Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NACCM 2010: View from the Top

Jay Steinfeld, CEO, Blinds.Com
It’s hard to do one thing 100% better than everyone, but you can do 100 things 1% better. It all adds up.

Blinds.Com is the largest provider of window treatments on-line, and has revenue per employee equal to Amazon and Facebook. Their mission is to create an experience that makes buying complex and customizable products surprisingly easy and exciting.
To accomplish this Jay runs the business by the numbers, with a critical number KPI being Gross Margin per visit since this reflects conversion rates and sales growth, and provides a leads into where to dig deeper. But repeat business and referral rates, and Net Promoter Scores are also extremely important, and Jay uses those to make sure they can get customer needs addressed with the right priority.
Jay spent many years driving to customers’ homes before going on-line , and believes in the power of customer feedback at the individual level. In that regard, Blinds.Com establishes Net Promoter Scores around the organization, even down to the individual agent level, calculating NPS for each agent. Driving some internal competition, Blinds.Com believes in the effectiveness of transparency and publishes all scores out to everyone. This rather unique practice drives other great behaviors, including better information sharing between departments, better collaboration between teams.
Those interactions with customers have shaped their core values: improve continually, and experiment without fear. Jay hires people that are aligned with these beliefs, asking prospective employees during the interview how they have strived to improve themselves within the last 6 months, and what they did to change for the better. As a result Blinds.Com has a team of people that works together and strives to do better, especially when it comes to improving the customer experience.
Jay attributes their incredible growth over the years to those core values. In fact, the business didn’t really take off until those values were formally established and became part of the business’ DNA.
Some examples of how this manifests itself in some simple practices:
• All employees have the opportunity to present at regular all-hands meetings
• Teams maintain open whiteboards showing the things they are working on with facilitated areas for new ideas.

Jay writes a regular column on BNet called the No-nonsense Boss. Sounds more than worth checking out.

[This blog provided by Steve Bernstein of Waypoint Group, and cross-posted at the Customer Insight = Revenue blog]

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