I started working with customers when I was 10 years old. I lived in a small town in Utah and sold nightcrawlers (worms) to local fisherman. There wasn’t a way I could tell if the customer was happy with my service, unless they came back to buy more nightcrawlers from me.
Fast forward to 2003 when Net Promoter® was developed by Fred Reichheld (a partner at Bain & Company) and Satmetrix Systems. Net Promoter (NPS®) is a customer loyalty metric introduced by Reichheld in a Harvard Business Review article called "One Number You Need to Grow.” I became an instant fan of NPS and Fred Reichheld.
To get your Net Promoter Score, start by asking your customers “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” using a scale of 0 to 10. Based on their response, you categorize your customers: the 6’s and below are considered detractors, the 7 to 8’s are passives and 9 to 10’s are promoters. To calculate your NPS score, detract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. A company’s score can range anywhere from -100 to +100, and companies with NPS scores of 50+ are considered to have an excellent NPS.
Companies who have a Net Promoter survey in place can leverage their Net Promoters to grow their business. Here are five ways companies can do this:
1. Reviews: One of the first things I did at Five9 was focus on growing the quantity and quality of online reviews. I started by identifying online review sites to focus on and prioritized which ones to work on every quarter. In 2017, we’ve doubled the number of online reviews we have and increased the average rating of our reviews by 8%. According to BrightLocal 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
2. References: This year I also developed a customer advocate pipeline. Step 1: our customer experience survey, step 2: is asking customers to do online reviews and step 3: is our customer reference survey. Any customer that provides a positive customer review is then asked if they are willing to be a customer reference. In the reference survey, I ask them their willingness to be a sales reference, press reference, and also if they are interested is sharing their customer success in various online activities.
3. Storytelling: This brings me to one of my favorite topics – storytelling! Forrester reported that 70% of U.S. adults trust online recommendations from each other more than statements from brands. Tell the story of your products and solutions through your customers with not only case studies and videos but also with blogs and social media. When I started working with customer reference program 13 years ago, most companies focused on case studies, but the downside is they can take months to get through approvals. Therefore, I implemented a simple online Customer Spotlight survey where customers can complete and I use the content for blog posts, case studies and customer quotes. It’s also more convenient for customers as they can fill out the survey on their own time and take as much time as they need.
4. Social Media: You can write all the great customer success stories and blog posts you want but you need to share them to create awareness and drive prospects to your website. One way to do this is by leveraging your employees and social media to get your customer stories out. At Five9 we’ve done this and in just four months accomplished a significant reach by leveraging our employee networks. Many of the top broadcasts were customer success stories and blog posts.
5. Referrals: In any business, you are always looking for new ways to grow your business. One of the most effective ways is asking your existing customers for referrals. Start with your Net Promoters because they told you in your NPS survey they were likely to recommend you. According to Nielsen, “People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.” Want to make your referrals even more effective and fun? Try implementing gamification.
Are you asking the golden NPS question? If not, it’s easy to implement a Net Promoter survey to find out how your customers feel about your company and the products/services you provide. Then leverage your promoters and watch your business grow!
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