Back to School

Grow customers without really trying (and have fun in the process)

There’s a little known marketing secret in the retail industry that can easily be applied to those whose primary clientele are other businesses. It’s so subtle most people don’t even notice what’s happening, which is probably the best kind of advertising you can get.

Did you ever take your kids to a Home Depot Kids Workshop or Lowes Build and Grow Clinic?

Both home improvement stores along with other big box retailers offer workshops to keep the kids occupied with projects while parents shop for new carpeting or look for ideas for a kitchen remodel. Parents such as myself may be convinced this is a free babysitting service to shop ‘til you drop uninterrupted for a couple hours. Any parent knows free babysitting is a fabulous benefit.

But do you want to know what the real – the underlying – reason they offer these kids’ workshops? Read more

Individuality vs. Herd Mentality

Two Ways to Incorporate the Wisdom of Individuality and Herd Mentality

We have all been a customer and spent time dwelling on the experiences we have had with a particular product or service. In one form or another, whether we have intended to or not, we likely have participated in some type of customer experience analysis. This could be anything from the local restaurant’s suggestion/complaint box to the rating systems set up around online shopping.

Our participation to provide feedback help companies to get a clear view of what customers are thinking in order to improve the offering or ward off difficulties. Since we are customers as well as suppliers, measuring our customers’ experience with our solutions should be a simple matter.

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How our new Discovery Services give you results

When it comes to win loss and customer experiences programs, our customers tend to have one of two goals in mind:

1. Collect feedback about their performance in recent deals, or
2. Reach an outcome, such as a 10% increase in their win rate

There is value in both objectives, but there is also a critical difference. Here’s how I think about it: In each voice of the buyer program, a problem or question prompts the research initiative. This problem is like a leaking faucet. For our first goal, we can solve the problem by offering a bigger bucket. Capturing more feedback from buyers means we achieve more of our objective. But, to reach an outcome and to change the result, we can’t simply catch the overflow; we have to fix the faucet.

As more of our clients choose an outcome-oriented goal, more are asking, what does it take to fix the faucet? What separates a data collection effort from a program that gives me an outcome, like an improved win rate or customer retention rate?

The answer is simple:

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Business Man Shrug

Fill-in-the-Blank Expectations Leave Too Much to the Imagination

Recently, Company A did the right thing as a strategic partner and evaluated its customer’s system for efficiency and workflow. They said they would send a report with their findings and recommendations.

A week went by, then another, then yet another. By now, the customer was irritated that they hadn’t received that report yet, figuring they would receive it a week or two after the evaluation.

When informed of the customer’s comments, Company A’s account rep was indignant: “I didn’t say I would have it to them in a week or two!

So when did he say they would receive the report?

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9 Ways to Show Customers How to Use Your Solution

Some years back – more than I care to admit – I took a memorable week-long intensive training course, Quality for Project Managers. The instructor was an affable guy, and he encouraged everyone’s participation by playing games and showing funny, relatable scenes from movies. It’s where I became aware of the sleeper classic Office Space.

The first day of class he pointed to one of the attendees and asked him to explain how he gets up in the morning as if he was talking to someone who never did it before. We didn’t understand why he would ask such a question and how it could relate to project management. This attendee replied, “I have a cup of coffee and then brush my teeth.” The instructor looked puzzled. “Really?”

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Six Strategies

6 Strategies for Getting Buyers to Talk to You [Infographic]

Are you having a hard time getting buyers to talk to you?

How many times have you tried to find out how your most recent sales opportunity went and got no response? Or attempted to talk to a customer to see how it is going only to hear crickets? Frustrating, isn’t it?

After completing well over 20,000 interviews with busy buyers, we’ve learned a thing or two on how to get them to talk to us. Read more

How to Keep Your Customer Passive In Three Easy Steps

In customer experience analysis, it’s common to break customers into three groups based on their Net Promoter Score (NPS) rating: Promoters, Detractors, and Passives. Promoters actively recommend your product, while Detractors speak out against it. Passives sit quietly in the middle, daring you to move them to another group.

In this guide, I’ll show you have to ensure Passive customers never progress to Promoters. Keep the status quo!

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Small Gestures: The Secret to Lasting Customer Relationships

Years ago, Bill received a Christmas card from an executive at a company where he was a customer. Inside the card was a hand-written note, thanking him for his business. Because the company was a large, public company, and Bill knew his company was very small compared to its other customers, this personal token of appreciation made a real impression on him.

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Customer Experience

Customer Experience: The Next Generation (Coming Soon!)

In 2012, Primary Intelligence introduced Customer Experience Analysis: a sister product to Win Loss Analysis focused on understanding what makes your customers stick.

The product was and still is a success. Primary Intelligence has conducted deep-dive interviews with more than 2,000 current and past customers, representing more than $17 billion in revenue. As we listened to your customers, we uncovered:

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Reading Your Wife’s Diary: Customer Experience Analysis In Action

“Honey, I’ve met someone. I’m sorry. I’m leaving you.”

Your heart sinks and you quickly cast around for a reason.

This account has been in your pocket term after term. It has always been smooth sailing. And worse yet, it was also worth millions annually. What the heck just happened? Did your product drop the ball? Did you forget to do the dishes?

A little startled you reply, “But our relationship was going well, wasn’t it? We were happy… weren’t we?”

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How to Rock a Customer Experience Interview

Customer satisfaction is the key to generating a deep, loyal, and profitable customer base. Good marketing brings new customers to your business, but great customer experiences are what keep them. And a Customer Experience Interview is how you discover how to keep ’em! In brief, do they renew or do you lose em’?

To keep your customers (and I’m not telling you anything you don’t know here) – particularly your best customers – you have to know what they think is important in your solution. You have to know what your customers expect from your company, product, or service. You need to find out whether (and how) your customers value your solutions, and where they think you need to improve.  And the most direct way to get this information is with customer experience interviews.

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Customer Retention: Best Practice Recommendation

All too often, companies start to think seriously about their clients when the contract starts to come due. At this point, efforts are made to understand the risk points to the relationship (A.K.A $$$’s).

But clients aren’t blind. They feel the increased attention at this point. They understand your motives.

While some of your belated efforts may be appreciated, there is almost always a feeling of: If you care enough now that the dollars are on the table, why didn’t you care this much throughout?

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Customer Experience

Discover Why They Won’t Buy with Customer Experience Analysis

When was the last time you lost a deal? Or had a customer that just sort of drifted away? Or you were working with a lead, you kept piling on the benefits – and you still couldn’t get them to, “Yes”?

Don’t feel bad if your last experience was recent – it happens! Market environments have altered and shifted and, along with those changes, consumer perceptions and expectations are constantly reshaping. Across all industry verticals, the bar of customer experience has been – and continues to be – raised.

All is not lost, however, because companies that utilize the full capabilities of Voice of Customer data and Win/Loss Analysis programs to do a customer experience analysis find themselves better equipped to take on the challenges of this ever-shifting landscape.

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Leverage Your Customer Experience Stories for Success

How do you deliver the right customer experiences? Do you really know what parts of your solution make your customers happy? Perhaps most importantly, how many of your customers have defected or abandoned because what you do know currently, is still insufficient?

When you have gleaned the answers to these questions, you will have gained valuable insight into the minds of your existing customers. But, just as important, you will have gained a predictive ability to solve problems in your customer relationships that your customer may not even have revealed to you.   

Historically difficult to do? Yes. Not to mention super frustrating.

Currently problematic? It doesn’t have to be.

Leverage Your Customer Experience Stories for Success - CI CE Win Loss

The secret to acquiring this seemingly magical ability to see into the minds of your current customer base and future prospects lies in the strength of your Customer Experience Analytics. By unlocking full and actionable data, you unlock the secret to Read more

My Product Is Great! (I think?): Ending of The Halo Effect in Business

Being completely engaged in your company, and of course, also being an expert on its products, it’s a good bet that you think your product is pretty darn outstanding.

The salient question we need to ask ourselves is how much of our perception is based on our personal experiences with our company’s product and our personal investments in its development? We might also ask ourselves how we truly know our product is the right fit for our clients?

Halo-Effect and groupthink destroy progress

There are a mess of questions like this brought on by our attachment to our products or services.

But, let us not wax hyperbolic any further.

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Voice of the Customer (VOC) is the Key to Better Customer Experience

The average B2B business today directs considerable resources towards developing customer experiences designed to acquire new clients. Yet according to Marketing Metrics, it requires twice as much effort to sell a product to new prospects than to an existing account. And according to Sales and Marketing Magazine, it costs 133% more to sell to new accounts than to existing ones.

Existing clients cost less to reach, cost less to sell to, deliver more revenue, and are less likely to leave for the competition. Moreover, according to Frederick Reichheld and Phil Schefter of Bain and Co, client spending increases over time, and the longer a client remains in a company’s customer base, the more efficiently they use the products and services they purchase. Longer-term clients also have lower operational cost, are less price-sensitive than newer customers, and they provide more referrals.

Pareto and the 80/20 power curve will increase your CE rewards


Still not impressed? A Gartner Group study reveals that 80% of any company’s future revenue will come from Read more

Voice of the Customer Process and Analysis

Going Beyond “Are You Satisfied?” and “Will You Renew?”


When I ask my prospects and customers about what they are currently doing to better understand the Voice of their Customers, they typically say they have an annual customer satisfaction study that they perform—Generally a web survey that has only a few simple questions.

These surveys focus on NPS (Net Promoter Score) and overall satisfaction. For these customers, I always ask, “So, do you ever get to the reasons why they are satisfied or why they are loyal?”

In most cases, this question stumps them and they don’t really have an answer for me. This is because typical web-based surveying only captures the score (the ‘what’ question) and doesn’t give any clarity to how to improve the score (the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions). When calculating your strategy on your voice of the customer process, we can dig deeper, and get farther when we know what to look for.

Voice of the Customer Process - Going Beyond Satisfaction and Renewal

In no way am I saying that NPS or satisfaction scores should be ignored. In his paper, “The One Number You Need to Grow,” Fred Reichheld highlights the strong correlation between a company’s growth rate and its Net Promoter Score in most competitive industries Read more

What’s the score? Why did you win or lose?

Isn’t it nice how clear-cut the score is in sports? You never sit there wondering if a score is accurate (Ok, maybe you do if the ref makes a bad call). You don’t have to worry about whether a certain statistic is valid or justified. But is the same true of survey data?

If you are running either a win loss analysis or a voice of the buyer program in your company, you’ve probably at least had some nagging worries about the validity of your data. Each score, or number, has a meaning behind it. If you don’t capture the meaning of that number, you lose most of your data. After all, those numbers are simply a reflection of someone’s thoughts and feelings. It’s not like you carried a ball over a goal line or shot a basket from 30 feet. No, you’re in a sport where the goal is for your customer to say, “I feel like this is the best product out there.” There is no clear line drawn in the sand for that. So, how do you ensure that the “score” of your intelligence program is accurate?

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Introducing Primary Intelligence’s Newest Feature: Audio Playback

There are many companies out there that claim they will help you listen to the voice of your buyers, but at Primary Intelligence, when we say it, we really mean it. We are excited to announce the release of integrated Audio Playback, which significantly expands your options for listening to the voice of your customer by allowing you to play back the actual audio responses of your buyers who have been interviewed as a part of a Primary Intelligence program.

With this new feature, users of Primary Intelligence’s TruVoice Profiler application will be able to listen to a verbatim audio file of their buyers’ feedback while reviewing the written transcript and our expert analysis of that feedback.
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Feedback Inc. - The Customer Line Up

Be Random – Eliminate bias in your interview results

survey-cRemember in high school when your friends told you that if you didn’t understand the question to select “C” as your answer? That may very well be the same adage respondents use when completing surveys.

Why do you want to eliminate bias?

You want to avoid any bias in your surveys. You don’t want your survey results to be slanted in any way. One of the best methods to overcome this element of survey bias is to randomize the order the answer options appear. This is done for any question where the order of the answers could influence the respondent’s selection. Randomizing improves the integrity of your data by removing order.Even though your questions are skillfully crafted, the way the answer options appear may have an effect on how your respondents answer. For example, a respondent may get ‘survey fatigue’ if the questionnaire is too long causing them to select the first or last option. Some respondents may be influenced by the location of the answer or it may even call out to them because the answer is commonplace.
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