Richard Owen

About Richard

  • President and CEO of Satmetrix Systems, Owen is responsible for all aspects of strategy and day-to-day operations. Prior to Satmetrix, Owen was Chairman and CEO of NASDAQ-traded AvantGo, Inc., the leading provider of Enterprise Mobility Solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. AvantGo was successfully sold to Sybase, Inc. Prior to Avantgo, Owen spent eight years at Dell Computer Corporation in various executive positions, most recently as vice president of Dell Online Worldwide.

Blog Master Notes

  • Unless numerous repondents have the same issue as posted in comments, it is not the policy for Net Promoter bloggers to respond to individual comments.

Trademark Info

  • Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

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Deborah Eastman

Richard, this posting is reflective of the transformation business to consumer companies must embrace. Before social media, advertising was the primary way to get your message to market. Now, no one listens to advertising and instead uses Google and review sites such as flyertalk to evaluate the services of brands before buying. B2C marketers are challenged with making the change from campaigns intended to create buzz to organic word of mouth which happens as a direct result of delivering a superior customer experience.

Dale Weideman

Love the comment: "Companies who spend millions advertising products that don't generate positive word of mouth are fighting their customers at their own expense." Consider the power of applying the positive formulation: "Put your advertising behind the products and services (and by extension, attributes) that strongly generate positive word of mouth." This is a non-obvious insight that can generate real advantage for the marketers who apply it. It's another payoff from a consistent customer satisfaciton and loyalty feedback process -- with such a process, marketing can always know the products, services and attributes that are drivers of customer willingness to recommend, and hence can factor that into their advertising and promotion allocation process. Further, those products and services who want more advertising support would know what they need to do -- they need to adjust their value delivery so that it wins sufficient loyalty from customers that it drives their recommendation behavior. It all adds up to another way that an effective Net Promoter program will drive increased growth and profitability -- it will also, if used to enhance the efficiency of advertising and promotion dollars, increase the ROI of those marketing expenditures.

James Young

It's getting really challenging out there for the airlines in the face of rising fuel prices (an airline's largest operating cost) and the recent depreciation in the dollar and pound sterling versus other currencies is persuading people to travel shorter distances for their holidays in the sun this year. I was one of them.

People are also worried about their own fuel bills going through the roof. It's affecting us all. So what can airlines do to best secure the loyalty of their customers, or gain new loyal customers? There'll always be those that need to fly, but the size of the cake is crumbling fast and the profit and loss tables are turning rapidly.

Advertising which boasts of great price offers or discounts is an option I suppose, but that can amount to a bit of scrap amongst equals only yielding short-term gains. Leave that to the low end credit card market I guess.

Advertising which attempts to prey on our emotions with enticing images of beautiful coral reefs and other images irrelevant to flying is not going to make a jot of difference...ok, maybe a jot, but only for a while if say service quality then falls short of expectations set in the advertising. In fact, breaking a perceived promise can be very damaging.

If there is a value in advertising, wouldn't one of the best advertisements in the world be one which reports results of recent customer feedback and how improvements have been made as a result, and what improvements are planned for the future? Now I like a promise kept, and that would really impress me. But this then means that the investment needs to focus on making the right improvements in the first instance, and advertising then becomes merely a means of communication.

Leveraging modern technology, such as the world wide web, is a great opportunity to get ahead of the competition and focus customer dialogue with the customers that really matter. However, word of mouth has been with us since the age of man and there are some fundamentals which prove to work time and time again. But let's leave the Orwellian world of new modern ways for a moment and turn the clock back to 1984 when Virgin first launched their airline.

Some of you will know that the whole idea started out in the Carribean when Richard Branson wanted to hop from one island to another (as one does), but couldn't easily. A plane with just a few seats was quickly chartered, became popular, and Virgin Atlantic was born. It's hard to think that an international airline like Virgin Atlantic with sales of US$4 billion has grown largely out of providing a superior and unique customer experience rather than through highly aggressive advertising or through aggressive pricing strategies alone.

Virgin Atlantic was the first airline in the world to introduce a chauffeur service, they installed bigger screens for passengers before their competitors, their staff are cool, fun and adopt a customer-is-first attitude, at least in my experience. You can even get a free massage or prop up the bar in business class. It is the delivered experiences, not images in an advertisement, which delivers the goods, and positive word of mouth begins to take effect. And all this in the name of the Virgin brand. Now that is how to build brand equity.

So, surely all airlines must take a serious look at the comparatively meagre returns on marketing spend compared with investments in customer experiences which generate positive word of mouth, which afterall, is free advertising!

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