Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter

Human sigma

In my continuing series of book reviews, I profile a great book by John H. Fleming, Ph.D. and Jim Asplund called Human Sigma.  This book describes an innovative management approach that improves the financial performance of sales and service companies by managing employees and their interaction with customers.

The Human Sigma approach is based on the following five rules:

Rule 1: E Pluribus Unum. Employee and customer experiences cannot be managed separately; they must be managed together.
Rule 2: Feelings are facts: Emotions are the driving force between the employee/customer experience.
Rule 3: Think globally, measure and act locally. The employee/customer experience should be managed and measured at the local level.
Rule 4: There is one number you need to know. The purpose of the employee/customer experience is to positively affect financial performance. This experience can be measured with a single performance metric.
Rule 5: If you pray for potatoes, you better grab the right hoe. Long term improvement in the employee/customer experience requires not only the involvement of the local level, but must also involve the modification of the entire organization's approach to hiring employees, placing employees in the proper position in the organization, and how they are managed and rewarded for their performance.

Gallup, through their research, has found that measuring the strength of a workplace can be simplified to the following twelve questions which measure the core elements needed to attract, focus, and keep the most talented employees.

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

The Human Sigma approach accepts and uses the unpredictability of human nature to successfully interact with a company's customers. The following eleven questions/statements were developed by Gallup for companies to ask their customers. They provide the means for measuring and monitoring the strength of the relationship that exists between a company (brand) and its customers.

1. Overall, how satisfied are you with [Brand]?
2. How likely are you to continue to choose/repurchase/repeat (if needed) [Brand]?
3. How likely are you to recommend [Brand] to a friend/associate?

Customers are given the next eight statements and asked to rate them from "strongly agree" (5) to "strongly disagree" (1).

4. [Brand] is a name I can always trust.
5. [Brand] always delivers on what they promise.
6. [Brand] always treats me fairly.
7. If a problem arises, I can always count on [Brand] to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution.
8. I feel proud to be a [Brand] [customer/shopper/user/owner].
9. [Brand] always treats me with respect.
10. [Brand] is the perfect [company/product/brand/store] for people like me.
11. I can't imagine a world without [Brand].

By regularly asking employees the twelve core questions, asking customers the eleven questions, and by following the five rules, Human Sigma describes how sales and service companies can become highly successful in the new global economy. Companies can improve their financial position by allowing their employees to focus on their natural talents and mentoring and motivating these talents. This will cause the employees to become emotionally invested in their work, which will then lead toward the company's ultimate goal of a fully engaged customer.

This blog

by Scott Heintzelman - Scott is a CPA, CMA and CFE living in Pennsylvania. Scott is a partner serving on the executive team at McKonly & Asbury LLP, a regional accounting firm with multiple offices in the Mid-Atlantic. The firm has been an IPA ALL-STAR as well as winning Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania for numerous years.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

42353

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

74542

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

47333

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

86922
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
19866

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

54443

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

79077

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

24495

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

62826

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

33869
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
100781
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
25116

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

51289
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
26940
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
31247

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

98131

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

32442

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

109020

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

59518

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

38510
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
65411

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

91217

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

52301