The Statistician J.D. (Dave) Power is often referred to as the high
priest of customer satisfaction. The company name of J.D. Power and Associates is well known for its high profile automotive quality rankings.
Power started his career with several different manufacturing companies doing market research. He set out on his own in 1968 and his first customer was Toyota, who had Dave doing surveys of the forklift market as well as some studies related to the company’s car business.
Use your initiative
In the market research industry the standard practice has always been to call on customers and obtain contracts to do particular pieces of customer research on their products or on the markets within which their products compete.
It was while Dave was doing such standard studies for Toyota that he did some serious thinking about other ways to serve the automobile industry and generate revenue for his fledgling company.
That is when he came up with the idea of annually obtaining customer quality and reliability ratings on all the cars, at his own expense, in order to get rankings of all the cars versus each other.
He would then sell the research results to the automobile companies, and for an added fee, allow them to quote the results and the J.D. Power name in advertising. Only if they paid the extra fee did they have the right to claim that in the J.D. Power independent study they were “#1 in customer satisfaction,” or in the “top five of all automobile models regarding reliability,” etc. Today, J.D. Power has 750 employees in 12 offices worldwide and generates over $145 million a year in revenues.
A good J.D. Power rating is one of the most influential pieces of data a car manufacturer can have in promoting the sale of a car model in the global auto industry.
This story reminds me of my days at Microsoft in the 1990s, when Bill Gates would take a week off every six months or so, and go off to a remote location for what he called his “Think Week.” He would come back with all kinds of different thoughts about current and future products and how the business should be run.
So…what is the point? Go hide somewhere and THINK! It is imperative for leaders, on a regular basis to schedule some quality time to think about the current situation and generate ideas that could be put into place to dramatically improve things.