Author Archives: Chad Keck

About Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded 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.

Using Your NPS Data to Build An Ideal Customer Persona (and then 10x your growth with personalization)

I’m going to teach you a little trick — one you can use to impress your friends at dinner or your co-workers at your next meeting.

What you’re going to do is draw four shapes on a piece of paper: A triangle, a circle, a square and a squiggly line.

Don’t let your friends see what you’re drawing beforehand.

Once you’re done, tell them that they’ll need to pick one of the objects they see within 5 seconds of seeing them.

BUT, before you give them the option to choose, YOU need to write down what each of them are going to pick.

Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you how you’re going to do this in a second.

Once you’ve written down your choices, you’re going to conceal those answers and place the folded paper where everyone can see.

Now it’s time for your friends to answer. They can either say them out loud or write them down on a piece of paper. But remember, they need to pick quickly — in 5 seconds or less.

After they have all picked their answers, it’s time for you to blow their minds.

If all goes as planned, you’ll have accurately predicted the shape each person chose before they actually chose it.

How did you do this?

It’s pretty simple really. Psychological studies have shown us that we’re all instinctively attracted to one of these 4 shapes based on our own personality.

Go ahead and try it on yourself … take a look at the shapes above and quickly pick one.

If you’re analytical, you likely chose the square. If you’re a social butterfly, you probably went with the circle. If you’re a leader, you probably went with the triangle. And if you’re creative, it was likely the squiggle.

I mean, this isn’t an exact science, but as a fair estimate, you’re going to nail it 90% or more of the time.

Obviously, you need to be somewhat familiar with the people you’re doing this with … but I’ve got a hack for you if you’re not.

Just ask them what they do for a living.

Here’s the cheat sheet:

  • Accountants, programmers, statisticians, etc. — Square
  • Managers, CEO’s, C-Level, Public Speakers, etc. — Triangle
  • HR, Event Planners, Stay-at-Home Parents, etc. — Circle
  • Designers, Artists, Musicians, etc. — Squiggle

Go ahead, give it a shot. You can thank me later.

Personalities and Personas

So, you may be wondering … aside from entertaining your friends and colleagues with a silly personality test, what was the point of sharing that with you? And, what does it have to do with creating ideal customer personas?

The fact is, one of the secrets to engaging prospects and converting them into customers is in the way that you communicate with them.

Have you ever spoken with a sales person that just bored you to tears? Must of us have at some point … and it’s painful.

Chances are, that salesperson probably wasn’t just a boring person by nature (I mean, I guess they could have been), but rather, they probably just failed to engage you in a meaningful way. I.e. The way you prefer to be spoken to.

Most salespeople are great at asking questions and taking visual cues to make on-the-fly adjustments to their pitch based on who they are speaking to. And, oftentimes, this is largely based on the personality of the person they’re pitching.

Our individual personalities are tied very closely with how we process the data we’re receiving. If we’re a squiggle, we want less detail and more pictures. But, if we’re a square, we want to understand every last nuance.

Understanding the personalities of your ideal customers will ultimately help guide you in how you should be communicating to your ideal prospects and in turn, convert more visitors into leads and leads into sales.

BUT … how do you gather this data?

I mean, it’s not like you’re going to start asking your prospects and customers to pick from random shapes, right?

Using NPS to Build Your Ideal Customer Persona

According to a recent State of Segmentation study done by our friends over at RightMessage, a website personalization platform, over 80% of list segmentation done by businesses today is based only on behaviors. In other words, what someone has done in the past — i.e. signed up for a webinar, downloaded a lead magnet, purchased product A or B, etc.

This information can be very useful … but it tells you very little when it comes to understanding your customers true buying intentions or motivations — i.e. what they need most from you.

The study also indicated that the two least common ways that companies segment their database is based on who they are and what they need — which are arguably the two most important factors in building an ideal customer persona.

That’s a big missed opportunity for these companies, but great news for you — especially if you’re reliably collecting Net Promoter data.

Using a combination of tagging feedback and tapping into the existing attributes associated to your customers, you can easy filter your NPS results down to only your Promoters, and find the commonalities within customer base.

Start with answering the question, “who are our happiest/best customers”.

For some companies, this could be based on role type … i.e. 60% of our Promoters are Director-level employees and in companies with more than 500 employees.

For other companies, the who might refer to the customer’s demographic or geographic attributes … age range, physical location, etc.

Depending on the tools you’re using and the data you’ve gathered on customers in the past, you may or may not have these attributes already collected.

Either way, it shouldn’t be too hard to gather. You could use a data enrichment tool such as Clearbit to populate these fields in a matter of minutes.

Once you have the attributes properly associated to your customers, you’ll just load those into an NPS platform like, and BAM … you’ll be able to slice and filter NPS data with your enriched data points and various customer segments.

Note: This data enrichment capability isn’t available with all NPS solutions, so you’ll want to check with your provider beforehand. This is supported natively at

Now that you’ve narrowed down the “who”, it’s time to figure out the “what”.

What do our happiest/best customers need most from us?

Or, another way to think about this is, what do our customers like or appreciate most about working with us.

Often times, the feedback they provided will give you the insights you need to answer this question immediately.

Tagging their feedback will allow you to quickly filter down the most common answers among your promoters (or optionally take advantage of our new Keyword Analysis feature).

To give you an example, you may hear from a customer that your product/service helped them reduce internal costs by X%. Another customer may say something about it helping them save 1,000’s of dollars.

While said in a different way, these are both referring to the ROI your company has delivered.

Using a tag of ‘ROI’ will allow you to now group these together.

It’s also possible that, after filtering through the NPS data from your promoters, you discover that you haven’t been given enough feedback to come to any meaningful conclusions.

The good news is, you know who your promoters are, so all you need to do is ask them. :)

Using Your Ideal Customer Persona to 10x Your Growth

Now that you’ve compiled the data on who your best customers are and what is driving their interest in your product or service, it’s time to multiply your growth.

This starts with targeting.

Using lookalike targeting, along with an export of your ideal customers, you can begin promoting your company to your most ideal niche and focus those acquisition dollars where it counts most.

Alternatively, now that you have a better understanding of the characteristics of your ideal prospect, you can use those data points to align them where they can be reached — communities online, conferences, etc.

Once you figure out how to find the best prospects for your business, it’s all about the messaging — which goes back to how this post began.

If your business is driven primarily by in-person or over-the-phone sales, you’ll want to arm your sales team with data and talking points that will resonate most with these prospects.

From there, a good sales person should be able to navigate the nuances of each unique prospect outside of their commonalities as an ideal buyer.

Where things break down for most companies though is when it comes to their website — the place where the sales most often take place.

Most marketing websites today say the same thing to everyone — which is why conversion rates are so terribly low.

Even when you’ve narrowed your messaging down to match that of your ideal customer profile, you still miss the personal touch that occurs in a 1-to-1 sales conversation.

This is where website personalization with a tool such as RightMessage comes in.

The tool essentially layers on top of your existing content and allows you to personalize the content and calls-to-action based on things such as which ad someone clicked on, where they are in your sales funnel or their behaviors on your site.

It’s the next best thing to having a salesperson live on your site 24 hours per day.


Customers today are looking for products and solutions that are seemingly meant just for them. This is the level of relevancy that customers have come to expect.

Using a combination of the NPS data you’ve been collecting along with techniques designed to reach and communicate with your ideal customers is the formula for a growing and profitable business.

In addition to everything else you use NPS for within your organization, make sure you’re using it to level up your marketing as well. The ROI here can be quite dramatic.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded 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.


Analyze NPS with Machine Learning

Let’s play a game. Later in this post, I’m going to name three different machine learning service providers. Based on the one you pick, like a fortune teller, I’m going to tell you a little bit about yourself. Sound fun? Good. But first…

Machine Learning: the two most over-hyped words in today’s lexicon.

Seems like all machine learning is good for is asking Siri to play a song or self-driving cars that are far too expensive for me to afford. They have a saying here in Texas: all hat, no cattle.

But what if? What if machine learning could do useful things for me? Hard things? Things that actually saved me and my team time? Hours or even days of busy work? That adds up quickly.

What could machine learning do, though? That’s the big question. What is something that takes a lot of time, is very manual, and machines would be good at doing instead?

Analyzing Verbatim Feedback From NPS Surveys

Going through and tagging NPS results with trends/themes can be a manual and time consuming process. It’s also one of the most important differences between the companies getting the most out of NPS and the ones who just want the score to report to their boss.

Regular readers of this blog know that NPS can be used for so much more than just a score. NPS can be used for sales, used to get reviews, and even used to growth hack your business.

But I get it, who has time to slog through thousands of responses, tag them individually, and then review the graphs to get the insight needed to kick your NPS to the next level?

You do…

Introducing Machine Learning Powered Keywords

Important note: Keywords Analysis is NOT a replacement for tagging (how we power Trends Analysis), nor will it ever be. It’s a complementary form of analytics and does not auto-tag for you.

But if you don’t have the time to initially invest in manual analysis or just need a quick sanity check of top drivers of your customer sentiment, you can now access a one-click machine learning feature for NPS. I’m serious, one click, it’s that easy. Signup now and find out.

How We Did It (a.k.a. Time For The Game)

Finally, it’s time for the game! In order to build this killer feature, we had to evaluate a range of solutions. In the end, there were three clear leaders in the space:

  • IBM’s Watson (the one that won Jeopardy)
  • Amazon Comprehend
  • MonkeyLearn

They were all very good and comprehensive, but for our needs, one of these services stood out from the rest. The one you guess it is will tell me a lot about you.

If You Guessed IBM Watson …

… Then you’re the type of person who closely follows the tech news, but you’re probably once (or twice) removed from the everyday engineering… more of an executive type. CxO. Vice President.

You know that IBM Watson has its hands in everything from medical supplies to your taxes (thanks to H&R Block), but you haven’t looked under the hood to explore the APIs and evaluate the services for yourself.

If You Guessed Amazon Comprehend …

… Then you’re a builder. Someone who knows that Amazon Web Services are generally pretty terrific out of the box and have a lot of functionality that is a couple of years ahead of most other providers out there.

IBM Watson has made far more headlines, but for all the hype, the services are not really all there yet. It’s kind of a hodgepodge of APIs that don’t really work together well. IBM could well turn it around and take the lead, but right now they are flailing a little bit and letting competitors make up the lead.

If You Guessed MonkeyLearn …

… Then you should seriously come work for us, you’re clearly a genius. =) But really, most of you are probably like Monkey-What? Isn’t that a mailing list solution? (No. That’s MailChimp. Totally different.)

MonkeyLearn hits that sweet spot of being easy to use AND being extremely powerful.

Easy to use is a hard thing to pull off in machine learning land, trust us. And it’s also important because we want to be dead simple for you to use, and if our own tools are too complicated, they might end up confusing you.

The Power of Machine Learning In One Click

Too much of machine learning is either:

  • Too Dumb
  • Too Hard

We wanted to create the Goldilocks of machine learning. Something that:

  1. Solves a real problem
  2. Saves a LOT of time
  3. Takes one click

Did we succeed? There’s only one way to tell: Try It Today

This feature is in beta, and since Keywords Analysis is most useful for larger data sets, we’re only releasing this on our Grow plan and up (for now). So it’s not available to everyone, yet. But based on your feedback, we may evaluate expanding this to other account levels.

What do you think?

We are all using it here internally at for our own NPS surveys and it has surfaced some very actionable data from our feedback that wasn’t as obvious before. We hope it will do the same for you.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


Who Gives a Crap – A Net Promoter Story

I’m a sucker when it comes to clever branding.

As a marketer, it really doesn’t get much better than seeing a company that’s willing to take a bit of risk by using humor and creativity to stand out.

That may seem like a simple thing that most any company would be willing to do, but in reality, most businesses are entirely risk-averse, often sticking to what they believe to be safe and risk-free.

There is nothing wrong with that approach, and depending on the type of customer you serve, it may be your best choice. However, those that have the ability push the envelope when it comes to their branding, and are able to execute it properly, can see massive viral growth at minimal expense as a return.

To illustrate my point, just look at the success of Poopouri, a company whose tagline reads, Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know.

Starting with just a $25k personal investment, the toilet bowl fragrance company (that protects against unwanted odors), went from selling in local stores in Texas to selling over 17 million products and generating north of $300 million in revenue nearly overnight.

How did they do that?

Clever branding and well-executed humor. Their viral success came from a video that showcased their creativity, generating over 40 million views to date.

While the company claims to “pride themselves on being ‘number 2’”, I challenge you to name me one other toilet bowl spritz brand (without Googling it).

That’s the power of creativity.

Speaking of bathroom products, about two years ago we had a new customer sign up for Promoter that caught our eye.

They weren’t some massive Fortune 500 company, in fact, up until that day we had never heard of them.

What caught our eye was their name, Who Gives a Crap.

At the time, we weren’t sure if that was some kind of sarcastic response to our signup form, or if that was truly their company name.

Again, as a marketer that’s enamored with creativity, I had to know more.

As it turns out, Who Gives a Crap is a super clever play on what it is that they do. The Australian-based company is a socially-responsible manufacturer of eco-friendly toilet paper, whose mission it is to help solve the sanitation issues in the developing world.


According to their data, roughly 2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet or proper sanitation, so Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of profits to help improve their conditions.

As you’ve heard us say numerous times, for any company, measuring the sentiment of your customers is critically important to the success of your business. That is especially true for businesses that take bold positions and branding.

The team at Who Gives a Crap turned to Net Promoter (NPS) and to ensure that their message was getting across and help them expand their brand outside of their native country.

Megan Olney, Head of Customer Happiness, stated that they turned to NPS to determine what it was that customers loved most about the brand.

Knowing that their customers were “fiercely loyal” and that word-of-mouth had been their biggest growth vehicle to date, the team already had a sense that organic growth would continue.

What they wanted to know more specifically was what drove that loyalty.

Olney says that the feedback they receive has been, “very insightful”.

Some of what they learned was that customers had found their branding and sense of humor to be delightful and refreshing.

They also discovered that customers liked ordering their products on a subscription basis, which turns out to be one less bulky purchase customers needed to make on their shopping trips.

Interestingly though, using customer attributes, they were able to determine that customers in rural areas would benefit greater from a Co-op subscription model, which has opened up new opportunities for the company.

Olney claims that not only has the NPS data been insightful, but it’s also been very actionable.

In particular, the marketing team has been able to improve their sites SEO (search engine optimization) as well refine their Facebook advertising directly from customer insights.

In another example, Olney and her team discovered that customers in the UK, which is a market that had recently entered, were really into zero waste. This NPS discovery helped them improve on the messaging and targeting within this emerging market.

But, like every company, not all of the customer feedback was positive.

When detractor or passive feedback comes in (which isn’t much, keep reading to see their NPS score), an email gets triggered to the customer support team for proper and immediate triage.

In addition, each piece of feedback (positive and negative) is tagged, which has allowed Olney to identify clear overarching trends within the data.

One interesting and relatively amusing trend they discovered is that customers have claimed that they don’t like talking about toilet paper with friends.

While this is humorous because it’s true for most of us, it also brings up an important point about referrals and organic growth.

What happens when you sell a product or service that doesn’t lend itself to natural word-of-mouth discussions?

In the case of Who Gives a Crap, they already know that customer referrals have been their biggest growth channel. While some customers may not be willing to discuss or recommend their toilet paper with friends, they certainly are spreading the word about their social impact, or humorous branding.

If you’re growing a sustainable company, you will need some semblance of organic growth, which every company, regardless of what you sell, is capable of.

If your product or service is inherently unshareable, it’s your job to create a narrative that is. Maybe that’s delivering amazing customer service or maybe it’s something absurd like bringing a clown along on sales calls.

If your product or service is inherently unshareable, it’s your job to create a narrative that is. Click To Tweet

Olney has used NPS for this exact reason. Understanding the reason behind their customers’ loyalty has given the company the chance to grow exponentially.

Since starting their NPS journey in early 2016, Who Gives a Crap has been able to double their growth each year, as well as expand into both the US and UK markets.

One thing that’s certain, with an average response rate of 45% and a current NPS score of 81, it appears that it’s their customers who give a crap!

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded 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.


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.


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 –

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,

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 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.