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.

stranger things Net Promoter

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

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

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

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

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

You must always close the loop

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

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

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

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

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

This is closing the loop.

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

Oddly, this is a step that many companies overlook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep your customer feedback out of the silo  

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

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

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

Let me show you what I mean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NPS is not a bottom-up activity

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Chad Keck

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


perception versus reality

How Tekspace Has Overcome Passive Customer Perception with NPS

Have you ever sat in your house, looked around at all of the devices and utilities that are being powered by electricity and thought, “Wow, my power company is amazing.”

Likely not, right?

If you’re like me, the only time you think of your power company is when the power is out (or when that inflated monthly bill arrives).

The fact is, for most of us, we expect our power to be up and running at all times, after all, that’s what we pay for.

When our power goes out, no matter the reason, we blame it on the power company. On top of that, we expect that if there is an outage, it will be repaired in record time. Otherwise, they’ll be getting an earful from us as the customer.

At best, the most that power company can ever ask for is a passive customer, unfortunately. But, that’s the nature of that business.

The same can be said for IT services (Information Technology) companies, such as client, Tekspace.

Tekspace Net Promoter

Tekspace is an Australian-based managed IT services firm that knows the plight of passive customers all too well.

And, it’s not because they are bad at what they do. Quite the contrary actually. Tekspace has been growing like a weed thanks to their commitment to reduce IT downtime and their unique offering: the “Core Platform”.

In some industries, the best a company can ever ask for is a passive customer. Click To Tweet

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a managed IT services firm does, they are essentially your company’s IT department, only outsourced. You know, those guys and gals you call when your computer won’t start.

The truth is, they do much more than that, but much of it is behind the curtain, which is part of the challenge when it comes to measuring customer sentiment.

In the case of Tekspace, they offer what they define as their 4 pillars, where each pillar has its own dedicated team in the business:

  1. Support – This is what most of us non-IT people are familiar with: help desk support, installing updates, anti-spam software, etc.
  2. Continuity – Monitoring infrastructure and looking for indicators of potential issues, then fixing the issues before they occur. This is the stuff most customers never see.
  3. Improvement – Continually benchmarking a company’s IT against best practice, then finding and bridging the most critical gaps. According to George Hagivassilis, Tekspace’s CCO, this has never been done before, so the team at Tekspace made their own proprietary system called the “Core Analysis”.
  4. Strategy – Working with business leaders to help them make smarter decisions about their technology, including assistance in contract negotiations with hardware or software providers.  

At the end of the day however, George says that what customers tend to measure their success on, is IT uptime.

Much like we as consumers expect our power companies to keep our electricity on, Tekspace customers rely on them to keep their computers, devices and servers up and running.

And, it turns out that IT downtime is no joke.

When Tekspace first got going, they needed to figure out how much IT downtime was costing the average company.

They performed an analysis across tens of thousands of past IT issues, and what they learned was that, on average, for every 25 employees that a company has, they will lose the equivalent of 1 full-time employee in IT downtime per year.

Upon this discovery, they decided that reducing this number for their clients was going to be one of their primary Northstar metrics.

Even though IT outages are not out of the ordinary for any company and even though Tekspace significantly reduces the chances of having them, they still get blamed when they happen.

To the end user (the employee of the customer), it doesn’t matter whether Tekspace caused the issue or had nothing to do with it (which is the majority of cases), the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the IT team.

This, along with wanting to grow and do better as an organization, is what led George and the rest of the folks at Tekspace to investing in NPS and

Why NPS?

One of the biggest needs was that they wanted to know if their proprietary “Core Platform” was working perceptively.

In other words, since the customers couldn’t always see what was happening behind-the-scenes, did the C-Level decision makers and end-users (employees) at the very least, sense the impact that their platform was having on their business? If so, how could they improve it?

George and his team knew that NPS would be a great source for this level of information.

Additionally though, given that most IT services customers were passive by nature, they were curious to dig deeper to find the reasons behind those passive scores.

And finally, just like any company that measures their NPS, they had the same aspirations of increasing their score over time by leveraging the insights to improve and grow their business.

The Impact End-Users Can Make

When the initial results started to come in, they could clearly see that most of the end-users they surveyed were not aware of the full extent of the services Tekspace provided.

Many of the results were directly related to the experience they had with the service desk (often their only touch point), or their sentiment was based on their own internal IT issues.

While these insights were useful for making service-level improvements, they also presented an opportunity to improve communication and visibility around their broader efforts.

When asked why end-users (who only see a single side to their business) were a part of those that were surveyed, George stated that end-users are important to the business because:

  1. Despite however well Tekspace may actually perform, end-user perception is reality and drives their sentiment, so it’s important to understand how they feel.
  2. End-user sentiment ultimately impacts the buying decision made by C-Level decision makers at contract renewal time.
  3. Identifying promoters could be leveraged for positive reviews.

With surveys being sent every 60 days, Tekspace is able to measure how service delivery improvements influence end-user perception over time.

How Decision Makers Differ

Since all of the NPS surveys fall under a single campaign, George used ‘attribute filters’ to separate the results between the end-users and the C-Level decision makers.

While these C-Level customers are those that are aware of the full scope of services that Tekspace provides, it was surprising to find out that support (service desk) was still a big factor in their score.

Overall however, they were able to get deeper insights from these individuals with more pointed feedback.

Ultimately, they were able to determine that while customer sentiment from decision makers had indicated they were quick at responding to and ultimately resolving issues, the time to resolve the issues needed to improve.

This was an interesting discovery as their internal data had indicated that they were fixing issues extremely fast; often well within service levels.

The delta between their customers’ perception versus their internal data has led them to explore ways in which they can reduce their resolution times by up to half.


At the end of the day, thanks to NPS, George and his team have realized that perception, as opposed to reality, plays a big role in the sentiment of the customers.

This has been an important realization as they look to expand their business beyond Melbourne in the coming months and years ahead.

On the important role that NPS has played for Tekspace, George stated,

Tekspace CCO, George Hagivassilis

Tekspace CCO, George Hagivassilis

At Tekspace, we’re on a mission to help our customers improve productivity by giving back the hours they’re losing to IT downtime. To help get us there, we’ve created the Core Platform; a unique mix of IT services that’s constantly evolving and improving.

It’s the ever-changing nature of the Core Platform that makes NPS and so important to our business.

As a metric alone, NPS helps guide us toward finding a tighter product-market fit, by giving us insight as to how we’re perceived by our end-users. This insight is important because it helps us to achieve our mission, do better by our customers and thus build a more successful business.

With however, NPS is far more than a guiding metric. The product has enabled us to have direct and open conversations with our end-users. These conversations give context to perception which is used not only to more finely tune our product roadmap, but also our positioning in the market.

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.


reminder survey

The Critical Importance of the Reminder Survey

We’ve recently heard some chatter within the NPS community that the reason why some NPS survey providers don’t offer survey reminders to their customers was because they believed that the potential negative impact (annoyance, unsubscribes, etc) would outweigh the benefit.

They also believe that sending your customer a reminder to take your survey is an old practice and only used with surveys that historically have had low response rates.

We feel differently, and our data supports it.

What’s important to remember is that Net Promoter is not an exercise in statistical relevancy like traditional surveys.

While it’s important to be able to extrapolate trends from your data with a high-level of confidence, the average response rate you’ll receive from a Net Promoter survey (without sending a reminder), is well beyond what’s needed for a reliable confidence interval at any level.

With that in mind, more responses are ALWAYS better with NPS (or any type of survey for that matter). Not just for relevancy though, but rather for increased insights and the individual growth/retention/learning opportunities they provide.

There is no such thing as ‘too much’ customer feedback.

Since we first started developing our platform, we have put a heavy amount of effort and emphasis on providing a solution that maximizes the response rates for our customers.

There is no such thing as ‘too much’ customer feedback. Click To Tweet

These efforts include everything from domain verification, to survey flow, and to engagement optimization.

We continue to analyze and update our survey approach based on the results of the tens of millions of surveys that are sent through our platform. Not only that, but we often share the results with our customers to ensure they are up to date on all the best practices available.

In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, we revealed 7 secret ways to increase your survey response rates, which was all based on our research and findings.

As a result, Promoter customers see an average overall response rate of 30 – 40%, with up to 70% of their customers leaving qualitative feedback (i.e. the good stuff).

The way we look at it though, is that if you have 1,000 customers let’s say, you’re hearing from 300 to 400 of them, with roughly 250 of them providing you with opportunities to improve and grow your business.

Our question is, why wouldn’t you want more of that?

Customer insights are the equivalent of hitting a gold mine.

If you find yourself a large gold nugget upon your first sift, it’s unlikely that you’re going to stop there, right?

Of course not, you’re going to continue mining until there is no stone left unturned.

This is the same with gathering customer feedback, where each customer is a nugget of gold. You just need to continue to increase your sifting to find more.

These gold nuggets are what helped companies like LiveChat grow to 19k customers without spending any money on sales and marketing. Or, what led to discover a big Aha! moment, that transformed their marketing.

Again, our question is, why wouldn’t you want more of that?

Obviously, the answer is that you do.

This is why we offer intelligent survey reminders to our customers.

Benefits of reminders far outweigh any costs

As I mentioned at the start, some believe that there would be a greater negative impact of sending a reminder than any benefit.

Based on our research from over 25 million surveys, I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth (specific numbers below).

That said, there certainly is a threshold in which your customer would become annoyed, but that could apply to reminders of any kind.

The key to success is proper execution based on the data.

What we have found is that one simple reminder is enough. Just one. Anything beyond that, the benefits begin to decline. It’s all about balance.

In terms of the timing of your reminder, anywhere between 3 to 7 days after the initial survey is sent shows to be ideal. Based on the data, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of discernible difference between which of those days it’s sent, but too soon or too late definitely impacts the results.

Note: Promoter’s survey reminder feature has baked in the best practices to help optimize the results and prevent any negative impact. If enabled, the reminder will be sent only one time (automatically) and offers the ability to be sent at a 3, 5 or 7-day option.

So, what kind of real-world difference does it make?

When looking at reminders sent across all of the campaigns and the tens of millions of surveys that Promoter has delivered, two important data points have emerged:

  1. On average, sending a reminder survey boosts response rate by an additional 15%.
  2. Only 0.3-0.5% of your customers will unsubscribe from future surveys as a result of the reminder.

In other words, going back to our example, out of 1000 customers, you’ll hear from 300 – 400 on average. That means 600 – 700 of your customers will receive your reminder. Out of those, you’ll hear from an additional 100 customers on average and only 3 will unsubscribe.

That’s 100 additional potentially game-changing customer insights and opportunities unearthed.

So, you tell me. Is sending a single reminder survey worth it?

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.


NPS podcast

Podcast: Promoter CEO Talks Growth & NPS Best Practices

Many people don’t realize that despite the Net Promoter methodology having been around since 2003, it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that it started to become more widely adopted.

In fact, if you were to apply NPS to the Diffusion of Innovation theory, the methodology is barely beyond the early adopters and has only recently crossed the chasm.


When we founded Promoter in 2013, Net Promoter was still only being used by large, enterprise-level, Fortune 500 type companies.

Today, that has completely changed.

But, as the first company to introduce the Net Promoter System into the small and mid-markets with a tailored SaaS-based solution, we literally needed to build the market from scratch.

Recently, I was asked to be a guest on the B2B Revenue Leadership podcast, hosted by Brian Burns.

During our interview I discuss how Promoter began, the ways in which we grew (and continue to grow) our business, and some very practical advice for anyone looking to get the most out of their NPS efforts.

Please take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Chad Keck

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


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.


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.


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 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.