If you work in customer service, you probably know that Net Promoter Score®, or NPS, is a valuable customer feedback metric. Tracked once and it can offer you valuable insight into how customers feel about your product and what they wish was better. Tracked over time and this metric can become the superpower you didn't know you needed.

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NPS indicates how customers feel about product releases, tweaks in design or function, and changes in customer service. It's an index that measures customer satisfaction and is used as a relationship-building touchpoint that reduces friction within your flywheel.

Ultimately, gathering NPS results in actionable feedback that can improve product quality and customer loyalty.

In this post, let's review how your business can use NPS feedback to increase customer satisfaction over time.

Net Promoter Score Basics

NPS indicates how likely customers are to recommend your product or service to a friend, colleague, family member, or stranger at Starbucks. Unlike CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), NPS measures the number of advocates your brand has—not the number of happy customers.

A typical NPS survey might look like this:

"How likely are you to recommend this business to friends, coworkers, or family members?"

Participants are asked to respond using a zero to 10 scale, then are given an open-ended question to follow up, such as "Please explain your answer" or "What can we do to improve?"

The rating helps you segment your customer base into three categories: promoters (nines and tens), passives (sevens and eights), and detractors (six or below).

So far, NPS may seem like a basic tool that provides fundamental insights. But when implemented strategically, it's so much more.

Let's take a deeper look at what NPS can do when tracked over time.

NPS and Customer Satisfaction

Let's imagine that your business sells software and you've just integrated a spiffy new feature that allows users to manually input data.

You think it's a great new add-on that customers will love. But how can you be sure?

This is where an NPS survey will give you an accurate answer. You can ask users how likely they are to recommend your brand based on this feature, then let them elaborate their opinions through the comment box.

For example, you may discover that your new feature is getting mixed reviews, with some customers loving it while others wanting to revert back to the original design. By receiving this feedback immediately, you can quickly respond to customer concerns before they churn. Or, you can tweak your product's design to meet every customers' needs.

You may also want to use an NPS survey to respond to a specific customer experience, such as a poor interaction with a service agent.

You can ask, "Based on your recent experience with our support team, would you recommend us to a friend?"

Your customer then has the opportunity to give a rating and explain their answer. If the experience was negative, you can reach out and assure them there won't be further hiccups. This not only makes amends but demonstrates your investment in creating a positive experience.

On the other hand, if the customer was satisfied or even impressed, you'll have the chance to double down on the positive aspects of your service. You can reach out to these users and encourage them to become loyal customer advocates. In the long run, this approach will turn more of your customer base into enthusiastic promoters.

NPS Over Time

NPS can change dramatically over time, edging up or down according to a customer's experience with your product, website, support team, and brand.

Depending on the size of your audience, you may want to gather NPS multiple times a day, month, or year. You won't want to survey the same customer more than a couple of times each year, but if you have a large audience, you can gather insight at a higher volume and frequency.

By comparing changes in NPS over time, you'll learn how you have improved -- or declined -- in fostering customer advocacy. You'll gain insight into how your business decisions are affecting product performance and overall customer experience. This lets you continually fine-tune your business and consistently provide value to new and existing customers.

Example of NPS Over Time

Here's a familiar scenario: Customer A has purchased your product, provided immediate feedback, and even left a glowing review. Congratulations! You've successfully converted a lead and made a happy new customer.

Now what?

"Customer A" may not make another purchase or interact with your brand for a while. In the meantime, you'll want to provide another touchpoint to re-engage this customer. This is where an additional NPS survey can come in handy.

Give Customer A the opportunity to let you know how they feel about your product a few months in. For example, you could ask, "Based on our product's performance, how likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?"

Reaching out to your customers lets them know that you're invested in their experience, and it gives you additional knowledge for improving your business. If the customer's response is unsatisfactory, you can take steps to make sure your product or service is working properly and helping them achieve their goals. If the customer is happy, use this time to encourage them to provide a testimonial, sharing their positive experience with the world.

Ultimately, your goal is to turn passive and detractor scores into enthusiastic promoters. This will increase your brand's organic reach and develop plenty of loyal customers.

For more ways to optimize customer feedback, learn how to analyze Net Promoter Score results.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Originally published Oct 14, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated November 22 2019

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