You see this question after everything from your morning coffee purchase, to the quarterly meeting with one of your biggest software vendors.
“How likely are you to recommend Product/Service XYZ to a friend?”
If you work in sales and marketing, you know why this question is being asked – to calculate the company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).
However, while you may easily recognize the question and its purpose when you encounter it, you may also wonder how you can make your own company’s Net Promoter Score a little bit (or in some cases, a lot) higher.
While there are many different metrics intended to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty, Net Promoter Score is an easily quantifiable and easy-to-understand measurement that is scored in a way that’s familiar to anyone who’s ever received a grade on a 0 to 100 scale. That’s probably why more than two-thirds of all Fortune 500 companies, along with a healthy percentage of other businesses, use it to gauge their success in building positive sentiment with their customers.
In today’s increasingly online and digital-driven world, recommendations matter. The buying process for many products commences online, and prospective customers often research intensively before making contact with potential suppliers.
If you’re depending on your advertising and online visibility alone to secure their interest, you may want to think again.
According to a survey by Nielsen, 83% of respondents trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other form of advertising. That means if some other company is scoring rave reviews and recommendations from clients, you may be out of the running before the potential customer even starts their RFP process.
A Net Promoter Score rating consists of the aforementioned single question, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend XYZ Company to a friend?"
Survey respondents are grouped into detractors (0-6), passives (7-8), and promoters (9-10). Subtracting your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters provides your Net Promoter Score.
Based on this calculation, Net Promoter Scores can range from -100 to 100, with 100 being the ultimate achievement.
The benchmark of a “good” Net Promoter Score depends on your industry. Generally, above 50 is considered very good; above 70 is considered world-class and typically reserved for companies like Costco, Nordstrom, and Apple.
It makes sense to look at leaders in your own industry to find an NPS goal for your business. Even industries like hospitality, with many staunch rewards-points-earning brand loyalists, don’t break the 20 threshold. SaaS companies average around 26.
A higher score is a better score, and obviously, most companies want to boost their Net Promoter Score as high as possible. Improving your score can depend on a variety of factors, from your staffing to your processes to your responses to negative feedback.
Here's how you can increase your NPS:
If your product doesn’t fit your customers' needs, they may love your individual salespeople and service/success teams, but may also ultimately feel dissatisfied with your product or service.
Instead of cold calling and selling to anyone and everyone who happens to respond, focus your sales efforts on the prospects that fit your buyer persona. Using an account-based marketing and sales strategy can help you make sure you’re connecting with the clients who’ll get maximum value from (and thus be maximally loyal to) your product.
A surefire way to create unhappy and resentful customers is to make them discuss the same customer support issue four times at four different touch points of your company.
Two-thirds of customers become frustrated when they’re required to go over the same information multiple times to solve a problem and get an answer.
Taking the approach that customer success and support is everyone’s job can lead to this satisfaction gap, because you’re asking your staff members to handle things they’re not equipped to handle.
Instead, have a key point of contact, a customer success team or liaison, that can gather information, manage expectations, and respond accordingly. Outsourcing this customer success role can give you the opportunity to focus on success immediately, rather than taking the time to devise a strategy, hire a team, and build out necessary processes.
You probably can’t be there for your customers 24/7. That doesn’t mean they’ll be able to avoid problems and issues 24/7, though.
Customers will feel more satisfied if they’re able to get answers when and where they need them. It can be beneficial to build a robust knowledge base to support them when you can’t be available, and to provide ongoing content (including how-to guides and tutorials) to help them use your service efficiently.
Even companies with ridiculously high Net Promoter Scores have their detractors. The best companies don’t ignore those detractors or sweep their feedback under the rug.
Instead, a great way to improve your Net Promoter Score is to talk directly with the customers who aren’t exactly in love with your product. Research shows that for every unhappy customer that complains, there are 26 who choose not to, but who are also unhappy.
When you talk with the customers who provide you feedback, you can put that information to use and work on solving problems and eliminating issues that customers are facing.
If you’re seeing Net Promoter Scores that aren’t as high as you’d like, the worst thing you can do is to become fixated on the score and consider boosting the actual numbers a key priority.
Many companies pressure their sales and customer success staff to improve Net Promoter Score, which then leads to your frontline staff focusing on moving a number on a dashboard, rather than serving as a problem-solver for your customers' concerns.
Instead of trying to arbitrarily improve your Net Promoter Score rankings, put your efforts and energy into fixing the problems that lead to a negative score. Digging deeper can help you find ways to solve problems, whether that means interviewing customers and understanding their pain points, or analyzing data to see whether any common trends emerge among your detractors.
As mentioned, dedicating resources to customer success is the best way to increase your Net Promoter Score without actually focusing on increasing your Net Promoter Score.
If you don’t have a team in place yet, you can partner with an outsourced customer success team to hit the ground running. These teams have experience building customer success for many companies, getting their programs up to speed quickly, and generating results.
In addition, an experienced outsourced customer success team has the knowledge and expertise to help you score some quick wins to boost lifetime customer value and to maximize the benefit your customers receive from your service.
Anyway you do the math, those factors add up to increased satisfaction, a better Net Promoter Score, and long-term loyalty from your clients.
Have you seen changes in your Net Promoter Score lately? How have you worked to improve your NPS? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for further info. Check out our additional open guide: