Right now, you're likely reading this article on your phone, tablet, computer, or somebody might have even texted or emailed you the link, you name it.
Do you realize what that means?
It means that you have access to data on-demand, anytime you want it. And you had the option to pick from thousands of other articles all fighting for your attention on your LinkedIn news feed or Google search results.
Customers, like you, have knowledge. And, as we all know, knowledge is power.
In this article, we'll walk through how the customer experience has shifted, and how the Net Promoter Score (NPS) plays a role in that change. I'll show you how to leverage NPS to measure and improve customer service while identifying ambassadors who can contribute to reviews and case studies for your business.
The Customer Has the Data, And the Market Is Saturated
You can find information on just about anything at the click of a button. So, salespeople are no longer the ones who hold the key to all knowledge.
Plus, since the mid-2000s when marketers started giving as much online information away as they could in the form of blogs, there's a lot of content out there. Thus, the market is saturated.
And the market isn't just saturated with content, it's also saturated with companies and competitors. Yet, despite all that content and all those competitors, there are still those that differentiate and beat their competition. But how is it possible to differentiate in such a saturated market?
They don't differentiate based on their higher-quality product or their amazing prices. They differentiate based on their fabulous customer experience.
Customer experience is such a hot topic that CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah, spent his entire keynote speech at the INBOUND Conference this year discussing it.
Here are his 5 key points on what customers want from their experience with your company:
- Earn my attention, don't steal it
- Solve for my success, not your systems (Don't make your process my problem)
- Own your screwups
- I don't mind paying, but I do mind being played (Be open, be clear, be fair)
- Don't block the exit (Let your customers leave easily if they want to)
Notice that not one of these points says anything about making sure that you have the cheapest prices or the highest quality products.
Word-Of-Mouth Is Your Marketer
At INBOUND this year, the other CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan, said something else that many companies are starting to learn: People don't care much about what salespeople and marketers have to say.
In fact, let's pretend for a moment that after reading this article, you decide to explore the services an SEO company offers.
According to the data that Brian shared, even if you explored their website, downloaded some content, and found that they could help you in your next marketing venture, you probably still wouldn't end up hiring them.
But, if your friend told you that they used this awesome SEO company to get results on Google, you'd probably be curious, right? And if they specifically named the company, you'd be very interested, because you trust your friend and know they wouldn't lie to you. Now you may be more inclined to do business with that SEO company.
So, what changed?
Word-of-mouth (WOM) has become more important than what marketers and salespeople have to say because of trust. You don't know me, so you naturally wouldn't trust me as much as your friend. It makes sense.
How NPS Plays a Big Role in WOM
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the many tools you can use to boost your customer experience, and it's as simple as asking them what they think of you.
According to netpromoter.com, "Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, measures customer experience and predicts business growth. This proven metric transformed the business world and now provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs the world around." If you want to learn more about how the measurement is calculated, check out this short blog.
Many companies primarily use NPS as a quantifiable gauge for customer experience and a place for customers to call out specific problems that need to be addressed, however, collecting this type of customer data can also be the perfect way to find exceptional customer experiences and use those stories to promote your business.
Technical Use of NPS
Again, the key is to keep it as simple as possible. Ask one question, and provide the recipients with only one course of action.
Here's an example of an email template I used recently:
You'll notice 2 things, and you won't notice 1 thing:
The content is very short. We want it to stay very simple; there should be no confusion.
The numbers are all different colors. We want our customers to know that a 1-6 is more negative, not to sway their opinion, but to get their true opinion of us. If they see that a 5 is red and they still give us a red, that means they're serious!
These buttons lead to different landing pages. (This is the one you didn't notice.) There are 3 landing pages for these emails. One is for anyone who clicked on 1-6, the other for anyone who clicked on 7-8, and a final one that clicked on 9-10. This way, we treat everyone differently. For the red-button-clickers, we ask them for feedback on how we can improve, and then we reach out to them personally. This helps them feel cared for, but it also helps us improve our services. In many ways, the red-clickers are our most important! For yellow and green, we still ask for feedback (preferably a testimonial), and we offer them the opportunity to explore our site.
Once we've gathered feedback, we split up our contacts into Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. Promoters are your word-of-mouth guys.
How NPS Directly Ties to WOM
Your Promoters are the people that love what you do! They're the ones that are going to share your services with their friends or will give you a 5-star rating on Google. And as we've learned, word-of-mouth is the most trusted form of marketing today.
You now have a list of people who willingly ranked your business a 9 or a 10 out of 10. Use them as brand ambassadors with discounts, rewards, or however best applies to your business.
Also, Net Promoter Scores aren't just one and done. You should be regularly asking for customer feedback and increasing your score.
Net Promoter Score is a great tool to use in order to know where you stand with your customers. Improve it by improving your customer experience. Boosting your NPS means you'll have more Promoters. Having more Promoters means you'll have more Word-of-mouth opportunities. And Word-of-Mouth is the best way to get new customers.
How are you collecting customer feedback in your business today? What's working and what could be working better?