Category Archives: Net Promoter

Debunking 5 Misconceptions about Net Promoter

Since the day it was first introduced, the Net Promoter System has been a hotly debated topic.

Whether you’re reading the Wikipedia page or random tweets from NPS (Net Promoter Score) critics, you’re bound to find several arguments trying to debunk the effectiveness of this metric.

In a recent article, a notable speaker on the topic of Customer Experience (CX) had some fairly strong opinions that he shared, even going as far to say that measuring NPS is considered harmful to your business.

With two-thirds of all Fortune 1000 companies utilizing the metric, along with 100’s of thousands of smaller businesses, there is bound to be those that will attempt to latch on to its popularity to play the role of the contrarian.

Generally speaking, the (sometimes valid) arguments of the critics are either based on largely misinformed reasoning or simply, improper execution of the overall system. Very rarely do these critiques hold up in practice.

That’s not to say that NPS is without fault, and it certainly doesn’t mean that some of those that oppose the metric don’t have strong points.

However, if you’re going to take a position on which side of NPS you fall, it may be helpful to understand some of the more common misconceptions, and what it is that the naysayers are getting wrong.

People don’t recommend toilet paper to friends and colleagues

Who can argue with that? I certainly can’t.

While toilet paper is just an example, the overall belief is that the primary Net Promoter question doesn’t apply to all products and industries.

You can replace ‘toilet paper’ with a company that makes sprockets for spaceships or oversized fans for industrial warehouses. The point is, it’s a product or service that is unlikely to come up in a conversation or as a recommendation with friends or colleagues.

The basis for this argument states that answering the question at face value, a customer is likely to indicate that they “would not recommend” this product or service to a friend or colleague. But not because they are an unhappy customer, rather, it’s because they don’t know anyone it seems relevant to recommend them to.

That seems to make sense on the surface, but that’s really as deep as the argument goes.

Every company needs some semblance of organic (or word of mouth) growth to succeed in the long term. The good news is that, regardless of what you sell, EVERY company is capable of it.

To give you an example, I’m not a big shoe shopper and I have never purchased a pair that I haven’t tried on first. Therefore, purchasing shoes on Zappos is never something I’ve done.

However, if there was ever a time that I was looking to purchase shoes online, that is the first place that comes to mind.

This isn’t because they’ve targeted me heavily (or at all for that matter), and it’s not because a friend told me about their amazing shoes. It’s because I’ve heard countless stories of how amazing their customer service is. In fact, I’ve even shared the stories myself secondhand.

Zappos

Just because online shoe shopping isn’t relevant to me, hasn’t prevented their organic message from reaching me.

There are countless examples where companies have built word-of-mouth growth by creating narratives that extend beyond their immediate product or service — even toilet paper.

While it is possible that your customers may tell you that they wouldn’t recommend you for reasons outside of being unhappy, you may want to look at their answers instead of blaming the question.

NPS scoring doesn’t allow for incremental improvements

There is an argument that has been made that the NPS score itself is rather useless based on the formula (% of Promoters – % of Detractors) alone.

15_11_18_NPS_score

In their example, the argument states that if every customer provides you with a 6 rather than a 0, the score should not remain the same. (i.e. In both of those scenarios your score would be -100.) It goes on to say that if the individual scores increased by just 1 point, to a 7, improving your overall score to 0, it should not indicate a 100% improvement.

Setting aside the extremely unrealistic example of all customers providing the same score, there is actually strong reasoning, backed by in-depth research in establishing the scoring range and formula.

In other words, it’s not random and wasn’t created without consideration.

The logic for the calculation was created by first looking at the real-world behaviors of customers based on their score. After careful examination across several companies and industries, each number was assigned to a profile based on their likelihood to share your brand. Again, this was based on observing actual behaviors.

As a metric that’s designed to communicate how likely it is that customers will refer you to others, all detractors (regardless if they are a 0 or a 6) should be considered equal. And, the same is true with promoters as well.

graph@2x

The reason that the scale is more nuanced is because it’s important to understand the severity of someone’s sentiment. For example, even though someone who responds with 0 or 6 are both detractors, the timeline for predicting their future behavior is different. A 6 is often a detractor who is planning to leave a brand and who would not recommend, but they aren’t likely to churn in the same timeframe as a 0. Where as someone who scored a 0 is often times already lining up another vendor while submitting negative reviews about your brand while they’re responding to your survey.

Prioritization is critical in this step, and the additional scale helps you take action in the right manner.

The formula was created specifically to align with what is most likely to occur based on each customer response in aggregate, it was not intended to be an “in average” metric.

In reality, customer scores vary across the board, which is why you don’t see companies with scores of -100 or 100. While the calculation isn’t based on a median value, the sentiment variance from customers generally provides room for incremental score increases and decreases.

Previous customer behavior is more relevant than future intent

Nobody can argue that looking at the past behaviors of customers can be valuable. Without a doubt. That’s especially true when looking at how customers have historically navigated through your product or even when exploring past purchasing habits.

However, Net Promoter isn’t a product usage metric, it’s a loyalty metric. Or, more specifically, an indicator of a customer’s propensity to talk about you (either positively or negatively).

The trouble is, when it comes to predicting future word-of-mouth, past behaviors tell you very little.

The reason is that, as a customer, sentiment changes rapidly.

This is where NPS comes into play.

Here’s a personal example:

Many moons ago, I was a fan of Pepsi. Sorry Coke fans, I just thought that their line of products tasted better overall — all the way from Pepsi to Mountain Dew.

12476857_f520

At that time, Pepsi could have looked at my consumption habits and almost predicted my future weekly purchases to a T. And, if social had been around then, they undoubtedly would have seen a virtual love fest of their product online.

That lasted probably into my mid-twenties, at which point, sugared beverages started to catch up with me. Like many others, I decided it was time to transition over to diet sodas.

And just like that, I went from a die-hard Pepsi fanatic to a devoted fan of Diet Coke. The flavor of Pepsi’s diet brands just didn’t taste as good as Coke’s, so my sentiment changed.

If you were to look at that transition on an NPS scale, you may have seen 9’s and 10’s early on, 4 – 6’s while in transition and 1 or 2 in the end.

By looking at my past behaviors, Pepsi certainly would have been able to see my purchases going down. They would even have been able to see that I was switching to diet products. What they couldn’t see is WHY my behavior had changed.

My likelihood to positively recommend Pepsi as a brand dropped because my sentiment had changed.

Had Pepsi taken the time to align my purchase history with my NPS scores, the would have been able to see that my propensity to recommend their products was decreasing along with my behavior as a consumer. More importantly though, they would have known why.

Since NPS can be gamed, the data is unreliable

This is indeed partially true. Your Net Promoter Score can be gamed and I won’t even argue with that.

So can a thousand other metrics, but that’s a weak defense and doesn’t address the question of reliability.

So, let’s dig into how it can be gamed and why.

There are probably a ton of different approaches to artificially increasing your Net Promoter Score, but the more common approaches include:

  1. Changing/deleting scores: If you have control of your Net Promoter program, it’s not difficult to change or delete individual detractor scores.
  2. Asking a customer to leave a positive score: It isn’t uncommon to hear a customer representative ask for a positive review following an interaction.
  3. Incentivizing the customer to complete the survey: Offering cash compensation or some other form of payment introduces a bias.

Why would someone want to game their NPS score? After all, it’s not a competition.

The reason is quite simple … their job depends on it.

Some companies have used NPS as a KPI tied to job performance and compensation. For the record, this is not something that we endorse or recommend at Promoter.

Whether it’s the executive team, the customer success department or an individual employee, it’s never a good idea as a company to tie any sort of bonus or employee performance to a Net Promoter Score.

Doing so will potentially jeopardize the validity of your customer data, which defeats the point of implementing NPS to begin with.

With that said, this isn’t an issue with Net Promoter as a system, rather it’s an issue with how it’s being used within the organization.

And the same can be said with using incentives to boost your response rate. Incentivizing your customers to complete your survey shifts their motivation and introduces a bias in your data. If you’re interested to learn more about this, we wrote an entire post on why using incentives is a bad idea.

At the end of the day, your results are as reliable as you make them. If you follow best practice guidelines and avoid some of the more common mistakes, your NPS results will be amongst the most valuable data you receive.

Just avoid the games. The core of Net Promoter is a system (hence the name), not a framework.

NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric

Oftentimes, those who criticize Net Promoter tend to focus their attention specifically on just the score. What they don’t realize, or at least fail to acknowledge, is that NPS is more than just a number — it’s an entire system.

We’ve stated numerous times that, without additional context, the overall NPS score can be largely meaningless.

Sure, it’s a useful benchmark and has some practical applications when it comes to high-level organizational assessment, but the real value of NPS is the entire system.

What that entails is a combination of individual scores matched with verbatim responses. It’s individual customer sentiment combined with text-analysis to create trending opportunities. It’s engagement of 30 to 40% of your customer base in meaningful conversations.  It’s identifying at-risk customer profiles to reduce and prevent churn. It’s activating a base of advocates to drive growth.

And the list goes on.

To say that NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric is to minimize it to its lowest common denominator.  

To say that NPS is nothing more than a vanity metric is to minimize it to its lowest common denominator Click To Tweet

NPS isn’t just a score, it’s a system. The score is just the very first step in the process, and unfortunately where a lot of organizations stop.

—-

While these are some of the more common criticisms of Net Promoter, there are a few others that we may touch on in a future post.

In the meantime however, what we have generally found is that most arguments are based on either a lack of first-hand knowledge or bad experiences based on faulty execution.

If you still have your doubts about the effectiveness of Net Promoter as a system, I’d encourage you to try if for yourself. If you follow our guidance and don’t see results within 60 days, we’ll give you your money back.

Chad Keck

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

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!

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

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

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