Above all else, integrity drives customer satisfaction. That is what we learned from a recent customer survey after running complex modeling to determine the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of customer satisfaction. With 359 customers reporting on our 2014 annual customer survey, the results were clear. The truthfulness of our efficiency & design, availability, security & privacy, responsiveness & customer service, and documentation are key drivers of customer satisfaction, with truthfulness being far and away the most significant aspect.
Of course the common sense drivers still hold true: technology advancements, new functionality, highly responsive service, navigation, simplicity, professionalism, courtesy, and promise fulfillment. Those are “table stakes” drivers necessary to play the game. But how do you measure truthfulness? How can you score an organization on integrity?
Truthfulness and integrity are revealed through the ability to cultivate long-term customer relationships, allow candid conversations customer-to-customer, achieve impeccably high performance indicators, deliver consistent results, and retain customers.
When your company was founded when a gallon of gas was $0.16 and your first browser-based digital asset management system was deployed in 1995, you have a few long-term, multi-decade relationships. When you bring 150 customers together for your annual event and allow them to share ideas freely, building rapport with each other year-over-year, you enable open and candid conversations customer-to-customer. When you have a 98.3% customer retention rate in 2014 and competitors and analysts need to dig just to find those few who slipped through the expectations management filter, you can claim customer loyalty.
Excerpts from the 2014 Widen Customer Satisfaction Survey
This is genuine, customer-driven retention, earned and maintained the respectable way.
It’s not forced, contractually-obligated retention. We have those in our pipeline now, just waiting to finish their sentence in the Shawshank of DAM, the land of over-promise with great rates for only a 3-year commitment. Awesome retention rates, just like Shawshank was awesome for Andy Dufresne, just biding your time until you can make a break for the beach.
Our customers are responding favorably to the integrity of our talent; they are responding to culture. A culture of integrity, innovation, advancement, experimentation. A culture where 100% of the employees working on the digital asset management system that is used by more than 400 global brands are satisfied to work at Widen, and those same 100% are proud to work at Widen. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” said Peter Drucker.
Excerpts from the 2014 Widen Employee Satisfaction Survey
Sure we get an iffy review or lose a few deals every now and then based on functionality but that is a narrow view of the larger organizational picture. We’re not playing a short-term game and functionality assessments are short-sighted.
Of course you still have a checklist of functionality, features, user interface design, global infrastructure, integrations, and countless other things DAM should do. Everyone has cool stuff. Some have cooler things than others; even at Shawshank they have cool things.
However, when your release cycles are every 30-days, new functionality is constant. Assessments could be done 4-5 times during the procurement process and in-depth analyst briefings would happen once-a-month to make sure everyone had the latest intelligence. It’s our job to inform the market and just hope people are paying attention, because the pace is incessant.
We know integrity drives satisfaction; built on a foundation of practical functionality, innovative and skillful experts, aggressive new development cycles, and belief in the culture. Without a full-scale evaluation of the product functionality AND evidence of truthfulness, integrity and a cultural focus, you just might end up in Shawshank.