Category Archives: General

blue or red pill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What truly makes us unique and different is our philosophy.

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

And, we don’t take that position lightly.

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

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

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

Why is that important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As our customer, here is what you can expect:

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

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

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

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

Chad Keck

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

Website

papa johns nps

What Papa John’s and Domino’s Can Show Us About The Dangers of Negative Customer Sentiment

Unless you’ve been sitting under a rock for the past week, you’ve likely seen a headline or two about Papa John’s latest debacle.

After their quarterly earnings report came out recently, investors reacted negatively causing the stock to drop significantly in a single day.

But that wasn’t the big news.

The notable frontman, Founder and CEO, John Schnatter, stated on a call that the company’s downturn was due in large part to the NFL and the ongoing national anthem protests.

Many people disagreed with his theory, instead blaming the quality of their product (or rather, lack thereof) as the reason for their decline.

Screen+Shot+2017-11-09+at+11.17.49+AM

Screen+Shot+2017-11-09+at+11.20.20+AM

As one of the biggest sponsors of the NFL, the company clearly has the data to determine the impact their marketing efforts have had on their sales, so we’re not here to dispute their claim.

It’s seems odd however, that if they had been listening to the voice of their customers, they could’ve been prepared for the backlash they are now experiencing.

Based on a quick search, there is some evidence to suggest that Papa John’s has been measuring their NPS score. Even if that’s true, it seems likely that they haven’t been actually listening to the feedback from their customers.

When executed correctly, NPS should serve as a preemptive measure in addressing AND predicting negative word-of-mouth before it occurs.

The value of this benefit cannot be overlooked, especially in negative PR situations, such as the one that Papa John’s currently finds themselves in.

Of course, NPS alone could not have completely prevented the negative messages from occurring (every brand has some level of detractors), but it absolutely would have made the company aware of the potential dangers (i.e negative customer sentiment) ahead of a disaster.

How Domino’s Recovered From Negative Customer Perception

Papa John’s certainly isn’t the first to suffer from negative customer criticism online. In fact, in 2009, their close competitor, Domino’s was surprised by a prank video that had gone viral.

The video, posted on YouTube and amassing over 1 million views within the first day, featured two employees performing unsanitary acts, such as sticking cheese up their nose and spitting on food.

The prank led to an onslaught of negative social publicity from customers, including those critiquing their product as “edible cardboard”.

dominos nps

Unfortunately for Domino’s, the attention came as a surprise and at a time when they were actively revamping their recipe based on earlier critical customer feedback they had gathered.

dominos criticism

However, since they were already aware of their customer’s sentiment, Domino’s had the ability to respond accordingly.

They started by quickly addressing the video in a carefully crafted response, targeted at the specific issues they were hearing.

Knowing who their loyal customers were allowed the company to reach out and leverage them for support. This included asking them to help share/spread their response.

Ultimately, Domino’s took their customer feedback to an extreme level.

In late 2009, the company launched a massive nation-wide advertising campaign acknowledging the negative customer sentiment and admitting that their product was terrible.

The (brilliant) campaign was designed to not only recognize the voice of their customer but also to introduce a completely revamped recipe, which had required 18 months and millions of dollars to perfect.

As a result of both listening and responding to their customers, Domino’s was able to take a potentially company-crippling viral disaster and turn it into a massive win.

In 2008, the company’s stock was worth just $4 per share. In 2017, Domino’s became one of the fastest growing stocks on the market, trading at over $215 at their high point.

More importantly though, they’ve been able to get even the staunchest of pizza critics, and former Domino’s detractors (AKA New Yorkers) to become promoters once again.

Only time will tell if Papa John’s will have the ability to recover from this most recent crisis, but if they can learn anything from their competition, it’s to strategically embrace the voice of their customer.

Negative Word-of-Mouth Can Impact Any Company

These two examples help illustrate the importance of understanding, responding to, and leveraging customer sentiment at ANY and EVERY point in time.

While these two scenarios feature massive consumer brands with hundreds of thousands (or perhaps millions) of customers, negative word-of-mouth can impact a company in any industry and at any stage of growth.

A TARP study revealed that while positive experiences are only shared with a few people on average, negative experiences get shared with an average of 12 people by comparison.

What’s more, they found that each of those 12 people tends to mention the occurrence with 6 others.

Ultimately, that leads to negative word-of-mouth experiences spreading 30 – 35 times greater than positive ones.

Negative word-of-mouth experiences are spread 30 - 35 times greater than positive ones. Click To Tweet

To makes matters even worse, it’s been proven that negative experiences spread twice as fast as positive ones, as well as have an average of 2.4% greater impact on your financials.

That’s all to say that regardless of your industry, customer type, stage of growth, etc, you need to understand the true sentiment of your customers, the drivers of that sentiment and what your customer personas are before any potential crisis destroys your business.

With word-of-mouth marketing (both positive and negative) impacting the majority of all purchases made today, you need to have a constant pulse on the customers that are driving it. Net Promoter is the most proven and effective way to do that if used correctly.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free trial of Promoter today!

Chad Keck

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

Website

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 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

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.

—-

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.

Website

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.

diffusion_of_innovation

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 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