NPS: How to start small and get quick results

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If you’re (re)starting a Net Promoter program, you might be taking the first steps of a journey that will profoundly impact your organisation. And your career. 

NPS is still the most practical, effective and actionable approach to a great customer experience — which is one of the most effective paths to profit for any business.

Unfortunately, more than two-thirds of CX initiatives fail, according to CustomerThink. 

If you want to avoid your programme being dead on arrival, you need to make sure it’s creating visible impact, right from the start. 

Here are two areas to focus on at the beginning to quickly create impact: impact on your customers and impact on your organization. 

#1 Start small… and look for the quick wins 

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 and create momentum. 

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. 

Here are three common improvement areas that generate visible business results.  

Quick-win tip #1: Make money with promoters

At the beginning of their programs, many leaders fall into a trap of only focusing on detractors. 

One of the most effective mechanisms to generate quick (monetary) results is to make sure that promoters are clearly in your scope. 

83% of your prospects trust credible recommendations more than any form of advertising, according to Nielsen. 

Your promoters clearly have the intention to recommend your products or services. The quick win here is to turn that intention into a real recommendation or a referral. 

Why? Because a warm referral is 50x more likely to trigger a purchase. 

Focusing on your promoters can, therefore, infuse a positive message into your Net Promoter programme AND show your colleagues the money.

Quick-win tip #2: Rescuing customers that are about to churn 

If you’re in a business where a single customer can be worth hundreds of thousands — if not millions — preventing disgruntled customers from leaving can be a HUGE win. 

A good place to start is working with your account managers to systematically survey strategic accounts. 

And if you happen to help your account manager save an account, you’ll likely get a champion for your NPS program. They will help generate excitement around improving the experience for your customers and will help you get the rest of the organisation on board. 

Quick-win tip #3: 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. B2B, 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 systematically 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 tread lightly.

#2 Get your organization onboard

As your programme starts generating success, give it all the internal PR you can muster. That’s because, once people see that this NPS thing can really make a difference, they’ll be much more supportive.

Here are three tips to get the most out of your internal promotion. 

PR Tip #1: 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. 

The problem is, numeric progress in the Net Promoter System can be erratic. Sometimes scores jump, often they crawl, and sometimes they drop — despite your great efforts.

This can make the scores abstract and hard to manage. 

And 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”?

PR Tip #2: Launch conversations about the individual customer’s experiences

Often forgotten, this is what I consider the most important instant win for NPS. The customer (verbatim) comments can be a great driver for a 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.

PR Tip #3: Don’t forget the big picture 

Although it’s a great idea to start small and look for the quick wins, avoid the trap of thinking too small. 

When people understand the value of NPS, they will want more. 

You should have your answers ready: how to deal with detractors; how to motivate promoters; how to approach setting up the transactional survey after you’ve done the top-down. 

If in doubt, call for help — the stakes are high. 

The quickest way to get started

Running a successful NPS programme can mean a tremendous boost for both your business and your personal career. This article has given you pointers on how to get your programme off on the right foot and maximize your chance of success. 

However, although the pressure to improve customer experience is high, CX budgets are increasingly hard to get. And getting people to spend time on a CX project can be even tougher. 

So if you are strapped for time, you might consider Smart NPS®, a full-scale NPS on a mid-size company budget. 

Smart NPS® is a do-it-for-you Net Promoter service for mid-size companies who require the results of the full-scale NPS programme but don’t have the time or resources to manage this internally.

It may save you lots of frustration, trial, and error — and still allow you to take all the credit for the success. 

Learn more about the Smart NPS® programme by visiting the following link:

If you want to learn more about NPS and Voice-of-Customer Programs in B2B – check the ultimate guide, which we have created, based on our 15 years experience and real life examples.