In one of my early projects in the corporate world, I built a team member satisfaction measuring tool for the company I was working for. As I built the questionnaire, I covered all areas from hiring to training, from on the job satisfaction to the role of the supervisor and compensation.
Once the data was collected and broken down by region, I tried to correlate it to sales for each region but to my amazement, there was very low correlation. That seemed quite strange. Certain Senior Management members started questioning the need for the survey as it was not connected to the top-line key performance indicators of the brand. The reports generated on the project made their rounds among different regional VPs and then got put in their designated folders. I was quite bummed for not being able to provide the company with actionable data, or making the company feel that they can act based on the data.
Six months later, when I was between projects, I decided to run the correlations again. But this time I used current sales and compared it to team member satisfaction data collected six months back. The results were simply astounding. The relationship was strong. Then I enhanced the model by putting monthly sales changes for the last six months and soon realized that the team member satisfaction data was a crystal ball, as it was the leading indicator of future sales.
I could not believe I missed this one. This was right in front of my eyes and I failed to see it. I remember growing up in India; my mother was a great cook. But on days she was upset, the food was not the same. Of course my brother and I never complained, not because we did not want to complain, but complaints got us a few smacks on the head. In short, my mom, a great cook, could not cook to her full potential on days she was unhappy. So in order to get a great meal, our job was to make sure mom was happy, at least when she cooked.
That same lesson now was in front of me, on a bigger scale. I realized that only happy team members can make customers happy. Empowered by the new information, the team member satisfaction data found a new life in the corporation. As most of you can imagine, in the corporate world we judge today on yesterday’s sales, a trailing indicator. In that scenario, to be able to provide a system-wide and regional level leading indicator for sales is very valuable.
At the same I came across another piece of information. In most experience industries, nearly 70% of the reason for revisit (repeat sales) was the customer’s experience. The remaining 30% was marketing, branding, message and other factors. And who controls the customer’s experience? The front line team members. Wow! I realized we had information that would allow us to favorably influence the guest experience.
The next few months, I traveled to present the data to each region and would also do focus groups with team members to understand the drivers of the data. Here are my top three big learnings:
1.It is better not to ask what is wrong, than to ask and not do anything about it.
Asking sets an expectation, and not doing anything creates an unfulfilled promise. It is just like a relationship where earlier your spouse accused you of not asking him/her of how the day was. Now that you asked and he/she is talking, you are accused of not listening (and not caring) as you were doing something else at the time.
Solution: Within three months of collecting team member satisfaction data, all team members should receive the following:
a)Top-line summary data so they feel included
b)List of actions that will be taken
2.Compensation is not the number #1 driver of satisfaction.
Of course fair compensation is necessary, and fair is defined by:
a)comparable industry salaries
b)salaries within the company
c)incentives that reward performance
But what was more important on a day to day level was work place situations and interactions.
3.Finally, team members worked for a person, not a company.
The data always has a strong correlation with how a supervisor treats a team member. Hence when a team member decides to leave a company driven by dissatisfaction, the primary source of dissatisfaction is “how my boss treats me on a day to day basis.”
We get it.
We have been in your shoes.
In the corporate world where most external resources wanted to be a vendor and not a partner, our founder Arjun Sen, as the VP of Marketing and Operations Services of a Fortune 500 brand, wanted to find partners who get it. A partner who wanted to roll up their sleeves and take shared ownership of solving a brand’s challenges, and looked at the complete solution. Thus ZenMango was born.
Founder & CEO
Previously led a prestigious corporate marketing career, holding senior executive positions in several Fortune 500 companies. He has 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, consumer research, strategic planning, and operations in restaurant/retail companies. During Mr. Sen’s corporate tenure, he served as Sr. VP of Marketing for Jillian’s Entertainment and VP of Marketing and Operations for Papa John’s International Worldwide.
CONSUMER MIND READER: Discover a brand’s current equity in the mind of the consumer.
INSIGHT DIGGER: Leads the ZenMango team to uncover insights that make actions inevitable.
BRAND STRATEGIST WITH A PURPOSE: In every project, large or small, makes sure that it is connected to the guest experience and the overall brand.
PARTNER WHO THRIVES ON MAKING AN IMPACT: Build paths to enhance a brand’s guest experience and lifelong relationship with its customers.
DEFINES SUCCESS BY BRAND IMPACT AND CLIENT REACTIONS: Clients value his marketing-intelligence, perspective, and commitment to make a true impact in their brand and has been described as:
"The Towering Research Giraffe," by Richard Davis, VP, Boston Market
"One of the most 'marketing-intelligent' minds in the business today," by Blaine Hurst, President, Papa John’s.
Author of the book CUSTOMER KARMA, a book that offers impactful customer centric insights for business professionals of all levels.
Designed and implemented the FIRST GUEST-EXPERIENCE FOCUSED ONLINE ORDERING SYSTEM for Papa John’s. Today it is nearly a $1 billion annual business.
Drove the COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING CLAIM AGAINST PIZZA HUT that put Papa John’s on the pizza map forever.
Brought BREAKTHROUGH THINKING TO THE PR WORLD by assisting a top sports personality to manage his PR using consumer insights to navigate through crisis.
Assisted the Governor of Colorado as the co-chair of the small business council to ADD “TRUE VALUE” TO THE SMALL BUSINESSES in the state.
The BRAIN-SUPPORT BEHIND THE LAUNCH OF NEW RESTAURANT brands of today.
Assisted numerous CXOs define and MANAGE THEIR “PERSONAL BRAND” (YOUR-NESS) that has resulted in very successful and rewarding professional careers.
Coined the term “Marperations”: the marriage between the often divided Marketing & Operations functions.
As President of PanIIT Inc. (a global alumni organization of over 60,000 alums in the US) he POSITIONED THE BRAND AS ONE OF THE MOST COVETED ALUMNI-BRANDS in the country.
MBA from Brigham Young University
Bachelors in Aeronautical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.
Past Faculty at University of Colorado, Boulder
In his free time Arjun loves to golf and spend time with his daughter.