Behind Macquarie Telecom Group's industry-leading net promoter score
Frederik Anseel, Professor of Management and Associate Dean Research for UNSW Business School, interviews David Tudehope, co-founder and CEO at Macquarie Telecom, about the company's industry-leading NPS and award-winning customer engagement strategy
Frederik Anseel: I’m an academic researcher and I study a lot about how people deal with feedback in the work environment, among each other how they give feedback, but also how they bring in feedback from customers from the outside world. How do you bring in that feedback and how you learn from it within the company? I’m curious in general, but also specifically in these times, how do you manage that? Do you have systems for this? Is there some sort of leadership style to encourage, or does it happen naturally?
David Tudehope: This is at the heart of our business. Our business is built around a why – our purpose, which is to make a difference in markets that are underserved and overcharged. It just so happens, we’re in telecom and data centers in cyber. And for us that purpose is around markets that are underserved. We are all in on the work that was done by Fred Reichheld, around Net Promoter Score.
We had this founding purpose, but until that research came out about 12 years ago, it was very difficult to measure customer experience, and even more difficult to compare customer experience with other companies experience in your industry or internationally. So, we had to put a single number on a Net Promoter Score number; that minus 100/plus 100 scale was very powerful because there was one truth.
Read more: How Macquarie Telecom Group creates the world's best customer experience
Whereas previously we had – like companies have had for decades – very long surveys with many, many questions. In our case it was like 50 questions. And when we first introduced it, there was a view that we should just add that question to our 50 questions survey. But then I said, but the whole thing is the ultimate question, right? It’s meant to be the one from which everything else flows. And only then when we replaced it with one question, we got one truth.
But to your question, the magic for us, not just in adopting this, but adopting that research in its entirety, we adopted also their advice around the fast feedback loop, the idea of the supervisory ringing within 24 hours and finding out the reason why the score was there. But also, we adopted the idea of complete transparency. And that I think, is one of the bits of magic in our success with net promoter score. Today we have the highest net promoter score of an ASX listed company, and certainly the highest of any Telecom company in the world.
The most uncomfortable part for us was originally sharing it internally. And you really can’t move within Macquarie without seeing rolling screens all over the office. They’re above the photocopier. They’re next to the bathrooms. They’re in the lounge rooms. They’re above the workplace. And we have these rolling scores that provide net promoter scores for all parts of the company that we think might be interested: by business unit by product type, by geography, and within an area. We give the net promoter scores for team members related to the NPS scores related to the work they’ve done. So, it’s very transparent based on a very high sample rate. And that transparency without question is key to our success.
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