• Sam Decker

50-Strand Template for Building a Word-of-Mouth-Worthy Business

It’s been a month in a half since my last post. Yikes. I’m hoping you (haven’t) noticed. 🙂 I’m back.

I also spent one day in the UK with David Rance, CEO of Round. I worked with David to bring a customer centricity framework into Dell several years ago.

There are two powerful parts of the Round system. First is the simplicity of a baseball metaphor and measurement system. As you analyze the customer centricity of your company, you move along the bases, closer to a home run. The bases even bring a language that your people can use to explain why things don’t line up.



On a jet-lagged bank holiday at David’s 400-year-old house in northern England, I shared my opinions of what it took for a company to have word of mouth. David opened up his laptop, opened his software, and over the next hour we identified the key strands that are critical for a company to earn word of mouth.

  1. Brand Values

  2. Collection & Debt Recovery Processes

  3. Communication of Company Vision

  4. Company Goals

  5. Company Leadership style

  6. Company Organisation Structure

  7. Company Planning Process

  8. Company vision

  9. Competitive Differentiation

  10. Contact Center Platform

  11. Customer Complaints & Compliments

  12. Customer Acquisition Process

  13. Customer Base Development Plan

  14. Customer Contact Routing & IVR

  15. Customer Data Accessibility & Analysis

  16. Customer Email Platform

  17. Customer Fault Management (Tech Support) Processes

  18. Customer Information & Insight

  19. Customer Process Adherence

  20. Customer Process Design

  21. Customer Process Governance

  22. Customer Propensity & Contact Plan

  23. Customer Service Metrics

  24. Customer Service Organisation Structure

  25. Customer Servicing Processes

  26. Debt Management KPIs

  27. Decision-making Authority

  28. Employee Culture

  29. Employee Engagement

  30. Fault Management Metrics

  31. Frontline Skills

  32. Knowledge Management Culture

  33. Knowledge Management Systems

  34. Management Information Systems

  35. Marketing Metrics

  36. Marketing Organisation Structure

  37. Operational Alerts

  38. Organization Metrics

  39. People Development

  40. Performance Review

  41. Personalisation & Customer Decisioning Systems

  42. Pricing

  43. Process Workflow & Automation

  44. Product Development Cycle

  45. Quality Management

  46. Recruitment

  47. Reward & recognition

  48. Tailoring The Customer Offering

  49. Team Management Style

  50. Web Customer Platform

These Strands represent about half of the strands that are part of an organization. The measurement of each strand is based on the answers to questions that is Round’s secret sauce.

For example:

Customer Service Metrics

  1. How do you use high level performance measurements to effectively manage customer service activity?

  2. What overall measures are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?

  3. What customer group measures are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?

  4. What measures from other functions are reviewed by the director responsible for marketing?

What’s the takeaway?

Word of mouth comes BEFORE word of mouth marketing. Advocates should talk about you before you amplify their voices. To garner word of mouth requires building a customer-centric business, from the top down, inside to out. Each of the strands above can have a positive or negative impact on your customer experience and therefore word of mouth. Consider, each of them and look at your company in the mirror regarding each of them.

And if you want the secret sauce for the questions to ask, and to measure this for your organization drop David an email. (That’s word of mouth for his company!).