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You Are Measuring NPS All Wrong (And How to Really Do It Right)

The first time you hear about the Net Promoter Score, it’s easy to get super excited and jump right into it thinking: “It’s so easy to do, I’ll just do this right now.”

WARNING: You would be making a big mistake.

We have helped our customers engage over 5,000,000 of their clients at Promoter.io, which has allowed us to learn at a meta-level what drives the most successful NPS engagement.

Before I tell you where most NPS campaigns fail, I’d like to tell you a little story.

One of our customers recently called me with a really big problem. They had signed up and were so excited to find out their score that they sent their first campaign to all their users all at once. They were surprised to see how quickly they got feedback and how well Net Promoter Score seemed to work for collecting actionable feedback from their customers.

In the first few minutes, they had a dozen responses. An hour later, it was up to a hundred. By the next day they had collected over 624 individual scores and had a overall NPS of 40, a score they were very proud of.

But that’s when the trouble started. The CEO emailed me to say thank you and ask my advice.

She said: “We just sent our first campaign, but we are releasing a big new feature next month. Is it ok to send another NPS email a month later or do we really have to wait 3 months between surveys? Can’t I just make it transactional like asking how likely they would be to recommend the new feature instead of our brand?”

The answer was simple: No. Sure, you could email people once a month or more asking the NPS survey, but how annoying or useful would that be? Customers would either unsubscribe or not respond at high rates and their sentiment/feedback is not likely to change in that short of a period.

That wasn’t the end of this CEO’s problems though. The next day I got another email: “HELP!!! We are trying to sort through, categorize and respond to the 700+ responses we have had so far, but the work is overwhelming! How are we supposed to do this???”

I was really glad to hear that she cared so much about doing individual follow-up responses, since the real sales power of NPS is in the follow-up, but I was not surprised she was so overwhelmed.

Where did she go wrong? She did everything just by the book, so why so much trouble?

The answer is in the timing.

The way you time sending your surveys can make a huge difference in the accuracy of your score and the ability to make the most of your follow-ups. If you time your emails correctly, you will be able to get all the value of NPS without any of the traditional headaches.

But I can’t blame the CEO for not knowing about it. Timing your NPS emails is not something widely known. It’s not a technique listed in beginner NPS guides. In fact, it is not talked about nearly enough. That’s why I wanted to teach you the technique right now.

Here’s the trick: instead of sending a mass-email campaign to 100% or 50% or even 25% of your customers at any one point-in-time, send a survey to just 1% of your customers every day of the year (4 surveys per year per customer).

(P.S. at Promoter.io, we call this Drip NPS and have a built-in feature to our NPS service to do it automatically for you)

What does this accomplish? If you enable Drip NPS, you will not have to wait for 3 months after a feature release to start measuring the effect of a new feature on customer loyalty. You can start measuring the results and tracking them immediately and automatically.

You will also find it much easier to respond to all the great feedback you are getting from customers and further develop those relationships. Since you are only sending it to a small number of customers a day, you can integrate providing customized NPS follow-ups into your daily workflow.

(In case you were curious, 1% per day wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. It’s designed to let you send each of your customers 4 NPS surveys per year (the ideal number). 4/365 = 0.011 = 1%)

If you already sent a bulk email to all your users like all the guides suggest you do, don’t fret. Just wait a few months (so that you do not upset any of those customers) and then turn on Drip NPS.

Using this powerful technique will transform your NPS process, making it more sustainable and more proactive to the ever changing landscape of your business. Whether you’re sending 100 NPS surveys or 1,000,000…this technique will save you time and give you the biggest ROI on your NPS investment.

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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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