So you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about customer satisfaction. Like any good marketing professional, your go-to tactic for evaluating success and establishing a baseline for improvement is the never-fail Net Promoter Score survey.
It’s only a two question survey. Simple, right?
Wrong. NPS surveys may be ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean it requires any less planning to execute them successfully. These five best practices can help you ensure your process is scalable and your insights are actionable.
1. Set goals for your survey early
Considering the rising cost and complexity of acquiring new customers, it’s no surprise that businesses are investing more to not only satisfy their current customers, but also compel them to advocate on their behalf. The essential question an NPS survey asks is, “how likely are you to refer my product, company or service”; the assumption being that a truly delighted customer will go out of her way to evangelize to her peers.
To that end, it’s important to understand that the implicit goal of NPS surveys (and their outcomes) are not to make your customers happy, but to identify who among them is willing to promote you within their network. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the passives and detractors altogether. Instead, prioritize what you can do to mobilize your most vocal and satisfied customers first, before you try to turn unhappy customers into happy ones.
According to Gainsight, “surveys basically have three functions: learn things we don’t know, validate assumptions, or reinforce beliefs of the person being surveyed.” In our experience these functions change over time, and are often relative to how frequently your business undertakes customer satisfaction initiatives.
If this is the first time you’re implementing an NPS campaign, it’s likely you’ll be aiming to learn more about the chief complaints of your detractors. If you’re a year into running a campaign, you might want to validate your previous findings. If you’re routinely running campaigns, you may want to skew your results by only asking your happiest customers for feedback before asking them to be brand ambassadors.
2. Choose the right tools
There are innumerable tools out there to help you build, disseminate, and aggregate NPS feedback, and many of them bolt on to existing tools such as Hotjar or Zendesk. But, choosing the right tools starts with having a clear sense of what you’re aiming to accomplish and how you plan on engaging all of the responders.
If you’re running an in-app or SaaS NPS survey for usability testing, you’ll want to use something that embeds surveys directly in context. Tools like Vitally, for example, are geared specifically for B2B Saas, are easy to install and totally free. Survicate and Rentently can help companies automate follow up actions by integrating with existing automation platforms like HubSpot. This makes it simple to route detractors to customer care representatives who can tackle their complaints head on.
3. Timing is everything
Among the most common NPS questions we hear is “when should I send it?” If you send it too soon, the customer may not have had sufficient experience with your product or service to effectively evaluate it. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the memory of their experience can wane. In both cases you’re more likely to end up with quite a few passives, who can be difficult to interpret, as well as impact.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a general rule of thumb for when to send your NPS survey, since customers tend to meet milestones at different times. But, a good place to start is to map out the critical actions a customer takes while engaging with your business. Then, trigger your survey based on actions rather than on a specific timeline.
Just as timing is fairly specific to the nature of your business, so too is frequency. How often you send surveys will depend on how often and in what capacity customers engage with you. For example, service businesses who provide routine maintenance may want to schedule surveys 1-2 weeks after the work is finished.
Pro tip: If you can segment customers by unique journeys or experiences, it’s best to segment your surveys the same way so you get the clearest picture of how you’re doing.
4. Decide how you’ll handle negative feedback
While Net Promoter Score surveys are designed primarily to segment out the Promoters, it is essential to have a high touch tactical plan for those unhappy customers. Otherwise, you’ll end up reenforcing their negative feelings.
We recommend creating custom messaging, outcomes, and calls-to-action for Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. Service providers can even explicitly ask for a phone call with anyone who scores in the latter two groups.
Additionally, ensure that feedback notifications are routed to an appropriate contact within your business whose is responsible for following up quickly. When using NPS data to identify where your greatest sources of customer dissatisfaction are, it can be helpful to create clear categories around business units so you can easily aggregate feedback and present to the appropriate internal decision makers.
5. Make promotion easy
It should not only be simple for your happiest customers to refer their peers to you, but the act of doing so should reinforce their satisfaction. One easy way to achieve this is by gifting your advocates small, unexpected tokens each time they share your offer with a new contact.
For example, you might send a $5 Amazon gift card to each customer who forwards on your latest offer. By piecing together automation tools like HubSpot and gifting platforms like Sendoso, you could build workflows that automatically trigger increasingly more elaborate gift sends each time a customer provides a new referral. Or, standalone referral marketing platforms like Ambassador can help businesses who can attribute most of their growth to word-of-mouth.
Referrals, however, are not the only way for customers to help you grow your business. Testimonials, reviews on relevant platforms, and social media follows and shares can all be successful ways to encourage your best customers to become your best advocates.
Need advice for implementing these NPS best practices?
While NPS programs might seem straightforward, setting them up to gather actionable data requires care planning and organization. If you have questions about whether or not your NPS process is truly working, or you want to learn more about the best way to get started, contact us today for a FREE 20 minute consultation. Call Lauren at 973.214.5942 or email her at [email protected].