For years, companies have had challenges in the implementation of business strategy.

There are many reasons why strategy implementation has always been difficult, but one of them is that the implementation process, and often the strategy itself, has not been anchored in a rigorous focus on external customers.

Companies wanting to focus on external customers gathered data, usually in the form of market analysis, which was then employed to prioritise areas for improvement inside the organisation or product development….thus coining the phrase customer driven.

There is much evidence to show that high performing organisations have a focus on retaining and growing existing customers so their loyalty becomes the main driver of profitability. The connection between loyalty and the bottom line has been known for many years, but many organisations have difficulty in making the connection between customer behaviour, which drives loyalty, and their own offering.

The need was for something better.

Some organisations use customer satisfaction surveys, but these too are suboptimal. A satisfied customer means just that, satisfied. It tells us nothing about what the customer will actually do.

We needed something better than satisfaction.

The net promoter score, NPS, tried to do something about this by focusing on a single question: the likelihood to recommend. The concept of research into recommendation is admirable and the simplicity of the NPS output makes it attractive as a common organisational snapshot. However, execution of the Net Promoter Score has not turned out to be as effective as some organisations have wished. NPS provides little diagnostic information to the organisation – you cannot use it easily to identify exactly where improvements should be made. It has an 11 point scale, which companies tell us is difficult to understand, and the three categories (Promoters Detractors and Neutrals) are not founded on any substantial or proven research. Additionally, the NPS gives away useful data which is collected but not used.

The need was for something better.

Some companies have gone so far as to gather expectations, commendably. However, the way they have done it, by using their own staff to ask the customer for their expectations, suffers from a lack of essential objectivity and difficulties in being able to turn the responses into something useful.

There was a need for something better.

The better companies got round the objectivity issue by using external agencies to obtain the expectations. They also got round the rigour issue by using the same agencies to use a structured process that brings rigour and consistency. However, frequently the expectations were gathered about the named supplier which restricted the customers thoughts to current practice & often manipulated a given position or outcome.

There was a need for something better.

Even so, these companies still had difficulty in using the data to implement their strategy. Often, the reports were filed or placed in a drawer and no action was taken. The same old execution problems re-emerged.

Their need was for something better.

High performing organisations today, use the PROMIS® process, which not only gathers the expectations of an ideal (not a named supplier) and the measurement of the supplier’s actual performance against that ideal, but translates it into easily understandable action areas, includes mediation between the stakeholder parties, facilitation of change implementation and continual assessment & improvement on a quarterly basis.

These high performing businesses are using PROMIS® to distance themselves from the competition and to increase new business by referrals, loyalty and cross sell. Some are inter grating the PROMIS® process into their new contract proposals to help secure their prospects’ confidence in their Relationship & Delivery capabilities.

As one end Customer recently said of such a company – “I wish more of our suppliers would use this approach with us”

You can’t get much better than that ! ……