Moving away from NPS as a metric could be the best way to understand whether your customer will ever recommend you
by Rebecca Brown
Have you ever looked at the Net Promoter Score question through the eyes of your customer? Let’s consider it for just a moment.
“Based on your experience with us today, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend?”
What most businesses think they are asking – “How satisfied are you with us?”
What it sounds like to your customers – “Can we rely on you to do a bit of free marketing for us?”
When you actually consider how the question could come across to your customers, there is the potential that even for the satisfied customers, it could seem like you value their experience less than you value what you can get from them. For those already feeling a little dissatisfaction… well anyone who has studied the responses to a net promoter survey where a comment is allowed can tell you how well the question goes down with a disgruntled customer.
How you phrase your questions to your customers can either inspire confidence in your brand as a who cares about their customers, or send a clear message that actually what matters most to you is profit. If you aren’t careful, before your customers have even gotten far enough to rate you, you may be subconsciously alienating your audience.
Then we have to look at how the data is used.
On its own, a number out of ten will tell you whether a customer is a fan of your brand or whether they feel disengaged. What it won’t do is tell you why. To find out what your customer is actually feeling, you need to ask questions that are specific enough to help you identify the section of customer journey, and that give you enough insight on their emotion at that point to help you drive improvements.
The difficult part comes in asking enough questions to pinpoint the customer sentiment, without overwhelming them with a ten-minute-long survey. This is a great reason why so many businesses still use NPS, they want something quick and intuitive.
Consider instead, just asking four or five questions that are aimed at the key stages in your customer experience such as awareness (often where expectations are set), onboarding, service delivery and support. If you can ask the questions in a way that feels customer focussed it will help you to inspire confidence in your brand through your survey. Keep it to a maximum of five questions, and if you absolutely must, then you can include the NPS question too, but at least you’ve also included questions that show your customer you genuinely care about them.
The finishing touch, that will make sure you gather enough honest and meaningful responses to know exactly how your customers feel, what they enjoyed and what they might choose to shout about on your behalf, is to make your survey accessible to your customers at all times. Create a perpetual link to a feedback tool that can be accessed at any time of the day, on any device and that can be anonymous if they’d like.
Here are some top tips to make sure your feedback is working as hard for your customers as it is for your brand:
- Consider how you phrase the question, and make sure it comes across that you care about more than just profit
- Don’t ask too many questions, keep your feedback concise and to the point (you can always go back for more detail later)
- Make it intuitive, emoji-based feedback is great, everyone understands what a smiley face stands for so there’s less room for misinterpretation.
- Make is as easy and accessible as possible for your customers to feed back on their agenda, at a time and in a way that suits them.
- Close the loop. Don’t forget to thank your customer for their feedback, and let them know what you’ve changed as a result.
Give it a go, and hopefully you’ll never go back to asking NPS as a standalone.