The premier league of customer feedback

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Fredric Joos

Fredric Joos

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Make way Mourinho, Drogba and Hazard! Last week it were the European customer experience aficionados who gathered at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. Satmetrix, the original Net Promoter company, held its annual EMEA conference, this time zooming in on “the raving fan” or super-promoters.

Eleven years after being introduced in Harvard Business Review, the Net Promoter Score has conquered the top spot when it comes to customer experience metrics. Looking at the participant list it is clear that its success is no longer limited to finance and telco industries in mature markets. NPS raises interest in just about any sector where customer interactions can make or break business success. From Kazach retail banks over Irish garbage disposal companies to Indian painting services, all sent out their insights managers to hear the stories and case studies from early adopters. Here’s our three key take-aways.

  1. The rise of the subscription economy is increasing the importance of getting customer experiences right. Since more and more business models are designed to please customers who rather subscribe to a service than buy a product (from tooth brushes to cooked meals) supporting these relations matters even more. The concept of customer lifetime value gets a larger footprint and many companies are realizing the value of NPS as a predictor for both loyalty and churn. Multiple speakers hence announced retention to be the new acquisition. Think about it: what percentage of your business comes from new customers compared to existing ones? As a result, advertising can be considered as the cost of being boring and some speakers provokingly challenged marketers to reduce their paid media budget to zero. Isn’t it true that the unfulfilled promises of marketing can indeed drive detractorship rather than stimulating loyalty?
  2. Memorable customer experiences can be the driver behind successful entrepreneurship and innovation. Uber, airbnb or even more obscure examples such as Runpee (an app letting you know the perfect timeslot for a pee during any movie!) are all created by a single guy who noticed a hole in an existing customer journey. Some of them were able to turn their “small problem” into multi-million dollar businesses. Both practitioners and though leaders seemed to agree that these innovations shouldn’t be limited to small scale startups. Regardless of legacy, mature companies are just as well able to reinvent their customer experiences, as long as they focus on those journeys that matter most for the customer and that carry an opportunity to differentiate.
  3. In contrast to the widespread advice of considering Net Promoter as a system rather than a score, the maturity of many net promoter programs seems to be stuck at low levels. Many participants proudly mention to indeed measure the score, but struggle to implement fundamental processes to close the loop with detractors or distribute customer insights throughout their organization. This of course holds important risks, since Net Promoter has never been about staring at a metric. Just as standing on a weighting scale will not lead to a fitter body, no metric will ever make an organization more customer centric by itself. It is time for companies to embrace NPS as a data-concept, linking operational and financial data to learn about which processes spark customer engagement and which journeys need improvement. It’s about smashing, not counting, the rocks that stand in the way of great customer experiences. To do so, design research techniques and root cause analysis should be applied to dig deeper into the scores. They can bring up the verbal and emotional cues that matter, giving a better view on the context in which the experience took place.

Are you playing in the premier league of customer feedback? How many rocks have you smashed in your customer journeys? Let’s talk!

“Net Promoter Score” is a registered trademark of Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix.

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