Tag: Executive

Leadership Transition at C Wenger Group

Tom Vander Well (1)

Tom Vander Well

With the beginning of 2018, C Wenger Group is pleased to announce that Tom Vander Well has been named the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Outgoing President and CEO, Scott Wier, will continue his active leadership in the Group and will serve as President of the Group’s Customer Insight division. Wier and Vander Well have owned and led C Wenger Group as partners since January 2005 when founder, Charles Wenger, turned over his interest in the company.

Vander Well has been a member of C Wenger Group since 1994. During that time he has led the Group’s Service Quality Assessment and training services. Vander Well will maintain leadership of those services while assuming responsibility for the Group’s executive operations. Scott Wier, who has led the Group’s customer research services since 1988, will focus his energy on the continued development of research and survey projects.

This transition is the culmination of a long-term plan. Both Tom Vander Well and Scott Wier will maintain their leadership and client relationships for all projects. Clients can expect continuation of the responsive, data-led services C Wenger Group has provided for over a quarter century.

C Wenger Group is a consulting firm based in Des Moines, Iowa. The Group provides a full array of custom-designed research products with a special emphasis on measuring and improving the Customer Experience including research, Quality Assessment and data-led training and coaching.

Executive Reality Check: What We Say vs. What We Measure

A while back I read a fascinating article by Lou Gerstner in the Wall Street Journal. He was examining the response of a financial institution’s CEO to the debacle in which they found themselves. The CEO said that it was the employees who failed to honor the corporate culture of “putting the customer first.” Gerstner goes on argue that what companies say they value in their mission and value statements often flies in the face of the corporate culture dictated from the executive suites:

What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities.

If the financial-reporting system focuses entirely on short-term operating results, that’s what will get priority from employees. If you want employees to care a lot about customers, then customer-satisfaction data should get as prominent a place in the reporting system as sales and profit.

I have seen the truth of Gerstner’s observations over and over again in our years of providing Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) research and Quality Assessment (QA) for companies large and small.

When I tell people about our group it is quite common to have them respond by telling me that their company has a “quality” program. When I ask them to describe their program, however, they explain that they get regular reports about Average Speed of Answer, Average Call Time, Call Counts, and similar metrics. In other words, they are measuring quantity (of calls and time) and equating it with quality. To Gerstner’s point, you get what you inspect. When our group is given an opportunity to do a true quality assessment for such a company, we find Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) more focused on cranking through as many calls as quickly as they can than they are providing any kind of positive customer experience. Despite their company’s well worded value statements about customer service, the CSRs know that their employer truly values efficiency, productivity and cost containment because that’s what the employer measures.

Alternatively, when our group has enjoyed long term partnerships with clients it is typically because the CEO and executive team truly believe in the long-term value and profitability of providing a superior customer experience. To that end, they understand the value of getting reliable data about what drives their customer’s satisfaction and the importance of objectively measuring the customer experience against those drivers. Front-line CSRs know that their company values providing a truly superior customer experience because that is what their employer measures.

It’s a simple exercise for any corporate executive. First take a look at your company’s stated values and mission with regard to customer service and/or the customer experience. Next, take a look at what’s truly being measured on your front-lines where customers interact with your team. Is there a disconnect?

If you need an experienced partner in finding out what drives your customers’ satisfaction, how to measure quality the right way, and how to effectively communicate these things throughout your organization then give us a call. It’s what we’ve been doing for over a quarter century. We’d love the opportunity to work with you and your team.

 

tom head shotTom Vander Well is partner and Executive Vice-President of C Wenger Group. Tom has written about Customer Satisfaction and Quality Assessment on previous blogs (QAQnA and Service Quality Central) and was a contributing Customer Service blogger for the Des Moines Business Record