When implementing a Net Promoter programme, many organisations grow impatient. The initial business case may look compelling, but it may take months or even years before the results from acting on customer feedback show up in the (financial) numbers.
You can address part of this impatience by clearly managing expectations on what the programme can and cannot deliver in each stage of its development. But you can also plan for quick wins which you can pace across your first year (or even 100 days) of NPS implementation.
Just for inspiration, I’ve jotted down a few that served me well over the years.
- Create rapid improvement projects
While it is important to focus on the big wins that truly drive recommendation in your business, the small wins can be important too. Especially if they are quick & easy to achieve. They give people a sense of progress and achievement.
So when the first data start coming in, do look for the big hitters, but also check for quick and easy fixes to customer issues. Once they lead to an initial small success, give it all the internal PR you can muster. Once people see that this NPS thing can really make a difference, they’ll be much more supportive.
- Report in actual customers, not percentages
No matter how much you’ll say that It’s not about the score, that’s exactly what people will look at. But numeric progress in the Net Promoter System can be erratic. Sometimes scores jump, often they crawl (or drop in spite of your great efforts).
This may make them abstract and hard to manage. While you may get all excited about a 1,5% jump, the rest of the business may not really be equally impressed. I found that rather than talking about percentages, it sometimes helps to report about “actual number of people”. After all, doesn’t it sound a lot better if you replace the 1,5% statement with the message that “this month 270 people were not upset with us anymore and 350 more started loving us”.
- Make money with promoters
While the first two suggestions can to make people feel good about the progress achieved, they don’t often translate into the most attention-grabbing variable: money.
One of the most effective mechanisms I’ve seen to achieve this in the short run is to avoid the trap of only focusing on detractors, but also making sure that promoters are clearly in your scope. Actively developing programmes to turn their intention to recommend into real business opportunities (i.e. cash), will infuse a positive message into your Net Promoter programme AND show your colleagues the money.
- Lost sales recovery
In a variation on the previous tip you can also consider the recovery of lost customers. If you have a purchasing cycle with a long consideration period (e.g. cars, investment goods, wedding rings, …) OR where customers churn away and churn back (insurance, telco, …) you can include NPS in your lost sales recovery process.
By surveying customers that left you or didn’t progress in the journey, you not only learn about the things you got wrong but – if played well – you can leverage the closed loop process to recapture the sales you otherwise would have lost.
Warning: recovering lost sales through NPS initiatives is a balancing act which can go horribly wrong if you don’t strike the right tone. So do thread lightly.
- Launch a conversation about the customer in the business
Last – but definitely not least – there is what I consider the most important instant win for NPS. The customer (verbatim) comments can be a great driver for conversation about the customer at every level of your organisation.
By focusing your internal communication and activation on these stories rather than the metrics, you can introduce customer cases as a source of intrigue, horror, amusement and empathy for all your employees. This way you intuitively demonstrate the value of your NPS programme every single day.
Have you come across other quick wins to boost your Net Promoter programme? If so, please do write them in the commentary field below.
If you would like to know more about the topic of customer-centricity: get in touch, ask my colleagues at Futurelab, check out my book “So You Want To Be Customer-Centric?” or join the LinkedIn group by the same name.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld