortune offering extensive menus but in fact, too much choice is a detractor from the customer experience.
  • Another example of understanding what is going on or what is the meaning of an absence of data comes from companies where some employees receive a ton of feedback whereas other employees don’t receive as much feedback. This can alert the company to a potential training or service delivery issue that may need to be addressed.
  • HundredX use emojis as part of their process. They get higher response rates but also recognise that there are trade offs between precision and accuracy.
  • Their view is that it is more important to be accurate….meaning they value a broader level of participation.
  • One of the challenges with numerical scales is that they try and apply a rational measure to something that is inherently emotional, i.e. how does the customer feel about something. The use of emojis can bridge that gap and provide a better reflection of how the customer may be feeling at that time.
  • The holy grail of feedback is the combination of who the customer was, what the transaction was and what the outcome was in both a quantitative and qualitative way.
  • The highest turnover in the executive suite is in the Chief Marketing Officer position and whilst it is incredibly important to connect with customers it is HunderdX’s belief that it hasn’t, as yet, been tied to hard dollar ROI.
  • HundredX have figured out that over time and through listening you can model retention (customer and employee), crowd source great learning/wisdom and, also, source great marketing content in the form of testimonials.
  • HundredX talk about and focus on outcomes rather than outputs i.e. products, programmes, provision of services etc. They also expect that more and more businesses will shift to focus on outcomes rather than outputs in the next decade.
  • Rob’s advice to leaders:
    • 1. Start to obsess less about your products and more about your customer’s outcomes and embrace listening in your business.
    • 2. Start building outcomes into your objectives.
  • Wow service for Rob generally comes about when companies close the loop on the feedback that they receive.
  • There is so much negativity out in the world today that Rob’s dream is to encourage and motivate millions of frontline workers through the provision of customer and employee/colleague feedback that says ‘Hey, you are doing a great job.’
  • Imagine what could be accomplished if corporate culture was built on the positive feedback that they received rather than focusing almost solely on preventing anything negative from happening.
  • Do check out HundredX.

About Rob (taken from his HundredX bio)

Rob PaceRob Pace is the founder and CEO of HundredX, a technology platform/app that works with major brands such as professional sports teams, Mary Kay and the University of Notre Dame, to provide listening solutions and collect real-time feedback from employees.

Rob is a former Goldman Sachs partner and was the National Advisory Board Chairman of the Salvation Army.

You can find out more about HundredX at their website, say Hi to them on Twitter @Hundred_X and connect with Rob on LinkedIn here.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: wallyg Flickr via Compfight cc

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