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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.

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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.

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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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