Innovating Analytics: A book review by Bob Morris

Inno AnalyticsInnovating Analytics: Word of Mouth Index- Use the Next Generation of Net Promoter to Increase Sales and Drive Results
Larry Freed
John Wiley & Sons (2013)

How and why the best innovations in customer experience analytics can create a decisive competitive advantage

As Larry Freed explains, “I introduce a powerful new metric we developed at ForeSee called Word-of-Mouth Index (WoMI), which incorporates and builds on a widespread metric of customer loyalty and customer satisfaction called Net Promoter Score (NPS). [Introduced by Fred Reichheld,] NPS has many strengths but just as many weaknesses and has outlived its usefulness as a metric. This book is also about the need for a comprehensive customer experience measurement ecosystem in addition to WoMI to accurately assess and improve the other elements of customer experience.”

My own opinion is that many (most?) smaller businesses do not use any metric – much less a system – to measure customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. I also think that, for many of those companies, NTS will be sufficient to their needs. That said, WoMI does seem to offer more, as Freed explains within his narrative, but as noted, he also recommends “a comprehensive customer experience measurement ecosystem in addition to WoMI” and devotes an entire chapter, Chapter 7, to explaining what one would be and do.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Freed’s coverage.

o Accelerated Darwinism (Pages 10-13)
o Net Promoter Score (NPS): Flaws (21-31)
o Word of Mouth Index (WOMI) Overview (33-51)
o Four Drivers of Business Success (53-56)
o Mini-Interview: Stephanie Bottner (71-72)
o Measuring the Customer Experience at the Brand Level (81-87)
o Mini-Interview: Josh Chapman, (93-95)
o Eric Feinberg: Mobile Context, Location, and Intent (105-106)
o Voice of Customer Measurement (118-120)
o Mini-Interview: Mario Castrano, Nikon Inc. (121)
o Best Customer Experience Practices: Amazon, Zappos, Panera, and Eddie Bauer (123-139)
o The World of Big Data, (162-164)
o The Trap of Big Data (168-170)
o Afterword: Measuring Customer Experience (172-172)

Freed also provides valuable supplementary resources in five indices, Pages 173-174. For example, he identifies and then discusses “Eleven Common Measurement Mistakes” in Appendix C, developing in somewhat greater depth previously cited comparisons and contrasts of WOMI and NPS.

Of special interest to me are the reader-friendly devices that Freed uses with uncommon skill. They include various illustrations (e.g. Figure 4.3 “Benchmarking with NPS and WoMI”), checklists of key points or stages of a sequence, and best of all, mini-interviews of real people who discuss real issues in their own business situations. For example, Jason Faria (ideeli), Stephanie Bottner (Pear Tree Greetings), and Mario Castano (Nikon, Inc.) who discuss their experiences with both NTS and WoMI.

I realize that no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the nature and extent of information, insights, and counsel that Larry Freed provides in abundance. However, I hope I have given at least some indication of why I hold his book in high regard.

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