How To Use Net Promotor Score To Design For Customer Experience

Most people value being liked.  Even if you don’t care about being liked, you probably don’t want to be hated.  The same is true for organizations.  A successful organization needs lots of fans and very few “haters”.  The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one way for an organization to measure its fan base.  But how does an organization use NPS to design for customer experience?

NPS Scoring – Simplified

NPS is a customer experience metric that measures the willingness of a customer to recommend your product or service.  It’s a single survey question with a 0 to 10 rating scale that gauges customers’ overall satisfaction and loyalty to the brand.   For example, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend?”

The higher the number, the better the NPS score.  Here’s a simplified guide to the meaning behind a customer’s NPS score:

  • 9 or 10 – I go out of the way to recommend your product or service.
  • 7 or 8 – I like your product or service, but there’s room for improvement.
  • 6 and lower – I proactively take any opportunity to tell people how bad your product or service is.

To achieve a score of 9 or 10, you need to “wow” your customers every time.  However, you also need to focus on keeping your scores above 6.  This means doing everything you can to resolve a customer’s bad experience.  In some cases, your service failure is your biggest opportunity.  Even if your recovery doesn’t “wow” your dissatisfied customer, it can move them to a score of 7 or 8.

NPS and Designing For Customer Experience

When used correctly, NPS scores are helpful in identifying areas of poor performance.  They also pinpoint opportunities to create a better customer experience.  However, the score itself is just one part of the bigger picture.  You must also ask customers open ended questions to gain insight into their score.

In my opinion, there are two ways to think about NPS scores when designing an organization for customer experience.  The first is how you react to customer issues.  What can you do to move the customer from a 6 or lower to a 7 or 8?  Reactive questions include:

  • Is it easy for the customer to contact you?
  • Do you empower employees to remedy the situation quickly?
  • Is it easy to keep the customer up to date on the situation?

The second is what you do to create an organization that is designed to proactively “wow” the customer every time.  For example:

  • Does your organization’s vision and strategy integrate the customer experience?
  • Are you creating and delivering differentiated products and services?
  • Do your products and services meet customer requirements every time?
  • Are you great at connecting with the customer at every point along the customer journey?

Tips for Organizing Proactive and Reactive Strategies

Here are some tips to consider when designing an organization to address these reactive and proactive questions:

  • Process
    • Ensure your process includes closing the loop with customers who have an issue.
    • Understand your customer’s journey and ensure a great experience is built into each step.
  • Structure
    • Customer experience may be spread out across multiple areas. Consider centralizing the experience and creating a new leader with accountability for customer experience.  Just having someone who wakes up every day knowing they are accountable for the NPS score is critical.
  • Metrics
    • Don’t be afraid to collect feedback. You may not like it, but you need it.
    • Be clear on how your organization calculates the NPS score and ensure everyone is calculating it the same way.
    • Create a centralized group to manage surveys and metrics.
    • Create the right measures to reward delivery of a great customer experience.
  • People
    • Train employees on how to improve the NPS score and how each individual impacts the customer experience.
    • Empower employees to make proactive decisions in addition to reactively solving issues
  • Continuous Improvement
    • Develop skills to ensure focus on root cause analysis when an issue happens, or to build quality into the products and services.
    • Implement a real time system to monitor and react to solve customer experience issues.
  • Leadership and culture
    • Clearly communicate that while the NPS number is important, it’s also important to do the right thing and not manipulate the number.
    • Clearly define how roles impact the customer experience – even if they are not customer facing.

When used correctly, the NPS is an integral part of your toolkit to drive differentiation in the marketplace and deliver a better customer experience.

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