Customer satisfaction is critical to the successful use of Information Technology within an organization. However, technology leaders often struggle to gather meaningful and actionable feedback from their customers.
The traditional customer satisfaction surveys have several challenges. First, they require too much time to complete. There can also be a bias in the results – often people who love or hate the service respond. Finally, they may not provide actionable comments.
In 2017, we charted a new course to receive the gift of feedback from our customers. The goal was to address these three common challenges. After some research, I landed on the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures customer loyalty.
After reading a seminal HBR article, I became convinced that NPS® would fulfill our needs because loyalty is based on trust. If our customers trusted us enough to recommend our service (to other employees) then we would know they are satisfied.
To measure NPS®, we ask our customers 1 question: How likely is it that you would recommend this service to a friend or colleague? They can choose a number between zero (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely). We also provide a comment box for optional feedback. We make it clear that the survey is anonymous and the wording is critical to preserve statistically valid results.
NPS groups scores into three types: “Detractors” score 0-6, “Passives” score 7 or 8, and “Promoters” score 9 or 10. It’s a tough curve and the total score is a weighted average of these three groups of respondents. The score ranges from -100 to +100.
The advantages of NPS are many. First, it is simple – it takes customers 1 minute to complete this survey. Second, we are able to compare our scores with other benchmarks because NPS is used widely in the consumer markets. Finally, it is easy to communicate to the team, our customers, and our executive leadership. Here’s an example:
This June will be the 2nd anniversary of using NPS® at Encore Electric, Inc. We have gained tremendously from this experience. The first score was –8. If we were a stand-alone company we would have been out of business!
After making changes to 3 key processes and 6 weeks of customer service training, our scores rose immediately. Within 6 months, we were up to +48 and now average +60.
The score is a wonderful Key Performance Indicator (KPI) because it is impactful for our customers and the information technology team. It provides a voice for the customer not only through the score but also in the many kudos, complaints, and actionable suggestions that our customers enter in the feedback comment box. We build trust when we take action on our customers’ complaints. Finally, it has improved the morale and effectiveness of the information technology team because NPS® is a reminder that our primary goal and desire is to serve our customers.