Customer feedback and the Net Promoter® process can drive customer engagement and improvement in your business but only if you first engage your employees.
But how, exactly, do you do that?
At our recent CustomerGauge User group session in Sydney Australia we work-shopped this exact question. The companies in the room provided some excellent, practical and tested approaches that you can use as well.
1. Have a strong change management focus
To some people change management seems like a needless waste of time. Lots of meetings and “bringing everyone along” discussions that, if people just did what they were told, would not be necessary.
I have to admit that, as an engineer, in the past I have been guilty of just such thinking.
I was wrong.
A change management focus allows you to look at the predictable fears and issues people will have and pre-plan how you will address them.
For example: if you are going to introduce a transactional feedback survey and attach a front line person’s name to that survey, it doesn’t take much empathy to know that those people are going to worry about how that feedback is going to be shared and actioned.
Maybe it’s perfectly clear to you that it will be used positively and productively but not everyone can read your mind.
If you don’t actively address that concern your front line staff will spend a lot of time coming up with worst case scenarios over lunch.
They won’t see the rosy, new, customer feedback driven world. They will see a world where one bad comment from a customer will get them fired.
2. Introduce Employee NPS® (eNPS)
Employee NPS is an operational measure, just like NPS. It uses a very similar question, except it asks about:
willingness to recommend us as an employer
By introducing eNPS at the same time as NPS, employees can see how the process works, from the inside, so to speak. It will also allow you to keep a track of employee engagement over the long term.
3. Share insights with customers and employees.
If all goes well, your customer feedback process will generate lots of new and interesting insights about how to improve your business.
Unfortunately, many companies seem to think that these customer feedback insights are top secret. At least that’s the way they act because they are reluctant to share the information far and wide within the company.
They worry: “what if a competitor gets hold of this information”.
This is a valid concern but a very minor one.
The real concern is that if you don’t share the information with all staff – the ones that can actually affect change – nothing will happen.
Sharing the impact that feedback has had on the business with customers is also important to reinforce that their time invested in providing feedback is not wasted.
Sharing information with employees is vital because when employees can see how the responses from customers are actually making a change in the business they will engage more deeply in the process.
4. Empower employees to tag bad business processes
It may not surprise you that while management are often unaware of business process issues, customers and front line staff know them all.
Front line staff will know intimately the crazy hoops they have to jump through to get that slightly oddball order to process correctly.
They will know that, to get the real shipping date you need to contact George in operations because the system dates are always a bit wrong.
If you find a way to let staff tag your bad business processes it will drive up employee engagement. At the same time it will help you to identify the business process issues that are driving down customer loyalty and driving up costs.
5. Team NPS targets and Personal development plans.
The issue of setting NPS or customer satisfaction targets is one that comes up constantly.
Management work on the “what gets measured gets managed” mantra and that works quite well for most things but when it comes to customer feedback if not done correctly it causes score begging.
There are very good reasons for that and they revolve around the sampling process in NPS and CSAT data collection, along with the ability for front line staff to manipulate customer perception of the survey process.
So, rather than set NPS targets at the individual level, do it at the team level. The focus should be much less on the score and much more on the personal development plans of the people in the team.
Another great approach is to focus on response rates rather than the score. That way you are maximising the feedback you are collecting and using to drive change in the business.
6. Appoint Customer Champions
As part of our Best Practice Net Promoter Score Implementation Service we include a substantial governance process.
In that governance structure we put a lot of emphasis on the Process Team. This is a team of cross functional customer champions that help to engage all areas of the company in the customer feedback and continuous improvement process.
These customer champions are not responsible for delivering a great customer experiences (that’s everyone’s task). They are responsible for sharing the knowledge on how to constantly improve the customer experience.
7. Brand The NPS process
I have always recommended to clients that they brand the Net Promoter process in the business. Give it a name and an identity to assist with engaging all employees in the roll-out.
One client related a story where, after pushing the Net Promoter process for two years things started to turn around. Rather pushing for meetings to review opportunities and having to be at every meeting to make sure actions were allocated, things changed. Now staff were booking meetings and taking on tasks of their own accord. The process was now embedded.
It doesn’t happen immediately but if you brand the process and keep pushing you will see change occur.
As the business matures, the branding will become less important but it is needed to drive initial support.
8. Create “Vox Pop” videos to share success stories
With the rise of the smart phone, creating easy to share live video footage of success stores has become as simple as point and shoot.
One of the organisations at the User Group uses a simple Vox Pop format to quickly capture and share good news stories and successes widely across the organisation.
It’s fast, inexpensive and very effective. Plus it makes stars of the people driving change in the business.
9. Senior management calling employees associated with 10’s
It’s a fact of life that in a transactional survey, eyes are drawn to the dreaded 0s, 1s and 2s.
The low scores are where the customer rants about an issue and the organisation has to jump to fix it quick smart.
But you need to buck that trend. Sure you need to work through the low scores but make sure you give some valuable air-time to the 10’s.
Celebrate staff who receive 10’s and congratulate them in public forums.
If you only focus on the low scores it can drain morale. At one client organization the local branch NPS is an astounding 79, yet the branch manager was depressed by the, very few, low scores.
Staff in another client organization talk about the number of 10s they have received as a badge of honour. Sure you need to take a little care of the score begging that institutionalizing such a goal might entail, but talk up the 10s.
When talking about low scores focus on the process issue behind the score not on the person. It is unusual that a member of your team intentionally caused the customer a problem — it is much more likely that the cause of the problem is a process issue.
10. Push positive customer comments into a reward and recognition program.
Examine how you can strip out positive customer comments related to individual staff and push them into your rewards and recognition program.
Perhaps you take 10 great comments each week and give away movie tickets to the person named or place their name at the top of a board, along with the comment.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot or be formal. There are lots of ways to make this happen and the effect on employee engagement in the customer feedback program is substantial.
11. Add NPS to the Employee induction program
Check your employee induction program. It talks about lots of important areas of the business so make sure that you have included a section on your Net Promoter or voice of the customer program.
If not, what message are you sending to new staff?
So there are 11 great ways to lift employee engagement with the customer feedback or Net Promote process at your organisation. What are you doing in your organisation that others could use?