5 Ways to Modernize your NPS program to Supercharge Customer Success
Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer at Wootric and Paul Philip CEO, Amity
Hello everyone. As our host mentioned, we are the platform for boosting customer happiness. Our focus is across the key customer experience metrics of which of course NPS is always a rich topic so I’m excited to delve in this with you today. I know we probably have a group on this line who is looking to boost and modernize their existing program, so you might not need for most of you a refresher on what NPS is, but I need to make sure that we’re all grounded to start.
NPS is a key metric, a simple question around the likelihood of recommending a product or a service or a brand to a friend or a colleague. It’s a standard question on a scale from 0 to 10. The most common implementation, from all likely, to extremely likely, and the output of that answer groups your customers into three different buckets: promoters the 9’s and 10s, the passives, your 7’s and 8’s and the detractors, your zeros to six scores. The Net Promoter Score, is the percentage of your promoters minus the percentage of your detractors.
So your range is from a hundred to negative one hundred. And I think most of us the technology and SaaS world are aiming for things in the 40 to 60 range but this is truly a really lean and effective method to measure customer happiness. I hope all of you have this in some component to your health score and that you’re using not only the score but also the open ended feedback to help guide business and customer decisions.
I just want to make a comment that this webinar is really about the program not the score. I want you all to be able to boost your score and I hope that comes from focusing on the program.
This is an organizational effort and today I’m really speaking more to customer success as the champion in this process. But a good NPS program should have the involvement of the whole organization of which success plays a key role.
If I can get a few things out of this today to help you, I really hope that I can get you to increase your response rates so that you can hear from more customers, that you can make the data that comes in from your NPS program more actionable and that at the end of this you are all winning your customers for life. I titled this webinar “five key ways to modernize your NPS program”. It’s hard to actually pick just five things. We have an e-book on this topic that’s got eight or nine. And so I really try to frame it up from the perspective of customer success and because customer success is often times the administrator of NPS and the champion, as the champion of the customer, you’ll see these points through that lens.
The first tip I want to share is really about automating and keeping it simple. So you know today the modern NPS program really has taken NPS to a new place, evolved past, the traditional world of batch surveys on a quarterly basis, or even a semi-annual basis, where someone has to do the work to decide who goes in that batch and sends out to large groups and lists and then has to deal with how to analyze all that data. And so it often ends up being a manual process and it ends up being a little out of sync with the actual customer and how they’re feeling at certain points in their experience with you. So when I think about today’s modern NPS I put a few items there that I think are really important. It’s REAL TIME. So you’re able to actually take advantage of lots of new systems and tools to help you automate this process which means you’ll get a true customer pulse. So today’s modern NPS include rolling surveys. They really the norm now and technology has allowed us to do this efficiently for teams. NPS should move from a quarterly check-in to really a daily or weekly method that you can look in on it and help keep yourself oriented towards how the customer is doing at anytime. The other thing that’s very modern about NPS is the approach now to keep it SHORT AND SIMPLE. I think traditional surveys have really gone on the long form and what’s unique about a modern program and automated program is to not use NPS as one of 10 questions that you fatigue your customer with but keeping it short and simple. You always have other opportunities to ask for deep insights. But the more responses you can get to this question the better proactive and prepare you can be to close the loop with your customer and start deeper conversations. The other thing that automation and simplicity provide in a modern program is you’re really able to pass customer attributes in a way that helps give contextualisation to your feedback. So if you think about you know ways of running these programs previously there’s still some work to do to connect the dots between responses of your users and some of the traits about them, be it the various pricing plans they might be on or certain value levers or classifications for them as users in your company. So this modern approach and the automated approach about collecting data lets you bring these attributes together with the response and so that sets you up for a lot of more meaningful analyzing of the qualitative feedback and really gives you that additional ability to SLICE AND DICE so that you can look at your NPS scores and your feedback in the right context for your business be by a particular user group, by a particular cohort. And so the net result of all of this is you’re seeing higher response rates, your data is more relevant and it is more timely and the results that are coming in are more accessible and actionable for you as a team so I just wanted to show you what this could possibly look like.
In a modern automated program — I talked about some of these and you’ll see them come to life here — you’ve got SIMPLE responses and you’ve got EASY accessibility to the score and the feedback you’ve got the ability to actually SEGMENT and FILTER and do the slicing and dicing that helps you look at NPS scores by important metrics to your business and you’ve got some interesting opportunities to do things like automate around qualitative feedback. That’s always a tough one to be able to get the insights out of the qualitative very quickly by automation and the evolution of tools out there and products out there to use make that even more straightforward for you so that you can spend the time with the customer, talking about and resolving and improving their experience with you. So that’s tip number one.
Tip number two is about channels. When we think about modern Net Promoter Score our customer and our products are becoming more diverse and it live on a lot of unique platforms that we provide to them: SaaS applications so, mobile apps, there’s always the inbox, and for some businesses SMS is a way that we communicate regularly with our customers. Modern NPS, in my mind, is also about turning the table on where the focus should be in serving customers and I really believe that we should be finding the right places to survey customers: where they want to hear from us and where they like to engage with us. If they’re more likely to be amenable to talk to us in our product and, that’s a natural place where they’ll respond, we should think about that option. If we have an audience that is more on email and less active in our product then we should be reaching to them via email. We need to be more flexible as customer success professionals and businesses to adapt to the needs of our customers and the channels where they are most receptive to talking to us.
The example I have here is one of enterprise SaaS with two different customer types: oftentimes you’ve got your buyer or decision maker that you manage on the account and they may not be in your product every day, they are someone who signs off who you know obviously makes the purchase but they’re not a regular user of the product. So for them the channel is probably best serve via email. And you want to think about what the right time is to do that: a cadence is very appropriate but sometimes journey points also make a lot of sense, perhaps right at the end of the onboarding experience, and maybe three to six months before renewal. That segment of your customer base can be on a slightly different plan that’s really unique to how they engage with you and your product. On the other side of the equation you have the users who are actually inside your product and are regularly active. For them they may not have that same kind of relationship with you and an email coming from you would not be as meaningful. So that lends itself to considering other options to get their feedback and a really powerful one to consider is something like in-app, inside of your web or mobile application. For those active users catching them on a cadence would be a more appropriate way to engage and would probably yield you much higher response rates than trying to catch them in the inbox where they don’t have that established relationship with you. So if you haven’t really considered what channels you speak to certain users on most effectively and incorporate that into your strategy I believe that’s an opportunity for you to do so in the future.
Another interesting tip in modern NPS is to bring your customers along on this journey. Systems allow you now to quickly get surveys out to customers and start a NPS process but if you’re committing to building and closing the loop with customers, sometimes that loop even starts before the survey goes out. So one thing that I’ve seen be really successful is to actually do a little bit of upfront education. It could be as simple as sending out an email or preparing a newsletter or a blog with your vision for a net promoter program and how you’re using customer feedback. You don’t have to be new to NPS to do this, it can be something that you reinforce even if you have an existing program. But the value of letting people know what you’re up to why you’re doing this, what they might see from you and your expectations can just help to set the initial playing field so that when that survey shows up they are that much more connected to the concept and would be that much more likely to respond. I do think that message should come from someone senior in the company, perhaps even the CEO to say something like “hey this is something that we really care about, and the time you’re taking to do this is going to improve the experience and we really are listening”. It’s really about trying to get your customers more engaged in the process too, make them more likely to consistently give you feedback. At the end of the day we all really want not just the score but those open ended comments. So providing a little bit of set up can help encourage someone to put those extra few thoughts down in the open ended feedback box.
The other piece of bringing your customers along is after the survey. We all need to have sustainable follow up strategies. This is where it can start to feel really overwhelming to manage NPS because you just don’t want to send surveys and then not be able to get back in touch with customers. Ideally this process does loop back and in some way helps the customer know that their feedback was heard. Part of the modern NPS program and the benefits of having an ongoing pulse is you are already more able to manage the flow of feedback. As a customer success manager or the team you’re not getting all of your customers responding all at once you’re getting them in a cadence that hopefully you can manage more effectively to ensure that each get the right kind of follow up. We are all going to have different kinds of customers. And we need to be prepared to have different level of touches: higher touch approaches, medium touch, low touch approaches based on what kind of customer base and relationships we have. I outlined here what I’ve seen be very effective across some of these different strategies. So you know clearly if you’re working with enterprise customers and you’re talking to buyers here, you’re probably going to be taking a high touch approach. If you get feedback from that particular customer, your owner is going to be an account manager or some senior leader in the company. You can do executive callbacks or at least have some kind of personal touch email. It really is all about, immediately after the feedback, thanking for the feedback probing for additional details and of course if there are concerns raised, management’s concerns quickly and efficiently before they become bigger problems. Most people think about “oh I have to respond to each and every customer” ; we naturally think about the high touch bucket. Where there’s a lot of opportunity for all of us to be much better connected to the rest of our customer base is through the medium of the low touch avenues. So once you’ve dealt with your enterprise customers or your VIP user base, you can look at other ways to make sure that everyone else still gets a touch. So in the medium touch camp, usually we see this still managed by CS or sometimes by support. And here we’re talking about batch or auto-triggered emails and these can literally be set up to happen exactly after the NPS feedback is returned to you from the customer. Thanks to automation, you can take a lot of different angles and trigger follow up on the different types of responses and NPS buckets that you get from customers. So you got things like customers who leave a score but don’t leave feedback. You can take the opportunity to run a specific campaign to encourage them over in separate email to leave some additional color and you might just choose to focus specifically on the different camps promoters for example and drive them to a referral link or encourage them to share more broadly on social. With detractors, this is one obviously where you want to make sure that there’s an immediate routing to support to probe on issues so that you don’t end up with some latent problems that come back to bite you. And again through integrations, all of these systems and tools out there do a very good job in making sure that detractors feedback and NPS feedback can go to your support systems. Passives often get left out of the equation because we don’t have as polarized of an opinion on how to manage them; but oftentimes just taking that moment to auto trigger a message that either ask them to go a little deeper or one question that’s nice to ask is “what could we do to make you love us?”. And just something to encourage that additional boost, qualitative color. And then lastly just on the low touch fronts — this is a low hanging fruit to do– even if you don’t have a plan for high touch customers even or if you’ve already got a really robust plan for your medium touch customers, you should still consider having this low touch avenue, which is to share out to your customer base what you’ve been learning over the course of your NPS journey. We’ve got avenues, as companies, through our blogs, and through our newsletters. If you’ve taken the time upfront to educate them on the program, close the loop with them on the end, on what your plans to do with the feedback. I’ve seen some really interesting automated approaches here where companies take all the qualitative feedback, identify three key priorities that they’re going to focus on based off of that customer feedback and put these priorities into an email or put that into their blog posts and they make sure that they’re consistently sharing up their progress and making it very clear what of those elements are coming from the direct voice of the customer.
Tip Number four power up your QBR with end user feedback. When I talk to enterprise customers, I often hear customer success say “well I mean you know I’m only focused on my buyer”. That’s totally fair that is the person who ends up giving you the renewal but what I’ve seen is the power of end user feedback and collection of end user feedback and really supercharging how you structure your QBR and the relationship you built with that buyer. “My end users don’t have a say in the buying process” can be reframed to “my end users can really help me succeed in that renewal”. Your position is strengthened for renewals, you’re able to actually identify problems before they escalate because you’re hearing from your active end users first and sometimes your end users will actually be telling you what things they need and you’ll hear that before the buyer does share that with you, so it gives you this unique opportunity to come into the conversation much more grounded and even proactive in terms of what can make that relationship better. A way you can implement this is to actually build in an end-user survey or end-user NPS or even a CSAT into this process. I am going to recommend in-app surveys here because your customer is engaging with you inside your product. You can use some of the low touch or even medium touch automation processes to acknowledge their feedback so that this doesn’t become a huge burden for you. But the real value is being able to roll up all of those thoughts that you’re hearing from a specific customer make that a part of your QBR conversation and showcase those results and keep the customer updated with every QBR the new thing that end users have brought up, new issues that you’ve heard and that you are working on. And I’ve really seen this be such a valuable tool to elevate the conversation, because you’re now becoming a trusted partner and you’re really helping to increase the customer’s perception of you and their loyalty to you and you are becoming more of a value driver in the relationship by leveraging all the information that is available to you and all the tools available to you to make that conversation richer. So this is the tip that I think is still a little bit underutilized but really has a lot of punch behind it.
When I think about how to supercharge your customer success conversation, the last tip I want to share is about collaboration and sharing. We talked earlier about the closed loop process with customers. I really believe the internal closed loop is just as important as the external one and customer success, as we talked about, is just one piece of the puzzle in all of this. As customer success professionals, we all have the opportunity to really champion the customer. While it’s a cross functional effort, we can be the hero, we can set up the flow, we can set up the process we can rally the organization. And one way that is really successful in getting your whole program supercharge is to come up with, or participate in a cross functional and NPS tiger team. I know this is something that is maybe easier to do with small companies because everyone is already close to the customer but at larger companies it does take a little bit more buy-in and enrollment. But if you’ve got someone from Product, someone from Marketing, someone from Success and someone from Support at a minimum, then getting in a room together once a quarter for example and reviewing what has been talked about through the customer’s eyes and voice and talking about next steps and actions from a product perspective, from a Service perspective you will have each of those teams then aligned and focused on NPS and focus on the customer more broadly. So this tiger team approach while it can seem like an intensive thing to do is super valuable to make sure that you’re really leveraging all the aspects of that customer feedback to drive the organization forward and along and enabling visibility in everyone’s systems. We’re in a new age where all of our tools can talk to each other, all our products can talk to each other and there is no reason for NPS data to only live with the success team on an account record in a customer success platform. There is every reason for that data to be everywhere that each team is viewing customer information. So if you’re using a support platform that data should be going into support as well to get context for their cases. If you have an automation marketing platform and marketing is sending out campaigns they should know what customer scores are and what their latest feedback is and consider doing some segmented campaigns; to make the most value out of customer relationships be it for testimonials or customer advocacy groups. So many opportunities in the way to message and to rally new participation by customers in important efforts of the business. Salesforce: everyone wants to get their data into salesforce because it’s just that big system of record. Think about the value of having a sales team member seeing in their daily view, that customers, that they sold into, are now feeling extremely excited about the business; that may lead to some rich new discussions or actually potentially upsell opportunities as well. So there is a functional system integration that will help ensure that each team doesn’t have to leave their systems of record to understand the NPS of the customers and I think that’s really the big goal here is that we all should be able to view it where we’re comfortable engaging with systems and data on the customer. The last one I’d mention is Slack.
This is something that we see a lot of companies do and I know slack is not the only tool out there but it’s certainly one that has a lot of penetration right now. But consider setting up a Slack channel or some kind of internal communication channel where customer feedback goes in real time. This is something we do with most of our customers actually. It’s probably our most used integration. At wootric, for example, even the engineering team can go to this channel, the product team can go in that channel and any of our sales associates can come to this channel and it’s not meant to be a place where we have to respond to each feedback and justify a response. It’s just meant to be a place of sharing and celebrating and general awareness. And it is so great to see especially when you have positive comments coming and speaking to the product. For example the engineers who worked on this initiative see it. While we’d love to do all of our own sharing in a more formal way sometimes you just don’t have time to do that. And putting this information in readily, cultural corporate place, can help ensure that the best information really hit the right people in real time. At the end of the day we all are doing this hopefully because we want to be more customer centric. It’s not just about the metric. All of this focus on collaborating and sharing internally helps to enforce and reinforce the culture to keep it more in tune with the customer.
So these are my five tips for modernizing your net promoter score program!
I was thinking to actually share one particular example of a joint customer of Amity and Wootric that has put a lot of these tips into place quite well. It’s been an interesting evolution to watch this customer overtime because as you know when it first began they were just doing a very straightforward in-app NPS program. At the time they didn’t even have a success platform, it really just was about wanting to start doing the NPS process early, wanting to focus on the customers, getting their feet wet and collecting this feedback from their user base. And then as time evolved, and it grew, they also got a robust customer success platform and had set up an active Salesforce instance. And then they thought about how to make this program more effective. And one big piece was how to get that data so that my team can be smarter about setting up responses to them and managing the feedback flow; more specifically they needed this data into Amity and in Salesforce. Also some of their customers were not using the product as much, but the CSM had that relationship with the customer through Amity so they built separate email campaigns that could be triggered through Amity to actually ensure that buyers are not being reached in-app but they are being reached in their inboxes from their CSM based off of milestones in the journey for that customer. This program has now evolved to incorporating multichannel. They’re reaching out to every customer. At the beginning, I even mentioned it NPS is not the only metric you can think about. This team has also pinpointed CSAT as something they wanted to bring into the journey. And so all of a sudden now there’s some additional color that they’re getting from different touch points for the onboarding like CSAT. And that helps to preempt their NPS scoring. I love that example because I thought it was a reflection of how to bring a number of these tips to life to set up a structure that’s sustainable and that really has helped them to get closer to customers using the most rigorous and also automated method that they can. And it has elevated the way that they are able to communicate back to customers and leverage that feedback to drive better results for themselves.
So integrations are powerful, channels are powerful and you know the NPS process is something that I think will continue to evolve and continue to come up with new tips and tricks. I hope they can be useful to this audience. That’s what I have to share with you today. At the end of the day I just want to say like none of this has to be complex and I hope that as I am talking about these things. It doesn’t appear to be complex. There are streamlined solutions available to make all of these different tips accessible and if we can achieve these three things as customer success that we are perceived, as companies, to being very committed to our customers that we hear from all of them and that we are able to help our customers understand how their feedback improves the experiences that we’re providing then we really are supercharging customer success. So thank you very much for the time.
For the Q&As, check out the video above!