Category Archives: Case Study

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.

who-gives-a-crap

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 Promoter.io 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!

Dana Severson

Dana Severson is the Director of Marketing at Promoter.io and cofounder of Startups Anonymous. Former founder & CEO of Chasm.io/Wahooly and AngelPad Alum. In addition to focusing on growth at Promoter, Dana is a weekly columnist for Inc.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inviting customers to test new features first

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

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


Replacing a lost part at no cost

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

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

Jasonhoward Jason Howard – Director, Customer Happiness, Kinsa Health


Sending thoughtful gifts through the mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BrennanTopley Brennan Topley – Customer Success, GoSquared


Personalize the experience for the customer and community

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

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

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

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

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

Morris-wave Morris Gelblum – Founder, Sweeps


Offering research that the customers can trust

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

Here’s a good example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony-Headshot Anthony Welsch – CMO, Lucky Gunner


Proactively create conversations with the customers

At Directorpoint, we have Southern hospitality in our DNA.

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

John John Peinhardt – CEO, Directorpoint


Reward loyal customers with a premium gift

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

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

Richard Richard Kotulski – Marketing Manager, Sightbox


Go the extra mile with the detractors

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

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

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

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

Julia_Baldwin Julia Baldwin – CEO, After Dark Cookies


Improving the experience in unexpected ways

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

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

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


Speed dating with the customers

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

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

abba-photo Abba Newbery – CMO, Habito


Reducing the customer support response time

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

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

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


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

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

Chad Keck

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

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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 Promoter.io 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 Promoter.io.

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.

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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 Promoter.io 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 Promoter.io 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 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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Sightbox net promoter

How Sightbox Went from Launch to Acquisition In 18 Months By Focusing on Customer Happiness

According to research done by the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of all adults need some form of vision correction.  

If you are (or were) part of the 75% like me (I had corrective surgery several years ago), you know how big of a pain in the butt it can be to maintain your prescription each year, not to mention the costs, especially if you wear contact lenses.

Enter Sightbox, a subscription-based company for contact lens wearers, that reduces the headaches and costs of maintaining your vision correction.  

Sightbox-Vision-Care-for-Contact-Lens-Wearers

Just last week, the Portland-based company announced that after only 18 months since their launch, they’ve been acquired by the health behemoth, Johnson & Johnson.

Prior to this announcement, the 20-person team at Sightbox had managed to raise $4.2 million in venture funding and amass 1000’s of customers in the short time they’ve been in the market.

How did they do it?

Richard Kotulski, Marketing Manager at Sightbox believes that their explosive growth has a lot to do with their ability to maintain a high-level of positive customer sentiment. The focus on the customer experience has led to strong retention (aka renewals), along with a consistently excellent NPS score of 59, which translates into advocacy.

Before we go into their process of maintaining customer excellence, let’s first take a look at why customers have sought them out in the first place.

Imagine you’re someone that wears contacts.

If you’re like the majority, your insurance coverage probably doesn’t cover much beyond your annual eye visit, and that’s if you’re lucky.  

In order to supply yourself with the contacts you’ll need for any given year, you’re required to first have an annual exam. If you don’t already have an optometrist, you’ll need to find one on your own, book an appointment and likely pay out-of-pocket.

Once you have your prescription, you then will be able to order your contacts. For most people, the only option is to buy the year supply all at once, which can cost a pretty penny.

This is where Sightbox saw a market opportunity.

Paying for the expense of the visit and a year’s supply of contacts up front isn’t reasonable for most people, so Sightbox decided to create an easier and more affordable way to do it.

Their model is pretty simple. For a flat monthly fee, Sightbox will find you a convenient eye doctor, book and pay for the appointment, and then send your needed supply of contacts on a monthly or quarterly basis.

sightbox process

In the end, their customer not only saves time and money, but it also removes the burden of having to repeat the process each year.

While Sightbox runs as a subscription business, billing on a monthly or quarterly basis, customers are required to sign a one-year contract in order to work with them.

This approach has helped the company maintain high customer retention, but it’s still an area that receives a lot of focus.

That’s where NPS has come in for Kotulski and his team.

Scheduled Survey Cadence

To ensure that the company is getting the most relevant sentiment from their customers at the right time, Sightbox sends each customer two NPS surveys during each year of their relationship.

First NPS Survey

The initial survey is sent 2-weeks after the customer receives their first initial box of the year. This is what some companies would call the “moment of truth” survey.

For Sightbox, it’s less about reaching customers at a time when they’re deciding to stay or leave, and more about ensuring that their experience, up to this point in the lifecycle, has met or exceeded their expectations.

From an improvement standpoint, the initial surveys can be really useful in increasing your conversion rate. Often times, especially when using customer attribute data and tagging to narrow your NPS results, you’ll be able to identify, with pinpoint accuracy, the exact reason(s) why customers aren’t converting or completing their purchase.

Second NPS Survey

Since each customer relationship is based on an annual agreement, it’s important that Sightbox has a good sense of customer sentiment ahead of renewals.

In order to effectively achieve this, the second NPS survey is sent to the customer 3 months ahead of their renewal date.

At this point in the life cycle, the customer has had plenty of time to fully experience the service and should have a pretty strong sentiment towards the brand one way or the other.

Based on that sentiment, Sightbox is able to accurately predict how likely each customer is to renew their subscription when their contract expires and react proactively.

Bucketizing Renewals

Being able to predict churn is one thing, but being able to prevent churn is an entirely different beast.

In order to properly triage their customers following the completion of their second survey, Kotulski and his team place them each in a ‘renewal bucket’ which helps dictate what needs to be done next.

For those of you familiar with NPS, their buckets align with the scoring for each category of sentiment (promoter, passive, detractor).

  1. Promoter bucket – These customers are obviously the most likely to renew. They are communicated to as such by being placed into a process that moves them towards renewal.
  2. Passive bucket – A score of 7 or 8 is an indication to the Sightbox team that this customer may require a bit of assistance to overcome any negative or passive sentiment before they are likely to renew.

    In most cases, Kotulski has found that these customers are looking for slight improvements to be made in order to continue.
  3. Detractor bucket –  As you would assume, customers who have provided a detractor score are presented with more hands-on customer support intervention. Kotulski mentions that in many cases, they will receive a direct phone call from someone on the team.

Regardless of which bucket a customer qualifies for, Sightbox closes the loop with each and every customer that responds, which, if you follow this blog to any degree, you know is the key to driving the most bottom-line value out of your NPS efforts.

Improving Retention Through Measured Feedback

While Kotulski states that only 1 out of every 6 responses they receive is negative in nature, that hasn’t prevented them from improving their retention from the critical feedback they do receive.

They group and analyze their passive and detractor feedback on two levels:

  1. Granular – This involves reacting and/or responding to feedback on an individual level. What is this “one” customer’s experience and how can we improve it for them.

    This level of granular focus means that changes that are made may not necessarily improve the experience for every customer, but rather just this particular individual.
  2. High-level – Sightbox uses keyword trends analysis (tagging) within Promoter to identify the big key issues that are impacting customers on a global scale.

    Applying trend tags, along with the individual sentiment within the feedback has helped Sightbox quickly spot the gaps in their service.

Kotulski has been able to combine these two levels of analysis to really narrow down the areas that need actionable improvement.

For example, through their high-level trend analysis, the team was able to see that ‘customer communication’ was a gap that needed to be addressed.

On the surface, customer communication can mean several things, so in it of itself, identifying a need to improve communications with customers isn’t all that actionable.

However, when they were able to combine the trending data along with granular level analysis, they were able to better understand that the communication issue had more to do with delays the customers were experiencing.

Due to the explosive growth the company had been experiencing, it had been taking longer than expected to find and book eye appointments for customers.

Because of this bottleneck and the misaligned timing expectations of the customer, the perception became that there was a lack of communication, rather than a lack of internal customer support resources.

Based on this discovery, Sightbox was able to develop a proper formula of internal booking agents needed for each set of customers as well as set the proper expectations through improved communications.

Combining both granular analysis and a broader trend analysis is critical for any company. It’s an essential step in properly identifying and prioritizing far-reaching mission-critical issues versus individual anomalies.

The role NPS has played in their success

Kotulski stated, “As a company that has seen explosive growth in the last six months we had a lot of new members to survey, but because we’re also a young company still figuring out how to scale, it was incredibly important for us to get as much feedback as quickly as possible and use that feedback for a deep dive into some of our bigger issues.

The high response rate we got from our NPS survey allowed us to have confidence that what we were hearing from our customers was representative of the overall customer experience and that we could take action on it knowing that it would really move the needle for us. Identifying those pain points early in our life means we can tweak and revise our customer experience so that it’s great for all our new members.”

And, as for why they chose Promoter.io …

“We looked at many different NPS solutions before choosing Promoter and there was no contest between them. Promoter offered the most robust set of analytics, integration, and facilitation. It’s not just about the score, but about the conversations that the score starts.

We didn’t use any other product because we could see that Promoter was hands down the best option out there.”

Was their successful NPS results a factor in the acquisition of Sightbox for Johnson & Johnson? No doubt.

But, one thing that Kotulski knows for certain is that “happy customers” and true customer advocates have been their biggest propeller of growth so far.

Dana Severson

Dana Severson is the Director of Marketing at Promoter.io and cofounder of Startups Anonymous. Former founder & CEO of Chasm.io/Wahooly and AngelPad Alum. In addition to focusing on growth at Promoter, Dana is a weekly columnist for Inc.com

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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.

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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.

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