Developed in 2003, Net Promotor Scores are a valuable way to measure customer satisfaction. But their real importance lies in that striving to improve them drives positive change within the business leading to growth. The London School of Economics have suggested that a 7% rise in NPS means a 1% increase in revenue. So how can brands and businesses improve their ratings, and their bottom line? Here are some clear, actionable strategies for shifting NPS in the right direction.

Co-create with customers and stakeholders

The best way to create valuable new features or transform the entire experience is through co-creation. Collaborative workshops where customers, stakeholders and specialists come together can produce hundreds of ideas. These can then be assessed for how simple or complex they are to achieve and their likely impact on the business. Having customers in the room ensures genuine insights and will result in features of real value, rather than innovation for innovation’s sake. Including back-end staff will both engage them with the project from the get-go and allow for problem-solving on how those features will be successfully delivered.

Make innovation and transformation projects accountable

So, the business has calculated NPS scores, talked to customers and come up with a multitude of ideas for how their journeys and experiences can be improved. But if there are 50 ideas on the table, how do you know which ones will work? And more specifically, which will have the most impact on NPS scores and the bottom line? Even a market leader can’t afford to waste money on new initiatives that don’t achieve their goals. Having strategies in place to accurately predict and measure impact will mean the business makes the right choices and creates successful transformation. It means doing the groundwork and having the data to gain a deep understanding of customers, based not just on personas but on behavioural science.

Ensure all employees know why NPS is so important

From back-end staff to senior stakeholders, everyone in the business needs to understand what NPS scores are and how shifting them upwards leads to business growth. Fixing problems and creating better products and services requires every department to be on board, not forgetting the fact that good ideas on improvements can come from anyone. Giving direct incentives to increase NPS however isn’t desirable, as it could result in individual staff resorting to practices that are bad for business in order to hit specific targets. Instead, the importance of collaboration to drive NPS should be emphasised.

Provide holistic support with joined-up information systems

Not having a customer service phone number, or hiding it within the website, may keep overheads down. But if a customer who needs help can’t call and speak to a human when other methods have failed, can you really call yourself customer-centric? Another issue is having to explain a complex problem for the 5th time because service channels aren’t joined up. Some information may be impossible to share because of data protection and/or security issues. But where possible, back end systems need to allow as much information to be shared efficiently as possible. The faster the problem is solved, the less pain for the customer and the happier they will be with the company’s response.

Create experiences that end strongly

Behavioural science studies have shown that customers judge experiences on their ‘peak’ and ‘end’ point, meaning just one negative experience can – at least temporarily – sour a long-term customer relationship. So, it’s crucial that experiences finish positively. Thank you and congratulatory messages, order confirmations with reassuring details, a goodwill sign-off from call centre staff – these gestures will go a long way. Abrupt endings, blunt or robotic communications, actions that fall at the last hurdle through no fault of the customer – all of these will have the opposite effect. Take care that experiences end strongly, with multiple rounds of testing and feedback that is actioned until they work perfectly.

Ask the right questions at the right time

Every business will need to decide for themselves when it’s the right moment to ask the NPS question. It really depends on the customer journey – straight after purchase may be logical for some, whereas for others it might make more sense to wait until a few days or even weeks later. Gathering NPS scores should be ongoing; it’s not uncommon for customers to be asked after every purchase, though if you’re going to do this, keep questions short and required effort needed by the recipient to a minimum.

Close the loop

It’s not just the score, it’s what led to the customer feeling that way, so following up is essential. Promotors should be thanked and reminded that they’re part of the company’s success story. Detractors can provide vital information about what’s going wrong, empowering the business to put it right. By listening to them and acting on their issues you may also lessen the chance of them negatively influencing potential new customers. Passives are some of the hardest to deal with but communication is essential because they may be inclined to switch their custom to a competitor. In all cases, the more personal and specific you can be in communications, the better.

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