Net Promoter programmes have rightfully become a staple of many businesses. But as can be seen from CustomerGauge's recent NPS benchmark report, every programme can be improved.
So, as 2017 is looming on the horizon, I want to propose five areas in which you might want to check whether your Net Promoter programme is up to scratch. Or - if it isn’t - whether you should start planning some improvements in the coming year.
Any NPS programme requires a degree of housekeeping which isn’t always easy to do in complex organisations. Customer contact details are sometimes hard to get. Databases don’t match. Business rules get in the way of the number of surveys that can be sent. And then there is always that VP who thinks that you should add "just a few more questions” beyond what is strictly required. So, as a first check you may want to do a proper review whether your NPS survey still ticks all the boxes, and whether you’re surveying the people you should (rather than those who are convenient to reach).
2. Closing the loop on customer comments
Without actions, surveys are pointless. If someone spends precious time telling you what they think of your business, they deserve a more than being a tick on a bar-chart or a dot in a word-cloud. So check again whether your NPS programme follows up on every customer that requires attention, and whether this is done in a quality way. At a minimum these are the ones that were dissatisfied (detractors), but ideally they also cover those who are promoters of your business. I even know of one company which considers passives as a failure to delight and wants to take appropriate action.
3. The Willingness to Act on Insights
Beyond following up on individual customer comments, your organisation needs to act on the bigger issues and opportunities that emerge from the customer’s voice. Many companies lack the processes, incentives and communication platforms to make this happen across organisational silos. If this is the case in your business, you may want to double-check the willingness of the various leaders in the business to organise themselves around the customer. If this willingness exists, you can get started on the process track. If it isn't, you may want to reconsider your programme.
4. Engaging Information
If you’re a customer geek like me, you get excited about customer comments, NPS data and bright and shiny dashboards. For the other 98% of the population, this is not necessarily the case. This can lead to breakdowns. If people think the customer voice is boring (or worse), they will not engage with it. Subsequently, they will not take it into account.
So it's always worthwhile checking whether the way you share your NPS information is seen to be exciting and engaging. If it is, so much the better. However, if it comes across like most spreadsheet/barchart/coloured map programmes I’ve seen, you might want to make it a bit more fun.
5. Show the Money
Finally, no matter how tight a ship you run, it costs money to address customer issues and opportunities. When there is enough money around, this can be swept under the heading that you care for your customers. But when the going gets touch the budget cutters are bound to come out.
That’s why the last action can be a check to see whether the business case underlying your NPS programme is strong enough. NPS economics allow you to treat customer investments like any other development activity, but you do need to make sure that the decision makers clearly see this business case and use it in their decision making. If they don’t, you may find your efforts cut when your business needs them most.
While these 5 checks will not magically turn your Net Promoter programme into a global case study, they will make sure that you focus on the things that matter most. So may the Customer Force be with you...
About this blog
Whenever inspiration strikes, I use this space to share my thoughts on customer experience management, storytelling or what ever else crosses my mind.