3 Ways to Improve Net Promoter Scores

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3 Ways to Improve Net Promoter Scores

June 15, 2014 by

The net promoter score (NPS) has become the metric of choice for many companies. It can be used to measure many areas, from customer satisfaction to employee satisfaction, and to learn what customers like and don’t like. This case study shows you how Evergage can improve response rates of NPS and other surveys.

But after you’ve measured your NPS, what do you do next? In this post, I’ll share three tips I’ve learned to help improve net promoter scores.

1. Slice and dice the data

On its surface, the NPS is very simple. You get one number that represents the sum total of your customer satisfaction. You can then use the movement of that number to determine if your customer success campaigns are working. However, if you peel back the surface a little, you’ll see how easy it is to analyze the data and understand what goes into the NPS.

The first and simplest way to dissect the data is to use basic demographics like location, business type, business size, profession of customers, etc. Understand which segments of your customer base are the most satisfied and which ones are the least satisfied. This can help you better target your customer marketing efforts and measure the results of those campaigns.  

But before running off to target a segment, I encourage you to also weight your results by the value and size of your segments. This way you can determine which segments will have the biggest impact on your overall NPS and which segments have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Once armed with that data, you can prioritize which customers to engage.

In addition to standard demographic information, think about how else you can segment your responses. For example:

  • Customer Cohorts – Are you trending in the right direction, with newer cohorts outperforming older ones? Did you release any big updates or announcements and can see a visible change from cohorts before and after that moment?
  • Age of customer – Are customers who first purchased 3 years ago as engaged as customers from last year? What kind of drop off is there? Combine this with churn data and you can determine if there is a problem to be solved or not.
  • Customer Stage – How are trial customers doing? Can you combine this with conversion rate and product usage data to identify key actions that lead to high conversion rates?

Once you’ve determined the different ways to segment your data, next you need to tackle the comments. You should definitely read as many comments as you can to really understand your promoters and detractors. Once that is done, you can divide them it into the different segments you created.

Next, you need to tag each comment. As you read the comments, you should start seeing patterns. What common features or benefits do your promoters mention? What common issues or complaints do your detractors have? Write them out and then tag each comment with whatever is relevant. Keep in mind, each comment could have multiple tags. Also keep in mind that some detractor comments may have positive remarks and vice versa, so don’t look at their score, just the comment. I recommend using Excel for this.

Once done, you can now look at all the comments with positive feedback or negative feedback. Look for patterns amongst your detractors for any positive comments they happen to make, or any common issues your promoters raise. You can also look at the frequency with which these tags appear over time to see if you’re impacting them. By breaking down your comments like this, you have a lot of flexibility in how you look at the data as well as how you prioritize which issues to attack first.

2. Remember the little things

One point to keep in mind while analyzing NPS is that it focuses only on the most important issues. Respondents only have one textbox to provide feedback, so people tend to share the biggest influencers on their score. This is great when it comes to prioritizing big projects and developing a roadmap, but it can also cause you to forget that little things count as well.

The easiest way to describe this is to walk you through an example. Think of a product that you would give a 9 or 10 if you were surveyed. Think about your experiences with this product and why you would give it a 9 or 10. Now, imagine the product functions well and will help you meet your business goals but suffers from one or more of these minor defects:

  • Very slow to use
  • Whenever there is a new release, the upgrade breaks a few apps or integrations, you have to fix it manually
  • The product kicks you out of the system every now and then
  • There are minor display bugs
  • The navigation is not clear and is a little quirky
  • Difficult to initially set up and learn
  • It often involves workarounds to make some simple changes
  • When calling support, you have to wait for several minutes every time

Would you still give it a 9 or 10? Or would you become a neutral response, or worse? Now imagine customers who are neutral, do you think they may become detractors in the above scenario?

As you work on your product or services, keep in mind how you can improve the overall experience by working on the little things (in addition to the big issues!).

3. Make it a company-wide effort

One of the key things to remember about your overall NPS score is that it’s generally not tied directly to any one department at your organization. Odds are, every department plays a role. For example:

  • Marketing – Is marketing setting the right expectations in the lead gen process? Or are they looking to get as many leads as possible and let sales sort it out? If marketing isn’t setting the right expectations or sending the right messages, it can lead to confusion during the sales process.
  • Sales – Is sales setting the right expectations during the closing process? Are they up front about limitations or realistic about a road map? Or do they say things that are approximately correct that the prospects want to hear so they can hit quota?
  • Product – This one is pretty obvious and where most people focus. Is the product providing value to the customer? Is it simple to use or more complicated than a Death Star?
  • Engineering – Are there a lot of little annoying bugs in the product (see the previous section on little things)? Does the engineering team fail to deliver within promised time frames?
  • Customer Service – Is your customer team putting the customer first? Are they setting the right long-term expectations? Are they really getting customers set up and seeing value or just pointing them in the right direction?  
  • Customer Support – How long is your hold time? Are issues resolved in a timely fashion? Are customers kept in the loop or given proper time frames?  Does support go out of its way to make sure customers hang up happy or are they just fixing the issue and moving on?
  • Finance – Is it easy to get an invoice? Is billing clear? Do customers find out they are in arrears right away or do they get slapped with a huge bill several months later?

As you can see, every department can impact the customer experience, so it is very important to have each department think about what they can do to make sure they promote customer success. The best way to do this is to slice the data as I suggested above, then take the issues identified (from tagging the comments) and break them up by department. Each department now has a list of things to work on and you can tell during the next survey if they were successful or not!

Read more:

3 Simple Steps for Reducing Customer Churn

How to Calculate the ROI of Personalization for Improving Customer Success

Creating Your Best Customer Experience with Evergage

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