Shortly after I arrived at this company, one of the first things our CEO asked me to do was look into our NPS (Net Promoter Score) and understand its strengths and shortcomings.  He felt that the numbers he saw were high compared with the financial results.

After that review we identified 3 things to change:

  1. We had replaced NPS with CSAT (Customer Satisfaction).  In effect we were using CSAT results and portraying them as NPS feedback.
  2. We were surveying a specific, non-representative subset of customers and using those results to extrapolate into company-wide metrics.  This model proved inaccurate as it omitted both positive and negative feedback and masked opportunities and problems at certain customers. 
  3. Our response(s) to customer feedback varied from limited to non-existent across the company. We were good at taking the feedback, but not using it.  (A vague reference to Seinfeld episode.  In it he alludes to the most important part of transaction.  In my example, using the data is the important part.)

We addressed the shortcomings by:

  1. Creating 2 separate surveys.  The NPS survey was designed to be relational and run once each year with customers. The second, a CSAT survey, was intended to be transactional, used at the conclusion of each customer interaction (less some sampling to reduce survey fatigue).  More on how I’ve used similar methods to improve response rates and scores here.
  2. Opening up the survey to all customers.  Not all customers liked this model, but only a few complained and in the end we expanded our surveys to a larger and more representative population.
  3. Implementing a closed-loop feedback discipline.  This step, was by far, the most impactful.  Time and again customers were pleased to learn that their feedback was valuable to us and that someone had taken the time to contact them to follow-up.  (I’ll share “how” we did this in a subsequent post.)

Since that initial baseline of survey results, we ran another NPS survey, and the results have been quite positive.  NPS improved by 50% in one business unit and by 100% in another.

Of course the goal of this effort was not to improve our NPS. Our goal was/is to improve the customer experience. NPS is just an indicator to help us move in the right direction. The pivot point was to modify the methods and develop processes to connect with customers. Once we did this our focus shifted to consistently executing the plan in order to build organizational muscle memory.

An NPS Success Story
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