NPS Is Not Just A Number

Monday, 20 January 2014

Posted by: Sue Robinson, General Manager Customer Strategy, Stellar Asia Pacific

One of the advantages of working for an outsourcer is that I get the opportunity to understand how each of our clients is using their net promoter score to drive a better experience for their customers. Our clients are doing just that – using the feedback and score to better understand drivers of low scores and modelling what drives a customer to be a promoter. Each is using their data to better understand and respond to customer needs and we get to help them on that journey, adding our experience across multiple industries into their specific service.

Not all companies are so advanced in their management of NPS though; many are still spending a lot of time and effort to obtain a score, but seem unsure what to do next. If you want to make a difference and improve your customer experience, collecting the score is only the first step of the process. First you need to understand why it’s important, set up clear targets or benchmarks that you want to measure yourself against, and then put an action plan into place to close the gap.

Even if you don’t have a lot of information there are some easy starting points. Look at your NPS score each month and track that against activities and events.

  • Did you make grade of service each month? (While this won’t necessarily drive a good result, it can certainly explain a bad one – who is going to recommend your product or service if they have just spent 30 minutes waiting to talk to someone?)
  • Were there changes to the service that occurred – was there a price increase, a service outage, a double bill run – that could have affected a particular month’s score?
  • What were the common themes in your verbatim comments from detractors? Did a billing issue come up often, are customers telling you that there is a service issue or misleading information, and so on?

The above can help you to understand what may be impacting your NPS. I also recommend that any survey includes a few additional questions:

  • What was the reason for the call (if you cannot identify it from an inbound queue)?
  • Was the call resolved to your satisfaction? Yes, No, Too early to tell
  • How would you rate the ability of the agent to resolve your issue? 1-5 or 0-10 scale
  • Would you recommend my product or service? 0-10 scale
  • Why did you give us that rating?

The above provides a wealth of information that can help you start to understand issues by correlating the results. Was the NPS the same across all reasons for contacting you, or are contact reasons driving a variable NPS? Are unresolved calls resulting in a low NPS score and does this differ by reason for contact? Does the customer’s perception of the agent’s ability to resolve their issue impact NPS and does this vary by reason for contact? What are the verbatims telling you? This data is a good starting point to understand some of the underlying hot spots and drivers for your NPS score.

I recommend you start with your detractors and the lowest score call type. Listen to some calls, study the verbatims and workshop with your front line employees. Sometimes there are some easy wins and you can make a real difference very quickly. Keep the focus and work through the issues. As you undertake your program you will continue to develop a better customer experience, and just as importantly encourage your team to start thinking differently about how their actions can impact your customers. It is hard to create promoters for your brand if your frontline team are not promoters themselves.

All of the above is just the start. Close the loop and contact detractors, ask them for the reasons they are unhappy and turn them into promoters.

NPS is a journey and one that will deliver rewards for those who follow up and apply discipline. You don’t have to solve all the problems today, you just need to start the process.