What’s in a name?

Using surnames to create break-out groups

If you facilitate meetings on a regular basis you usually have situations where you need to create ‘break-out groups’. While sometimes these are pre-assigned, very often they are random groups of people that are roughly equal in size.

The problem facilitators run into is that while they know the number of people they may want in each group, they don’t always know how many in total are actually going to show up to the session.

One solution is having participants count off by the number of groups you want. So if you want 5 groups you have people count off by 5s going around the room (1,2,3,4,5, and then repeat 1,2,3,4,5, etc).

The downside of this approach is that it takes a fair amount of time in a larger group and if they are not arranged in a classroom style it can be awkward to tell who is “up” to say their number. Also, I can’t tell you the number of times people have asked “what is my number again?” after uttering it seconds before.

One solution is to divide people by last name. In this way you can eyeball the group in attendance and just divide them up by the number of groups you want or the number in each group you want.

Unfortunately, last names are not randomly distributed in the United States. In fact, looking at the distribution of last names that appear at least 100 time or more in 2010 US Census it looks like this:

As you can see Millers, Smiths, Browns, Clarks, and Williams dominate, while Ingrams, Quinns, Underwoods, Xiongs, and Zimmermans are relative rarities. To solve for this we can divide them into n-tiles and if we trust our 200 level statistics class, we can then infer that this distribution will exist in the population in your next destination.

You can use the tables below to divide your groups into 3, 4, 5, or 6 roughly equal groups. Since the letter breaks are exactly on the desired percentile cut point, they are not exact. This also make dividing groups larger than 6 a bit dicey.

Now, there will be exceptions to this. For example, locations that are heavily skewed to one ethnicity may not conform to this distribution. It also not likely work in countries outside of the United States as well. That being said, it should work fairly well in most circumstance. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

CuriosityCX Announces Game Changing and Industry Disrupting Process Improvement Breakthrough

Bentonville, Arkansas based CuriosityCX today unveiled its revolutionary new competitive offering Quintuple Closed Loop™. This new technique for identifying and resolving customer problems fundamentally changes the way CX is done in the industry.

“You know some people talk about their “close loop system” or even “double closed loop” they’re fine if you are into average, but they really don’t get the job done anymore” said Curiosity’s CEO Dave Fish.

“Your typical Silicon Valley or Silicon Slopes tech company would have said ‘hey, let’s take an agile approach and iterate our way to a triple closed product on our product roadmap.’  Not us.  We said ‘F- it’ and just skipped triple and quadruple offerings and went straight to Quintuple” said Fish.

Double Close Loop is so 2018

In a normal closed loop process customer are contacted after a transaction to ensure everything went smoothly.  If they didn’t then a ‘hot alert’ is opened and the organization attempts to resolve the issue.  In a normal “double closed” loop scenario the issue is then validated by third party as being resolved, thus the ‘double’ in the double closed loop.

But do you really know that problem is resolved?

With Quintuple Closed Loopcustomers are hounded for months on end by agents hopped up on discount energy drinks and diet pills who contact customers at least five different times after the transaction.  This ensures the problem is unequivocally addressed.

“We check in and then check again. Then we check in again and then one more time.  And for good measure to really ensure things are to the customers satisfaction we recommend that fifth check in. Without that 5th check-in your CX program really isn’t world class”, explains Curiosity’s Chief Experience Officer Kate Barker.

Public Reaction

“They really just won’t let me alone,” commented customer Hugh Ecclestein of Youngstown, Ohio.  “I mean I just bought a fishing lure at the local hardware store and made an off-handed comment that I wished I bought it and in blue rather than green.  Now they just keep calling and emailing me” McMurphy said in a recent interview.

 “It is apparent to me that they really really care [about my complete satisfaction]” noted McMurphy and then added “can I go now?”

What’s Next

Quintuple Closed Loop™ is just one of many future innovations being incubated in the CX labs at Curiosity’s state of the art facility in Bentonville.  “I think we can really push this to something much bigger in the future, who knows where it will take us” noted Fish.  CuriosityCX plans to introduce additional fictitious products and features every April 1st in the future.