MX 2010 kicked off today with a keynote from Jared Spool. Jared talked about how typical customer satisfaction surveys on the Web simply don’t map to good experiences. Instead, Jared suggested that the Gallup survey for customer engagement is a much more accurate measure of the end-to-end experience of your customer. Here are the questions Jared provided as an example:

  1. I am satisfied with [company]’s products
  2. I am likely to choose/repurchase a [company] product
  3. I am likely to recommend [company] products to a friend/associate
  4. [company] is a name I can always trust
  5. [company] always delivers on what they promise
  6. [company] always treats me fairly
  7. If a problem arises, I can always count on [company] to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution
  8. I feel proud to be a [company] customer
  9. [company] always treats me with respect
  10. [company] is the perfect company for people like me
  11. I can’t imagine a world without [company]

Using these questions, we then rated Starbucks, McDonald’s, Apple and Microsoft. The results were somewhat predictable, but nevertheless interesting: people were more positive about Apple and Starbucks than Microsoft and McDonald’s, with Apple garnering the strongest positive feelings.

Coincidentally, just hours before arriving at MX 2010, I was at the San Francisco showroom of Room & Board getting a first-hand example of customer engagement.

Late last year I ordered a sectional from Room & Board, but when it arrived at my home there was a problem. The color of the couch did not match what we saw in the showroom and it didn’t match the swatch we brought home. It was close, but no cigar. The sales rep apologized and ordered a replacement immediately. A couple months later, the replacement arrived. Again, the color did not match. “I’m very sorry,” she said, “we’ll replace it again. You can pick another fabric, if you like, and here’s $100 for your trouble”. So today I was in the store selecting another fabric and picking up my $100.

Wow. Talk about a great experience! Is my customer engagement high? You bet. Do I feel respected? Would I recommend Room & Board to a friend/colleague? Can I count on them when a problem arises? Absolutely. I was initially drawn to the design and quality of their products but it was my end-to-end experience that has made me a loyal customer. A great customer experience doesn’t begin and end with great design and Room & Board understands that.