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February 2016
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Giving Customers Something They Never Saw Coming.
The perfect example is Northeast Delta Dental. They did their homework. They communicate with their customers, their employees, and their community and have been doing so for the past 20 years!
Northeast Delta Dental’s Guarantee of Service Excellence SM program.

Each year I share results from Northeast Delta Dental, a dental benefits company with more than 810,000 subscribers throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Northeast Delta Dental has 189 employees and is led by President & CEO, Tom Raffio. For 26 years, Raffio has pursued the customer service strategy. Most firms become bored with customer service after a few years, move on to another strategy, and give up the market share and market dominance they had achieved.

In 1990, while at Delta Dental Plan of Massachusetts, Raffio identified, through research and focus groups with companies who select dental insurance companies, the most critical things companies want from an insurance provider. In 1996, Raffio became President & CEO of Northeast Delta Dental and immediately implemented a Service Guarantee focused on these critical areas.

With the Guarantee Of Service ExcellenceSM program, Northeast Delta Dental has three types of customers and guarantees seven major areas of service. These customers include participating dentists, organizations that select Northeast Delta Dental as their dental benefits provider, and the employee who receives the insurance.

You can view Northeast Delta Dental’s Service Guarantee and their results on my web site.

The company that makes the buying decision wants assurance that everything will go smoothly and Northeast Delta Dental identifies smooth implementation as their first Service Guarantee. The fifth guarantee promises the employer group accurate and quick turnaround of identification cards to each employee within 15 calendar days. For example, following this guarantee, if a group of 300 employees did not receive their identification cards within 15 calendar days, Northeast Delta Dental would be required to reimburse the employee group $7,500 ($25.00 per employee). I know of no other company in the world that has the guts to back up their claims with real money.

In 2015, Northeast Delta Dental, had 39 requests totaling $2,572.31. They were not required to refund any groups for their fifth guarantee. They had four areas for individual performance and one request totaling $50. Some of you might say this is low risk. If that is true why have NO other insurance companies in the world copied them? Especially true in their territory of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. For those watching the U.S. Presidential race, New Hampshire is the second state to vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice.

Total revenue last year was $340,828,000. Profit was $8,866,900; however, Northeast Delta Dental re-invested more than $3 million in the communities they serve through supporting various nonprofit organizations. In 2015, Northeast Delta Dental had 2,276 employee training hours which amounts to12.9 hours per full-time employee and they spent $809.88 on training per employee, which is 1.2% of their payroll. How much time and money do you spend each year per employee developing them?

Northeast Delta Dental’s market share is 52% in New Hampshire, 42% in Maine and 55% in Vermont. Wow. Every insurance company in the world would love to have market share like this. No competitor has ever copied their Service Guarantee. Most are looking for ways to work with Northeast Delta Dental. A customer service strategy is the only weapon you can use with competitors that will dramatically increase market share. Customer service strategies can rarely be duplicated and implementing one will earn you a five to ten year lead-time over your competitors.

When a company makes the momentous discovery that customers are really people and when they give customer service at least as much power and influence over decisions as they give financial considerations, they are well on the road to achieving a competitive advantage and even market dominance….just like Northeast Delta Dental did….26 years ago. “Bravo”.

“The purpose of business is to create and to keep customers”.—Peter Drucker, Management Consultant

Tam Raffio published a book, There are No Do-Overs. An awesome book available on Amazon

In my book Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service I have been talking about Tom Raffio since 1980.

You can get an electronic copy of my book, Achieving Excellence for Customer Service for $10 here or printed copy for $19.95 here. Amazon also has the book. I share examples of service leaders and the strategy critical to implementing a customer driven culture.

Metro Bank London IPO

The most customer driven bank in the world is Metro Bank London. They opened their doors on July 29, 2014 with 4 stores and 60 employees. The first new bank in London in over 150 years. Everything is built around the customer experience. Very few CEO's understand the power of the customer experience and how money falls from the sky to firms that deliver exceptional service. Vernon Hill, the founder and CEO is one of the most customer driven CEO's in the world.

Look at the results after 5 1/2 years. Total stores are 40 and they are adding one a month. Total deposits exceed $7.42 billion. Total loans exceed $5.16 billion. Customer accounts surpassed 655,000. Metro Bank now has over 1,800 employees. They are raising $872 million in a IPO that closes February 22 at £24 (· which is roughly $35 USD a share. By July 2020 they will have $39 billion in assets. All in 10 years.

Very few companies are awesome at customer service. Most firms want to see what others are doing. Then they wait another 5 years. All of Metro Bank competitors know what he is doing. They have their head in the sand. I suspect they laugh at this crazy American at his continues to grow and take market share.

Metro Bank Customer Satisfaction is 93%. The highest in Britain. Net Promoter Score is 79% the highest in Britain. Vernon Hill could take his model anywhere and have the same success. Why not copy his model? More information on Metro Bank is in my book, Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service.

October 13-14 Worldwide Customer Service Conference

October 13-14 we will have service leaders from across the world in a 2 day Worldwide Customer Service Conference. If you want to learn how to drive a service culture this is your opportunity. On Saturday October 15 we will have an exclusive seminar just for Channel Partners and those interested in being a business partner with SQI. We are finalizing the list of speakers and the agenda. Registration is $997 with an early bird discount until March 31 for $699. The Conference will be at the Radisson Blu. Registration, as well as more information, can be found right here on my website.

John Tschohl
Service Quality Institute
9201 E. Bloomington Freeway
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55420 USA
Office 952-884-3311
Cell 612-382-5636
In this issue

»Northeast Delta Dental's Guarantee of Service Excellence program
»Metro Bank London IPO
»Worldwide Customer Service Conference October 13-14 Minneapolis

John Tschohl, President Service Quality Institute

  • In The Media:

» Building Rapport With Your Customers - The Call Center Times

» Golden Rule of Efficiency - The Call Center Times

» The 86 Percent The Paint Dealer

» Make Every Week Customer Service Week The Retail Observer

» 7 Ways to Better Serve Customers Aba Bank Marketing

» Customer Service Gurus: Catching Up With John Tschohl - Customer Service Guru

» Customer Service of Black Friday - Is There Any? - Seize the day

» The Importance of the "Little Things" - Retail Observer


Certification Seminars:

April 11, 2016 Minneapolis, MN - Feelings (Certification)
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April 11-13, 2016 MInneapolis, MN - Certified Customer Service Leader (CCSL)
Sign up here

April  11-14, 2016 Minneapolis, MN - Certified Customer Service Trainer (CCST)
Sign up here

April  12-13, 2016 Minneapolis, MN - Leading Empowered Teams (Certification)
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