Every small business wants happy customers. When you feel the love, and have their loyalty, you can achieve great things. How you attract and retain customers, however, will make all the difference for a long term relationship. And a focus on a positive Net Promoter Score® (NPS) will help you build on the customer relationships you've established.
Having a Net Promoter survey and measurement strategy goes a long way in understanding consumer perceptions of your company, and importantly, the loyalty of your customers. Consistently monitoring is also important to make sure the actions you put into place to grow your promoters and reduce your detractors are actually working. Although there may be some impact of industry issues that will affect general types of surveys, NPS surveys get to the heart of customer loyalty.
Before thinking about how to improve your score, it's important to understand how NPS works. NPS uses a simple methodology based on one question: "How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?" The survey responses are ranked on a scale of 0-10 and categorized into three buckets:
Promoters: those who indicated they are extremely likely to recommend, rank 9-10
Passives: those who are satisfied customers but unenthusiastic, rank 7-8
Detractors: those who are not likely to recommend a product or service, rank 0-6
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are Detractors (0-6) from Promoters (9-10), to get the final tally. If this final tally is a positive number that is generally considered to be a good score.
Surveys track your customer experience and should be incorporated as a normal part of your sales and service processes. Analyzing survey data helps a company understand where they need to make improvements and identifies areas they are doing well, as well as how their customers view a new product or services, or measure interactions with service personnel. We wrote a blog in 2016 on implementing surveys to improve customer experience.
You may already be conducting these general customer surveys from time to time, but have you tried tracking your Net Promoter Score? The strategy for NPS may be a little different than other customer surveys. Typically, an NPS survey may only include 2-3 simple, direct questions but the results are a leading indicator for understanding your true customer experience and loyalty rating.
Developing the right questions is critical to NPS. Think simple and to the point. Not only does this help with response rates, but you are validating whether your company is in good loyal standing and if clients would recommend you. And you want to keep the same questions year over year for trend comparisons. At Ascentium, we boiled it down to: was the process fast, simple, and an overall experience rating.
Understanding your results and how you compare to your competitors is important. Each industry has a slightly different rating average, therefore, it's important for a small to medium sized business (SMB) to compare industry NPS results and keep in mind that there are many large companies employing NPS and included in the results. Does that mean you can't compete? Absolutely not! As a matter of fact, you might be in a unique position to move faster, be nimbler, and offer more than large enterprises.
Image source: Net Promoter Network
As we covered, your customers are bucketed depending on their scores of 0-10 and categorized as Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. If this is a baseline year, you will begin strategizing how to increase your number, however, if this is a subsequent year you will also want to evaluate how well your strategy worked. Now what? Well, now the hard work begins.
Promoters are your allies and biggest supporters. They will be more willing to write a positive review online, be a repeat customer, and spread positive sentiment to their colleagues, family, and friends. You cannot rest on your laurels. Understanding what puts them in this camp and then maintaining that sentiment is vital to keeping a high NPS and making your business successful.
Detractors can cause problems for you and your company. They are not only dissatisfied but will let others know it. And may even enjoy doing so! A Customer Thermometer study showed that satisfied customers (promoters) tell nine other people about their positive experience, while dissatisfied customers (detractors) are likely to talk about their negative experience with 22 other people.
Passives are elusive; your are not sure which camp they are leaning toward. This could be they are not yet convinced, have had mixed business results so far with your company, or are less likely to want to say anything too negative. You shouldn't view as neutral but instead may need to treat them as a detractor. 96% of unhappy customers don't complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.
Understanding your customers is step one. Implementing changes is step 2. This may be a simple fix or the issues could be more widespread. A strategy to improve customer experience will help you convert the Detractors to Promoters and perhaps even save Passives. To improve the customer experience, and hopefully your next NPS survey, concentrate on the following:
Retention vs. Acquisition: It's far easier and more profitable to retain a happy customer than it is to acquire a new one. Along with having a good product, or reliable service, focusing on providing an excellent customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle is key.
Address Customer Issues: Issues won't go away on their own. Where there is smoke there is usually fire, so get to the bottom of it quickly. Instead of just responding to the customer's issue, think in a broader sense about implementing changes to avoid having that problem in the future.
Perfecting your Touch Points: Personal interactions with your company through customer service can sometimes make or break a relationship. Poor customer service is the biggest reason for customer churn.
Delivering better products and provided excellent customer service vitally important to achieving a high NPS. Invest in continually improving your customer experience – and NPS – and you'll be rewarded with winning the hearts and minds of your customers as well as their family and friends.
At Ascentium Capital, we're creating the ultimate customer experience. In the past year we were able to not only increase our Promoters but also decrease our Detractors – earning us an increase of 8 NPS points.
When you need money to fund your company's NPS improvement initiatives, Ascentium Capital can help with our fast, flexible financing programs. Whether you're hiring additional personnel, upgrading technology, or acquiring new equipment we can customize a solution to fit your needs. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote or to learn more.