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Allan Toft Jensen, Vice President, Sales, AMBU Inc.

I have a master’s in engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and have a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. Amongst other things, I have worked in R&D and marketing as a product manager. Later I moved into sales, which involved frequent travel to Japan, Australia and New Zealand. After I had been doing that for three and a half years, I was ready to move to the USA where I was meant to stay for three years; however, things did not turn out that way. I had only been in the job in Chicago for three months when the company was bought by Ambu. I continued my career in Ambu and have now lived and worked in America for 15 years.

AMBU IS A DANISH COMPANY that was founded in 1937. We are mostly known for our Ambu bags, resuscitation bags to help keep people alive following a car crash or heart attack. The Ambu bag was the product that initially made the company well known. Since 2002 we have grown into a much larger company; from $18 million to $140 million today. That’s some growth! In relation to our customer experience programme, we have 14 sales reps in our department who are primarily internal sellers and do their sales over the phone. They are not telemarketing people, but salesmen who follow the sales process from start to finish. They are the ones who create and maintain the sale.

One aspect of any business that can be difficult to develop is customer loyalty. A couple of years ago we gained between 1200-1500 new customers, but we also lost 500 annually. A lot of them would only ever place one order with us. When we were introduced to Net Promoter Score®, I was totally sold on the idea and thought it was very exciting.

WE GOT A GOOD SCORE pretty quickly and I think we actually got it all the way up to 80 a few years ago. This happened at the same time as we closed our warehouse and outsourced the shipping of our goods. This turned out to be trickier than anticipated and our score instantly dropped to 45. Since then we have solved our shipping issues, but during that time we spent a lot of time talking to our customers who were unhappy. We were able to do this due to the very concrete feedback we got from the system telling us that customers were unhappy with our shipping services.


We follow up on customers who score us 9 and 10 to try to find out what else we can do for them. Furthermore, we have had great success with asking them for testimonials, which we can use for our marketing, and have also managed to get some of them to help us create content. We definitely use our “9s” and “10s” and have done this with great success.

OUR SALES reps contact the customers who score us 7 or 8 to find out what we can do better in order to get them to score us 9 or 10. I have an example here of a customer who scored us 8, but after our sales rep had a chat with him we found out that the issue was focused around pricing which had changed. We got the matter cleared up and the customer scored us 10. To me that is a success story that demonstrates how we are improving. I personally contact customers who score us 6 or below. If I can’t get hold of them I send them an email straight away. We pride ourselves on getting back to customers ASAP. Some people think that you need to hold off a bit and let them sit on their low score, but I disagree. The sooner you get back to the customer, the sooner they will feel valued even though our contact with them might cease after this.

WE RECENTLY got a very low score of 3, which made us realise that many of the surgeries we sell to are very sensitive to any price changes. If they don’t get the same price offer as they did two years ago they will automatically give us a low score. In light of this, I have decided that we need to be careful with the concept of “buy one get one free” as our customers get used to the lower prices and get upset when we then take the offer away from them. Generally speaking, it also doesn’t give us an after-sale. That offer is something you can do maybe once a year, but not monthly or quarterly. This is something we have learnt from NPS®. Sometimes we don’t do ourselves any favours by getting our customers used to a lower price which then goes away later. It’s difficult to take the good offers away from the customers once they get a taste for them. We shouldn’t try to differentiate ourselves on price but on our customer experience and the high quality of our products.