I Love, Therefore I Recommend (a Net Promoter Love Story)


The ultimate question: would you recommend us to a friend?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been studying the works and theory of loyalty expert Fred Reichheld. Founder of Bain & Company‘s loyalty practice, Reichheld pioneered the quantifiable connection between loyalty, profits, and growth (see Net Promoter Score).

Midway through Reichheld’s book The Ultimate Question, I tested my own consumer passion. What brands, products (or experiences) do I purchase and recommend to other people? I self-imposed a five minute time limit, and the following 13 faves emerged.

Here they are (in alphabetical) order along with at least one reason I’ve recommended them.  It shouldn’t take you long to figure out that I’m a multi-tasking career mom. At the end of the list you’ll find a handful of useful links about customer loyalty and NPS.

Amazon.com Prime I have a secret reason for really, really loving Amazon.com Prime. As someone who invariably puts off buying gifts, the two day delivery keeps my reputation in tact. Shhh. Don’t tell my mother.

Borders Borders’ Members Rewards program does what other bookstore program don’t. It draws me into the every week. Barnes & Noble will often run online-only promos, but I know my weekly Borders email will let me use the coupon in-store or otherwise.

Burts BeesI don’t love Burt’s Bees because it’s nearly 100% natural. Two of its hair care products work miracles on my fine-textured hair. When a girl finds something that her hair likes, there’s no breaking up that relationship.

CloroxClorox, I love you for very specific reasons.  #1, your packaging keeps the wipes from drying out. #2, you don’t leave my counters smeary. And #3, you’ve figured out how to make bleach smell good. Bravo.

CVS PharmacyLet’s face it — when you need a pharmacy, you aren’t in the mood to wait or jump through hoops. CVS does 3 things that other pharmacies (and discount retailers) haven’t mastered:  #1, simple prescription drop off, pick-up and payment; #2, quick turnaround; and #3, highly personable (engaged) pharmacy and store staff.

DiGiorno Shredded CheeseHere’s all you need to know: DiGiorno’s Shredded Cheese looks and tastes like shredded hard cheese is supposed to.  (Well done, Kraft, for segmenting your market’s tastes)


Any pre-packaged chicken that can fool my mother-in-law into thinking I made it, is a product I recommend to all my working-mom friends.


In the words of a Yelp reviewer, “If Bruce Wayne became a winemaker instead of a crime-fighter, he would have created Jarvis.”  This small Napa winery gives tours by appointment only, and I rank it as a must-do.  The tour experience is like nothing you’ve ever seen, and the wines are dee-lish (albeit not cheap).


I’ve tired a lot of exercise formats, gyms and trends over the last 20-ish years. Nothing has done more for my health, spirit, and gluteus maximus than Jazzercise. Ask my BFF @CaskeyChick, who is hooked thanks to yours truly.


I love my Keens so much that I photograph my own feet. Hey, we all do weird things. Seriously — Keens are groovy enough to stand out from a crowd, and if my summer pedicure isn’t just-painted fresh, you’ll never know (thanks to my Keens). It’s not just a girl thing either; my brother (an avid outdoorsman) won’t wear anything but Keen.

LancomeOne product keeps me coming back to the Lancome counter every other month: Lancome Definicils mascara. I’ve used it for years and, without exception, have found nothing that comes close.


If you look at the Levenger catalog and only see paper, pens and leather — you’ll never understand what makes a Levenger customer tick. Every writer (and reader) deserves something from this cataloguer.

Go figure…after 7 years of trial and (all error), Tony Hawk Gummy Multivitamins are the only thing my son looks forward to taking. We’re so ga-ga about the sour HuckJam Gummies that I go out of my way to WalMart for them.

Yankee Candle Logo

In the words of Michael Scott (The Office): “candles are the number one fastest growing product in the scent-aroma market.”  That may be, but the only ones worth my money are Yankee. The scents are so realistic it’s creepy, and the burn time makes you forget that these things aren’t cheap.

Second Helpings and Good Resources:

Deconstructing Your Failure


Photo credit: Steve Ford Elliott

Career Grief sucks. There, I said it. It sucks — horribly.

I sat in a pool of it this past week, despite an astronomical EQ, a mad set of business skills, and growing demand for my work.  That, my friends, is exactly why it torques my day.  It rolled through at the most unexpected (and least welcome) moment, leaving me cranky that I still feel the aftershock of losing a job I loved.

Some days grief is like a spider web. You walk face first into it and no matter how much you spin and try to pull away from it; the tiny strands cling to you all day long.

Rather than wallow in a pool of self-loathing, I pinned down the source of recurring frustration.  I confess that my departure felt like a failed mission — it’s one thing to admit defeat but altogether castrating when someone else calls the time of death for you.

A Sense of Failure at the Root of Grief

It turns out that I’ve been mourning a vital part of me that I left behind. That part of me is kick-ass brilliance and talent, and I’d be an idiot not to retrieve them. In order to do that, I deconstructed my (self-labeled) failure by asking four questions:

  1. Did I attempt too much?

  2. Where did I contribute to poor communication or incomplete information?

  3. How did I dilute my own authority or weaken my team’s responsibility?

  4. When and how did I permit “drop-in crises” to derail our primary mission? Continue reading

How much time do you invest in your blog?

There’s no way around it — blog content takes time to create.  Writing has its process, and good ‘ol process requires time.

How much time does it take you to create a single blog article? Chime in (as a comment) about the challenges you’ve encountered if you’re writing blog content for the first time.

Bonus Reading for Bloggers

Bad Things Happen When You Ignore the Competition

Fade in…

A 20-something sales person and his manager sit across from Joan, a new prospect who holds the decision-making and spending power at her Fortune 1000 company.  Joan agreed to the meeting at the request of a colleague who knows the sales manager.

Unbeknownst to the sales duo, Joan has just finished a crisp, pointed conversation with a vendor that had screwed up for the last time. Her pain, though, is the sales guys’ lucky break. The vendor is a competitor.

Despite being overbooked and juiced on anger, Joan offers her full attention to her visitors.  Fifteen minutes into their slide deck, Joan cuts to the chase and asks the question that turns their golden opportunity into a burnt crisp: “Who’s your competition?”she asks.

She catches that classic flash of panic in the rep’s eyes — you know the kind…when the prospect asks a question that is to be answered with a well-rehearsed, canned response. To his relief (and their opportunity’s demise), the sales manager swoops in with this response:

Great question, and I’m glad you asked. We don’t have any direct competitors. In fact, we believe that we don’t have any true competition. What we do and how we do it is distinct from anyone out there.”

Ignoramous Interruptus.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Joan had lobbed the proverbial slow pitch, and the sales manager not only struck out but swung like a rookie.  He insulted an executive-level prospect by wasting her time with his answer. Continue reading

Finance Meets Social Media


Fellow marketers may call it sick, twisted or just slightly left-of-center, but I have a fascination with finance folks and CFOs.  Thanks to Twitter and a cool cat named Ken Kaufman, I can now climb right into the left brain of dozens of CFOs.  Ken maintains a list of follow-worthy CFOs who are on Twitter.

Mine is a love-hate fascination with finance people. On a good day, I love their dry wit, the rulers they brandish, and the way they think in numbers instead of words.  Of course, at month-end, it’s a different story.  Hey, I’m human.

Trust me, I’ve asked myself why I am who I am (it’s far too deep and Oprah-worthy). But I did come up with 5 things that are actually relevant to why you should follow a few CFOs too. Continue reading