At the recent CustomerGauge User Group meeting I hosted a best practice session to identify and share the very best ideas from the participants. The group came up with literally pages of great tweaks that have been tested and are working in their organizations.
Below is a summary of the best ideas so that you can use them in your business.
1. Incremental Market Research
One company reserves a question on their very short questionnaire for the Question of the Month. Every month they identify a single question that the organisation wants to learn more about and drops it into the survey.
The question can be about anything; research on a new product, extending the customer profile, feedback on a specific aspect of their current business, etc.
Because they are using a transactional survey format they are surveying customers every day and so they get a very good volume of feedback in a very short amount of time. All this without the need to commission specific research.
2. Read Every Comment
Okay so maybe this sounds like common sense but here are some stats to make you sit up and take notice.
One company found that 3-4% of transactional customer feedback comments will be directly actionable. That means 3-4% of the comments are items that you can fix or resolve for your customers immediately. Following through on feedback from customers is a very powerful to improve their opinion of you.
More than that, the same company found that 1 in 1,000 comments are the seed for a substantial discontinuous innovation for your company. I’ve talked before about discontinuous and continuous innovation and how, generally, transactional feedback systems lend themselves to more continuous innovation. So this new piece of evidence showing that an organization can use this process for discontinuous innovation was eye opening.
Summary: make sure you read all your comments or miss the opportunity to fix problems for 4% of your customers and those 1 in a 1,000 opportunities for dramatic improvements in your business.
3. Data Credibility is Key
At every point, every person in your organization must trust the data that is being delivered by your NPS® data system. They must trust the calculations. They must trust the process. They must trust the analysis. Any uncertainty means that the discussion focuses on defending the data not on taking actions.
Ruthlessly, examine your process and remove any weak points. For instance, eliminate the ability to individual staff members to influence who will receive the transactional survey. Make sure that staff who have had a less than perfect encounter with a customer are not able to remove that customer from the transactional survey invite list. Gaming the system like this quickly becomes well known withing the organization and staff trust in the data drops dramatically.
4. Market to Your Promoters
You’ve spent quite some time and effort to collect information on a very valuable customer segmentation variable, “propensity to promote” but have you actually done anything to use that information in your sales process? No? Why not?
One organization targeted Promoters, Neutrals and Detractor with different marketing campaigns. The Promoters were sent a thank you email that included three vouchers: one for themselves and two to pass on to friends. The results were nothing less than extraordinary.
Traditional marketing metrics (click through rates, open rates, conversion rates) were almost an order of magnitude higher for this campaign with with hundreds of percent improvements.
In addition the “pass on” vouchers were indeed passed on and not only generated more sales but sales to new customers.
This is an excellent approach but you do need to take some care that you don’t train customers to give you good scores. Such a program needs to be kept confidential and implemented randomly so you don’t find people giving the organisation better scores in order to receive vouchers. Doing that would dramatically reduce the ability for the customer feedback program to drive long term business improvement.
5. Tell Customers That You Heard Them
I’ve discussed this in the past but it was raised in this forum again. Make sure that you tell customers that you heard them and are making changes.
The same customer from above also contacted their Detractor and Neutral customers with a voucher and some information on how they were cdhaing their business based on the feedback that they had received. Anecdotally these communications were very well received. Our experience supports this finding: if you tell customers how you are using their feedback it will often, in and of itself, drive up their perception of your organization.
6. Thank everyone involved in a 10
This is more suited to business to business customer feedback due to call volumes, but one organization consciously thanks everyone involved when a customers give them a 10.
This feedback makes the whole process personal for staff and drives up staff engagement.
Over to You
Do you have any NPS best practices that you would like to add to this list? Please comment below so that the entire Net Promoter community can benefit.