How to Leverage NPS to Grow Your Business

April 30, 2017

2:30 pm

Regardless of your organization’s size, industry, or type, there’s one key performance indicator that—when measured and leveraged properly—can have a profound impact on the vitality of your business. This indicator isn’t new, and the logic behind it has been around for decades. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already using it. I’m talking about Net Promoter Score (NPS), a tool used to gauge customer loyalty.

While simplistic in its format, NPS can deliver powerful insights for virtually any business—from startups to Fortune 500 companies. For most organizations, though, the common practice is to send out the NPS survey a couple times per year (or shortly after a new sale has been made). But by experimenting with the frequency and timing of NPS surveys—and thinking strategically about where the resulting feedback goes—business leaders can use this score to uncover a goldmine of intel they can leverage to dramatically improve the customer experience, which directly correlates with the bottom line.

Practice Active Listening

An NPS survey asks one simple question: on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend? The respondent’s answer then indicates whether he or she is a promoter, detractor, or passive.

Promoters are your brand’s loyal enthusiasts. They’re the ones who keep purchasing your product and urge others to do the same. Passives are satisfied, but won’t necessarily stick around if something they perceive to be better comes along. Detractors are the unhappy or dissatisfied customers who may spread their dissatisfaction to their circles of influence, thus detracting from your business.

That initial feedback certainly provides a good jumping-off point, but at my company, we knew we could do more with it. So last year, we implemented a new strategy around our NPS, and from that point forward, it became a high-priority, company-wide metric for us in terms of customer service delivery.

Previously, we sent out NPS surveys to customers every six months. Eventually, we realized that we needed a more consistent stream of product feedback. So, we divided our customers into cohorts and began emailing surveys to a different group of people each week. This means that, while each individual still completes only two surveys per year, we’re now able to collect feedback from across our customer base every single week.

As a result, we’ve been able to better track success and diagnose issues more rapidly—rather than learning about those issues six months down the road. We’re also able to correlate these scores with industry trends, downtimes, and product issues that may be occurring.

Take Action

Of course, data is only as valuable as the action it drives. On that note, once we receive our NPS results, we immediately act on them. Comments are divided into four categories: red, yellow, green, and gold. Gold commenters are our promoters, green are passives, and red and yellow are detractors. If a red or yellow comment comes in, a task is automatically created in our CRM, and our success team is notified to reach out to that customer to try and remedy whatever problem he or she is experiencing.

Red and yellow comments are also passed along to our product team members, who then reach out to gain more information or to let the customer know that his or her suggestion is being added to the roadmap. This ensures that customers know they’re being heard. Green and gold comments go to our customer loyalty manager, who works to enroll those customers in our loyalty program.

We also keep all of our executive team members in the loop about our NPS scores by sending a weekly email with that week’s score as well as comparisons to the previous week and the same week last year. Executives also see customer comments, which means our customers are having a greater impact on decisions at the highest levels of the company. The value of this feedback extends well beyond improving our support and products; it’s critical information for every department to have and act upon.

With this methodology in place, NPS is no longer just a number for us—it’s a powerful tool we can harness to build better relationships. And that, in turn, has allowed us to better serve our customer base. In fact, our score drastically improved within just six months.

Before you send out your next NPS, consider what valuable feedback you may be leaving on the table. Are there opportunities to better collect—and leverage—this data? If so, it could have a huge—and positive—impact on your business growth and bottom line.

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Heidi Jannenga PT, DPT, ATC/L, is the president and co-founder of WebPT, a four-time Inc. 5000 honoree and the leading software solution for physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Heidi leads WebPT’s product vision, company culture, and branding efforts, while advocating for the physical therapy profession on a national scale. She's an APTA member, belonging to both the private practice and sports medicine sections, and she's a member of the PT-PAC Board of Trustees.