Author Archives: Chad Keck

About Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

Debunking 5 Misconceptions about Net Promoter

Since the day it was first introduced, the Net Promoter System has been a hotly debated topic.

Whether you’re reading the Wikipedia page or random tweets from NPS (Net Promoter Score) critics, you’re bound to find several arguments trying to debunk the effectiveness of this metric.

In a recent article, a notable speaker on the topic of Customer Experience (CX) had some fairly strong opinions that he shared, even going as far to say that measuring NPS is considered harmful to your business.

With two-thirds of all Fortune 1000 companies utilizing the metric, along with 100’s of thousands of smaller businesses, there is bound to be those that will attempt to latch on to its popularity to play the role of the contrarian.

Generally speaking, the (sometimes valid) arguments of the critics are either based on largely misinformed reasoning or simply, improper execution of the overall system. Very rarely do these critiques hold up in practice.

That’s not to say that NPS is without fault, and it certainly doesn’t mean that some of those that oppose the metric don’t have strong points.

However, if you’re going to take a position on which side of NPS you fall, it may be helpful to understand some of the more common misconceptions, and what it is that the naysayers are getting wrong.

People don’t recommend toilet paper to friends and colleagues

Who can argue with that? I certainly can’t.

While toilet paper is just an example, the overall belief is that the primary Net Promoter question doesn’t apply to all products and industries.

You can replace ‘toilet paper’ with a company that makes sprockets for spaceships or oversized fans for industrial warehouses. The point is, it’s a product or service that is unlikely to come up in a conversation or as a recommendation with friends or colleagues.

The basis for this argument states that answering the question at face value, a customer is likely to indicate that they “would not recommend” this product or service to a friend or colleague. But not because they are an unhappy customer, rather, it’s because they don’t know anyone it seems relevant to recommend them to.

That seems to make sense on the surface, but that’s really as deep as the argument goes.

Every company needs some semblance of organic (or word of mouth) growth to succeed in the long term. The good news is that, regardless of what you sell, EVERY company is capable of it.

To give you an example, I’m not a big shoe shopper and I have never purchased a pair that I haven’t tried on first. Therefore, purchasing shoes on Zappos is never something I’ve done.

However, if there was ever a time that I was looking to purchase shoes online, that is the first place that comes to mind.

This isn’t because they’ve targeted me heavily (or at all for that matter), and it’s not because a friend told me about their amazing shoes. It’s because I’ve heard countless stories of how amazing their customer service is. In fact, I’ve even shared the stories myself secondhand.

Zappos

Just because online shoe shopping isn’t relevant to me, hasn’t prevented their organic message from reaching me.

There are countless examples where companies have built word-of-mouth growth by creating narratives that extend beyond their immediate product or service — even toilet paper.

While it is possible that your customers may tell you that they wouldn’t recommend you for reasons outside of being unhappy, you may want to look at their answers instead of blaming the question.

NPS scoring doesn’t allow for incremental improvements

There is an argument that has been made that the NPS score itself is rather useless based on the formula (% of Promoters – % of Detractors) alone.

15_11_18_NPS_score

In their example, the argument states that if every customer provides you with a 6 rather than a 0, the score should not remain the same. (i.e. In both of those scenarios your score would be -100.) It goes on to say that if the individual scores increased by just 1 point, to a 7, improving your overall score to 0, it should not indicate a 100% improvement.

Setting aside the extremely unrealistic example of all customers providing the same score, there is actually strong reasoning, backed by in-depth research in establishing the scoring range and formula.

In other words, it’s not random and wasn’t created without consideration.

The logic for the calculation was created by first looking at the real-world behaviors of customers based on their score. After careful examination across several companies and industries, each number was assigned to a profile based on their likelihood to share your brand. Again, this was based on observing actual behaviors.

As a metric that’s designed to communicate how likely it is that customers will refer you to others, all detractors (regardless if they are a 0 or a 6) should be considered equal. And, the same is true with promoters as well.

graph@2x

The reason that the scale is more nuanced is because it’s important to understand the severity of someone’s sentiment. For example, even though someone who responds with 0 or 6 are both detractors, the timeline for predicting their future behavior is different. A 6 is often a detractor who is planning to leave a brand and who would not recommend, but they aren’t likely to churn in the same timeframe as a 0. Where as someone who scored a 0 is often times already lining up another vendor while submitting negative reviews about your brand while they’re responding to your survey.

Prioritization is critical in this step, and the additional scale helps you take action in the right manner.

The formula was created specifically to align with what is most likely to occur based on each customer response in aggregate, it was not intended to be an “in average” metric.

In reality, customer scores vary across the board, which is why you don’t see companies with scores of -100 or 100. While the calculation isn’t based on a median value, the sentiment variance from customers generally provides room for incremental score increases and decreases.

Previous customer behavior is more relevant than future intent

Nobody can argue that looking at the past behaviors of customers can be valuable. Without a doubt. That’s especially true when looking at how customers have historically navigated through your product or even when exploring past purchasing habits.

However, Net Promoter isn’t a product usage metric, it’s a loyalty metric. Or, more specifically, an indicator of a customer’s propensity to talk about you (either positively or negatively).

The trouble is, when it comes to predicting future word-of-mouth, past behaviors tell you very little.

The reason is that, as a customer, sentiment changes rapidly.

This is where NPS comes into play.

Here’s a personal example:

Many moons ago, I was a fan of Pepsi. Sorry Coke fans, I just thought that their line of products tasted better overall — all the way from Pepsi to Mountain Dew.

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At that time, Pepsi could have looked at my consumption habits and almost predicted my future weekly purchases to a T. And, if social had been around then, they undoubtedly would have seen a virtual love fest of their product online.

That lasted probably into my mid-twenties, at which point, sugared beverages started to catch up with me. Like many others, I decided it was time to transition over to diet sodas.

And just like that, I went from a die-hard Pepsi fanatic to a devoted fan of Diet Coke. The flavor of Pepsi’s diet brands just didn’t taste as good as Coke’s, so my sentiment changed.

If you were to look at that transition on an NPS scale, you may have seen 9’s and 10’s early on, 4 – 6’s while in transition and 1 or 2 in the end.

By looking at my past behaviors, Pepsi certainly would have been able to see my purchases going down. They would even have been able to see that I was switching to diet products. What they couldn’t see is WHY my behavior had changed.

My likelihood to positively recommend Pepsi as a brand dropped because my sentiment had changed.

Had Pepsi taken the time to align my purchase history with my NPS scores, the would have been able to see that my propensity to recommend their products was decreasing along with my behavior as a consumer. More importantly though, they would have known why.

Since NPS can be gamed, the data is unreliable

This is indeed partially true. Your Net Promoter Score can be gamed and I won’t even argue with that.

So can a thousand other metrics, but that’s a weak defense and doesn’t address the question of reliability.

So, let’s dig into how it can be gamed and why.

There are probably a ton of different approaches to artificially increasing your Net Promoter Score, but the more common approaches include:

  1. Changing/deleting scores: If you have control of your Net Promoter program, it’s not difficult to change or delete individual detractor scores.
  2. Asking a customer to leave a positive score: It isn’t uncommon to hear a customer representative ask for a positive review following an interaction.
  3. Incentivizing the customer to complete the survey: Offering cash compensation or some other form of payment introduces a bias.

Why would someone want to game their NPS score? After all, it’s not a competition.

The reason is quite simple … their job depends on it.

Some companies have used NPS as a KPI tied to job performance and compensation. For the record, this is not something that we endorse or recommend at Promoter.

Whether it’s the executive team, the customer success department or an individual employee, it’s never a good idea as a company to tie any sort of bonus or employee performance to a Net Promoter Score.

Doing so will potentially jeopardize the validity of your customer data, which defeats the point of implementing NPS to begin with.

With that said, this isn’t an issue with Net Promoter as a system, rather it’s an issue with how it’s being used within the organization.

And the same can be said with using incentives to boost your response rate. Incentivizing your customers to complete your survey shifts their motivation and introduces a bias in your data. If you’re interested to learn more about this, we wrote an entire post on why using incentives is a bad idea.

At the end of the day, your results are as reliable as you make them. If you follow best practice guidelines and avoid some of the more common mistakes, your NPS results will be amongst the most valuable data you receive.

Just avoid the games. The core of Net Promoter is a system (hence the name), not a framework.

NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric

Oftentimes, those who criticize Net Promoter tend to focus their attention specifically on just the score. What they don’t realize, or at least fail to acknowledge, is that NPS is more than just a number — it’s an entire system.

We’ve stated numerous times that, without additional context, the overall NPS score can be largely meaningless.

Sure, it’s a useful benchmark and has some practical applications when it comes to high-level organizational assessment, but the real value of NPS is the entire system.

What that entails is a combination of individual scores matched with verbatim responses. It’s individual customer sentiment combined with text-analysis to create trending opportunities. It’s engagement of 30 to 40% of your customer base in meaningful conversations.  It’s identifying at-risk customer profiles to reduce and prevent churn. It’s activating a base of advocates to drive growth.

And the list goes on.

To say that NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric is to minimize it to its lowest common denominator.  

To say that NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric is to minimize it to its lowest common denominator Click To Tweet

NPS isn’t just a score, it’s a system. The score is just the very first step in the process, and unfortunately where a lot of organizations stop.

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While these are some of the more common criticisms of Net Promoter, there are a few others that we may touch on in a future post.

In the meantime however, what we have generally found is that most arguments are based on either a lack of first-hand knowledge or bad experiences based on faulty execution.

If you still have your doubts about the effectiveness of Net Promoter as a system, I’d encourage you to try if for yourself. If you follow our guidance and don’t see results within 60 days, we’ll give you your money back.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

Website

11 Examples of Exceptional Customer Service From Companies That Walk the Walk

At one point or another, most of us have had an experience with a company that we would classify as exceptional customer service.

Maybe it was a pizza restaurant that threw in an extra order of breadsticks to show you that they appreciate your repeat business. Or, maybe it was a software company that built a new feature specifically on your request.

Nearly every day, there seems to be a new story about a company that went out of their way to take care of their customer.

Several years back, Peter Shankman, a 5-time Author, Speaker and Founder of HARO, shared what he called, The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told.

Long story short, while Shankman was sitting in a plane, awaiting his departure home, he decided to send a light-hearted Tweet to Morton’s Steakhouse before turning off his phone, suggesting they meet him at the airport when he arrives with a porterhouse steak.

shankman.comwp-contentuploadsoriginal-MT-tweet-38e2e41d0e71449fca6f94dc2546ebb9463e2139

Admitting that the tweet was meant to be a joke, Shankman was shocked to find that Morton’s actually sent a tuxedoed employee to meet him at the terminal with a full meal, including a 24 oz. porterhouse steak.

What started as just a loyal customer having fun, ended up becoming a story literally heard around the world — even to this day.

Shankman recounted the entire experience on his blog, which spread very quickly, catching the attention of the media, including ABC News.

While this customer service story from Morton’s is quite exceptional, going the extra mile for your customers doesn’t need to be as elaborate to make a big difference.

With many companies generating the majority of their revenue from referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, it’s never been more important to make customer loyalty your top priority.

With the majority of your revenue coming from referrals, it’s never been more important to make customer loyalty your top priority. Click To Tweet

There are many things you can do to wow your customers but sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

We asked a few of our customers to share what they do and here’s what they had to say:

Inviting customers to test new features first

The thing we do that most excites our customers is inviting them to alpha or beta test new features. Clubhouse users are really generous with their feedback, and their needs are at the center of every product decision we make. So it is always such a joy to share a new feature with them and say, “Here, we built this together. What do you think?”

camilleacey Camille Acey – VP, Customer Success – Clubhouse.io


Replacing a lost part at no cost

We sell ear thermometers that come with a little white cap on them to protect the tip. Sometimes users misplace this cap, and we do not have them available as a stand-alone item in our online store for purchase.  

So, if a customer loses their cap and asks us for a replacement, we mail them one for free and include a handwritten note to add a little personal flavor to it, thanking them for being a Kinsa customer. That is generally received quite well and they are quite happy!

Jasonhoward Jason Howard – Director, Customer Happiness, Kinsa Health


Sending thoughtful gifts through the mail

Without happy customers, we can’t grow the business. Therefore as far as we see it, it’s the whole team’s responsibility to delight customers every day.

We push all NPS feedback and scores into our own product (People CRM) and into a Slack channel so everybody gets an unfiltered view of where we’re succeeding and failing.

Negative feedback gets acted on more quickly, bugs are fixed faster, and most importantly it gives the team a boost when genuine customers tell them they love what we do.

People CRM brings all our customer information together in one place, which means we can set up sophisticated automation rules based on things like subscription value, NPS score, online activity, etc.

Over-delivering on a customer's expectations re-enforces long-term relationships with promoters and helps turn detractors around. Click To Tweet

We recently hooked it up to a service called We Delight for our high-value customers. The key difference here is that We Delight doesn’t send swag, they send genuinely thoughtful gifts through the mail. Imagine how excited you’d be if you unexpectedly received a pack of beer, a box of brownies, or a bouquet of flowers from your favorite company that you got to share with your team.

Over-delivering on a customer’s expectations like this really re-enforces long-term relationships with promoters and helps turn detractors around.

BrennanTopley Brennan Topley – Customer Success, GoSquared


Personalize the experience for the customer and community

Our slogan at Sweeps is delightful college student movers and more, so we had better make sure we back that up with delightful experiences.

We have thousands of loyal customers and Sweepers (hard-working college students) that trust Sweeps to provide an easy and safe platform to get things done. First, we focus on getting the basics right – clear pricing, communication, and responsive support for example, before adding creative touches.

The nature of our business creates some fun, delightful jobs, like delivering Krispy Kreme donuts to a wedding and Valentine’s Day love notes, as well as meaningful ones like organizing a team to walk through a forest to find a lost puppy.

We also get to know our customers and Sweepers and personalize our efforts whenever possible. For example, it’s snowing in North Carolina this week, so we’re reaching out to customers that have needed snow shovelling in the past to see if we can assist now. We also try to surprise and delight our Sweepers and customers with flowers or a toolbox delivered on their 100th job, or a care package when someone gets sick.

We listen to and learn from our community, and embrace our role in making their lives a bit easier, and ideally delightful.

Morris-wave Morris Gelblum – Founder, Sweeps


Offering research that the customers can trust

Throughout the process of shopping/browsing our site, we’ve tried to tie in as much independent research into the products we sell as possible. We think that’s part of good customer service on the web and often, we try to delight our customers before we ever actually sell them anything.

Here’s a good example:

Many of our customers are interested in protecting their family. If they use a handgun, it’s pretty much accepted among experts that they’ll use what’s called a jacketed hollow point bullet. The problem is, with dozens of manufacturers each producing several different lines of ammo that offers that kind of bullet — how do you know what’s best among the hundreds of choices?

To date, we’ve tested more than 175 different handgun loads in as scientific a manner as possible. We published the data in a way that makes it really easy to compare each product to its peers within that caliber.

But it doesn’t stop there – we share even more of this ammo data with our customers on the individual product pages. We don’t have a dog in the fight when it comes to what brand performs best so our customers know they can trust the data. Further, the amount of time and monetary investment that goes into this kind of testing is something that hasn’t been done before (that we’re aware of). It’d be pretty tough for a media outlet to justify the expense without an ammo manufacturer sponsoring the content, leading to questions about the integrity of the data.

Of course, after the purchase, we also have a traditional drip campaign that shares more content with our users. With every post we produce, we try to come up with something our customers can actually use at the range — it could be training tips from highly respected firearms trainers or it could be something more scientific, like testing the differences between Russian-made AR-15 ammo and American-made AR-15 ammo in a 40,000 round torture test.

These are just a couple examples of the type of experience we’re providing.

While we’ve always had a hunch it was something that excited our customers, we didn’t have any way to really prove it. However, since we’ve started with Promoter, we know our customers value these efforts because we see their feedback as we send out our Net Promoter Score emails. Plus, it opens the door to feedback that allows us to hear what our customers are thinking. This could lead to changes in our order processes or lead to new content opportunities for our team.

Anthony-Headshot Anthony Welsch – CMO, Lucky Gunner


Proactively create conversations with the customers

At Directorpoint, we have Southern hospitality in our DNA.

With most software companies, the trend is to close a deal and then leave customers to problem solve on their own. We do the exact opposite. We actively seek conversations with customers, and we know that they value our commitment to service because we also encourage them to provide feedback using Net Promoter Score.

John John Peinhardt – CEO, Directorpoint


Reward loyal customers with a premium gift

Contact lenses are literally an invisible product and so for Sightbox taking the people who love our service and turning them into active promoters, is incredibly important.

We’re creating a series of premium, limited edition t-shirts for every month of 2018 designed by artists we love that we’re giving out to reward some of our biggest promoters—giving them something that’s special and unique — and something that can serve as a prompt for discussion of our invisible product: “oh, yeah… my contact lens company gave me this shirt…”

Richard Richard Kotulski – Marketing Manager, Sightbox


Go the extra mile with the detractors

Starting a new business in the food space is an incredibly competitive arena and even though we’re doing something very new and different in our market, it was incredibly important for us to get as much feedback from customers as possible.

We do this by engaging our promoters by offering them free swag and free cookies, but we also do this with our detractors by using their NPS score as an introduction to a conversation with them about our service and how we’ve let them down.

We’ve had detractors who are stunned by the fact that we actually personally reach out to them to ask what about our service is missing for them. When somebody truly doesn’t like our cookies, we refund their initial order and give them another order on us. We’re hoping to give them a better experience the second time around, but also to really go above and beyond in our customer service.

This process with our detractors has created some genuinely fantastic friendships with customers who end up helping us develop new products or fix issues with our service we weren’t even thinking about.

Julia_Baldwin Julia Baldwin – CEO, After Dark Cookies


Improving the experience in unexpected ways

For festival riders, we love surprising them with gifts. Last year for Electric Forest, we supplied hundreds of our riders with Festival Survival Bags. In each bag, we included a poncho (and it rained a lot), a flashlight, and hand sanitizer (great for porta potties). Little gifts that people may forget is always key.

Recently we’ve been running regular buses for New England Patriots football games. On one bus, we sent a photographer to take photos of people during their ride, so they could remember their experience. On those same routes, we’re getting the driver a t-shirt and handwritten note to thank him for this dedication.

Dave-Lastovskiy Dave Lastovskiy – Head of Marketing, Bus.com


Speed dating with the customers

We use a speed dating approach to engage with customers across the journey. Speed dating as a research technique involves rapid-fire questions, a quick move through different stages of the funnel, lots of fun, some nice snacks, a cold beer, and a bag of merch.

We do this every three months and every part of the business is hands-on – product, sales, marcomms, exec, cx, ux – it’s a company-wide event.

abba-photo Abba Newbery – CMO, Habito


Reducing the customer support response time

As Head of Customer Success at Jazva, my goal is to ensure all client needs are addressed in a timely and professional manner. This means doing regular monthly check-ins, as well as assisting with creating different avenues to help grow our customer base and attain high reachability.

One of our goals for 2018 is to trim our response time to 10-15 minutes. And to be able to achieve this, we have been hiring highly qualified candidates whose goals align with ours. Our main priority is to create a strong partnership with our clients by providing a great product quality and superior customer support.

Maria-Pic Maria Paez-Orozco – Head of Customer Success, Jazva


As you can see from the examples above, there are many unique ways to go above and beyond for your customers. Once you decide to make your customers your first priority, providing exceptional customer service tends to follow.

What are the ways that you go the extra mile for your customers? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

Website

top blog posts of 2017

Our 10 Best Performing Blog Posts From 2017

As we approach the end of 2017 (too quickly I might add), I’m finding myself looking back at the year and admiring the progress we made at Promoter over the past 12 months.

In addition to expanding our team, moving into a new office and adding 100’s of amazing new clients, we also put out a fair amount of new content.

We covered topics that have ranged from our mistakes in marketing to the wild success our customers are seeing from their NPS efforts.

If you’ve missed our emails or are someone that recently signed up, worry not, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top 10 most popular articles we shared in 2017:

The 45 Tools We Use to Run Promoter.io

saas toolsDid you know that the average company uses 37 different tools to run their business? And larger organizations use an average of 90!

We use 45 tools to run Promoter. We share each of them in this post and even let you in on our favorites.

How to Calculate (And Understand) Your Net Promoter Score

Have you ever wondered why passives aren’t included in the Net Promoter equation? It’s ok if you don’t know because it’s rarely discussed.

While this post covers a pretty basic NPS topic — the score, it’s a great primer for those just getting started or good refresher those experts out there.  

The Important Difference Between Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty

The difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is as significant as the unconditional love you receive from a dog versus a cat.

We see companies focusing on the wrong one ALL the time.

To get this right, you need to understand the difference between the two. Read this post.

Uber Has a Major Customer Relationship Problem

In spite of the many controversies that Uber has faced in 2017, they still have a ton of customers that transact with them on a regular basis.

BUT … customer relationships are so much greater than just the transaction that occurs between the customer and the company.  

Customer relationships are so much greater than the transaction that occurs. Click To Tweet

Uber has a major relationship problem with their customers and this post explains why.

Stranger NPS Things: Customer Success Mistakes from the Upside Down

We’re all big fans of Stranger Things at Promoter, so of course we found a way to incorporate our love for series into a post.

However, you don’t need to be a Stranger Things fan to appreciate the two important NPS mistakes we cover in this post.

7 Alternative Ways to Use NPS

Most people don’t consider the many applications beyond customer intelligence that NPS can be used to measure.

The truth is that NPS can be applied in many different ways, from measuring blog readership to tracking personal performance.

How LiveChat Used Customer Loyalty to Grow to Almost 19k Customers

It isn’t every day that you come across a company that is growing like a weed without spending any money on outbound sales or marketing like Promoter.io client, LiveChat.

In addition to SEO, branding and content, Net Promoter is one of the cornerstones of LiveChat’s marketing strategy which has led them to over 19,000 clients and counting, with nearly 40% of that revenue coming directly from customer referrals alone.

This post tells you how.

Why Marketing Campaigns Fail

Why Marketing FailsDuring the Presidential election in 2016, we tested the limits of NPS with something we called, Net Presidential Score.

Our general idea was to create an alternative polling method by using Net Promoter to measure the voter’s sentiment of each Presidential candidate. The OTHER idea was to create a viral marketing campaign for Promoter.

The experiment was a success in terms of voting and traffic, but in terms of marketing success, it was a big fat dud. This behind-the-scenes article tells you why.

How to Clone Your Best Customers with Attribute Analysis

What if I told you that you could clone your best customers?

The ones that have been the most profitable, loved your product the most and referred more new business to you than anyone else.  

That would be amazing, right?

Well, that’s exactly what this post tells you how to do.  

The Critical Importance of Reminder Surveys

You may assume that if a customer doesn’t respond to your NPS survey, it’s because they’re not interested in providing feedback.

In some cases, that definitely can be true. But, in many cases, it’s because they either missed the email or were too busy to respond at the time and simply forgot.

This post, supported by data from over 25 million surveys says what you should do. You don’t want to miss it.

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So, there you have it. Our 10 best posts from the past 12 months.

What would you like to see us cover in 2018? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

Website

blue or red pill

Customer Illusion or Customer Reality? Which Pill Will You Take (Red or Blue)?

Choosing an NPS or Customer Success platform can feel like choosing between the red and blue pill in the movie Matrix.

Choose the blue one and you’ll go about your business, never being fully aware of what’s possible. Choose the red one and you’ll get to see just how far your results can go.

red-or-blue-pill-matrix-neo-morpheus

While my reference to the pills is just a science fiction analogy, it’s truly reflective of the important decision you face when choosing the right partner for your NPS and general customer engagement efforts. It could mean the difference between blissful ignorance of illusion and a (sometimes painful) truth of reality. However, it is a reality that can be influenced.

When it comes to your business, you can’t afford to be wrong about the real true sentiment of your customers.

We often get asked what makes Promoter different than the other NPS, customer intelligence or customer success solutions. Or rather, why should someone choose us?

It’s a fair question since there are now several dozen options in the market. Also, it’s easy to see how one might assume that since the Net Promoter System is built around a simple, two-question survey, there can’t be very drastic differences in the solutions that support it.

While it’s true that Net Promoter is a rather simple methodology in terms of implementation, the results (and value) you can get from it can vary tremendously based on the execution.

When asked what makes us different, there are a variety of ways that we can answer that.

We could tell you about the proprietary advanced features that we offer, or the increased response rates our customers see versus the competition.

We could show you the returns our customers are seeing from their reduction in churn and increase in organic revenue. Or, we could talk about how quickly we respond to customer support needs. Or, how competitively our product is priced.

All of those things are viable competitive differences and reasons why you may want to choose Promoter as your NPS solution of choice.

But, truth be told, none of those are the reasons why we believe you should trust in us over the alternatives.

What truly makes us unique and different is our philosophy.

We have often said that we are the team and product you turn to when you’re ready to take NPS seriously.

And, we don’t take that position lightly.

To us, taking NPS seriously doesn’t mean upgrading to a tool with a bunch of fancy new features that drive little to no additional value. It also doesn’t mean moving to a tool where every step is automated so you don’t really need to spend much time engaging with your customers.

To us it means, being ready to systematically shift the importance of the voice of your customer from a passive exercise to a way of doing business.

In other words, becoming a customer-first organization at your core.

Why is that important?

Well, we believe that NPS, when executed properly, can and will represent the single biggest growth opportunity that exists within your business.

When executed properly, NPS will represent the single biggest growth opportunity that exists within your business. Click To Tweet

That belief, in itself, doesn’t necessarily make us unique, but the approach we take and prescribe to our customers on achieving success with NPS is what separates us from the rest.

Sometimes that approach makes us unpopular and sometimes we lose a potential new customer who is deadset on doing it their own way.

While that’s unfortunate, we feel that it’s important to stand behind our convictions and what we know to be true, even when that means turning away a potential new customer.

Not because we’re stubborn, but because it’s what’s best for our customers. We know what works and why — backed up by tens of millions of customer engagements across countless industries.

At the end of the day, we are committed to driving maximum results for our clients, not chasing valueless features just to show off a longer features list than the competition.

You see, Promoter is in the unique position that we haven’t taken on a huge influx of venture capital to sustain our company.

What that means is that we aren’t beholden to rapid growth at any cost.

To our customers, that means that we hire employees methodically, only bringing on those that have the greatest impact on their results. It also means that each feature we release will drive greater results for you rather than greater returns for investors.

As our customer, you can be assured that the platform and best practice guidance we provide is built purely on driving the highest level of success for you. That is our number one goal.

This purpose-driven approach to Net Promoter comes from years of research and hands-on experience working alongside industry-leading companies such as IBM, Jet.com and Rackspace, and with the help of the creator of the Net Promoter methodology himself, Fred Reichheld (who is our investor and close advisor).

In other words, we’re NPS geeks and proud of it.

Quite frankly, we pride ourselves on being the leading voice on the subject and being an overall advocate of the methodology as a whole. Regardless of whether you’re our customer or not, we’re always happy to lend our advice.

As our customer, here is what you can expect:

  • A simple solution: There is no reason to complicate the Net Promoter process with unnecessary features that don’t bring value to your efforts. Each feature we release is purposefully designed to make you more successful. Some require effort, but those are built to reinforce the behavior that drives measurable results, plain and simple.
  • A tool that matches your needs: There is no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all approach to NPS, so why would a Net Promoter solution offer you one? We’ve built Promoter to fit your unique needs and customer lifecycle, because … well, you’re unique.
  • A no-gimmick approach: There are certainly a lot of gimmicks and tricks to “optimizing” (AKA gaming) your results, which we take no part in because your success means more to us than that. We offer a no-nonsense approach that’s based on proven techniques and principles.
  • A team of experts: We don’t offer you just a tool to send surveys, we offer you our entire team of customer experience experts as an extension of your own. This isn’t just some empty statement either. We’re in the weeds on a daily basis with any customer that needs us.

It’s one thing to tell you what makes us different from the other options you have to choose from, it’s an entirely different thing to show you.

Starting this Thursday, December 7th, at 1 P.M. CST, the Promoter team will be hosting a live weekly webinar called, Harnessing the Power of Promoter. Each week we’ll be walking you through our entire platform, offering you our best practice advice and answering any questions you have.

We invite you join us this Thursday to take the ‘red pill’ and allow us to show you just how far your results can go with Promoter.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

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stranger things Net Promoter

Stranger NPS Things: More Customer Success Mistakes from the Upside Down

Last Fall we shared oie_21743246B8OT8wm strange NPS practices that destroy the value of your customer success efforts.

Well, this year, the “stranger things” are back and they’ve taken on a new form.

Here at Promoter, we consider ourselves the Ghostbusters of bad NPS habits. While that means we may be perceived by some as NPS geeks and sometimes arrive to the scene in uniform (when nobody else is willing), you can be assured we’ll always have your back.

With that in mind, here are two strange NPS practices that we continue to see happening:

You must always close the loop

Despite how it might sound, closing the loop has nothing to do with closing the gate to the “upside down” (but that clearly should be done as well).

Closing the loop is a term used within Net Promoter to describe the process of following up with your customer post-survey.

More specifically though, it’s engaging your customer in activities or a deeper discussion based on the score and/or feedback that they provided you.

For example, if you had a customer provide you with a score of ‘10’ and simply state that your product is the greatest they’ve ever purchased, you would naturally want to know more, correct?

Following up with this customer will give you the opportunity to ask more specifically what they enjoy most about your product, not to mention give you the chance to request a referral, testimonial, etc.

This is closing the loop.

Without this additional step, you can oftentimes be left with customer feedback without context. While it’s always nice to hear from your customer (good or bad), what you need are actionable insights.

Oddly, this is a step that many companies overlook.

Their reasoning generally falls into one or more of the following:

  1. Not enough time/resources – Following up with every customer that responds to your NPS survey can be time-consuming, so it is certainly reasonable that a lack of time or internal resources can be an issue, but it is also the most valuable daily activity that you (or your team) can spend time on.

    To aid with this issue, we suggest you make NPS a cross-departmental activity, as customer feedback impacts every department within a company (product, sales, marketing, customer success & leadership).

    In addition, it may be a good idea to stagger (or drip) your surveys over time. This process will help limit the number of responses you receive per day, giving you a more manageable list of customers to follow up with.

  2. They’re only focused on one customer group (detractors or promoters) – It’s not uncommon to hear that a company is leveraging NPS to identify and engage with only a single customer type (i.e. detractors or promoters).

    When this is the case, it tends to be that they’re only looking to either improve their customer retention or increase organic growth.

    With NPS, these two things are not mutually exclusive, and as such you wouldn’t want to focus on one specific customer segment, just to alienate the other.

    Ultimately, this could have a net-negative effect on your overall results.
  3. They only respond to customers who provide them with feedback – On the Promoter platform, our customers see an average verbatim response rate of 60 – 70%.

    In other words, for every 10 customers that provide them with a score, approximately 6 to 7 of them also provide their reasoning.

    What we see happen quite often is that the 3 to 4 customers who didn’t provide feedback will get ignored.

    There are several reasons why a customer may have left a score without feedback, but often times all it takes is a simple follow-up to ignite a deeper discussion.

These are just three of the many reasons we see as to why companies ignore the crucial step of closing the loop with their customers.

As we’ve stated in a previous post, the greatest value that comes from your survey will happen post-survey.

However, this value only occurs when you take the time to follow up with your customers.  It takes effort, yes, but every minute spent on closing the loop will pay for itself tenfold, if not more.

Keep your customer feedback out of the silo  

When it comes to demogorgons, it’s best to keep them isolated and locked up. When it comes to customers and the feedback they provide, the opposite is true.

As straight-forward as that may sound, all too often we see that companies still “strangely” keep their customer feedback locked up within a single department.

While the most obvious champion of Net Promoter within any organization is a customer-facing department, such as customer success, feedback from customers impacts EVERYONE in a company.

Let me show you what I mean.

Let’s say that you just got the results in from your latest NPS cycle, and received an overall score of 35.

Based on your scoring breakdown, along with the lifetime value of a customer, your finance department can use a simple formula to better forecast the short- and long-term revenue at risk, along with any potential new revenue.

Your marketing team can immediately leverage the promoters for growth-based activities such as referrals, case studies and testimonials. Additionally, they can utilize trending feedback to refine/create marketing materials and ideal customer profiles or “lookalike” marketing campaigns based on the attributes that are most common among promoters (this is an especially good one – thank me later).

Additionally, analyzing the critical detractor feedback can help the product/engineering team categorize and surface the most important features and/or improvements needed. Product roadmap decisions can be made with normalized data as opposed to ad hoc requests.

And, the list goes on. From the executive team to the sales team … NPS data impacts each and every department.

So, why do companies continue to isolate NPS to a single department?

NPS is not a bottom-up activity

The companies that have the greatest success with their NPS program have buy-in at every level, starting with the executive team.

Customer success is not a department, it’s an approach to business. The companies and leadership teams that embrace this mindset are the ones that tend to value customer feedback the most.

Customer success is not a department, it’s an approach to business. Click To Tweet

As a result, NPS becomes a driving force in the daily activities and objectives of each department.

It’s when NPS is started as “just another activity”, initiated by a single department and independent of executive buy-in, that it becomes a siloed and unsupported initiative.

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While this is likely not the last we’ll see of these strange NPS behaviors, you can be certain that if you follow our guidance, you’ll be able to avoid the pitfalls these bad practices can bring about.

Don’t wait until it’s too late: sign up for a free trial or schedule an NPS consultation today.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

Website