235 episodes

The Customer Confidential Podcast unlocks a world of unparalleled customer and employee loyalty insights. Host Rob Markey, a Net Promoter System pioneer, uses his deep expertise and empathetic approach to challenge conventional wisdom, peel back layers of typical advice, and expose the real stories of industry transformation. Take a deep dive into discussions on CX, customer journey, customer insights, Net Promoter Score, and more. Every episode is a master class in loyalty. Guests include CMOs, CXOs, and heroes of customer-centric transformation, along with thought leaders who inspire them. Exploring organizational structures, operating models, goals, and metrics, Rob and his guests from companies such as Vanguard, American Express, and more bring to light practical marketing, product, customer experience, and technology strategies for earning customer-focused growth. This podcast is your source for untold stories of customer and employee loyalty. Challenging, insightful, and instructive—all in one place. Earned growth starts here.

Customer Confidential: Untold Stories of Earned Growth Rob Markey, Bain & Company partner and customer experience expert

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 43 Ratings

The Customer Confidential Podcast unlocks a world of unparalleled customer and employee loyalty insights. Host Rob Markey, a Net Promoter System pioneer, uses his deep expertise and empathetic approach to challenge conventional wisdom, peel back layers of typical advice, and expose the real stories of industry transformation. Take a deep dive into discussions on CX, customer journey, customer insights, Net Promoter Score, and more. Every episode is a master class in loyalty. Guests include CMOs, CXOs, and heroes of customer-centric transformation, along with thought leaders who inspire them. Exploring organizational structures, operating models, goals, and metrics, Rob and his guests from companies such as Vanguard, American Express, and more bring to light practical marketing, product, customer experience, and technology strategies for earning customer-focused growth. This podcast is your source for untold stories of customer and employee loyalty. Challenging, insightful, and instructive—all in one place. Earned growth starts here.

    Ep. 235: Jon Freier | From Near Death to NPS Disrupter: T-Mobile’s Journey to Customer Leadership

    Ep. 235: Jon Freier | From Near Death to NPS Disrupter: T-Mobile’s Journey to Customer Leadership

    Episode 235: In 2012, T-Mobile lost nearly two million customers. Its revenue fell precipitously. Its situation seemed hopeless. Then came a new CEO with an audacious plan and a penchant for F-bombs.
    Jon Freier, president of T-Mobile’s US Consumer Group, joins host Rob Markey to share his firsthand account of the remarkable corporate turnaround. Jon describes the “Un-carrier” strategy, from its risky beginnings to its industry-reshaping impact. He shares how T-Mobile broke the mold, challenged conventions, and ultimately won over customers by putting their needs first.
    According to Jon, “The whole premise of the Un-carrier movement was about fixing a stupid, broken, arrogant industry.”
    Under the leadership of new CEO John Legere, T-Mobile used data-driven insights to uncover the “bad profits” that dominated the mobile telecom industry in the US at the time. Determined to not only turn the company around but to change the industry, T-Mobile made a huge bet on customer value and what we at Bain now call Earned Growth: the idea that forgoing bad profits to deliver more value to customers would not only reduce churn but ultimately attract new customers through word of mouth.
    Jon shares some of T-Mobile’s biggest game-changing innovations. He lays out bets on dramatic changes to handset pricing and contract renewal terms, a daring move from high-priced “buckets” of limited data to unlimited plans, repricing international roaming, and the innovative T-Mobile Tuesdays rewards program. He also highlights the impact of the “Team of Experts” customer service model.
    The results have been eye-popping. T-Mobile reestablished customer growth, received the highest ranking in the telecommunications & media Internet sector regarding NPS rankings (as measured by Bain’s NPS Prism telecom benchmarking), and has outperformed the stock market by many multiples.
    Guest: Jon Freier, President, T-Mobile US Consumer Group
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give us feedback:
    We’d love to hear from you. Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here in our listener survey.
    Want to get in touch? Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Additional resources:
    T-Mobile’s CEO on Winning Market Share by Trash-Talking Rivals
    Reinventing Customer Service: How T-Mobile achieved record levels of quality and productivity
    Un-carrier History
    Learn about Bain’s NPS Prism
    Time-stamped list of topics covered:
    [2:29] The dire state of T-Mobile in 2012
    [6:00] John Legere’s arrival and the birth of the “Un-carrier” strategy
    [10:36] Breaking down the old telecom model: from contracts to transparency
    [16:28] Early signs of success and the importance of leading indicators
    [19:17] Overcoming internal skepticism and building organizational buy-in
    [21:51] T-Mobile’s unique approach to customer service and the “Team of Experts”
    [24:27] Using data to anticipate customer needs and personalize experiences
    [28:14] Frontline Connect: Immersing leaders in the customer experience
    [30:12] T-Mobile’s winning loyalty plays: unlimited data, T-Mobile Tuesdays, and Simple Global
    [33:27] Lessons learned and the future of customer loyalty in telecom
    Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    [3:14] “We were losing two million customers a year … Revenues were going down, costs were going up, and earnings were plummeting.”
    [3:40] “Hopeless, that would be the word I would use in 2012. We’re just stuck.”
    [5:59] “In walks a new CEO named John Legere ... dropping F-bombs in a very large all-employee meeting, and you’re like, ‘Did he just say what I thought he just said?’”
    [12:21] “If you treat customers great and you treat them better than your competitors, guess what? They’ll stay.”
    [14:31] “The biggest risk is doing exactly the same [thing]. Where our business was, it needed a bold shakeup.”
    [15:28] “You might not have to be perfect

    • 35 min
    Ep. 234: Naiara De León & Madison Dyal Anderson | All Customers Just Want to Belong: What Defines an Inclusive Retail Experience?

    Ep. 234: Naiara De León & Madison Dyal Anderson | All Customers Just Want to Belong: What Defines an Inclusive Retail Experience?

    Why do some retailers excel at creating a welcoming environment for a diverse customer base while others fall short?
    Bain & Company's Naiara De León and Madison Dyal Anderson discuss their research on how companies that excel in customer advocacy and inclusion consistently outperform their peers by a staggering 10 percentage points annually.
    Beyond quantifying inclusion's sizable revenue impact, they also share data from their survey of over 7,700 US consumers on the lasting negative psychological toll exclusion has on retail customers—and why one bad experience can turn someone off a brand forever.
    We analyze the root of the issue: What causes consumer exclusion in the first place? We also share examples of companies’ winning inclusive strategies, from the importance of eye contact to plentiful product assortment to purposefully designed campaigns.
    Guest: Naiara De León, Partner, Bain & Company
    Guest: Madison Dyal Anderson, Partner, Bain & Company
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give Us Feedback:
    We’d love to hear from you. Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here in our listener survey.
    Want to get in touch? Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Time-stamped list of topics covered:
    [3:30] Research study overview and key findings
    [6:33] Research findings on how inclusion is universally important
    [8:02] Personal experiences of feeling welcomed or excluded in different stores
    [10:13] Balancing inclusivity with a retail brand’s target market
    [12:16] How the feeling of belonging or being welcomed affects customer advocacy
    [13:04] Types of negative retail experiences that lead to customer detractors
    [15:00] The subtleties of interaction that affect customer perceptions of inclusion
    [20:14] Examples of companies that have created welcoming and inclusive atmospheres
    [22:10] How product assortments and staff training contribute to inclusivity
    [26:32] How retailers can assess and improve their levels of inclusivity for good
    [30:54] The greater impact of inclusive practices on strategy and market position
    Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    [00:32] “There is this line between welcomed and belonging. The core customer needs to feel like they belong.”
    [2:24] “Universally, customers across all demographics desire to feel invited and welcomed.”
    [6:33] “Inclusion matters to everyone. It's actually pretty universal.”
    [10:34] “The core customer needs to feel like they belong. That's where you are tuning in to those behaviors and those customer segment needs and wants. Make people feel heard and seen.”
    [14:45] “[In terms of survey findings, there were] verbatims that talked about, ‘The store associate never made eye contact with me. I have hearing loss and that made [communication] very hard. English is not my first language and I need that eye contact to carry all the way through [a conversation].”
    [31:13] “It is quite profitable to [prioritize inclusivity] because it helps you grow. It helps you lead, versus your peers. It’s also the right thing to do.”
    Additional Resources:
    Read Madison and Naiara’s Bain research, In Retail, Inclusive Customer Journeys Lead to Growth

    • 32 min
    Ep. 233: Eckhart Boehme | Uncovering Hidden Customer Needs: The Power of Jobs to Be Done

    Ep. 233: Eckhart Boehme | Uncovering Hidden Customer Needs: The Power of Jobs to Be Done

    What if the key to creating truly innovative products and solutions lies at least as much in uncovering the deep emotional and attitudinal needs of your customers as in mastering technology?
    Eckhart Boehme, founder and managing director of Unipro Solutions, shares his approach to putting Clayton Christensen’s Jobs to Be Done framework into practical use. Eckhart demonstrates how in-depth interviews with customers and their families can reveal the underlying personal experiences, emotions, and desires that truly motivate people to seek out and purchase products or services. With these insights in hand, companies often uncover fundamentally different needs than they first anticipated, sometimes even opening up new markets or uses for their products.
    We also discuss Eckhart’s Wheel of Progress model, which he designed to reveal the hidden layers of reasoning behind customer decisions. It provides a systematic way to deconstruct customer narratives and identify the jobs that are most likely to drive customer decisions along their cyclical journeys. Learn how this model segments the customer journey into phases of motivation, decision-making, and action. He brings this all to life with a compelling case study about finding a senior living place for an elderly loved one, revealing a hidden but critical job to be done: giving the elderly parent a sense of purpose.
    Our conversation also lays bare some common pitfalls when applying the Jobs to Be Done framework, such as focusing too narrowly on functional jobs while missing the bigger picture of the customer's overarching goals and emotional needs.
    Guest: Eckhart Boehme, Founder and Managing Director, Unipro Solutions
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give Us Feedback:
    We’d love to hear from you. Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here in our listener survey.
    Want to get in touch? Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Time-stamped list of topics covered
    [1:19] How Jobs to Be Done goes deeper than traditional customer needs analysis
    [3:02] Clarifying what Jobs to Be Done entails and why it’s a game changer
    [6:08] The Wheel of Progress model and its role in dissecting customer decisions
    [10:41] Applying Jobs to Be Done in complex customer service scenarios
    [15:00] The practical steps and challenges in implementing this framework
    [20:14] Examples of transformative customer insights derived from in-depth interviews
    [22:10] Strategies for businesses to effectively harness Jobs to Be Done
    [30:54] Future trends and directions in customer experience research
    Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    [6:26] “You want to understand where the story starts. What [event] triggered people [wanting to conduct] research and go through pain. Understanding what triggers people have is very valuable because then you can start building a relationship—even before people have started going to a search engine to look for a solution."
    [7:51] “When we look at the customer journey, we call it ‘the cycle of progress’ because we think that people make progress in cycles."
    [16:01] "We try to design our offerings and the marketing and sales processes to focus on helping customers make progress.”
    [24:23] “Jobs to Be Done helps you to do the right thing and design thinking helps you to do things right."
    Additional Resources:
    Learn more about Eckhart’s Wheel of Progress Learn more about HBS professor Clay Christensen’s Jobs to Be Done Theory and his famous story about how to improve milkshake sales

    • 33 min
    Ep. 232: Matt Harris | When AI Shifts the Balance of Power to Consumers: Preparing for a New Business Reality

    Ep. 232: Matt Harris | When AI Shifts the Balance of Power to Consumers: Preparing for a New Business Reality

    Matt Harris, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, argues that generative AI will soon empower customers in unexpected ways. Consumers, he predicts, will soon use AI tools to continuously discover lower loan rates, higher-yield savings accounts, or more attractive insurance policies.
    As a result, Matt anticipates a shift in customer-company power dynamics. Imagine, for example, an AI agent able to continuously move your deposits to the highest-yielding savings accounts or refinance your loans to the best available rates with little intervention required from you. Imagine consumer tools for interpreting medical scans and providing a diagnosis to compare to your doctor's assessment. Generative AI could even transform the future of mental health therapy to be more effective, efficient, and streamlined.
    Join us as we discuss the present and future of consumers' newfound AI-driven power and analyze where organizations and their leaders should be pointed next to remain competitive.
    Guest: Matt Harris, Partner, Bain Capital Ventures
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give Us Feedback:
    We’d love to hear from you. Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here in our listener survey.
    Want to get in touch? Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Time-stamped list of topics covered:
    [02:53] How businesses use generative AI for productivity and future innovation [09:23] Discussion on the Gartner Hype Cycle for generative AI [17:09] What it means for customers to be “superpowered” and an overview of a few generative AI applications in finance and medicine [22:28] AI's impact on society and the future of work [27:44] Adapting to a world with superpowered customers who now demand more from businesses, emphasizing the need for deepened customer relationships and greater levels of innovation Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    [10:55] "Every new technology experiences [influx and they] disillusion the rest of the market because they have these spectacular failures.” [14:20] “[Generative AI] is a much more powerful tool for customers than it is for companies. And an equal or larger part of energy should be going in these boardrooms to imagining a world where customers have the power of generative AI and the implications for your entire business model.” [18:00] “I revere doctors. But how could we expect that a single human being would have all of the medical knowledge in their head? This is something computers will be better at.” [22:16] "I think I could make an argument that generative AI, combined with predictive machine learning, and being moved forward as fast as these technologies are advancing, will be better at almost everything.” [27:53] “We should be spending as much energy thinking and worrying and planning for a ‘superpowered’ customer world as we are thinking about how we use [technology] ourselves, and I’m just not seeing people doing that.” Additional Resources:
    Read Matt’s article for BCV, The Age of the Superpowered Customer The Age of AI and Our Human Future by Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher The AI Advantage by Thomas H. Davenport Prediction Machines by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb Learn about Bain’s spin-off, Bain Capital, which has operated as a separate company since 1984 Learn More About Our Guest and Host:
    Guest: Matt Harris LinkedIn Profile Host: Rob Markey LinkedIn Profile

    • 29 min
    Ep. 231: Fred Reichheld | Unleashing Earned Growth: The Referral Spectrum

    Ep. 231: Fred Reichheld | Unleashing Earned Growth: The Referral Spectrum

    Discover the engine of Earned Growth as Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld, Bain Fellow and "Winning On Purpose” author, hold a working session on how references and referrals significantly contribute to organic growth.
    Rob and Fred unearth the pivotal role that references and referrals play in propelling Earned Growth. They answer key questions such as: How would you characterize different referral types? What are the best mechanisms for measuring and attributing value to them? How do you navigate the tricky path of fostering genuine, organic referrals at scale?
    Together, they explore one of the thorniest issues in accounting for the value of referrals: How much of a new referred customer’s value should accrue to the referring customer versus the referred one?
    Guest: Fred Reichheld, Bain Fellow, founder of Bain's Loyalty Practice
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give Us Feedback:
    We’d love to hear from you. Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here in our listener survey.
    Want to get in touch? Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Time-stamped list of topics covered:
    02:00 - Unveiling the Referral Spectrum 08:30 - Measuring the Impact of Referrals 15:45 - Attributing Value: Who Benefits? 22:10 - Fostering a Culture of Earned Growth Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    02:25 - Rob Markey: "A genuine referral, an authentic referral, is motivated by some form of goodwill towards the recipient." 05:45 - Fred Reichheld: "Earned Growth is not just a metric, it's a philosophy." 19:30 - Fred Reichheld: "The value of a referral is the cornerstone of organic expansion.” Additional Resources:
    Winning On Purpose by Fred Reichheld Bain & Company’s Insights on Earned Growth Guest and Host Bio Links:
    Fred Reichheld LinkedIn Profile Rob Markey LinkedIn Profile

    • 35 min
    Ep. 230: Tim Pernetti | A New Playbook: Reinventing the IMG Academy Experience

    Ep. 230: Tim Pernetti | A New Playbook: Reinventing the IMG Academy Experience

    Why would a world-class sports academy invest in a student center, rather than more coaches, fancy equipment, or dorms?
    IMG Academy, a Florida boarding school, turns out some of the most successful college and professional athletes around. Its president, Tim Pernetti, led a massive cultural shift toward customer loyalty.
    Tim says IMG Academy used to be highly focused on coaching and sports operations. To be clear, that emphasis on athletic excellence helped produce a large number of highly successful athletes. But Tim and the leadership team saw the potential to add something on top of this: a focus on serving a more comprehensive set of student-athlete needs. Today, IMG Academy leverages student-athlete input to refine its program and operations. New initiatives range from enhancing dining experiences to introducing flexible communal spaces.
    Tim shares how an emphasis on employee recognition combines regular student and parent feedback to instill deep, enduring culture change.
    Guest: Tim Pernetti, President, IMG Academy
    Host: Rob Markey, Partner, Bain & Company
    Give Us Feedback:
    Help us enhance your podcast experience by providing feedback here.
    Send a note to host Rob Markey: https://www.robmarkey.com/contact-rob
    Time-stamped list of topics covered:
    [00:09:17] Global influence and expansion [00:14:25] Culture shift toward experience [00:19:57] Response to student feedback [00:25:32] Investment in campus experience [00:30:01] Recognition's impact on staff [00:35:23] Challenges in universal buy-in [00:37:09] Commitment to improving IMG Academy Time-stamped list of notable quotes:
    [00:04:43] “Really, [our early] focus was on intense physical training, like total immersion in tennis. And the result was ten world number ones [were trained here].” [00:07:23] “This is an environment where you're bringing people in from all over the world. You want to have good people in the environment. We put a lot of weight into that, like getting to know kids, and getting to know their parents.” [00:23:17] “We went into meetings with data and said, ‘Here’s what the customer is saying.’” [00:29:16] “[At] a place like IMG Academy, we have everything from coaches, people that serve food every day, and our transportation drivers, [and people] who cut the grass at five o'clock in the morning. And I've shadowed all of them." [00:30:12] “We [recognized a tram driver] with a financial bonus and a gift card to take his wife out to dinner. This guy now is known as the friendliest, nicest, most outgoing person on campus.” [00:30:35] "The biggest tool you have in your toolkit right now is your personal and other leaders' acknowledgment and recognition when people do the right things.” Guest and Host Bio Links:
    Tim Pernetti's LinkedIn Profile Rob Markey LinkedIn Profile

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

Kn0243 ,

Great insights and content

Thank you for your podcast! As a CX analyst, I throughly enjoy listening, and appreciate that you remain on topic and provide great insights clear and concisely.

closet snob ,

Excellent listening for CX and loyalty

Great podcast. Love the interviews and really helps paint the picture for why/how loyalty matters. Practical as well as inspirational.

Edited to add: love the new name and branding!

Redlead0 ,

Underrated podcast

This is my favorite podcast for customer experience. It’s underrated for the quality of topics and interviews. I love that the show continues to build and share NPS improvements. Definitely recommend it!

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