Executive Insight: The 7 Proven Net Promoter® Success Factors

Executive Insight: The 7 Proven Net Promoter® Success Factors

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Adam Ramshaw
Adam Ramshaw has been helping companies to improve their Net Promoter® and Customer Feedback systems for more than 15 years. He is on a mission to stamp out ineffective processes and bad surveys.
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We’ve been helping companies use NPS® for more than 15 years. In that time we’ve tried lots of different approaches and seen first hand what works … and what doesn’t.

This post is the distillation of that 10 years of Net Promoter Score® implementation experience with organisations of different sizes and shapes.

These are the factors we have found to be consistently important regardless of company size, industry and other variables.

If you follow these rules you will:

  1. Implement with speed
  2. Implement with confidence
  3. Reduce implementation risk
  4. Virtually guarantee increased value for your business

In this post there are lots links to other blog posts, both on this site and elsewhere. If I tried to put all of the content into this one post it would be more like a book than the focused list I wanted to present. But I’ve put them in so you have a link to more information as needed.

I’ve also split the points into three groups:

  1. Essential: if you don’t execute on these ideas you will not generate value and the process will fail, probably within 12 months.
  2. Good to have: these items are not critical but if you do them you will generate more value and sooner than if you do not.
  3. Irrelevant: these items seem like they must be important, but they’re not and they just waste your time. Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.
I've created a Business Leaders’ Practical Guide to Implementing Net Promoter.  Download it Here

Insight #1 – Essential: Practice complete transparency of customer feedback information

Over the years our clients and leading industry commentators have impressed upon me the importance of complete data transparency.

The more you hide the your customer feedback data the more cynical your staff will be about the process.

I’m often challenged by executives that are concerned about sharing this data because of the potential for damaging remarks by respondents, and the effect it may have on staff.

This concern, while real, is overstated.

There will be times when you need to censor raw customer feedback due to profanity or other impropriety. In our experience this is a very very rare event.

The benefit of sharing the data far outweighs the isolated issues that you might face.

So throw open the doors to the data and share it with all staff. You will be rewarded.

Insight #2 – Essential: Do not give front line staff personal goals

In my opinion, giving front-line (and first level) staff personal or team NPS goals has done more harm to more NPS and customer feedback programs that any other single factor.

Signs like those below may seem mildly disconcerting but the reality is much worse. They destroy the value of the data being collected and the initiative of staff.

NPS score begging in a bank

Yes, you do need to provide the organisation with targets for NPS but the best way to do that is company wide with an across the board bonus that all staff either receive or do not receive.

If you’re hoping NPS is a fancy new way to look over the shoulder of your staff to ensure they are doing the right thing; that hope is forlorn. Using it that way only leads to misinformation.

My recent post: It’s time to stop giving people Net Promoter Score® targets generated more interaction and feedback than any other post in the last few years. I think, because many people recognise the problems it has caused.

Insight #3 – Essential: Implement change management from day one

My first degree is Mechanical Engineering and, early in my career as an engineer, I never really understood the need for change management. You simply, logically, explain to people what needs to be done and why and they do it.

I could not have been more wrong.

Change management is an essential part of the launch of NPS. People at all levels of the organisation have predictable fears and uncertainties when you roll out change.

Change management simply recognises that reality and allows you to pro-actively address those concerns to ease those fears and promote success.

It doesn’t have to be complex and it can be fun but it does need to be done.

Insight #4 – Essential: Have a bias for acting on what you hear

Sending surveys, graphing results and writing pretty reports are great fun but, as Jack Welch says, implement like hell.

For example, I was speaking with one of our customers, Justin Hodgson (Marketing Director at Manheim) who has implemented NPS in just the last 10 months. He was excited by what they had done. Among other things, he told me…

We had a goal of 2 improvement projects in the first year and we have 17 already…

The enthusiasm his company has garnered in the period since launch is enhanced, and enhances, success by doing something with the data.

It doesn’t have to be complex. Justin ran the very simple 5 Whys Process and involved people from across the organisation.

Insight #5 – Good to Have: Focus on the process not the score

Sounds odd to urge you not to focus on the score when the metric is called Net Promoter Score. Odd but true.

If you focus your reporting on the process and not the score you will be more successful long term.

Insight #6 – Good to Have: Service recovery drives retention and company culture

Service recovery is the act of calling unhappy customers, i.e low survey scores, and resolving whatever drove them to provide a low score.

This simple task is a powerful driver of NPS program success for many reasons. The big two are:

  1. Staff see action being taken, which drives essential cultural change
  2. It lifts NPS by 10 points across the board.
I've created a full report on how to design and implement a Service Recovery  process. Download it Here

Insight #7: External Benchmarking is not as important as you think

It is easily the most common question I receive when presenting to senior executive teams:

What is a good score and what should be we trying to achieve?

It is also, easily, the least important thing on which they should focus.

Yes, sometimes, under just the right circumstances, you can derive value from looking at external bechmarks but you can generate much more value from addressing other areas first.

I’m not alone in this opinion, Rob Markey, co-creator of Net Promoter agrees and so do other industry experts.

The allure of knowing you’re the best, or the worst, is strong but the benefit pales compared to the value of driving improvement in your own score month on month.

I've created a Business Leaders’ Practical Guide to Implementing Net Promoter.  Download it Here