There are several ways in which you can attract new customers to your business. Good Google rankings is one, advertising is another. But many of today’s customers are more careful about choosing a business to give their custom to and will often look for reviews from previous customers to guide them. Potential customers will also look at how you respond to any bad reviews.
One great way to keep an eye on your impact here is a Net Promoter Score or NPS. It comes from the result of a simple question:
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or company to a friend or colleague?”
To calculate your company’s NPS, you take the percentage of customers who gave you a score of 6 or less – known as detractors – and subtract it from those who gave you a score of 9 or 10 (your promoters).
So what about the people who scored 7 or 8? They are known as passives, and while their scores do not affect your NPS, they underline the need for follow-up questions in customer surveys. How do you turn passives into promoters? Identifying how to do that can be essential to improving your NPS.
1. Customer Experience
Providing a positive customer experience is one of the foundations of encouraging repeat business. It’s also a great way to ensure that the customer is more likely to be a ‘promoter’.
This applies to every step of the customer’s interaction with your business, whether digital or physical. An excellent, customer-centric approach will result in good NPS ratings – and can also help to identify areas of your business model that can be improved.
Some tips to start improving your customer experience include:
- Make sure that any website is easy to navigate.
- Provide a comprehensive FAQ section that will answer the most commonly asked questions.
- Have a choice of contact options in case the customer has questions.
- Provide after sales service that makes sure the customer is happy. You can also survey them to identify their needs, and to contribute to your NPS.
- If important documents need to be sent, offer options that include digital fax software, email, or post.
2. Support Your Customers
The relationship with your customers does not end once a sale or transaction has been completed. You may have a fantastic service or product but if you do not offer good customer support after a sale, you may find that you lose customers or see a low or decreased NPS.
Think about how you can build and improve the ways in which you support your customers. After sales calls may not be possible for every product or service but it is worth considering for larger contracts or products. Using a cloud based phone system for small business offers an efficient solution.
While we may live in an increasingly digital age, people still appreciate the personal touch. A personalized follow-up email will be appreciated, especially on larger purchases.
On your website, offering a ‘live chat’ option can go a long way to improving customer satisfaction. Being able to access an instant – or at least swift – response to their questions means that customers are more likely to rate you higher. In fact, many customers prefer live chat to other contact options.
3. Seek Customer Feedback
Asking the basic NPS rating question is not enough when seeking feedback. You need to delve deeper, to identify gaps in your customer experience journey, and to highlight areas where you can make improvements. It’s also worth noting where you’re doing well, and congratulating your team.
Customer feedback questions can focus on specific areas you want more information about, or a broad range of subjects. Here are just few examples of good questions you can ask:
- How did you find our website/shop? (This identifies what advertising/marketing channels are most effective).
- How was your overall experience using our service?
- Is there anything on our website that has caused issues or that you feel could be improved upon? Did you feel anything was missing?
- How was your interaction with our staff? (This can include live chat, phone calls, or staff in a physical location).
- Why did you choose us over another product or service?
- Are there any ways you feel we could improve our service or product?
These are a few examples, and the ones you decide upon may depend on the type of business you have. But the importance of obtaining detailed customer feedback cannot be emphasized enough. It can be the real difference between your business just ‘plodding along’ or reaching new heights.
4. Regular Feedback and Monitoring
Your NPS – and your level of general customer satisfaction – is not a static phenomenon. It is not something that you should take a single or occasional snapshot of and think you are doing well. It can evolve and change. It can often be the case that elements of your service can change, even over short periods, and monitoring this is essential.
By looking for feedback, you not only ensure that you maintain or improve your NPS, but it also helps to monitor whether there are any internal issues. Are any teams within your company causing problems by dropping standards. Is anything highlighted that may warrant additional training or services offered?
It is also important that you identify the best ways to gather customer feedback. For example, a too aggressive approach most likely won’t work and will only drive your customers away. Take time to learn how to ask for a review or feedback.
This also applies to your digital presence. Feedback may give you ideas on extra sections or content needed for your website, and whether existing services such as live chat need to be improved upon. As with other elements, you are striving to reduce the number of detractors and increase the amount of promoters.
5. Recognize Segments in Your Customer Base
Not all customers are created equal. They have different views, demands, and ideas of what the ideal customer experience should look like. NPS has given you an initial segmentation of detractors, passives, and promoters, and these should be your first line of approach when considering how to improve your NPS.
You can look at these three main segments and consider customizing strategies to target each of them:
- Design strategies that address each of the segments. You need to maintain your promoters and keep their confidence, change passives into promoters, and address any issues that have resulted in negative views.
- With promoters, how can you also encourage them to promote your business? Many companies will offer some sort of incentive to those whose recommendations result in new business.
- With passive consumers, they may need just a small push to become part of the promoter segment. What was it that made them stop short of giving a higher score? If they have mentioned issues in the customer survey, this is something that may be easily improved upon.
- For detractors, they may be a harder group to ‘fix’ quickly. For some of them, it could be a single, easily-fixed problem – such as the lack of a live chat. For others, it may be down to a combination of factors.
By improving on any issues they have highlighted, you are not only addressing these problems, but you are also improving the overall customer experience.
Outside of your customer base, also recognize your competitors and what they are doing right (or wrong). It is also worth looking at competitive partnerships as something that may benefit you both.
6. Customers Like to Help Themselves
Having easily accessible contact options such as live chat, utilizing a call center and easy-to-follow self-help options are essential. Many customers prefer to find an answer themselves – around 70% of customers expect a good self-service option.
What forms can these self-service options take?
Your FAQ section should be well-researched, easy to access, and informative. What questions are most likely to be asked? A good example would be: “How does your returns policy work?” It is also a constantly-evolving tool. Learn from your customer feedback and add new information to it as often as possible.
Product videos can provide information that the customers want to know. The rule of thumb is to keep them relatively short while providing accurate info.
With the technology available today, these videos need not be costly in terms of either money or time. A good DSLR camera, or even a high-end smartphone, can produce great quality videos. And there are many free editing software packages that can help you tidy up the video, add titles and captions, etc.
7. Internal Communications
Improving your NPS is not just about improving communication with your customers. It is equally important that all staff within the business are ‘on the same page’. Make sure that:
All managers and team leaders know the importance of NPS and know their team’s place in maintaining and improving on the company’s overall score.
You hold regular meetings at team or company level. This allows for discussion of NPS, talks about any issues, as well as brainstorming of ideas from your employees.
You have training sessions based on NPS and on any problems customer surveys have highlighted. This training may be company wide or team specific depending on the information collated from your customer feedback.
Even if your business is spread over several sites, using conference call service for meetings means you can still communicate efficiently.
Many companies now have large numbers of remote workers. While this offers many benefits for both parties, it may also come with its own issues. Learn how to empower remote employees and you can be well on your way to increasing your NPS.
8. Accept There Are Problems
If your customer feedback surveys identify problems, there is no point in burying your head in the sand and ignoring them. They will not go away unless they are addressed and solutions are found. The problems may be structural in nature (such as a lack of live chat or contact options) or it may be systemic in nature (such as a budget allocated to certain areas or the processes you have put in place) and to solve them, you may need changes in how you work.
Holding regular meetings to discuss any issues, either remotely or in office, is an ideal way to work through problems and solutions.
Accept the problems, identify the solutions, and then implement the required changes. The monitoring of your NPS scores as mentioned earlier will be of prime importance here as it allows you to track and analyse when changes lead to better NPS ratings. If you see a lot of online sales, then ensuring your online store is secure and reliable will improve customer satisfaction.
NPS should be an integral part of your business plan. By constantly monitoring it and addressing any issues raised, you increase the level of customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers not only mean return business, but also increased business through reviews and personal recommendations. Both of those factors can lead to increased revenue and profits.
Ecommerce is increasingly competitive as the market grows, with the US ecommerce market expected to hit $834.15 billion in 2021. It is crucial that you get every aspect of your website correct. Ecommerce drives job growth. Focusing on both online and offline sales and service is a key to driving your business.
By having a good system of checks and balances on your NPS, you can keep improving your score. Identify potential problems quickly and apply the solution that best suits your needs, and you’ll soon find your business thriving.