A Net Promoter Score (NPS) can be a powerful metric to help you engage your customers, incorporate their feedback and thus improve your services. Many companies however, try to manipulate their NPS by asking rhetorical questions or timing surveys immediately after positive project milestones. This completely defeats the purpose of both NPS and Customer Success, and will never lead to high levels of client satisfaction and retention.
Your “score” is meaningless if it’s not genuinely representative of your client’s views towards your products, services or brand. It’s acceptable to have a lower NPS score as long as you listen to your customers and improve your services in response to their feedback, which is what ultimately matters.
Measuring a NPS around a certain high point in a customer journey will therefore not accurately reflect their full experience with you nor allow them to share un-biased feedback.
Listen to your customers through feedback loops, discuss any patterns as a team and then make systematic improvements based on these patterns. These three simple steps are the most important ways to truly improve your Net Promoter Score and change how customers perceive your brand. Your NPS will reflect how much effort you put into Customer Success. If you’re not listening to, engaging with and acting on what your customers are telling you, you will not improve your score and will see little benefit from determining your NPS.
Below we analyze the most important ways to use Client Success to GENUINELY improve your Net Promoter Score and increase the lifetime value of your clients:
Customer Success should work hand in hand with marketing and sales to reduce churn before it’s had the chance to take root. This ensures clients who make it all the way through the sales funnel are likely to succeed with your solution. Only then can Customer Success do “their” job and teach clients how to get the outcomes they want with the tools that your business provides.
Companies should never have the attitude that their solution is for everyone, and it is important that sales teams only target those who can get maximum value out of your service or product. If there’s a poor product-consumer fit or clients are not achieving their desired outcomes, somewhere along the line, a member of your team has failed to manage expectations and inform the client about the real benefits of your solution.
According to Accenture, 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat issues to multiple representatives.
The onboarding phase is perhaps the most critical time in a customer’s journey. It’s during those initial stages playing around with your product or testing your services that the customer either “gets” value from your business, or they give up on it. Statistics show they usually don’t come back.
It is therefore important to be patient and have processes in place for customers who don’t immediately understand your products or services. You should have extensive onboarding materials (video demos, eBooks, training documents etc.), so that you can meet your customer’s needs and resolve their pain points across a variety of channels.
Great services and products with high client retention and satisfaction rates will not only have great training materials but they will also have a number of Customer Success staff who the user can contact if they do not fully comprehend something in these documents.
Furthermore, if you notice that your new customers are not using your solution, Customer Success staff should reach out to them to find out why.
According to Accenture, once a provider loses a customer, 68% of consumers will never return and 80% of these feel the company could have done something to retain them.
Once a customer has been on-boarded, even if they say they are satisfied and thank you for the help of your support team, promising to promote your brand to their friends, you still need to continue monitoring them. Questions such as these need to be constantly assessed:
If the answers are not substantiated or show that they take too long and are not carrying out core tasks, you should proactively reach out to clients either through automated support messages or phone calls if you have the capacity for high-touch human contact.
Supporting your clients as questions or problems arise is no longer a sufficient way to ensure they remain loyal to your brand. Customer Success Managers must supplement reactive strategies with proactive outreach in order to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive business world. Issues should be identified and corrected before they have affected the customer to prevent them from later having to contact support.
These issues are determined by analyzing usage and account configuration data, and when these issues have been identified, your team can reach out to relevant users and teach them about how to improve their experience. Analyzing KPIs to identify customer pain points and resolving them in advance will help improve your user experience, NPS and levels of client satisfaction.
According to CloudCherry, by using proactive outreach, you can reduce incoming customer service calls by 20-30% a year.
According to InContact, 87% of customers say that want to be proactively contacted by companies for customer service related matters.
Knowledge transfer should not be seen as a one off process which only happens during the onboarding stage. Customers will constantly need to be armed with the right tools and skillsets to make the most of your solutions especially if you are continuously updating your products or services (which you should be doing anyway if you are acting on client feedback).
For this reason, 100% of your interactions with customers should be recorded, ideally by employing automation software that avoids duplication and ensures transparency across the different stages of the customer journey. You will look unprofessional if you contact your customer with information, training tools or updates they are already aware of. The Customer Success Manager or person in charge of onboarding should coordinate with the salesperson that closed the deal to ensure synchronization and that no tedious processes are repeated for the client.
Watching your customers use your product or service in real time will help you identify user experience blind spots. Via screenshare or even in person at annual evaluation meetings, ask your customers to take a few minutes to walk you through how they interact with your business. You’ll be surprised how much it helps you identify points of friction, optimize workflows and improve UX.
This kind of dedication to your customer also improves their brand perception, which helps you develop trust, meaning they are not only more likely to give you positive Net Promoter Scores but are also more likely to be honest with you and provide useful feedback.
This may seem odd. Improve your NPS with another NPS? How does that work? If you carry out Net Promoter Score surveys regularly (we recommend every quarter) and clients see that you have listened to their feedback and acted on it, they are more likely to give you a better NPS next time around.
You will need to zoom out and look at survey responses as a whole. One individual concerned about something could be worth addressing, whereas if thirty clients mention the same issue it may be worth making fundamental changes to your offerings. If you only analyze NPS responses individually, you’ll miss key information.
While promoters are useful for businesses, the feedback of detractors is normally of greater value. Only by knowing the flaws of your solution, whether they are product glitches or poor customer service, can you rectify the issues that affect your NPS and customer satisfaction levels. For these reasons, you need to teach your employees not to take a customer's emotions personally, and rather see them as valuable data that can be learned from.
If you really want to improve your services and retention rates, you should not merely pat yourselves on the back when your clients give you great net promoter scores but rather ask them how you can be even better to ensure you are always one step ahead of the game.
To really improve your Net Promoter Score, you need to constantly seek out and act on feedback. The great, the average and the bad.
Many people think that Customer Success needs to be high - touch all the time. For the customer to be successful however, sometimes all they need is to have the knowledge and tools at their disposal to quickly find the answer on their own. If a client needs to constantly call customer support whenever they have an issue, it is detrimental both for them and your staff, and means they are more likely to be NPS detractors.
To ensure customer autonomy, you need to implement all o the above effectively - thorough onboarding, ongoing knowledge transfer, proactive outreach and so on. You may be thinking isn’t aiming for both client autonomy and proactive outreach a contradiction? NO. Customer empowerment and self-sufficiency is the final step of the Customer Success journey, and is what will ultimately result in renewal and retention. If the above practices are not implemented (e.g. clients are not properly on-boarded, UX is not tested effectively or sales closes deals with unsuitable profiles), then customers will never be able to achieve their desired outcomes and make the most out of your solution independently.
When you focus on the things that improve your NPS instead of worrying about how to artificially increase it, you’ll see the true impact that Client Success can have on your business. If a customer has a great onboarding experience, has all the tools and knowledge necessary to take advantage of your solution, and knows who to contact whenever they face an issue, they are more likely to become active users who are brand promoters.
Don't just aim for customer satisfaction. Aim for customer loyalty and growth.