So you’ve been reading up on Net Promoter Score. Your colleagues in the SaaS world tell you that it’s the best way to take your customers’ pulse. You’ve seen a few case studies claiming it’s the only number you need to measure.
It’s true that Net Promoter Score is a great way to engage with your customers and solicit tons of feedback. But it’s also true that there are quite a few nuances that result in successful surveys.
As a SaaS company with a number of SaaS customers, we have a unique perspective on NPS in the software world. To make the most of your time and energy, we’ve put together this list of things SaaS businesses should know before they dive into the NPS world.
Have questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments. You can also check out our demo account to get a feel for the platform.
1. Create user segments for business critical insight.
Don’t let your NPS data turn into a dusty pile of unused information. It’s a no brainer to segment based on their feedback (Promoters, Passives, Detractors.) But the real power comes from additional segmentation by metrics that are important to your business. For example, if you have tiered pricing plans, segment your users based on those plans. One of our SaaS customers has two unique user types, and discovered that while his overall NPS was strong, there was a big discrepancy in score and sentiment between these two distinct user types. This valuable insight helped him focus his energy on the right users.
Here’s a look at how you can customize segments in Wootric.
By slicing and dicing the data, you’ll be able to identify opportunities for better marketing and potentially predict (and prevent) churn. The New York Times is using similar data to target subscribers who are at a high risk of leaving. The MIT Technology Review is right when they say, “The success of many companies increasingly depends on how wisely they can mine data about their customers’ behavior and respond accordingly.”
Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. You’ll learn eight ways SaaS companies are driving growth with a real-time approach to NPS.
2. Ask targeted follow-up questions.
In addition to asking for a numerical rating, you can (and should!) also ask for more information. Simplicity is at the core of NPS philosophy so plan your follow-ups accordingly. Prepare a single automated follow-up question for each group.
Here are some suggestions:
- Promoters: What’s your favorite part about our product/service?
- Passives: What would make you love us?
- Detractors: What could we do to improve your experience?
The follow-up question needs to extract feedback that you can use to turn detractors and passives into promoters, and promoters into referrers. Here is more on how and why to customize the follow-up question.
3. Complement hard data with anecdotal findings.
You’re investing in NPS for more than a score.
At the end of your first survey, you’ll have a single number you can point to but you’ll also have a ton of anecdotal data to internalize. How do you balance the quantitative data and the qualitative data?
Here are my thoughts:
Actions together with emotions are a powerful combo. That gut ‘voice of customer’ reaction complements all the behavioral tracking. And — perhaps more importantly — a ton of insight comes from the open feedback provided along with the NPS score.
The qualitative feedback enhances and perhaps may even help explain in-product activity (if not uncovering new sources of satisfaction/dissatisfaction not visible behind the scenes.)
You cannot possibly automate the entire process and still glean all the valuable nuggets of information buried in customer comments and follow-up emails. SaaS companies love optimization but don’t get carried away. One of the biggest advantages of NPS is unlocking the customer’s voice.
If you are dealing with a firehose of qualitative feedback, categorizing using tags can help.
4. Use NPS as a referral trigger.
In 2014, Airbnb increased bookings from their referral program by more than 300% per day.
How the heck did they pull that off?
According to Jason Bosinoff, a member of the Airbnb growth team, they stopped asking everyone to refer friends and focused instead on key moments in the customer lifecycle.
You can hear Jason talk about it in this interview, beginning around 9:00.
Net Promoter Score surveys create these kind of moments. When a customer rates your company at nine or 10, it’s the perfect time to ask them to refer friends.
Even better, this is an example of the kind of marketing you can automate. Using a tool like Wootric, you can immediately drive a referral opportunity inside your NPS survey or trigger a follow-up in Intercom. Or, send a trigger to your email marketing system using Zapier.
5. Consider alternatives to email.
In recent years, most companies have turned to email as their NPS tool of choice. But considering that even the best email open rates rarely exceed 20 percent, it’s worth exploring other options. Eliminating 80 percent of your sample base from the beginning means you’re missing tons of insights.
If you’re going to build customer feedback into your organization, why not build an NPS tool directly into your web or mobile application? This makes surveys less intrusive and keeps data collection, management and analysis simple. Here’s a look at Wootric customer New Relic’s survey.
Remember, the inbox is noisy and there are other ways to reach your customers.
Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.
6. Commit to ongoing measurement.
Your SaaS product likely changes every week, so quarterly surveys won’t provide the in-depth feedback you need to iterate quickly. By building NPS into your app with a tool like Wootric, you can monitor the pulse of your customers on a daily basis.
Ongoing measurement also provides a continuous stream of qualitative feedback, which is key to overcoming the “local maxima.” Startup investor Andrew Chen describes this as the point where quantitative data from A/B testing is so fine-tuned it barely affects your app. Overtesting without qualitative feedback means your progress is slowed by attention to fine details while overlooking bigger problems like product/market fit or a better value proposition.
Source: Nicola Junior Vitto
Chen suggests a balance:
Ultimately, I think you have to combine the above approaches, to make sure you have views of the local maxima as well as potential paths into global maxima. Without both pieces of data, it’s like navigating a mountain range with a map that’s been torn into lots of different pieces.
Ongoing NPS measurement is an ideal way to avoid creating this problem in the first place.
7. Failure is an opportunity
A study by the Harvard Business Review found these two incredible statistics:
- 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people about it
- 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more others
Customers who have a bad experience are more likely tell their friends and peers than those who had a good experience. As you start to measure NPS, you can expect to hear some negative feedback from your customers. And though it’s hard to swallow, it’s actually great for your business.
As NPS creator Fred Reichheld wrote:
Every detractor represents a missed opportunity to add a promoter to the customer population, one more unpaid salesperson to market your product or service and generate growth.
If you can understand why detractors are unhappy, you can take action to solve the problem. This reduces churn, increases retention and pads the bottom line.
8. Map your NPS against…everything.
Think about your score over time in relation to milestones in your business. You could measure your NPS trends against your product update calendar to see which changes triggered a response in positive or negative feedback. You could do the same thing with marketing campaigns or new customer success hires.
Kayako, for example, measures NPS against customer support experience surveys.
NPS is powerful on its own but is even better when layered on other data. Which leads me to…
9. NPS is a layer, not a silo.
As we’ve already discussed, NPS is a catalyst for feedback. In the SaaS world, this can apply to product, marketing and customer success. Because of its value to the entire company, it’s beneficial to think of NPS as a layer rather than a silo. Don’t collect feedback in a vacuum — make it an open, transparent process.
Another benefit of building NPS into the company is the ability to share data. Not everyone in the company communicates with customers on a daily basis, so the feedback can provide context where it might otherwise be missing.
Technical integration is easy with tools like Wootric, which connects to your application through native integrations, as well as Segment, Zapier and mParticle. Once the data is flowing, you can be more specific about where the feedback goes. You can, for example, send customer support feedback to Zendesk, marketing-related feedback to Intercom, and keep the sales team up-to-date in Salesforce.
When everything is connected, the feedback loop is tight. And that is what makes the NPS cycle go round.
10. Use NPS to create a customer-centric culture.
Why are some companies so focused on making their customers happy while others treat customers like a nuisance?
Customer-centricity doesn’t happen by accident. It’s sewn into the fabric of a business with 1,000 needles. When customer-centricity permeates an entire business, decisions are easier to make. Instead of wondering how to respond to an angry customer, support reps default to empathy. Some businesses, like Flightfox and Unbounce, even blog about their NPS for their customers to see.
A few guiding strategies lead to a series of small moments. The cumulative effect of those moments is a company that develops trust with its customers. And it all comes down to culture.
NPS is just one way to build the voice of your customers into your company. Sending responses into Slack ensures that everyone is thinking about the purpose behind their work. Acknowledging employees who garnered good feedback encourages buy-in from the whole staff. Discussing NPS in all-hands meetings demonstrates the company’s commitment to the customer.
Lead with action not words. Your customers and employees will follow.
If you are planning to explore NPS, you can try Wootric for free. With just one line of code, you can build an NPS measurement tool directly into your product.
Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with Wootric.