NPS is a reflection of your efforts to create fans of your business so your goal shouldn’t be to simply increase your score. It’s about sentiment and how people feel about what you’re doing. If you’re not coming at NPS improvement from a “customer experience” perspective then you’re foundation will be flawed – your efforts won’t last – and you’ll just be chasing a meaningless number month after month.
Before going any further, here’s a quick refresher on the elements of NPS and how they’re calculated.
Survey your customers, asking them on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend.
Categorize responses based on score: 0-6 are Detractors, 7-8 are Passivesand 9-10 are Promoters.
Subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The score can range from -100 to 100 and the higher the better.
Promoters are enthusiastic and loyal - they will tell their friends about your business and bring in new customers. Passives are indifferent about their experience with your business but could become promoters… or they could switch to a competitor. Detractors are unhappy. They could do damage to your company and brand by sharing their bad experience with other people.
Add up the responses in each category, subtracting detractors from promoters, to determine how likely a customer is to recommend your business to a friend. Passives aren’t counted because you can’t count on which way they would go. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on NPS, we have a more detailed post here.
You need to understand the reason behind the score, not just the score itself. Focusing on “improvement” rather than “increasing” will put you in the right mindset to critically look at your operation and make changes where necessary. It will focus your efforts around your customer’s experience, making your business stronger.
1. Create A Culture That Looks For Problems
All too often, businesses inadvertently put up barriers that make it hard for people to do their jobs. It could be a simple policy or procedure intended to address a back of house issue but the result is it takes 10 more minutes to do something for a customer or makes it harder for a customer to engage with a service your business is providing. Your front line staff is your best resource for smashing through these roadblocks so it's important to create a culture where your staff feels safe to look for these issues and bring them to your attention. If they are met with indifference, excuses or worse, contempt, when bringing these barriers forward, they’ll stop looking and you’ll be left trying to figure out why customers are unhappy.
2. Engaging with your Promoters
When it comes to improving your NPS, your first instinct is likely to go right after your Detractors by tackling the issues they raise but your Promoters are your biggest fans so it makes sense to engage them first to find out what you’re doing well and improve or evolve on that. These are the items or services in your business that are making people loyal so engage there and ask what you could be doing to make their experience even better. If you’ve got ideas about adding new services or features, ask your Promoters for their feedback first to see if it’s something that they’d like to see. It shows that you’re giving your biggest fans a voice and taking their feedback seriously.
3. Engaging with your Passives
Here is an often-missed opportunity. Think of Passives as customers that are responding with “yes… but”. You may be doing a lot right but there's that one small item you’re missing that could move their score from an 8 to a 9 or 10, and if you focus on improving those items, you’ll create more fans – more Promoters. It’s a lot easier to move a customer 1 or 2 points in to the Promoter category than it is to bring a Detractor up two categories.
4. Engaging with your Detractors
As hard as it may be, you have to engage with your detractors and find out what went wrong. You’ll likely receive some difficult feedback but knowing exactly where your business is failing and coming up with a plan to address those issues is far more effective than guessing. Negative feedback can be a powerful tool to find improvement. Be open-minded and don’t take criticism personally. It is simply a learning experience to make your business stronger. There is very little that can’t be addressed. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.
5. Respond to your Customers
If you’re going through the effort to ask for feedback you’d better be prepared to respond to what you get back. One of the worst things you can do is be unresponsive to your customers so be prepared to respond to the feedback with actions you're taking to address the issue. It might be a lack of training, it might be a process or it might be a faulty product – regardless of what it is, ignoring your customers, especially after they took the time to provide feedback, is a surefire way of losing them to the competition.