What Las Vegas Can Teach You About Managing Customer Referability
Thursday, June 14, 2007
If you’ve ever walked down the strip in Las Vegas, taking in that flaunting of excess, you’ll appreciate what a feat it would be to achieve any kind of conservation goals there. Making do with less? In Vegas? That’s a tough sell. But it’s also just what Pat Mulroy, the water chief for the city, has accomplished (here’s a great story about her that aired the other day on NPR’s Morning Edition). She got big results that crossed state lines, changed the way the Colorado River is managed, and made new artificial lakes illegal in Las Vegas, to name just a few specifics.
Here’s how she did it, according to Alan Feldman, vice president of the Mirage Resort: "She framed it as a business issue: 'This is a resource, this is how much we have, this is its correlation to the economy. How do we manage it to its best impact?'"
A lot of forward-thinking people find themselves frustrated by their inability to get everyone to agree on how to manage customer referability – that is, willingness to recommend your company to a colleague – “to its best impact.” You may be convinced that listening differently or better or more often to your customers is critical. You may think you listen plenty, but don’t respond well enough. But mobilizing others to action around these ideas is arguably harder than getting Vegas to conserve.
But think what you’d be able to do if you could get everyone to see customer referability as a resource, and then trace its impact. Referability may be a slightly more complex resource than water, because so many moving pieces go into creating it, but it’s a resource nonetheless. And it certainly has a powerful impact on your bottom line – the challenge is to make that connection visible. If you did, maybe you could change the way your company manages its equivalent of the Colorado River.
Whitney Wood, Senior Consultant