Monthly Archives: May 2016


The Memorial Day weekend gave me a little time to get caught up on some reading. Some of what I was reading were analytics reports (I know – get a life) and while I very much appreciate the cycle of continual improvement Google fosters within their analytics product, that cycle yields a continuously growing amount of data. The problem that I have isn’t so much understanding what I’m reading but trying to figure out why any of it matters to my clients. I also spend time figuring out which of the numbers are lying to me. 

It’s no secret that there are an awful lot of bad actors in the digital world. Once it becomes clear how fraud is detected those bad actors move on to another form. If viewability is important, they create sites where there is 100% viewability but no content of any value. I had a client get all excited about an increase in referral traffic until I pointed out that most of that traffic was coming as a result of referrer spam. When we filtered it out, traffic was flat. Another prospect got excited by the large “stickiness” – time on site and pages viewed – that her site has. They were impressive until you filtered out the IP addresses of her employees, who spent hours a day on the site.

Silly things, I know, but it points to a common problem. An IDG study of a couple of years ago pointed out that nearly half of marketers said they struggle to make sense of the vast amount of data they get. The other half thinks they know what the numbers mean, yet many of their plans are built to achieve unrealistic metrics. The problem is compounded by what the paper identifies as the accuracy problem I mentioned above:

Why is data accuracy still such a big issue? One possible reason is a lack of investment in a defined data management process that includes ongoing, consistent data migration, data maintenance, quality control and governance. Too often data is held and managed in multiple organizational silos. This results in inconsistency, duplication, gaps and errors.

So while “garbage in, garbage out” isn’t a particular revelation, it does serve as an excellent reminder to take out the trash as best you can while compiling all of that data.  You with me?

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Filed under Consulting, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

It’s Not Just The Burger

This Foodie Friday, the topic is Fast Food. Specifically, we’re going to see what we can learn from the rankings of fast food chains in the latest Temkin Ratings Report. What the heck are the Temkin Ratings?

English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on consumer feedback of their recent interactions with companies. We asked consumers to rate three components of the experience, Success, Effort, and Emotion, on a 7-point scale. For each component, we take the percentage of consumers that gave a rating of 6 or 7 and subtract the percentage that gave a rating of 1, 2, or 3. This results in a “net goodness” rating for each of the three components. The overall Temkin Experience Rating is an average of the three “net goodness” percentages.

In other words, they’re measuring if customers could do what they wanted to do, how easy it was to complete the interaction and their overall feelings about the interaction. In this case, it might be if the chain had the food item you wanted or prepared it the way you asked, was there a long wait or other impediment to you getting you food, and how pleasant the experience was.

Here is the business paradox and perhaps a learning. McDonald’s and Burger King didn’t do very well. In fact, as one site reported:

McDonald’s ranked dead-last among fast-food restaurants in the report, but there must be a masochistic streak among American consumers. Though the restaurant remains one of “the most commonly disliked fast-food establishments” in the U.S., last month Nation’s Restaurant News reported that McDonald’s is also the most-visited chain in the country.

So here is the question.  McDonald’s has placed a lot of emphasis on improving the menu – healthier items, more organic ingredients – and they now offer their popular breakfast items all day.  Sales are much better, and revenue and profits are two critical boxes on the scorecard in business.  I get that.  However, maybe they should have been spending more time improving the customer experience.  I can’t imagine that there is any sense of loyalty here.  The ratings seem to indicate that consumers go to McDonald’s either because it’s cheap or convenient and not out of any sense of enjoyment.  I don’t see that as a formula for long-term customer retention.

The thing for us to remember is that customers aren’t looking at your balance sheet.  They look at the product or service as well as the totality of their interaction with you.  If you’re not measuring and taking those things into account as you compile the financials, you’re probably missing a critical part as you analyze the health or your business.  Make sense?

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Filed under food, Huh?

Ignoring 9 Out Of 10

I realize I’ve spent the first couple of posts this week on the topic of companies being less than responsive to customers. I was chatting about this with someone yesterday and they asked me if I really thought the two cases I cited were the norm.  After all, he said, how can companies really expect this kind of behavior to remain quiet when every person is a publisher?

Sprout Social

Sprout Social

Precisely my point, but since when does common sense prevail?  In fact, companies are getting worse at being responsive.  Maybe it’s just the increase in volume, maybe it’s the ease with which customers can reach out, but the common sense solution of staffing up and training to handle the increased load is nowhere to be found.  Since we believe in fact-based statements here, these facts are from Sprout Social:

90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service, according to Sprout’s consumer survey. Following this trend, The Sprout Index shows that the number of social messages needing a response from a brand has increased by 18%over the past year. In spite of the high volume of messages that require a response, brands reply to just 11% of people (a number that’s been stuck in neutral since 2015).

11%, meaning brands are ignoring 89% of the messages sent to them as consumers reach out. I guess they’re too busy misusing social media and other responsive channels as megaphones (so 1995) since the research found that brands send promotional messages out 23 times as often as they respond to a customer message. It’s not just social that requires our attention.  August 2015 research from Nice Systems and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that internet users in major metro areas worldwide used an average of 5.6 customer service channels.

I can hear you rubbing your temples as the headache comes on.  How will you support your customers in those places when you might be ignoring 9 out of 10 customer interactions now?  Beats me, but the question needs to be answered, and the organizations that do so will be the ones that win.  Make sense?


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Filed under Consulting, Huh?