Bain’s Stuart Berman on the Power of The NPS Loyalty Forum in Deepening Client Relationships Between Engagements

Episode 10 September 23, 2020 00:36:09
Bain’s Stuart Berman on the Power of The NPS Loyalty Forum in Deepening Client Relationships Between Engagements
Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches
Bain’s Stuart Berman on the Power of The NPS Loyalty Forum in Deepening Client Relationships Between Engagements

Sep 23 2020 | 00:36:09

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Show Notes

Bain and Company’s Stu Berman joins Robbie to talk about what makes the Net Promoter System (NPS) Loyalty Forum itself so powerful for the members and for Bain. They also explore how the best organizations build customer-centricity into the fabric of their businesses, a core value of NPS. They discuss the value of creating a private community for senior executives across different companies to meet and discuss, how a subscription can be used to deepen relationships with key customers, and the importance of always listening to your customers first.

Highlights from this episode:

 

Stu's Bio:

Stuart Berman currently runs the NPS Loyalty Forum at Bain & Company where he works to build forever relationships with customers, employees, and partners. He spent the early years of his career as a management consultant at Bain before becoming General Manager of Intuit’s online store. He then worked in startup companies for a number of years before going to work as a Group Product Manager at eBay. Stu obtained a BA with a dual major of Economics and Mathematics/Computer Science from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Stanford University. He has over 20 years of business management and development experience.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 For context, this interview was recorded in July of 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We all want a business like Netflix or Amazon prime businesses, where once a customer engages with them, it becomes automatic and a part of their lifestyle from then on. But how do you build that forever transaction? I'm Robbie Kellman Baxter, and I have been studying subscription and membership models for nearly 20 years in this podcast, my guests and I share the secrets and strategies of the membership economy. Join us for subscription stories, true tales from the trenches. Speaker 0 00:00:46 Welcome to the show. It's your host, Robbie Kellman Baxter sharing subscription stories with you. One of the most popular metrics for measuring customer loyalty is the net promoter score. NPS is a key component of the broader net promoter system. First introduced by Fred Reichheld of Bain and company in an HBR article. And then in his book, the ultimate question today's guest Bain and company Stu Berman has built and runs a community called the NPS loyalty forum. The forum is a group of senior executives, usually a business leader or a senior executive in charge of customer experience who learn from each other and from Bain experts, how to grow their businesses profitably through customer and employee loyalty. In this conversation, you're getting a two for one stew, and I talk about what makes the NPS loyalty forum itself so powerful for the members and for Bain. But we're also going to talk about how the best organizations built customer centricity into the fabric of their businesses, a core value of the net promoter system. This is a great example of how a subscription can be used to deepen relationships with key customers between engagements and how to create value through community. Let's jump in. Speaker 1 00:02:15 Hi Stu. Hi Robbie. Speaker 0 00:02:17 So let's, let's dive in a little bit on what the NPS loyalty forum is. Can you describe it? What do you tell somebody when they're thinking about joining it? Um, and how do, how do your members describe it to one another? Speaker 2 00:02:30 Sure. The forum is a discussion group, essentially that gets together. At least historically before the pandemic, we would get together in person four times a year. Each time was about a day and a half long, and each meeting was hosted by one of our members. And the goal when we got together was to essentially share ideas about how do we get our customers and employees to love us more, to love us so much that they run around and tell their friends and family you need to buy from these, you need to work at these companies. And so they're always sharing ideas about how, what are some of the things that they've done that have worked really well. And they also share things that maybe haven't worked as well, that, uh, that they can all learn from each other on. Um, so it's a group of senior executives typically, uh, from companies and businesses around the world. Speaker 2 00:03:19 Some of you know, many of them are loyalty leaders in their industries. The group is probably about 75% North America based 25% European based the group is I always joke. We're about 75% B2B and 75% B to C because a lot of the group is as elements of both. So if I told them to choose one or the other, they might struggle with which room they should go to. But it's, the group is split pretty evenly between B to B and B to C and the typical member from each company. And there's one person that's typically the member from each company is the most senior executive with responsibility for customer experience in the company. It could be a business leader. It could be chief customer, officer VP, SVP of customer experience. It really kind of depends on who the company is as to who the person is. But the goal is to have it be a senior executive network of peers, Speaker 3 00:04:11 Competitive businesses that are members Speaker 2 00:04:14 Typically, no, there's some times where there might be competitors on the margin. And we, the reason we don't allow competitors in the room is we want the discussions to be very open and forthcoming. And so first off we have a nondisclosure agreement so people can share what they want at their companies, but they can't share it outside of their companies. And then adding in the fact that there are no competitors in the room means people really feel open to sharing anything and everything. And it always catches people a little bit off guard when they come to their first couple of meetings, just how open everybody is about all the different things that they're working on. And so, you know, occasionally there might be some competitors on the margin, but we want to ensure like typically what will happen is if a new executive will come to me and say, I'm interested in joining, I might ask, you know, who are your top competitors? Speaker 2 00:05:05 And if one of their top competitors is there, we wouldn't allow it. But if there's somebody that's a little bit more on the margin, I would go to the member in question that that's already there and ask if they would feel comfortable. And kind of the acid test is if you were hosting a meeting and your CEO walked in the room, how would they feel if they looked over and saw that somebody from this company was there and a related question, is, is there anything that you would say if they're not in the room that you would not say if they are, because I really do want to create an open environment at the forum. And as soon as people start holding back, then it wouldn't be Speaker 3 00:05:43 Ballpark. How many members might you have at any point in time just to give us a sense of scale? Speaker 2 00:05:48 Yeah, sure. Um, yeah, historically we've kind of been right around the 35 to 40 range and we've been consistently there for a fair amount of time. Now Speaker 4 00:05:59 The member is the person, not the company. Is that right? That's right. Yup. Okay. And other than there's, there's quarterly meetings, which are hosted by the members. What are the other, are there other features or benefits of this offering when you think about kind of, what do you get for being a member? Speaker 2 00:06:17 Yeah, you bet. There's, um, there's kind of my pre my pre pandemic answer. So, um, before the pandemic, the, uh, the other stuff, typically we would do interim calls from time to time, not necessarily with any regularity, but it could be any topic where a member might say, Hey, here's something that I'm interested in. Maybe it doesn't apply to the entire group. And, um, or maybe the member is not the right person to answer, to talk about it. So, you know, one example is a few years back, we had a social media discussion where they said, Hey, social media is important to our customer experience, but I'm not the social media expert in my company. And so we said, great, let's do a call between meetings where everybody gets their social media experts on the phone and they can all share ideas with each other. Speaker 2 00:07:03 And that was just a way to involve people that aren't normally at the meeting. We've also done things like a CFO meeting where we say, you know, bring your CFOs to the meeting. And we may, we'll probably do one of those again, um, by telephone pretty soon. But, um, so that was kind of pre pandemic, post pandemic actually, you know, pretty much as soon as coronavirus hit, we switched over to an all virtual model for the time being. And we've been holding calls with our members pretty much every other week, as a way for them to support each other and us to support them as best we can. So, you know, talking about what do you do in the face of this pandemic, and then the discussions lately have started to move more towards the, how do you think about getting everybody back to work and whatnot in terms of what the members get? Speaker 2 00:07:52 It's, you know, all of the biweekly meetings that we're having now, plus the longer quarterly meeting, and we've scaled that back a little bit timewise since it's virtual and nobody wants to sit on a zoom call for a day and a half. And, uh, and then also they can ask questions of the members anytime they want. They can ask questions of the Bain partners anytime they want. So, um, you know, we're pretty open dialogue between all of us. And I would say those, those are kind of the larger benefits. And then there's also benefits to hosting the meetings when people have hosted in the past, which is they can typically bring their, anybody they want from their company. So usually they have a few extra senior executives at the meeting, people from their teams come. So usually the host has 10 or 15 people in the room when we're meeting in person. And it's a way to just, um, give them, you know, we also give them more time on the agenda as a way for them to go a little bit more in depth on their story and share things that have worked for them, but also get feedback and advice on things that they're, they may be struggling with. Speaker 4 00:08:53 What is the pricing model for this? Is Speaker 3 00:08:56 This something that is just for Bain clients? Is it included? Is it something that they pay extra for? Is it completely independent? How do you think about the pricing? Speaker 2 00:09:06 Sure. So it's generally pretty independent. We were on the forum as essentially a breakeven endeavor for Bain. And so we charge an annual fee for the members and the group is probably at least last time I checked about one third bane clients, one third pass bank clients, and one third other. And, you know, that might be prospects or just people who probably will never be being clients. But, um, you know, and that's also one of the nice things for me is that I don't need somebody to be a main client in order to be in the room, if they could be a great company, doing great things and wanting to get better from a customer experience and customer loyalty perspective. And it's nice not to have to have that extra filter of, you know, are you also being client? And so there, there are some people that have been in the room for a long time and, uh, and some of the best companies in the world and, you know, they, they may, at some point become a being client and then not, but it's not a criteria for entry into the room. Speaker 3 00:10:02 What inspired being to create the forum? Can you share the, the origin story? Speaker 2 00:10:08 Sure. Fred Reichheld invented the net promoter score for Fred's long time being partner. And so he put out an article in 2003 that introduced the net promoter score. It was called the one number you need to grow. And then in 2000 early, 2006, the book, the ultimate question came out and that really kind of launched NPS to the world. And people would read the book and say, Hey, bane know we saw a book. This is great. We'd love to figure out how best can we roll this out in our companies? And so we would introduce executive from company a, to the executive from company B and executive from company B to the executive, from company C. And then finally somebody said, why don't we just get everybody together in the same room at the same time? And they can all share ideas with each other. Speaker 2 00:10:54 And then we can be a part of the dialogue too, because NPS is a concept that's in the public domain. Like we have it trademarked, but people don't have to pay to use NPS, but it doesn't do us any favors if they go out and try and implement NPS and do a bad job of it and then run around and tell people, yeah, this NPS thing is not great. And if we find out how they implemented it, it's like, well, no wonder you did a whole bunch of things that we would not have recommended. So having a group get together and share ideas about how best to implement it was hugely beneficial to that community. And also to us to see how were people implementing NPS? What were they doing, right? What were they doing wrong? What were the roadblocks they were running into? So, you know, there's benefits to us of, you know, helping develop this IP, but also develop a lot more understanding and expertise on what works and what doesn't keep us close to a number of the world's best companies by being in this community with them. Speaker 2 00:12:00 And so that was kind of what led to the group getting together in the first place. And the, the original intention was we were only going to meet twice a year. And we had the first meeting in October of 2006. And it was just a, it was like little more than half a day, instead of, you know, instead of the day and a half right now, it was like 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. And around one, one 30 Rob Markey, who, co-wrote the ultimate question 2.0 with Fred and his long time leader of our global customer strategy marketing practice stood up at the end of the meeting and said, all right, you guys want to do this again? And they were like, yes, yes, we definitely want to do it again. Speaker 4 00:12:37 What were the initial goals of the forum? Did you have, did you have certain metrics in mind that you were, that you were tracking against? Can you share what, what the metrics were when you, when you started? Speaker 2 00:12:50 Sure. I don't, you know, I don't have a ton of metrics myself for the forum. Like, you know, at some point in the early days I asked Rob, you know, what would make this a success? And, uh, he said, you know, break even financially for Bain and don't mess up. Right. And so, you know, even early days we had like seven or eight companies at that first meeting. And, uh, and over time we grew pretty quickly to 20. And then it took a couple more years before we hit kind of the 35 to 40 that we've been kind of steady state up. And so it was really, you know, from a metric standpoint, it was just, you know, are we breaking even from a other goals perspective that are a little bit harder to put metrics on, it might be things like, um, as I said before, developing intellectual property. Speaker 2 00:13:42 And so we may have some ideas that we'll say, Hey, here's something that we're working on. We want to test it with people. The forum members are a perfect group of people to work with on, on developing that. It also has definitely enhanced our reputation by making sure that NPS was done well by, by the members and kept as close to some great executives from some fantastic companies has really just helped us build out our expertise around customer experience and NPS. And so those were most of the goals along the way. Like I'm not evaluated on this metric. It's more of a nice to know that over time, historically our renewal rate is North of 80% people don't typically come for one year. They usually stick around for at least four or five. And as I mentioned, a lot of times, if they leave it's cause they're leaving their job, but then they show up again, some of them compete with each other as like I'm going to be the first person to host from three different companies. And I'm, as I said, some of them, it's not necessarily easy to put a metric on, on some of those, but more just do we feel like this is working and if it's not working on any of these dimensions, how can we thinks that those goals are pretty much what we set out with at the beginning? And we've stayed with them? I don't think it's changed too much, Speaker 3 00:15:01 The reasons I really wanted to talk to you. Um, and then I mentioned when I, when I asked you to be on the show, was that, um, I think this is such a great example of a subscription or membership that is not by itself, a profit center that is more of a, either a marketing, a marketing tool or a strategic element of a larger strategy. Um, and the other thing that I think is really interesting and unique about this conversation, um, is that your thought leaders subject matter experts, process experts that do most of your work is, is very episodic in nature, right? The big project you come in, you do a big project, you help with some great advice, and then you might not see a client for, for some period of time. And this is a really different way to build, to build deeper relationships and build and spread your expertise, um, which I think can work in a lot of different kinds of professional services, consultative kinds of businesses. Speaker 2 00:16:06 Yeah, no, I think that's absolutely true. And, um, you know, as I said, it's, it's kept us close to a lot of people over time. You know, we've been doing this for 14 years and have seen a number of people come and go. But a lot of times they say I'm leaving my job, but I'm not leaving the forum. And, uh, and there've been at least a couple of situations I can think of where somebody being in the room or someone's being in the room, ended up landing them a job somewhere else because they talked to somebody at the meeting who said, Oh, you're looking here's the job that I would have, or one person was at the meeting, ended up hiring one of the other people at the meeting, Speaker 3 00:16:41 I would say in some ways it's almost like a professional association for a very specific, not just specific job type. Cause I know that there are a lot of different titles among the members, but a very specific point of view about prioritizing customer centricity. Speaker 2 00:16:59 Yeah. I mean, even over the last 14 years that we've been doing this, I've seen so many more people with titles like chief customer officer, or head of customer experience that nobody really, or not many people really talked about before the customer job is a hard one. The chief customer officer can be a lonely job. And so it was really nice, I think for the, this group of people to have other folks that they can turn to who are dealing with what they're dealing with. I hear stories all the time of people saying, Oh yeah, between meetings. I spoke to this person, that person, and they really helped me out with this issue or that issue. And, you know, I could tell you some funny stories about thank you gifts, but it's, you know, as I said, it's like a family. And so I always, when I hear those stories, I try to them at the meetings. Speaker 2 00:17:50 But, um, but yeah, it is, it's kind of like an association in some sense, but, you know, as I said, it's, it's really allowed us to stay close to a lot of these people and you know, they, you know, so back to the tie to consulting, you know, sometimes as I said, they may be at a client, but then they leave and go somewhere else. And you know, maybe that company is, or was a client. And, you know, maybe because they had a good experience with pain from a consulting standpoint before, or with the forum, they, you know, when they land wherever they land that, um, you know, everybody wins from that too. So, um, so yeah, we've seen a bunch of those situations. Speaker 3 00:18:29 So something that a lot of organizations struggle with is they, they want those senior people to engage in their community, right? Whatever, whatever association it is, or, you know, any kind of digital community, any kind of in person, community. I work with a lot of different organizations that say, but the senior people, they just don't join and they don't engage and they keep their cards close to their vest. How have you been able to number one, attract very senior people, um, who are so busy and yet they're clamoring for four meetings. I mean, four meetings a year where you, you know, at least historically get on an airplane and maybe fly halfway across the world, um, for a day and a half. Um, and then building that level of trust where they share such confidential or personal information, um, what do you think has allowed you, what are the tips that you would have for somebody else who was trying to build that kind of trusted and highly engaged community amongst senior people? Speaker 2 00:19:21 Sure. I would say, you know, some of the things I mentioned earlier are helpful, like the NDA, the nondisclosure agreements. So people know that whatever they say is protected, having no competitors in the room also has been really helpful. I think also the tone for the forum got set pretty early days. Like there's a, there's a story I remember from September of 2007. So it was, you know, roughly a year into our, uh, go round. And, uh, and one of the members said, Hey, Stu, I want to stand up in front of the group and present my plan for rolling out NPS around the world. And my company and his company had a hundred countries, a hundred thousand employees. And so he stood up and he said, all right, everyone, here's my plan. And tell me what's wrong with it. Wow. And so he's like, I want to get this all launched in the next 12 months. Speaker 2 00:20:12 And people just lifted it and say, are you crazy? Like there is no way you can do all of that in 12 months. Like maybe you should think about it by, you know, rolling it out in a couple of pilot sites and get some champions and then, you know, test some new things and learn from that and retest, and, and then, you know, eventually roll it out a little bit more broadly. And, you know, 18 months feels like a more likely scenario. And instead of feeling defensive, because it was his plan, he had a big smile on his face the whole time. And he just said, you know, I can't tell you how grateful I am for all of your input and advice. And, um, it really has saved me so much heartache and stress. And so I think that kind of presentation really early on set the tone that it's okay to come to these meetings and share the things that don't work or that you're challenged with and you want some help on. Speaker 2 00:21:08 And so in terms of bringing senior executives to the room, I think it's helpful for them to know that they can show up and have some thorny issues that they want to discuss and, uh, and get answers to those. I always tell them, you know, when you show up at a meeting, regardless of what we've put on the agenda, think about the three questions that you want to get answered while you're there and then ask everybody, you know, we've got lunches, breaks, dinners, whatever. And during that time, make sure you ask people the answers to the questions that are most important to you. And that way, that way, when they leave, they'll have gotten some stuff that's relevant to what they want to get answered. You would ask, like, how do we keep some of the senior executives in the room? How do we get them there in the first place? Speaker 2 00:21:54 And how do we keep them there? And some of it is not, it's not just having other senior executives in the room, but it's having the experts in the field. So people like Fred Reichheld, as I mentioned before, you know, guru on customer loyalty customer experience is like the father or grandfather that everybody always wanted and people love, love, love Fred. And so having him in the room is the kind of thing that keeps people coming back. People like Rob Markey, who, as I mentioned, you know, has been partner for 20, 30 years and ran our global customer strategy and marketing practice, having him in the room, leading a lot of these discussions. He's seen it all in his days as a main partner. And so learning from him and having him push people and, and encourage them to try things and do things in different way. Speaker 2 00:22:44 They trust people like Robin Fred and all the other Bain partners that are at these meetings. And so, um, so I think that's the kind of stuff that keeps them there. And also we are very, very explicit that this is not an advertisement for Bain. So like we will never, ever stand up and say, and here's why you should use bane. I don't want people to feel like they're being sold to in this environment. So, you know, another piece of advice for people starting a community is we've steered away for the most part from having vendors in the meeting. Cause I do want the meetings to feel like they're a safe Haven for people as opposed to coming in and having somebody pitching them on this, that or the other thing. Speaker 3 00:23:27 So I promised in my teaser at the opening that we were going to get a twofer, um, with you. And I brought you in to talk about membership models about creating a subscription or a membership within a large professional services consulting organization and all the other things we've talked about how to build community and build community among senior leaders, all of those things, but it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the fact that NPS is something and building loyalty and loyalty expertise is something that every subscription business has to figure out. Because if you don't have loyal subscribers, they cancel right. They churn. So first of all, I'd love to talk to you. You've been been in this space with the, you said, you know, some of the best practitioners in the world, thinking about loyalty, engagement, building, customer relationships, building for customer impact. First of all, how has that changed from 2006 to now? What are you seeing? You kind of alluded to changing titles, but what else are you seeing in organizations? Speaker 2 00:24:31 I would say we've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go. Things like all the financial standards have been in place for many, many, many years. And for people to listen to their customers and try and understand how their customers are feeling and put some numbers around it, that's still relatively new. Like we've been working on things like referral economics with the forum members for a long time. And it feels like it's still something that not a lot of companies are doing. So, um, there, I would say that the ability to listen to customers in a lot of different ways, whether it's surveys, social media, things like that, that's really evolved a lot over time. But, um, but there's still progress that needs to be made in terms of just, you know, one of, one of the members. At some point we asked him when he was living his company, what he was retiring and we said, you know, what would you do differently if you had to do it again? And he said, probably two things in my company. I let them get away with a one to five scale on net promoter for a long time instead of zero to 10. And I, because I wanted to make sure we rolled out NPS. And so I was willing to lose that battle to win the war. If I'd do it again, I would fight that battle because it's much, much better to use a zero to 10 scale than it is one five scale Speaker 3 00:25:54 Because it's more nuanced or why, why does it matter? Speaker 2 00:25:58 Well, you know, it's a couple of things. So the reason for zero to 10 is just, you know, which direction the scale goes. Like if I asked you to how likely would you be to recommend something on a one to five scale you might say, well, is one good or is one bad, zero to 10? There's no question about that. And then also it's just a lot more refined, right? I mean, think about if you're in an Uber or Lyft, how likely are you to give three stars even, right. I mean, most people are going to go either one or five and at least there's a little bit more opportunity for, for choice when it's zero to 10. But then the other thing he said, which I thought was great was I would have gotten my finance person on board a lot earlier in the process because once I got my finance person onboard, everything changed. Speaker 2 00:26:42 And so, you know, this is one of the things that we're working with the forum members on all the time is figure out the numbers, you know, understand what is the value of a promoter versus the value of a detractor in your organization? Because once you know that, you know, if you want to start making changes in your company, if the finance person knows, okay, if we remove this service that the customer is like, here's what it's going to do to our economics. They might be less likely to remove that service as opposed to, we're just trying to save costs. And so, you know, just trying to, you know, help the companies give a, take a more broader view of everything and think about what is the customer lifetime value for these people. So I think that's, that's one of the things where I've started to see a little bit more work, be done, but as I said, there's, there's more that still needs to be done. Speaker 3 00:27:32 Okay. So I'm hoping that you can share some, some more advice with the people listening, specifically advice for other salting firms, professional services firms, and subject matter experts who might not have kind of, you know, as you said, the, uh, the support and the infrastructure that have been would have, if they're thinking about building a similar kind of community around their practice or their expertise, uh, what would be your top advice elements getting started? Speaker 2 00:28:02 I would say, uh, first just take the first step. Don't don't feel like it has to be perfect out of the gate. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, there have been things that we've tried along the way that may have worked better than others, but we're always learning and always evolving. So I think just get started as opposed to waiting to feel like it's perfect. I would say something else that would be very helpful is to pick a few what I would call anchor tenants. And so, you know, people who are kind of allies of yours, who you would want to be in the room going forward and let them help you design it. Don't, don't pretend that you know everything about how you want these things to go. And so ask them, what are the topics you want to cover? Speaker 2 00:28:44 How should the, you know, how many people should be there? What other companies do you want in the room and just let them help you get it started. Think about doing kind of a sampler as the first meeting. I mentioned before that the first meeting we had had seven or eight people, and it was really like eight to two. And we said, we just want to do a little bit of a quick skim across a bunch of topics and give people a sense for what this could be and then see, okay. You know, if we're going to do it again, how often do you want to do it? What, um, you know, who else would you want to see in the room? What topics would you want to cover? Things like that. Um, so again, that's part of the, just get started. I would say, you know, if you're thinking about kind of pandemic switch, it's not clear when this is going to end. Speaker 2 00:29:33 Um, but you know, particularly as Americans, we can't even fly over to Europe or anywhere else these days. So if, uh, if are going to launch something now, I would say, just be sensitive to the number of video calls that people are on and meeting fatigue. And so I mentioned that we had scaled back our big meetings. So the day and a half in person meeting now we've done. Um, we did one kind of video for longer for meeting, which was two hours, one day, two hours the next, and given the importance of the community, we, uh, we also allowed for a bunch of networking time. So we did an optional, totally optional casual half hour before the meeting and hour after for P on both days for people to just come and shoot the breeze with whomever, you know, it's like, I would just use zooms, breakout function and sending people off into groups of four or five, just so they could talk about what's going on for them, because they've told us how important that community is. Speaker 2 00:30:34 And so, um, but again, that, you know, we did a number of calls before the scale down for meeting to ask them, right. If we're going to do this, like, what's the best way, like how do we shrink a day and a half down? And then, you know, we have people geographically from one direction, people in Australia from time to time and in the other direction over to places like Finland and Norway. And so, um, a lot of time zones for covering. And so we just did it eight to 10:00 AM, West coast time so that we were able to catch as many people as possible. We had some people saying it would have been nice if that were a little longer, like, I feel like we were just getting started and yet other people, you know, like the Europeans were like, it was at the end of my day, I had already been on, you know, 10 zoom calls. Speaker 2 00:31:23 That's about as much as I could take. And so it felt like in that regard, we had struck the right balance, particularly because we're doing the calls every other week. We know that we've got a lot of touch points with them. So I would say a lot of it comes down to what is at the heart of NPS anyway, which is listen to your customers. So if you're going to build a community, get people who you want to be there to help you design it and ask them what's gonna work and what's not. And just evolve over time and keep, keep listening and keep evolving. And I'm sure it'll work out. Speaker 4 00:31:55 Yeah, very well. Very well said. And, uh, and your, your expertise as a kind of meta, um, community leader, talking about community engagement, um, really shines through, I want to close out with a little fun speed round, if you're up for it. What was your first subscription that you remember ever having Speaker 2 00:32:16 Sports illustrated magazine? Probably when I was like in high school, Speaker 4 00:32:20 Favorite subscription that you have now, Speaker 2 00:32:23 Amazon prime, or actually, you know what, there are a couple of wineries that I love in Healdsburg. And so I'll give them a little prop. So I'm a wine club member in a place called Graziano, which is awesome. Another one, which is great is Dutch are crossing up Healdsburg. And so I'm happily a member of their wine clubs. Speaker 0 00:32:45 Awesome. Uh, maybe future guests. Uh, what do your employees, your team members love about working with you and what do you think they find difficult about working with you? Speaker 2 00:32:55 So I want them to feel like they have the power to make decisions about anything. So there are a lot of times where they'll say, Hey, Stu, do you want this or that? And I'll say, what do you want? Because I want them to feel like they're empowered to make their own choices. And then in terms of what they don't like, I don't know. Sometimes I get a very busy with a bunch of calls and so don't get back to them as quickly as they might like Speaker 0 00:33:21 Responsiveness. And then, um, what would you say is your super power? Speaker 2 00:33:26 I have been very blessed in my life to meet a lot of people in a lot of different communities. And so I love having a lot of different families in my life, whether it's the NPS forum family, the Bain family, um, I'm a big soccer fan soccer player. So I have the San Jose earthquakes fan family, or the United States national women's and men's team soccer families. And, um, and so I would say my superpower is just being able to, um, to be a part of those communities and find ways to, I'm always trying to figure out how can I be a better member of those communities and help people out there. There's one guy in the soccer community who at the end of a week of soccer events gave me a big hug. And he said, you're the only person here without an agenda. It's like everybody else that's here is player, agent, team, staff, whatever you're here, trying to figure out how you can make the community better. And I really love and appreciate you for that. Um, so likewise, I'm always trying to figure out how can I make the forum a better experience for, for Bain and for all of our members, Speaker 0 00:34:41 Maybe your, your superhero would be community, man, Speaker 2 00:34:45 I'll take it. I'll take it. I'll let you, I'll let you design the logo. Speaker 0 00:34:49 Thank you so much, Stu. This is a fantastic conversation and I'm just full of gems to help others, which is very much in keeping with who you are. Thank you so much for being a guest on subscription stories, Speaker 2 00:35:02 My pleasure, and good luck with the podcast and thanks for having me and thanks also for being one of our guest speakers at the forum. Pleasure. Speaker 0 00:35:14 Thanks for listening everyone. I'm Robbie Kellman Baxter, and this has been subscription stories today. I was talking with Stu Berman, vice president of Bain and companies, NPS loyalty forum. You'll find more about Stu as well as a transcript of our conversation at Robbie Kellman, baxter.com/podcast, to hear other success stories of entrepreneurs, executives, creating their forever transaction in this new and exciting membership economy. Subscribe to my podcast wherever you are. Speaker 1 00:35:45 <inaudible> Speaker 0 00:35:49 Also, if you like what you heard, please take a moment and give me a star rating and write a review. Reviews matters so much in helping others find us. Thanks for listening and thanks for your support. Speaker 1 00:36:01 <inaudible>.

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