We’ve all heard the old saying...
“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
Right? Well, not so fast! Do you make your own electricity? Water and sewer? Furniture? POS systems? Printer drivers?
Of course not!
Similarly, should you try to build your own EFM system (including customer and employee feedback, analysis, reporting, and distribution)?
Of course not! Why not? Because it’s not what you do. It’s not your core competency.
But it is our core competency at Mindshare!
There is a sign outside the Crab Cooker Restaurant in Newport Beach that summarizes it best:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
In other words, you work on what you do best, and let us serve you with what we do best!
Why Outsource Enterprise Feedback Management? Here are the reasons:
|Domain Expertise:||It’s all we do; it’s our expertise, our passion.
|Lower Cost:||Fully-loaded cost, total cost of ownership, update and maintenance costs.
|Better Product:||More functionality now, more innovation later.
|More Leverage:||Best-practice sharing. Performance. Scalability. Analysis. Benchmarking.
Purpose-built and flexible. What you can afford to build is usually not what you need. Continuity of people, institutional knowledge, and upgrades.
|Speed & Versatility:||Mindshare’s hosted solution is extremely flexible and easily implemented.
|Opportunity Cost:||Effort you spend here could be spent elsewhere.
Now let’s address each of these advantages in more detail:
This is all we do all day, every day!
Mindshare is the industry leader—we collect over 70,000 surveys a day, from hundreds of companies, across over 25 industries, over 100 countries, and 26 languages. The feedback is collected in real-time, analyzed and immediately reported as actionable information.
What will it really cost you to build this yourself?
Keep these things in mind:
- “Sunk Costs” are sunk. (What you’ve already spent in the past should not impact your decision.)
- When comparing costs, use “fully-loaded costs” (including labor, rent, heat/light/power, phone, etc.) and “total cost of ownership” (including maintenance & upgrade costs and inefficiencies).
- Most software costs are incurred for ongoing maintenance and upgrades, not in creating.
- All costs are variable in the long run. (“But we’ve already got this FTE on staff”=false premise.)
- Internal I.T. people almost always believe they can do something cheaper in-house. (They are not operators—they are engineers, and engineers like to build things.)
Fully-Loaded Costs to Consider:
- Phone costs
- Internet costs
- Heat, light, power, phone, copier, etc.
- Building space rental
- Server equipment
- 24/7 systems support
- Server time
- “Up-time” hidden cost
Now, complete a worksheet (such as the one that follows) that estimates the TRUE COSTS to BUILD and MAINTAIN an in-house enterprise feedback management system:
|TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP: (example only – re-do, using your specific estimates.)
Data Base Administrator:
Customer Service Representative:
Developer Time (maintenance, upgrades):
$ 130k loaded – say, ½ FTE =
$ 80k loaded – say, ¼ FTE =
$ 32k loaded – say, ¼ FTE =
$ 80k loaded – say, ¼ FTE =
$100k loaded – say, ½ FTE =
|Annual People Costs:
|Fully-Loaded Costs (Insert your estimate):
|Maintenance and License Fees on Software (Insert your estimate):
|Hardware and Software Upgrades (Insert your estimate):
|GRAND TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
There is an old saying that sums up the whole discussion on the costs of outsourcing EFM…
"You can pay (a little) now, or pay (much more) later."
Outside vendors have an immediate advantage due to (1) Knowledge specialization, (2) Time to focus on one thing, and (3) Cross-industry knowledge sharing and feature innovation.
But, aren’t we just talking about “surveys” here? No! Survey collection is the simplest part of what we do. (That would be like saying, “Aren’t we just talking about toast in a restaurant, or lipstick in a retail store?”)
Collecting surveys is easy. (That’s why Internet survey companies’ prices are so cheap.)
It’s what you do with the information that’s difficult...
- Service-lapse recovery
- Information dissemination
- Voice of Customer
- Holding people accountable
- Integrated reporting
So, what are some specific examples of better functionality of an outsourced system? (E.g. Why should you outsource enterprise feedback management to Mindshare?)
- Reporting (robust reporting methods): Key drivers | link between customer, employee, and financial results | multiple scoring methods | multiple report formats | changes to surveys flow automatically into reports.
- Causality (did something cause something else to happen?): Ice cream example—research shows positive correlation between ice cream consumption, boating accidents and drownings. Does ice cream “cause” boating accidents and drownings? No. The variables are only related through another variable, the weather. (As heat rises, so does eating ice cream, boating, and swimming.)
- Low Scores vs. Important Low Scores (the low-scoring variables may not be the most important things to improve): Hospital food example—on surveys, hospital food always scores near the bottom. Given scarce resources, should hospitals focus attention on their food? No. Hospital food ranks low, but it has no correlation to a patient’s “intent to recommend.” They don’t like the food, but it doesn’t keep them from referring the hospital to others.
- Deriving Importance (How do I tell what’s important? Do I just ask customers? No. Importance usually needs to be derived, not asked): Airline example—when asked, customers always list “safety” as the most important variable used in choosing an airline. But, when correlated against behavior (what they buy), safety is never in the top ten. Why? Because safety is assumed. While safety is clearly the number one concern of customers, it does not generally drive their choice of airline.
- Clear, targeted reports tailored and delivered to all layers of management, with role-defined security.
- Reports delivered by email to specific people on an immediate, daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
- Reports that are available online, in real-time, 24/7.
- Reports that are flexible across time, geography, cross-tabbing, type, download method, etc.
- Actionable alerts, triggered by pre-set criteria, sent to local unit manager for follow up.
- Alert triggers that are flexible by question, average scoring, overall scoring, etc.
- Incident Management system opens up an “incident” that needs to be resolved by local management.
- Reporting that tracks actions taken and documents the follow-up and resolution.
- Call-back requests that are flagged for immediate attention.
- Reporting that holds unit managers accountable to (1) “fix” the internal problem—be it person, process, or thing; and (2) “fix” the customer situation.
Voice of the Customer
- Actual customer comments captured in text, or in highly-portable MP3s and integrated into quantitative reporting, or easily extracted for qualitative uses. Nothing is more powerful than the customer’s voice.
Integrated Reporting on all Customer Feedback from Every “Moment of Truth”
- Information collected from all feedback sources (web & phone surveys, www.com feedback, 800#, new store openings, internal audits, mystery shops, employee satisfaction surveys, all enterprise touch-points, etc.) can be integrated into single reports, automatically delivered to the point of accountability.
Exceptional Service Recognition
- Identifies and solicits positive customer feedback for training, reward, and recognition purposes.
Everything we do at Mindshare can be spread across hundreds of customers. The leverage that we achieve means lower costs, better products, more reliability, and better sharing of ideas and innovation.
Broader feature set
Performance and reliability
Industry- and company-specific best practices
Support: Dedicated account management team—always ready to assist you, constantly finding ways to drive your success. Multiple, cross-functional team members to back each other up.
Security: Application and hardware maintained at professional data-hosting facility. Multiple levels of redundancy to ensure up-time. Data encryption.
Benchmarking: Compare results across not only your own locations, but across others in your industry, and most importantly, companies in other industries.
Let’s say you do go ahead and choose to build a customer feedback system yourself. Who will “own” it for the future? Who will be held responsible for its continued success? What about changes to software and hardware? What about internal staff changes, turnover, and re-training?
A couple questions to ask yourself:
Who in your company is thinking about the future in this area?
What about changes that will need to be made?
What would happen if key IT or analytical personnel were to leave your company?
Is this really a core competency you want your company to have?
How much more could you benefit from best practices of hundreds of industry leading-companies?
Speed and Versatility
Mindshare can have your customer feedback and your employee feedback surveys (with complete analysis and reporting), up-and-running in less than a week. How long will it really take your IT department to create even a very simple system, and get it running?
All of the resources you spend doing this could be spent elsewhere improving your core competency.
CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY
Why do companies like Hertz, Marriott, Arby’s, Fuddrucker’s, Papa Murphy’s, Tony Roma’s, Firestone and many more rely on Mindshare’s hosted service?
Answer: Results! Focus! We allow you to focus on your business! REMEMBER…
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
We strongly suggest that you follow this important saying, and focus on what your company is in business to do – focus on your core competency, and let Mindshare serve you using one of the finest enterprise feedback management systems in the world.
This is how I see it.