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.

NPS filtering

How to Clone Your Best Customers with Attribute Analysis

Imagine you have a Net Promoter Score of 75.

That’s pretty amazing, right?

According to scoring guidelines, it’s world class!

With an NPS score of 75, you’d be in the neighborhood of the most successful companies in the world, including Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Netflix, just to name a few.

While that is a great score without a doubt, how much does it honestly tell you?

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve likely heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating: Independent of additional data, your overall Net Promoter Score is largely meaningless.

Sure, it can be a useful indicator of your company’s organic growth potential, or as famed investor Jason Lemkin believes, a sign that you’re a good investment to outside investors.

Besides that, what information does your overall score actually provide you in terms of actionable data?

Not much to be honest.

But it can.

When you match your NPS data with the attributes of your individual customers, your score itself can quickly become a treasure trove of incredibly rich data.

Over the past few weeks, we had several conversations with customers who had yet to leverage the power of customer attribute filtering because they didn’t fully understand the benefits.

As a result of those discussions, we felt it was important to take a deeper dive into filter attributes: what they are, the benefits of using them and the type of information they can provide.

What are attributes and why are they important?

Put simply, attributes are the individual characteristics that help further define each customer persona.

customer attributes

Let me explain a bit further.

It goes without saying, but we all know that no two customers are alike. This cliched statement generally refers to the needs and preferences of each individual customer. But, customers can differ in other ways as well.

The differences can include their job title, physical location, how long they’ve been a customer, the plan they’re on, etc.

These are attributes. They are those additional columns of data that you keep on each customer.

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When you’re able to align one or more of these attributes alongside your NPS score, your data becomes immensely more powerful.

Let’s say that you’re a company located on the East Coast with an overall NPS score of 15 and you’re curious to know what’s keeping your score from being even higher.

To get a clearer picture, you decide to filter your NPS results by customer service rep (CSR).

You notice that when looking at the customers associated to one of your reps, your NPS score goes from 15 to -10.

Bingo! You found your problem.

At this point, you may come to the conclusion that your customer service rep is to blame.

However, rather than stop there, you add in an additional attribute based on location.

Now you can see that of this CSR’s customers, the customer group with the lowest NPS score is coming from the West Coast, while the customers in the Midwest and East Coast groups have a score consistent with all other customers.

Now it looks more like a timezone issue.

Just adding this one additional point of data draws an entirely different conclusion, which is even more precise than the first.

This process can continue until you’re confident with the results.

Based on the scenario above, you can clearly see how much of a difference it makes in seeing the value of your NPS score when it’s filtered by attributes.

Here are a couple of other examples:

When some customer feedback is worth more than others

Let’s imagine that you’re the Head of Customer Success for a fast growing software company.

Once per quarter, it’s your job to present the company’s NPS results and findings to the executive team.

Unfortunately, it’s been a rough quarter and your NPS score has gone from a 45 down to a 30, so you’re not looking forward to the sharing the results.

In an effort to find a silver lining, you decide to create an attribute called ‘Customer Type’. This attribute identifies whether the customer is a ‘paying’ customer or a ‘trial’ customer. (A trial customer in this example is a non-paying customer.)

When you filter your results by ‘Customer Type’, you find that your NPS score for paying customers is 52, while the score for non-paying customers is 20.

Furthermore, you were able to go back to the previous quarter with this same filter in place and see that your score with paying customers actually increased.

By removing (i.e. filtering) non-paying customers you’re now able to get a better picture of your “true” Net Promoter results. And as a bonus, you now have a much better story to tell.

This is a fairly common scenario that we see with subscription-based or SaaS-based businesses. While feedback from trial customers is important, when it comes to measuring the true success of your business, it’s important that you can separate them from the results.

This is where attributes come in handy.

Cloning your best customers

Most companies today make up to 50% or more of their revenue from their best customers (aka advocates, aka promoters) via referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.  

Most companies today make up to 50% or more of their revenue from their best customers. Click To Tweet

This is why I mentioned earlier that having a high NPS score can be a good indicator of growth.

Obviously, the more advocates you have, the more customers that are out there driving your growth.

NPS is, by far, the best way to lead this growth by identifying and activating those advocates.

But, what if I told you that NPS is also one of the best ways to clone your advocates?

I mean, it’s not the aquatic planet of Kamino with tall aliens armed with super-advanced cloning technology, but it’s about as close as you can get outside of the Star Wars galaxy.

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The goal here is to identify your ideal customer persona using attribute filtering.  

You’ll start with everyone and begin to narrow down your data by layering attributes until you arrive at the highest filtered NPS score.

For example, let’s say you begin with an overall NPS score of 45. You start by filtering that score down by ‘Industry’. You find that your highest NPS scores are coming from customers in the Healthcare industry.

Next, you add in an additional ‘Role Type’ attribute and find that your score increases even more with customers both in the Healthcare industry and in an Operational role.

You continue this process until you either run out of attributes to filter by or you arrive at the highest possible filtered score.

In the end, you’ll be left with the characteristics that make up your most ideal customer profile.

This persona data can now be leveraged across all marketing and sales channels to improve targeting and key marketing copy. Your growth team will be able to utilize this data to build lookalike audiences which will ultimately reduce acquisition costs and drive more qualified customers.

Analyzing Your Key Trends with Customer Attributes

Up until now, we’ve only been talking about filtering your score by customer attributes, which I hope you can now see the value in.

But wait … it gets even better.

Armed with the characteristics of your ideal customer profile (based on attributes and score), imagine how powerful it would be if you could also find out what specifically drives their advocacy.

This is precisely what you can learn when you pair customer attributes with your trending data.

6e994eb-trend_attributes

Note: If you’re not familiar with your trending data, this is compiled based on the verbatim feedback provided by your customers, presented in a way that surfaces the most important (and popular) positive, neutral and negative topics.

Now, in addition to having an ideal customer persona, you’ll also understand the motivations behind their behavior.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine you’re looking at your overall trending data and it’s telling you that your top positive trends are ‘customer service’ and ‘ease-of-use’.

Generally speaking, this is great information to have and can be extremely helpful in exploiting your strengths as benefits to prospects.  

What’s even more useful though, is when you filter your trends by the attributes you’ve determined to match your ideal customer.

For the sake of this example, let’s say that when you do, now, rather than ‘customer service’, you find that a specific feature of your product/service is a top positive trend.

This is a pretty critical piece of information.

Globally, focusing on your superior customer service may be a message that resonates with an audience at large. However, for your ideal customer, this product feature should be front and center.

Arming your sales and marketing team with persona data and this level of granular targeting is the holy grail of customer acquisition.

While I can’t speak for other Net Promoter solutions, I can tell you that with Promoter, getting customer attributes in place is an absolute breeze.

The really cool part is that even if your campaigns have been underway for any length of time, it’s never too late to add attribute data. With Promoter, once you add the data to your customer contact records, we retroactively apply it to all of our previous campaign data.

In other words, with ease of putting attributes in place along with the goldmine of value you’ll see in return, there is no reason you shouldn’t get started.

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

saas tools

The 45 Tools We Use to Run Promoter.io

According to the data gathered by Siftery, a tool that tracks and suggests software used by businesses, top companies today use an average of 37 different tools or software platforms to run their day-to-day operations.

Whoa!

That is an amazing fact to consider, especially when compared to how few tools businesses used just a handful of years ago.

According to @Siftery, top companies use 37 different tools to run their day-to-day operations. Click To Tweet

The reality is, it takes a lot of products and services to run a growing startup, let alone a large organization (which use an average of nearly 90 different tools according to Siftery).

Honestly, it’s kind of hard to imagine what it was like to run a business before the convenience of SaaS products, or even before just software for that matter.

With the need for so many services, it’s often times that many of these products are fighting against each other for the same budgets.

In order to stay within the stack, you need to provide unquestionable value at a bare minimum.

But even then, you’re still up against all of the other tools in the arsenal when budgets don’t grow as fast as the teams around them (or worse, get cut) because value isn’t the only deciding factor.

Customers need to see the value in your product AND maintain a high sentiment towards your brand to justify a coveted and protected position within their toolset.

This doesn’t just begin and end with the decision maker either. This permeates down to everyone who uses your product, including the general users (who have more influence than you think).

If you can deliver on your value proposition, as well as ensure your customers continue to have a high sentiment and loyalty towards your brand (by … ahem, measuring and acting on your NPS data), you will assuredly surpass your indirect competition and avoid unnecessary churn.  

As a software company ourselves, we make every operational, product, marketing, and sales decision around this belief. And, we support our growth with tools that do the same.

With that in mind, here are 45 tools that we use (and proudly advocate) to run and grow Promoter.io:

Accounting & Finance

Baremetrics

Baremetrics makes sense of all our Stripe and manual invoice data into easily consumable metrics for our SaaS business (MRR, ARR, LTV, Churn, etc). We also use their “Recover” feature for dunning management so it’s a breeze for customers to keep their payment methods up-to-date. Don’t run a business without this kind of dashboard.

Expensify

Expensify removes almost all the most painful parts of submitting expense requests. Gone are the days of expense report hell. Yeehaw!

Flightpath Finance

While Baremetrics (more on this tool below) gives us the proper metrics from Stripe, Flightpath makes sense of it all into a long-term model that we can use to inform strategic decisions from hiring to product investment.

Freshbooks

I hate QuickBooks invoices so we use Freshbooks for this exclusively. Sure you can make simple invoices in a number of ways but tracking them can become a pain, and Freshbooks makes them beautiful in the process. Your larger enterprise (or international) customers will appreciate it.

Quickbooks

While I’m not a fan of their invoices, you have to keep the books somewhere. QuickBooks works well enough and is deeply integrated with many other tools, so we’ve stuck with them.

Stripe

Our go-to payment processor. It’s simple to use and is very secure … almost to a fault. Which is good in their case.

Customer Support

Grasshopper

You have to have that 800 number, right? While we don’t receive a ton of calls, we love having our phone number out there to engage with customers and prospects who prefer this method of contact. Business tends to happen a lot faster through the phone as well, which is never a bad thing. Grasshopper makes it a breeze to handle these calls and route them appropriately, or take a message when necessary.

Groove

While there is some overlap with tools like Intercom, we have found that it doesn’t fully replace a true purpose built customer support solution, which is where Groove really shines. When we need to handle cases that aren’t quickly resolved, we move them to Groove.

Inspectlet

This tool can selectively record the sessions of our users and has come in handy on many an occasion for resolving user support issues and for improving user experience.  

Intercom

Our primary tool for daily customer support and interaction, used to help customers while they’re in the app, address immediate concerns and push out effective notifications. We also push our NPS data into Intercom (here’s how you can do the same), which arms us with our customer’s sentiment ahead of our interactions.   

LiveChat

A much more fluid “live chat” service compared to others who have recently built solutions in this space. We use this for certain customers and touch points where true real-time interaction makes all the difference.

Promoter.io

I think this goes without saying. But yes, our own product is an absolutely essential tool to the success of our business that we use on a daily basis. :)

Development

AWS

Infrastructure

(The incredibly detailed description above was provided by my Co-Founder & CTO, if you hadn’t already guessed.)

Bugsnag

We use Bugsnag for our application exception logging, error tracking and performance metrics.

Encrypt.me (formerly Cloak)

Security is paramount in all we do, down to our individual connections. Encrypt.me (formerly Cloak) has been a great provider with very reliable speeds.

Dome9

Active protection, access and policy management for all of our infrastructure.

Email on Acid

When you send millions of emails per month to countless email clients, this is a must. Test and render your emails across the most popular clients, apps, and devices.

GitHub

We use Github for our source code management and to perform code reviews.

Loggly

App logging.

(This guy, I tell you.)

Namecheap

A great domain management platform with “cheap” rates, for when you need to register every possible variation of your brand or product name :)

Rackspace

Rackspace is a highly reliable managed hosting/cloud provider who we use to host failover services outside of AWS along with some other non-performance impacting pieces of infrastructure. Best not to keep all of your eggs in one basket, dare I say.

SendGrid

Email relay

(Yep, CTO again. They’re a really good email relay.)

Operations

Adobe Creative Cloud

Let’s be honest. When you get that creative spark, MS paint (R.I.P.) is just not going to cut it. That’s why we rely on the best-of-breed suite of tools that Adobe has to offer, most notably Illustrator and Photoshop.

eShares

Excellent cap table and digital certificate management, plus a reliable 409A valuation service. We love it and our investors/advisors do too.

Flow

Simple yet extremely powerful task and project management. Great team support as well.

Google Apps

For when you don’t need the full power of Microsoft Office, or easier collaboration :)

Gusto

Gusto is hands down one of our favorite services. They make payroll, benefits, taxes and reporting an absolute breeze and the team is always super helpful. If you are still doing payroll in house or through a larger firm, give them a look. You won’t regret it.

HelloFax

They’ve made faxing fun again, sort of. :)

Microsoft Office 365

The world grinds to a halt sometimes without true Microsoft Excel. Google Sheets works okay for a lot of use cases, but when it doesn’t, it’s painful.

Segment

Analytics wrapper

Slack

As a semi-remote team, Slack helps provide powerful team communication/collaboration that keeps everyone on the same page and productive all day long (as long as you don’t have any gif/giphy integrations that is).

productivity

Visible

Visible makes updating our investors far easier (and more beautiful). Easily capture key performance data and share your story with your stakeholders all in one platform.

Zapier

Simply put, Zapier is the most powerful platform for connecting our different systems and data together. This single tool powers the the bulk of our back-end workflows and business logic.

Sales & Marketing

Adroll

Retargeting is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to capture new revenue. And, Adroll is the best tool for doing it (and also our favorite). It’s easy to use, works across multiple channels and has robust options as you advance your campaigns. It’s a staple in our marketing arsenal.

Buffer

Maintaining an active social presence can be an absolute grind, but well worth the effort. Any tool that makes this job easier, we’ll happily pay for. That’s especially true for Buffer. Not only does it free up our time by scheduling our sharing just once per week, but it gives us better results when doing so.

Calendly

Every year, the average business person spends the equivalent of 2 days going back and forth attempting to find a day and time that works for meetings. Actually, I just made that up, but it’s probably not far off. Calendly solves that pain. It’s a shareable calendar that allows our customers and prospects to pick the time that works best for them (without the hassle).

In fact, while I have you, if you want a demo of Promoter, book a time here. :)

Clearbit

Clearbit provides “integrated intelligence for every stage of your sales & marketing workflow”, and let me tell you, it’s quite magical. The data we’re able to surface helps us understand our customers and prospects better so we can deliver a superior level of service along with driving up conversion rates.

ConvertKit

In spite of what anyone tries to tell you, email is still, hands-down, the most effective way to communicate with your customers in mass (also the best method for NPS, but this isn’t the time or place for that discussion). ConvertKit has got us covered in this department. From weekly newsletters to intelligent on-boarding sequences, this tool has quickly become a must-have.

GoSquared

Actionable analytics from our marketing site and our app which helps us increase conversion from prospects or even for certain features/usage within our app.

Join.me

Join.me lets our team reliably hold meetings with audio conference lines globally and reliable screen sharing. On a weekly basis, we have dozens of meetings from any given country. There are a lot of fancy features in web conferencing applications, but Join.me has a simple scheduling link to Gmail so our team doesn’t run into any conflicts. Oh, and they’ve got one of the best product jingles ever

Pipedrive

A great sales focused CRM which helps us keep our sales and onboarding pipelines organized. The direct sync with Gmail also makes it easy for the team to see all the conversations with prospects in one place.

Sumo

When content is a such a huge part of your marketing strategy (which it is for us), it’s critical that you have the right tool to properly promote it. That tool is Sumo. It’s like the swiss army knife of content promotion — lead-gen, sharing, tracking, etc. It’s a must have x10.

Unbounce

With paid acquisition, it’s important to remember that your primary landing page copy won’t necessarily work to convert every audience equally. That’s where Unbounce comes in for us. Creating unique landing pages that match both the audience and the messaging we’re using within our ads has been essential to increasing our conversations and reducing our cost per acquisition (CPA).

WebinarNinja

Webinars can be a highly effective tool for educating both prospects and current customers when done right, but the tools in this arena have left a lot to be desired in recent years. Trust us, we’ve tried many. WebinarNinja is a fine-tuned and streamlined service built to do this one thing really well, and it’s reinvigorated our efforts around providing great content through this channel.

Wistia

Powerful video hosting platform with valuable analytics that helps us improve our video content.

Do you know of any good tools or services that we should absolutely check out? Let us know 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

Agree NPS

From NPS to Ah-Ha! How Agree.com Found Success Through Net Promoter

When Agree.com, a SaaS tool that simplifies contracts for event-based contractors, decided to start measuring their NPS, their goal was to simply make sure that they were meeting the expectations of their customers.

What they didn’t realize initially was that the value of the NPS process was going to be so much greater than they expected.

Universally, most companies that work with us at Promoter have a similar initial goal as Agree when they first come on board.

They start NPS as a passive exercise in measuring operational effectiveness.

There is nothing wrong with that objective as an initial motivation, however, as we’ve written about on numerous occasions, the value of NPS goes well beyond surface level discoveries.

A properly structured and well-executed NPS campaign will:

  • Increase customer retention
  • Increase referrals and organic revenue
  • Improve financial forecasting
  • Normalize customer data to drive product decisions
  • Identify ideal customer personas for improved targeting
  • Improve key customer messaging for both user experience and outbound marketing
  • Identify top buying decision drivers for sales pipeline efficiency
  • Unearth new revenue opportunities
  • And the list goes on …

As you can see, it’s a pretty expansive list of substantial benefits and it impacts every team/department within an organization.

The point of this being, every company has their own unique reasons for beginning to measure NPS, but almost always, they end getting way more from it than they ever expected.

The same is true for Agree.com.

Agree.com

What started as an exercise in customer exploration, ended up bringing about several significant and measurable organizational benefits.

This is their story.

Surveying EVERY Customer

Nearly every SaaS company has both paying and non-paying customers. In Agree’s case, they operate on what’s called a “freemium” model.

If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it’s a model mostly made famous by Dropbox, where a customer is able to use a “scaled down” version of a product without paying.

With Agree, they offer customers the opportunity to send a few contracts per month for free. The goal with freemium is to encourage the customer to upgrade to a paid plan by giving them just a taste of the product, leaving them wanting more.

Making organizational changes based on the feedback of non-paying customers is generally not a good idea, however, their feedback is still valuable and can help improve conversion rates.

And this is precisely what the team at Agree has been able to do.

By including non-paying (freemium) customers in their NPS campaign, Agree was hoping to get a better understanding of what was preventing these prospects from upgrading.

What they discovered was that, because their product largely catered to photographers, other event-based contractors such as florists, DJ’s, videographers, etc. felt that their product wasn’t a fit for them.

This was due primarily to the language that Agree had been using to communicate more specifically to their core customer, photographers.

Agree was able to simply broaden their marketing copy and change a few “photographer specific” terms within their product to appeal to these other verticals more globally.

Now, if you visit their homepage, you’ll see Agree has prominently listed the expanded groups they cater to.

Screen+Shot+2017-08-24+at+1.30.41+PM

How Positive Feedback Led to Increased Pricing

When I mentioned that increasing organic revenue was one of the benefits of NPS, this can come in several forms. The most common being word-of-mouth referrals from your proactive promoters.

With Agree, they were able to drive an increase in organic revenue with both promoter outreach (more on this later) as well as leveraging promoter feedback to increase their pricing.

The team at Agree had been considering a price increase before sending out their first NPS survey, but they were able to confidently execute on it after hearing from customers.

Using the tagging feature within Promoter, Agree was able to categorize and rank themes within their feedback. For example, both “price” and “customer service” were categories in which they wanted to track.

Once tagging each piece of feedback was complete, Promoter’s trend analysis feature allowed them to see a complete picture of the top positive and negative trends among their customers.

Noticing that “price” as a category was one of their biggest positive trends, they explored some of the ways their customers were describing their pricing.

Words such as “very affordable” and “inexpensive” were indicators to the team that they may be leaving money on the table.

After a few internal discussions, they landed on a new pricing structure, which is currently being rolled out.

Agree.com pricing

Prioritizing the Roadmap

Obviously, not all of the feedback that Agree received was positive.

Exploring their negative trends led to an interesting conclusion as well.

Like every company, Agree has a product roadmap — a prioritized list of updates and new features that are planned to be built in the months ahead.

On that roadmap were two updates that weren’t very high on the priority list, according to their own internal objectives.

  1. The ability to save contract templates
  2. The ability to require multiple signatures on a contract

Thanks to some critical feedback from their customers, these two items were moved to the head of the line.

It’s often times easy for companies to chase after what they believe is important to the customer. Many times those assumptions are incorrect, especially when decided upon in a vacuum.

Negative trends are just as important for validation as positive trends.

The truth was, the team at Agree already knew that these two upgrades were needed, but until they were able to validate that through trend analysis and direct feedback, it wasn’t a priority.

Again, NPS can help any company normalize customer feedback so that only the most important updates (according to the customer) can drive product decisions.

Putting Promoters to Work

We’ve shared this before, but just in case you’ve missed it … on average, only 20% of your promoters will actively refer you without being asked to do so.

Which means that 80% of your promoters are awaiting your instructions.

80% of your promoters are awaiting your instructions. Give them something to do. Click To Tweet

Your job is to give them something to do, which is exactly what Agree does.

A few of the things that they ask of their promoters:

  1. Share a trackable link within specialized groups/communities. For example, there are several niche photography groups on Facebook. Agree provides their promoters with a link and asks them to share it within the group.
  2. Invite promoters to their affiliate program. It goes without saying, but without a doubt, the best affiliates are those that use your product themselves. NPS and affiliate programs are akin to the relationship that peanut butter has with jelly.
  3. Asked for Testimonials. So far, this simple ask has driven over 60 testimonials/quotes that they use on their site and throughout their marketing efforts.

These are just a few of the ways that Agree leverages their promoters, but honestly, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re interested in other ways, check out 6 ways to Leverage Your Promoters.

Finding an Ah-Ha moment

Going back to some of the critical feedback Agree received from their detractors and passives, they noticed within their trends that there were several comments similar to “slow to improve” or “missing features”.

On the surface, they could have taken those at face value and assumed that meant that their development team needed to “move faster” and “build more features”.

However, their discovery was much simpler than that.

It was their marketing that was driving this negative sentiment, not their product.

Prior to this discovery, the team would mention upcoming features or upgrades within their marketing, usually followed by, “coming soon”.

What Agree realized is that there were customers who would buy the product in anticipation of these upgrades happening sooner than planned.

When the updates weren’t done in the time frame that the customer imagined, it left them feeling like Agree was working too slow or was missing necessary features.

As a result, Agree has now moved away from making promises of immediate fixes or features. Instead, they have begun to set more realistic expectations.

—-

Agree is a great example of a company that has benefited from shifting their perspective of NPS as a passive exercise to that of a proactive and essential process.

Cody Rogers, Head of Product at Agree.com stated,

We’re building a product for people. We can’t do it well unless they’re telling us (often) how we’re doing. Getting this feedback makes us feel like we’re in tune with who we’re building for.”

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

StickerMule

How Sticker Mule Became a World Class Company

If you have not yet had the pleasure of ordering and receiving custom printed stickers from Sticker Mule, you’re absolutely missing out.

I say “pleasure”, because there is no better way to describe the complete start-to-finish customer experience that the folks over at Sticker Mule have created.

It doesn’t feel like a purchase, it feels like an experience.

It all starts with their playful brand featuring a silhouette of a mule, which extends into their tagline of “Custom stickers that kick ass”.

StickerMule

(Unrelated, but interesting nonetheless, I was able to learn the difference between a mule and a donkey while doing research for this story. If you’ve wondered what the difference is yourself, here’s the answer.)

Back to our story …

Using a more lighthearted and humorous tone, along with their bright orange brand color, really gives you a sense that this entire ordering process is likely to be quite enjoyable.  

They don’t disappoint either.

Ordering is super simple. They don’t offer an endless array of options, which helps streamline the decision making process. They stick (pun fully intended) to what they do best.

Within just a few clicks, your order can be placed.

Unless you need your stickers in an insanely short amount of time, Sticker Mule offers you a pretty amazing turn-around (they’re the world’s fastest sticker printing according to their site), which includes free basic shipping.

When your stickers arrive, they’ll most likely arrive in a bubble envelope that really stands out.

Inside the package, they always throw in a few stickers of their own, a fancy button and a card that’s personally signed by the person who packed my order (which is a nice touch).

Sticker Mule Delivery

While the experience for most of their customers up to this point is amazing, it’s usually topped once they receive their order.  

The quality of products that Sticker Mule delivers is unmatched.

The materials, the ink, the printing … it all comes together to really deliver a craftsman-level sticker (along with the handful of other products they offer as well).

If it weren’t already obvious, we’re huge fans (and promoters) of Sticker Mule here at Promoter.

And, we’re certainly not alone either.

Based on the complete customer experience I described above, it shouldn’t surprise you that Sticker Mule maintains a healthy NPS score in the 70’s. Which, as you’re probably aware, is only achieved by companies delivering world class customer service.

For their team though, they still strive to do better.

So, we were very excited when they turned to us to help them measure and improve upon their customer sentiment.

The company decided to begin their NPS journey not only to improve upon their already impressive customer experience but to also capture customers who they may not be reaching through “normal channels” when help is most needed.

The “normal” channel for their customers is to reach out to their help desk by email. This process allows the support team the ability to properly triage the ticket and respond back to the customer in the quickest time possible.

Within this normal process, the biggest comment they hear back from the customer is how they can’t believe how fast their response was.

Still, the company believes that there is a stigma around email support, assuming that if a customer can’t call a support line or start a live chat with someone, they may not bother reaching out at all.

They saw this as a potential issue and turned to Promoter.io and NPS to help.

Kalie Bishop, a Customer Service Manager at Sticker Mule stated,

“Regardless if the feedback is positive or negative, the ability to obtain meaningful customer feedback enables us to continue to improve our process and services. We encourage all feedback as it helps us to determine whether or not our products and services are meeting or surpassing customer expectations.”

What Kalie and her team were able to do is indeed capture additional feedback from those that they were missing in their normal help desk ticketing process.

As they assumed, there were customers that simply weren’t taking the initiative to reach out via email when they experienced an issue.

The friction of that process, along with a preconceived belief that the response time would be longer than they’d like, prevented them from reaching out to support at all.

Fortunately, the convenience and ease of completing an NPS survey, allowed the Customer Service team to hear from many of these customers with unsolved issues or concerns.

In many cases, simply responding to the customer following the survey was enough for these customers to feel supported, eliminating (or at least minimizing) their detractor sentiment.

This is often true for customers of any company. Most people are amazed that there is someone even reading their feedback, let alone responding back personally. Closing the loop is honestly one of the easiest and most important things you can do as a company to improve customer sentiment.

Where a response wasn’t enough for Sticker Mule customers, Kalie and her team were able to engage in more meaningful discussions and help to resolve the issues before they escalated.

While their NPS journey is just getting started, Kalie states that,

“Promoter.io has allowed us to identify trends that are key indicators of customer loyalty, areas of potential growth, and actionable insight into areas that need improvement. It’s a powerful metric that we at Sticker Mule pay very close attention to.”

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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NPS alternatives

7 Alternative Ways to Use NPS

Since opening our proverbial doors in 2014, we’ve been fortunate enough to be supported by a wide array of unique customers, coming from a multitude of industries.

The customer intelligence vertical, specifically Net Promoter, is such an exciting space to be operating in because the system is valuable for nearly any company in existence. What that means is our clients have ranged from small mom and pop retail stores to Fortune 500 corporations, such as IBM.

While NPS, as a methodology, isn’t new (it was first mentioned in 2003 with nearly a decade of research prior to that), it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that it really became popular as a practice. As a result, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface on its possible applications.

Aside from its most typical use case, there are several ways that companies and individuals can utilize the NPS framework to their advantage. Here are just a few:

Measure Employee Satisfaction & Sentiment

While this isn’t a super secret alternative use of NPS, it is still in the early stages of growth in terms of being used as the default way to measure employee sentiment and ultimately loyalty.

Employee NPS, or eNPS, as it’s more commonly referred to, frames the Net Promoter question a bit differently, while the scoring scale remains the same:

How likely is it that you would recommend Promoter.io as a place to work?

Another key difference is that when an employee completes his/her survey, their response is anonymized to protect their identity and allow them to speak freely.

Much like a traditional customer-based NPS survey, high response rates along with meaningful open-ended feedback are the biggest reasons why companies are turning to eNPS as their default employee engagement and satisfaction survey of choice.

The days of hounding and pressuring employees to participate in long-form internal surveys or “happy checks” are numbered, as they should be. Most employees only skim through because they are forced, which results in bad/useless data.

Determine Product Market Fit

There are two big misconceptions when it comes to NPS:

  1. It’s only useful when you have 1000’s of customers
  2. It’s only used to measure the loyalty and sentiment of paying customers

Neither of those assumptions are accurate. In fact, they’re just flat out wrong.

The truth is, Net Promoter can be useful and impactful in the earliest of stages, even before your product fully goes to market.

Techstars, a business accelerator with programs all over the world (and client of Promoter.io), uses NPS to measure the impact of the mentors that are advising the companies they invest in. They run their surveys early and often during each session (more on this below).

Product Market Fit

Many of the companies going through the Techstars program will initiate their NPS program while they’re still in session. Some are using it to measure early customer sentiment and others are using it to determine if their ideas have PMF (Product Market Fit).

Another recent example is TaxJar (also a Promoter.io client). While rolling out a newer version of their application to a select group of customers, TaxJar segmented their NPS scores to measure whether the sentiment and satisfaction of customers who had access to their newest version was greater than those on their legacy product.

They were ultimately able to validate their assumptions before rolling out the new product globally.

Using NPS to measure PMF could potentially save your company from making a grave mistake.

Polling / Midterm Progress

In 2016, Promoter rolled out a tool we called “Net Presidential Score” as an alternative way to leverage NPS to poll US voters in the Presidential Election.

The site we created cycled through each eligible candidate asking the following question (for example):

How likely are you to recommend Bernie Sanders for President to a friend or colleague?

Net Presidential Score

Not only did the voters give each candidate a score, they also left the reason why they would or would not recommend a given person. The results were fascinating and turned out to be largely accurate.

Elections are just one tiny example of where NPS can be used as a polling alternative.

Imagine you’re launching a company or new product into an industry with several incumbents. Wouldn’t it be great to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each of those competitive companies before entering the market?

There are a limitless number of options when it comes to using NPS for polls and even general research.

Are your blog readers engaged?

It’s safe to say that most of today’s companies have a blog of some kind. With that blog, they generally have a mailing list they’ll use to promote their latest posts.

For most people who manage these blogs, the success of each post is based on actions — number of clicks, number of shares, number of comments, etc.

Based on these results, you may assume that your content is either doing well or not doing well at all.

The problem is, no matter what answer you arrive at, it’s likely based on superficial data.

To get really good insights, you can utilize NPS to measure the sentiment of your readership:

How likely are you to recommend the Promoter.io blog to a friend or colleague?

What’s great is that not only will you get to see how well you’re doing from a scoring standpoint, but you’ll also get a ton of open-ended feedback regarding what you’re doing right and/or wrong. Often times these insights will help guide the type of content you write moving forward.

And, as an additional bonus, you’ll have identified your biggest advocates along the way. This army of promoters will come in handy to drive even more readers to your future content.

How well did you educate your audience?

Whether you’re a University Professor or the Head of Customer Success running a webinar, engaging your “customers” using NPS after your class is dismissed can be an excellent way to gauge your impact as an educator and gain some valuable feedback.

Techstars, an international startup incubator and Promoter.io client, has been using NPS to measure the impact of their individual educators (i.e.mentors) for some time now as mentioned above.

While not a typical educational program, Techstars runs three-month acceleration programs throughout the year. Each of these sessions involves a group of mentors that help guide the participants (entrepreneurs) in launching their businesses.

At the end of each session, each participant is sent an NPS survey on each individual mentor, which Techstars uses to determine whether they’ll be invited back for the next session.

This is just one small example of how NPS can be used to measure the impact of your educational efforts.  

Measure Your Individual Performance

Who says that Net Promoter can only be used by businesses?

If you’re in the job market, or you’re a consultant or just generally interested in how you’re doing as a professional, why not use an NPS survey to ask your former co-workers, friends, business associates, etc. how likely they’d be to recommend you?

This could be an excellent way to create a personal KPI (key performance indicator), generate personal referrals or get some critical feedback towards self-improvement.

At worst, you’ll get feedback to improve upon. At best, you’ll have a plethora of testimonials and referrals to land that next client or job.

Increase Charitable Giving

If you’re a non-profit, church, or just someone that puts together an event to raise money, it’s important to know how your donors feel about you. In fact, knowing the sentiment of your donors can be tied directly to the amount of fundraising that you actually receive.

Large non-profit organizations, such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have been turning to Promoter.io for this exact reason.

Using NPS as a non-profit is no different than it is for a for-profit corporation. The question and process remain exactly the same.

If you’re using Promoter as a platform, you can even use our built-in revenue calculator to help you predict if your donations will be increasing or decreasing based on your NPS score.

When it comes time for your next fundraising event, you’ll now be able to turn to your army of promoters to help spread the word and skyrocket your donations and donor base.

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These examples above are just a handful of the many alternative ways you can utilize the Net Promoter framework in other facets of your business or personal life.  

With the advancements being made on tools (such as Promoter), the options for the application are starting to become endless.

Are you using NPS in a unique way? Please share your use case in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it and perhaps feature your story on an upcoming blog post!

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