The benefits of NPS don’t stop with finding out how loyal or happy your existing customers are. A well-designed process will also give you the tools to turn detractors into promoters. If you’re doing it well, you’ll see an increase in return customers, a decrease in churn, and more new customers from word-of-mouth referrals. In this post, we’ll look at what a meaningful NPS system looks like, and the steps you’ll need to follow to create your own.
Learn more about NPS in our Introduction to NPS article.
Building the Four Feedback Loops
A complete NPS system creates four loops:
- follow-up with individual customers,
- finding quick wins and corrections,
- determining strategic shifts,
- the continuous improvement cycle.
If you don’t generate feedback cycles at each of these levels, you can’t see the full impact of an NPS system.
When customers respond to a survey, they might include questions or comments that require a follow-up, make sure every question, concern, and comment gets an answer. They took the time to respond to your questions, so you need to pay them the same courtesy. If they are a promoter, follow-up with opportunities for case studies and beta programs.
E.g.: A customer comments on finding it difficult to use the reporting section of your product. Support sends them an email to make sure they can find what they need.
Quick Wins and Corrections:
If your NPS system is ongoing, drastic changes in scores can generate red flags when something isn’t going well. If you’ve recently done a pricing change, altered messaging or released new functionality; keeping an eye on your NPS score will help validate small actions on a weekly basis.
E.g.: A customer comments that the new reporting module is actually helping them deliver better service to customers. Marketing uses this information to update the website copy.
Focusing on improving a particular metric can help every department make better decisions on a day to day basis. Because working to improve your NPS score continually will ensure your business priorities are heading in the right direction to build promoters. Trends and overall sentiment analysis can help determine what the areas you need to focus on are.
E.g.: A few passive customers mention that the support team could be quicker in responding to questions. Support looks into improving First Reply Times.
The NPS is incredibly informative when you’re determining product-market fit (how well your product or service satisfies a high market demand). Looking at the types of customers that identify as promoters or detractors, and their reasons for it can help validate your product roadmap decisions.
E.g.: A brand new customer gives a low score and reports that the current options for pricing plans don’t offer enough value for the price. Marketing and Product evaluate what features can be added or changed to meet their target audience’s needs.
Designing Your NPS System
A well-designed NPS system has a lot of moving pieces. To create all four loops, you need to involve your entire organization. While building this well-oiled machine might seem tricky, following the steps below will get you started:
1.Ask the right questions
While every NPS system begins with the same question, you have some opportunity to play with the follow-up questions. So here are a few of our favorites:
All respondents: “Why did you give us the score you did?”
Detractors: “What’s the one thing we could do to improve the score you gave by one point?”
Promoters: “If you were to recommend us, what reasons would you give?”
Asking a follow-up question that aligns with your big picture goals – and that’s customer-segment specific – will give you more insights when you start analyzing the information later on.
2. Ask at the right time
The NPS is a relational question, not a transactional one. If you ask the NPS directly after a service interaction, the customer’s perspective of your product might be tainted (good or bad!) by one front line employee’s interaction. You want to make sure that you’re getting a holistic view of the customers’ feelings about your company – not a short-sighted one.
Asking at various cycles of a customers’ life cycle can also generate some interesting data. Are customers happier in their first three months? Or do they get happier the longer they stay? If you only ask customers the NPS question once, you might never get to know.
Mention started sending NPS surveys to customers immediately after their trial expires. It allows them to take the right action to re-engage potentially lost customers leading to a much higher chance of success.
3. Include context in the data
The NPS should never be an anonymous survey. If you don’t know who your promoters and detractors are, you miss out on having the opportunity to take action.
It’s super important to correlate responses with account information such as lifetime value (LTV), plan type or previous purchases, account usage, feature adoption, etc. While you might not need to put a name on the NPS number, you do need to be able to paint a picture of what your promoters look like – consequently, you can keep marketing to people like them.
4. Segment promoters and detractors
Instead of dealing with all customers equally, segmenting by their NPS allows you to send the perfect message to the right person.
For example, Baremetrics sends follow-up messages to every respondent thanking them for their response and urging the next step. By being specific in their audience, they can be precise in their messaging – which works much better! Imagine sending a “refer us!” email to detractors – they likely not only wouldn’t take action, but you might even offend them.
5. Involve other teams
A specific team might own the NPS (Marketing, Support or Product) but the information is essential to every department. Creating a cross-functional task force for NPS surveys can help everyone coordinate the data flow.
It’s also critical to share the results once you collect them. James Doman-Pipe, the Product Marketing Manager at Kayako, made sure that every single member of the company felt personally connected to customers through sending out comments collected in their annual NPS survey. Each person received three different, randomly selected comments direct from the customer – no editing or censorship involved. James believes this helps build accountability across the organization. “Sometimes,” James explains, “teams can develop a ‘not my problem’ mentality. Sharing comments and encouraging discussion across the business takes customer feedback straight to the teams who can take action and make a difference.”
6. Work with the big picture
If you’ve been collecting NPS data for a while, you’ll end up with a ton of valuable data. Don’t let it go to waste! While responding to individual concerns can help build up stronger relationships with specific customers, you’ll see more dramatic improvement if you analyze the bigger picture.
Even if data analysis isn’t your strong suit, there are a few simple tricks you can look at:
- What features are your promoters using more than detractors?
- Do your detractors tend to have lower CSAT scores?
- What is the average LTV of your promoters compared to detractors?
- What’s the most frequent comment from detractors?
- Is your NPS trending down or up? What type of customers is changing their NPS responses?
Working with all the data will allow you to validate your existing product roadmap, and determine what changes you need to make to continue improving your NPS.
7. Follow through on the changes
Once you’ve analyzed your results, you need to follow through on the changes. It can be hard to prioritize things that customers are asking for over ideas that excite the executive team. You might hear “if Henry Ford built what his customers asked for, he would have made a faster horse.” The problem is – if that’s truly what you believe – why do you even bother asking customers for their feedback in the first place?
If what you see in customer feedback doesn’t validate your current decisions, you need to make changes. It will be hard, but following through on the changes your customers are asking for is perhaps the most important step of an NPS system that gets you results.
8. Tell people about it!
If you release a feature, and customers don’t hear about it, have you actually released it? So if you’re able to deliver what customers have asked for, make sure you let them know personally! Not only will they appreciate that their opinion has been considered – but they will also become more inclined to go check out the improvements!
Here’s an email you can borrow to follow up with customers:
Thanks so much for filling out our survey in January. Your feedback was instrumental in the changes we’ve just implemented in our reporting section. Check it out now, and let us know if we’ve hit the nail on the head – or if we still have work to do.
Head of Voice of the Customer
Finally, you’ll also want to publicize it through your blog, social networks, and Help Center to make sure the entire customer base is aware of ongoing improvements based on their feedback.
Your NPS Machine
When all of the parts of the machine are working together, your NPS system is unstoppable. Since it gives you actionable feedback from customers that’s helpful to the entire business. At the same time, you’ll be able to turn detractors and passive customers into promoters. In addition, it lets you measure the impact of decisions and strategic direction. But all this doesn’t come just from sending out a survey. That’s why the teams that get the most out of an NPS system commit to responding and acting on customer feedback across the entire business. This is how you build loyalty: Results!