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by Sam Frampton on 16 Aug 2018

How to start the cycle of Improvement of your Net Promoter Score and build a loyal customer base

Chapter 4 NPS Guide
Chapter 4 NPS Guide

The following article is Chapter 4 of The Ultimate Guide to Net Promoter Score. The Net Promoter Score (NPS), is the world’s leading metric for measuring customer loyalty and happiness. In this article, we outline a step by step guide to improving your NPS score.

How NPS Can Be Improved

Hopefully, by now you’ve developed a strong appreciation for using Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a key performance indicator (KPI) to understand customer satisfaction.

In the following article, we’ll share best practices when implementing Net Promoter Score so you can get the most out of this KPI for driving more delightful customer experiences and help you start the cycle of improvement today.

However, before reading on it should be noted. The most important aspect to grasp from reading this article is understanding that the goal of merely ‘increasing’ the metric Net Promoter Score shouldn’t be your sole objective.

Superficially improving Net Promoter Score and gaming the metric won’t lead to greater customer loyalty and more promoters. A superficial increase in Net Promoter Score won’t result in a better understanding of customer sentiment towards your brand and help you get closer to the customer.

It’s even more critical to use NPS data collected from survey questions to translate that into business improvements. It should be a tool to figure out what aspects of the customer experience users love and elements that are making them downright miserable. To improve your NPS and your bottom line - you need to start speaking a language they know - their own.

9 Ways To Improve Your Net Promoter Score:

  1. Discover your baseline Net Promoter Score
  2. Listen to the voice of the customer: find patterns in the data.
  3. Don’t ignore your promoters
  4. Engage Detractors
  5. Collect More Feedback
  6. Act on Your Feedback
  7. Make it Easy for People To Promote Your Brand
  8. Systemise and Encourage Internal Buy-In
  9. Engage Survey Responses

Discover your baseline NPS score

It’s now time to launch an NPS survey! You can begin by sending out transactional surveys soon after an interaction with a customer, such as an email after a purchase, or after a self-service experience on a website.

Some businesses choose to send out relational NPS survey on a rolling basis and like to stay up to date every day. Others launch one for a fixed time, close it, and launch a new one after they’ve taken action based on the results of the previous survey.

After collecting feedback across the customer journey, you can begin to calculate your baseline NPS score. You’ll be able to benchmark your performance against competitors and find out whether you have a good NPS within your industry.

Pay close attention to your responses and funnel unhappy customers to customer support. To read more about sending Net Promoter Score surveys to learn more here.

Listen to the Voice of the Customer

After analysing your results, you’ll learn what works for your customers and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to calculate your Net Promoter Score and have a quantitative benchmark to begin tracking your Customer Experience.

But we also need to understand the variables that drive your Net Promoter Score. To get to the ‘why’ behind the score we need to dig into customer feedback.

Fred Reichheld the founder of Net Promoter System from Bain & Company also thinks you should look at customer feedback as part of the Net Promoter Score program. We completely agree.

If you’re a small business with less than 100 responses per survey, it’s possible to pinpoint root causes themes and sentiments in the data and learn what does and doesn’t work for your customers.

When you’re a scrappy startup, every team member is on the frontline digging into customer surveys with enthusiasm, pumped to find out what customers think about the product and the Customer Experience.

But this process isn’t feasible in the long run. Analysing customer feedback that comes with your NPS survey is hard when you have a mountain of feedback coming in regularly — some of it about bugs and other product issues, some of it about video quality — making it all actionable is a tall order.

If your company is receiving large volumes of feedback, it becomes an impossible task to learn what your customers are talking about and understand the root causes that shed light on how they feel about their experiences at scale.

It may be time to turn to advanced text analytic platforms to unlock data-driven insights from your feedback.

Enter AI-powered Customer Experience analytics. It’s now possible for a machine to understand human language accurately. It’s never been easier for you to analyse the written text of your customers and find out what customers hate and love about your brand.

NPS Insights Gap

Let’s meet Brian.

He just completed an NPS survey and gave you a score of 9. That puts him in the bucket of Promoters. He likes the price of your product and enjoys the online experience you provide.

Great! Another promoter and an improvement in NPS! Well, maybe we should hold off on any celebrations just yet.

If we examine the open-ended response from Brian’s NPS survey, we get a better understanding of his customer experience.

customer verbatim

Overall, Brian described a positive experience and offered a generous Net Promoter Score. But his comment raises two red flags that demand attention: Website UI and Support Responsiveness.

Advanced text analytic tools will highlight areas of the customer experience that demand the most attention. Making pinpointing customer pain points a quick and easy task. If you’re interested to understand the power of AI-powered customer experience analytics then check out a dashboard here.

Don’t Ignore your Promoters

Ignoring your Promoters can be costly. When it comes to improving your NPS, your first instinct is likely to ignore your promoters and tackle your detractors.

This is a mistake. Your promoters can offer a lot of valuable insights, chief of which is what you did or are doing that has made them so loyal. But also reveals a few warning signs. Maybe they won’t remain a promoter if you don’t fix the red flags. Will they stay loyal if a competitor comes in and solves all their problems?

Promoters are also a growth engine for your business! Eddie Yoon, of Cambridge Consulting, estimates Super Consumers, i.e. your product’s 10% biggest fans, can account for 30 - 70% of sales.

Promoters are great for many reasons.

  • They stay with the brand longer and are less price sensitive.
  • They will mention your product via word of mouth to new customers.
  • They will share their recommend a friend code because they want your rewards.
  • They will come and bring people to your events. They will tell their relatives to use your products.
  • They are a source of innovation.

So it’s critical to keep them happy.

You also should ask them if there’s something you could do differently. Asking for extra feedback is essential because you want to make sure you keep your promoters and avoid alienating them, which means giving them a voice and acting on their suggestions.

Engage Detractors

Detractors can be valuable for feedback, as finding out why they are unlikely to recommend or promote your brand or service can be more useful than knowing the positives.

Identifying whether it’s poor customer service at the point of purchase, or when something goes wrong, is valuable intelligence. After all, you can’t fix what you don’t know about.

Plus, if you solve the problems of your detractors, you have a good chance of converting them into promoters!

Now, you might not like hearing criticism, but without critical feedback, it’s impossible to improve. Jeff Bezos still reads customer emails today. People don’t criticise just for the sake of it. Be open-minded and take criticism as a valuable learning experience that can save you lots of customers in the future.

Also, don’t ignore your passives. While they don’t necessarily influence your NPS score up or down, it’s worth finding out what might make them better disposed to your company.

Often price sensitive, they are not loyal to any brand. However, it may be that you can engage them in discussion and show them that you are more than just a product or service. Build a rapport with your passives. If people are more likely to buy from you and this is where the Customer Experience can tip the balance in your favour.

Collect More Feedback

It’s essential to launch multiple feedback channels to maximise response rate to the NPS surveys. It would help if you offered surveys across both your desktop, mobile experiences, SMS messages and non-digital touch points. While you could create such a tool in-house, we encourage firms to use collection tools that support feedback collection across a variety of user interfaces.

Always be sensitive to where you put your feedback channel. It shouldn’t interrupt the user’s experience, and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Make it voluntary, short, and fun. Your data collection point is a touchpoint like any other and can make or break an impression of the brand.

Remember the feedback the more fruitful source of insights available when you carry out your NPS verbatim analytics process. If you are in the travel industry, it does not help to know that Hotels should be your primary focus. You need to see if it’s cleanliness, room quality, location or something else. Obtaining a high level of detail in understanding the critical drivers of your customer experience is more achievable with higher levels of customer feedback.

Action Plan Based on Feedback

When you have enough feedback from all of your channels, it’s time to find out how to squash your bugs.

While teams spend much time looking at NPS detractors and how to address their pain points, it’s equally if not more so to spend time on promoters - understanding what was different about their experiences to make them successful.

Finding correlations between specific customer experiences and NPS results (logins, delivery time, customer service, contact options) can help deduce what delights your customers and turn them into promoters. Then you can focus on optimising your customer experience and tracking NPS and Sentiment over time to get more of your customer base to this point. With the help of new advances in machine learning and text analytics, it is now quick and easy to chart specific themes and product features against NPS and Sentiment over time.

Make it Easy for People To Promote Your Brand

What could be considered as an obvious strategy to help your NPS, it is surprisingly overlooked by many companies.

Humans are wired to be lazy. So no matter how much they love your brand if it’s difficult for them to tell their friends about your product, then they won’t do so. So, encourage your customers to share their good experiences with your brand on social media by making it easy for them to do so.

Talk to them. Find out why they are spending money at your store. For example, let’s say you’re an online food delivery platform. When a customer views your website and places a huge order, ask them if it’s for a special occasion.

Go the extra mile to make them feel like you really care. Maybe they’re celebrating a birthday party or an anniversary. If the order is big enough, you could try to offer a free delivery or give them a discount.

Half of the customers who talk about brands on social media when posting about a life milestone do so to recommend the brand to others.

Another option is to encourage your users to write reviews and offer incentives. Nothing is viewed as trustworthy as an online review from a customer. Obviously, you’ll tell people your business is great. Consumers know you won’t willingly reveal bad information about your brand.

The more platforms you’re on such as Yelp, TrustPilot & Google Reviews, the greater your exposure will be. Some customers trust reviews on some websites more than others.

Systemise and Encourage Internal Buy In

Improving your customer experience is cyclical, not linear. That’s why the final stage is to systemize the process. Launch another NPS survey with the next cohort of customers. Take note of the improved score and report continuously in an easy and digestible way to share results company wide. Be sure to set up instant notifications of low scores so you can react in real time to a drop in NPS.

Remember to measure continuously over time to ensure a constant flow of data as it’s the only way to get the magical moments and optimise your customer experience.

You also want to the product, marketing, and customer support teams onboard because you never know where a good idea may come from. Converting unenthusiastic customers into loyal promoters will require a group effort and the best ideas often come from the unlikeliest of sources.

It’s vital that everyone in your organisation understands what the Net Promoter Score is and why it’s important to improve it. Since enhancing your score means more promoters and happy customers.

Engage Survey Responses

One of the worst things you can do is to be unresponsive to your customers. Communication is vital in any healthy relationship and you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to smooth over ruffled feathers when customers see that you are responsive and committed to helping them.

When you send out surveys it another interaction point with your brand and it’s vital you leave a good impression on the customer.

Make sure your survey starts on the right note and when you receive a survey make sure you follow up and thank your promoters and speak to your passives and detractors to find ways to solve their issues.

Ignoring your customers, especially after they took the time to provide feedback, is an excellent way of losing them. However, actively engaging with them will make it much easier for you to earn their loyalty and improve your Net Promoter Score, especially if they had a negative experience with your brand.

Chattermill Solution

Collecting feedback gives you valuable insights regarding your customer’s journey. We understand that continued feedback may be challenging when it comes to analysis, especially to process data in a way that scales as data volumes grow.

To get the most out of your collected data, Chattermill helps you to get a better understanding of the most important topics your customers talk about using AI to interpret theme and sentiment analysis across unstructured feedback.

We tailor each area of feedback to how your business runs and ensure that we go into as much detail as is required for your business to effectively gain the insight you need so you can make the right decisions.

Contact [email protected] to find out more.

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    Sam Frampton

    Growth Marketing at Chattermill - A.I for better customer experience