For more than 100 years, customers who have required unsurpassed performance and durability for signal transmission have counted on the Belden brand. In the 20th century, that trust was built on high-performance wire and cable products. Today, Belden designs, manufactures and sells a comprehensive portfolio of cable, connectivity and networking products for the transmission of signals for data, sound and video applications. In order to maintain industry leadership, Belden has put the customer voice at the center of its priorities as a company.
Surveys can be useful tools to gauge how companies are performing in the eyes of their customers. However, having a consistent and ongoing stream of feedback via surveys increases the burden on customers. Working with Walker, Belden successfully linked key areas of customer feedback that are critical to retention and growth to internal metrics in order to have an ongoing view of how the company is performing in the eyes of the customer – without as many surveys.
Executives tasked the organization with improving overall retention and customer loyalty. With only an annual survey to gauge progress in these areas, the team had a hard time determining on a regular basis if the actions taking place were the ones that would result in improvements in these key customer metrics. They realized they needed a different approach to successfully reach their goal.
With Walker's help, the Belden team decided to align its internal metrics around its customer retention and loyalty goals. And the goals were aggressive: increase customer loyalty by 3 percent each year for the next three years.
To start, they conducted a mapping session that included all phases of the customer journey, from pre-purchase to the end of the lifecycle. They carefully reviewed all touchpoints and identified the critical experiences that aligned with loyalty and retention of customers.
Once the key moments of impact were identified, they aligned operational metrics to each critical customer area. However, this presented a new challenge: the organization had an overwhelming number of metrics they currently tracked, many of which were not consistent across business units. Since the goals and intent were to make this a standard for the company, aligning the metrics came with challenges. As with any operational metric exercise, it also exposed that many existing metrics were internally focused and did not accurately capture or address customer expectations.
The team created a dashboard that included all of the key operational metrics that could be monitored on a monthly basis while solicited customer feedback was not being gathered. The dashboard is maintained by the lead Six Sigma teams within Belden by capturing metric input across the business units and consolidating them into one view.
By aligning customer insights with operational metrics, Belden not only met their goal - they doubled it in the first year! Actions within Belden focused on improving the critical points of impact across business units. As improvements occurred, operational metrics subsequently improved. Strong alignment between the survey metrics and operational metrics continues to exist, and the ongoing monitoring of the operational metrics allows for less reliance on the survey to gauge overall retention and loyalty of customers.
Belden is now more able to effectively sense operational changes that are likely to impact retention and intervene. The new system has also brought the customer more to the forefront of how actions are being taken, by showing functional teams how their metrics change based on customer sentiment.
% Improvement from year to year on Key operational metrics
As key operating metrics were aligned with customer insights, a clearer plan of action was revealed. Belden focused on key improvements, and metrics improved as much as 76 percent. Improvements in these critical areas led to impressive results - a 6 percent increase in loyalty, doubling the original goal.