Posts Tagged ‘NPS process’

Although the Net Promoter Score® process is a simple and effective way to measure and track customer loyalty, we should not fall into the trap of oversimplifying the drivers of loyalty. For every product or service there is a series of steps, interactions, and opportunities to create or destroy customer loyalty. Each of these steps or interactions can make or break the health of the customer relationship. Fred Reichheld, in his book The Ultimate Question, refers to this linear series of steps or interactions as the Customer Corridor. Just like in any journey, one misstep can have a disastrous impact on loyalty. Let me explain by relating my own, recent experience.

I finally made the plunge and purchased a large, flat screen HD TV. But what is an HD TV without the digital HD signal? That’s when I began my journey down the Customer Corridor of my local cable provider. I’ll not name the provider directly, so I’ll give them a pseudonym. I’ll call them Dodgers to protect myself from any possible legal action.

As a long time customer of Dodgers wireless and cable services, I often receive their marketing materials regarding their Hi Def cable service. As the first step on the Customer Corridor, the materials made a favorable impression. In fact, when my son purchased his HD TV, I recommended Dodgers to him. So, it was not surprising that I chose Dodgers as my supplier of the HD digital signal.

It was all down hill from that point.

With my new shiny HD TV set up and hungry for a Hi Def signal, I set out on the next step in the Customer Corridor and scampered off to my closest Dodgers retail outlet to pick up a rental HD Digital cable box. “Sorry,” they told me at that store, “Our systems are down and you’ll have to go to the Dodgers Plus store if you want to rent the cable box.” Slightly miffed, but still anxious to obtain my own HD TV experience, I set out on the next step of the Corridor and plodded off to the Dodgers Plus store.

After a twenty minute drive, I finally found the store and bounded in with all the energy of a playful puppy. Things were looking up as I spotted the in-store kiosk which I assumed was the spot to register for HD TV service. After waiting 10 minutes without being served, a Dodgers employee casually enlightened me to the fact that I was waiting in the wrong area, and had to proceed to the next Corridor step, the waiting line. I was now the sixth, non-smiling person in the line. This step in the Customer Corridor was not moving very far, very fast.

With all the patient of a three-year-old with a full bladder, I finally reached the front of the line and asked Rosie how to sign up for HD service. Maybe it was just me sliding into a foul mood, but Rosie seemed to rattle off the requirements for HD TV in mere milliseconds. I could only hope that my new TV had a refresh rate as fast as Rosie’s sales pitch. I nodded something akin to acceptance which prompted Rosie to hustle off to the pack room. She quickly (good for her sake) returned with a bag full of electronic gear. She thrust the bag toward me and told me this was all I needed and the instructions where in the bag. I asked if the service was “plug and play” and if I needed to do anything else to get the service started. “Nope,” she replied “I’ve initiated the service from here. Next customer please.” So, with bag in hand, and very little information in my brain, I headed home to the next step in the Corridor.

I returned home with heightened expectations. Now I had the HD signal within my grasp. Of course, you can guess how the next Corridor step unfolded. I plugged in all the cords, deciphered the instruction manual as best I could, turned on all the buttons and waited for the Glorious High Definition Picture! Actually, I repeated this step fours times before I reluctantly made the “I’m so stupid, I can’t get this #%$!&* thing to work” call the Dodgers customer service.

The Dodgers IVR assured me that they valued my business and the wait in the customer service queue would not be too long. I doggedly held on, listening to the marketing pitches, so I would not lose my place in the queue. I spent my time scanning the manual to see if I had missed a step. I was about to take the back off the cable box with my teeth when the Dodgers customer care agent clicked in. After the normal interrogation about my name, number, birth date and shoe size, I was allowed to explain my situation. With a condescending tone, the agent advised me that the cable box needed to be initiated to get the signal (despite Rosie’s claim it was ready to go). When this didn’t work, we tried twice more before the agent decided that the problem needed to be punted over the wall to Technical Services. On to the next step in the Corridor.

The technical service agent interrogated me about my name, number, birth date and shoe size, and then I was allowed to explain my situation. His attempts to get the signal to my TV were futile and he decided that I needed a visit from an in-home service technician. I have to admit that I lost my cool when he told me it would be at least five days before someone could come to the house to resolve my issue. “Not good enough”, I exclaimed “I want it and I want it now”. He seemed genuinely taken aback by my response. His only other remedy was to return the cable box and exchange it for another. He was guessing the box might be at fault. His suggestion got me off the line and out of the house.

So back I went to the Dodgers store. To be honest, the store staff was very efficient in replacing the cable box. Very few questions asked. I could only surmise they had done this before, many times before.

Would it be a surprise to say that Cable Box #2 didn’t resolve the issue? Didn’t think so. Back to customer care, back to the interrogation and onward to Technical Service. However, this time, I was told that a technician could be at my house the very next day to fix my problems. Since it was now dinner time, and I had already lost a day of Hi Def viewing, I jumped at the offer and booked the service tech for 11:00 am to 2:00 pm the next day. So began the next steps in this journey.

The service technician arrived the next day at 12:30 pm, well within the scheduled arrival window. A good start and hopefully a sign of things to come, I thought. Wrong again.

After checking the outside cable, which was nearly 30 years old, he determined that the cable could not carry the digital signal. This would have been really good to know when I initially picked up the cable box. I cannot be the only one in the city in this situation.

The tech then proceeded to pull a new cable from the underground cable vault, across my neighbor’s driveway, up a lamppost, through two trees, around my downspout, around my house, through a new hole in the wall and, finally, to my new virginal HD TV. Voila! I had HD TV! But, it was too soon to get excited.

After some checking, the tech determined that cable box #2 did not show an IP address. It seems this is needed if I ever wanted to order Dodgers- On- Demand. So, back down the Corridor and back to the store I went for a third cable box.

I’ll give the store staff full credit. They did not run and hide when I entered the store, perhaps because I was on a first name basis with most of them. The young fellow who had serviced me the previous day greeted me with “What; you again?” Sympathetic to my plight, he found me a brand new cable box (based on the manufactured date) and assured me that the cable box would not be the cause of any further problems.

He was right. Cable box #3 delivered the picture I have been dreaming of and it had an IP address. It was time to relax with a mildly alcoholic beverage of my choice and enjoy the HD shows. Or, at least until my neighbor started banging on my door.

It seems that the service technician, in his haste, had left the new cable draped across my neighbour’s driveway. She was very concerned, and quite rightly so, that the exposed cable would be a dangerous tripping hazard. I was concerned that the cable might get broken or cut and then I would lose my coveted signal. I had to act fast.

Back I went to customer care, who sent me to technical services who sent me to facilities scheduling. Yes, they agreed the cable represented a danger and they would send someone out to fix the problem. They gave me a case number to refer to but no specific time when the cable would be secured. My neighour also called Dodgers to complain. I guess she did not have my tact for handling these types of situations. She was told that if she didn’t like the way it was being handled she could call the president of Dodgers directly. She has yet to make that call but the conversation is being shared with most of the neighborhood.

Several days passed and there was no sign of a Dodgers technician willing to secure the cable. My neighbor was getting testy so I grabbed my box of tools and spent 30 minutes of my own time to secure the cable. This calmed down my neighbor and made sure that my HD signal would not leave me any time soon. I wonder how I can bill Dodgers for my time.

As I mentioned at the onset, the Customer Corridor offers many steps to impact the customer experience, leading to a likelihood of recommending. In my case, I would recommend Dodgers based on their marketing materials, a certain retail staff member and the final HD TV picture. I would definitely not recommend Dodgers based on the ability of customer care and technical services to resolve an issue over the phone. I would recommend Dodgers based on the in-home technician’s ability to identify the cause of my problem, but would definitely not recommend based on the sloppy work of the same technician.

Overall, the combined steps along the Corridor resulted in a Detractor not a Promoter. Analyzing the Customer Corridor will highlight what your company does well, but will also point out the specific interactions or transactions that may have a negative impact on the customer experience.

Loyalty is not the result of a single experience, but the accumulated impact of many steps in the walk along the Customer Corridor.

Are there any bumps or potholes along your company’s Customer Corridor? Take a walk and find out.

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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I recently read on one of the Net Promoter® forums a posting that asked the question “Is my company big enough for an NPS® program?”. The Poster felt that his/her company was too small to benefit from implementing a Net Promoter program.

Although Satmetrix, in their Net Promoter ® Associate training (which I attended in May ’09) claims that nearly 700 of the Top 1000 Companies uses Net Promoter, this does not mean that smaller enterprises cannot benefit from the NPS process and discipline. In fact, NPS could be even more valuable to the smaller company.

In my previous posts, I discussed how NPS identifies the Promoters who become free extensions of a company’s marketing department, not to mention that they are the most profitable customers. So, why should this benefit be limited to only the large organizations like Apple, eBay and Harley Davidson? Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) all the way down to the individual Entrepreneur can implement and benefit from NPS. Every company, regardless of size, can use more profitable customers and no-cost marketers to promote their business. And all companies, regardless of size, need to understand the factors that create Detractors.

NPS is very scalable and affordable for the smaller organization. I’ve seen an NPS program implemented for a large North American financial institution as well as a program for a local independent financial advisor with only 300 clients. The basic tenets of NPS apply to both businesses. In other instances, I’ve seen an NPS program put in place for a small entrepreneurial heating and air conditioning service supplier as well as an independent construction crane contractor. Neither company had a large staff nor a long client list, but both CEOs took away some key insights that helped drive their business growth.

The two key issues that seem to be of concern for smaller companies are the costs associated with an NPS program and the internal resources required to manage the program and to analyze the results.

With smaller companies and shorter customer lists, costs are generally contained since the sample size is smaller. In the case of the financial advisor, 100 completed NPS questionnaires were gathered from a base of 300 clients. And since the NPS questionnaire is very short, the telephone data collection (used because of the sensitive nature of the client relationship) proved to be very affordable for the financial advisor. Costs would be even lower for an online survey using a qualified, client identified list. Yes, a larger sample size would improve the statistical significance of the data, but 100 completed interviews from a base of 300 will yield usable data.

Few small companies have a dedicated research department so they should lean on their Net Promoter® Loyalty Partner for the project management as well as the research analysis and reporting. This might cost a bit more, but could pay off in some very valuable insights. In the case of the large financial institution I mentioned, their large research department handled everything but data collection and data tables, while the financial advisor depended on the Net Promoter Partner for the project management, questionnaire construction, list management, data collection, data tables, analysis and final report. One such Net Promoter® Loyalty Partner that provides this type of comprehensive service is Consumer Contact Loyalty Monitor (www.loyaltymonitor.ca)

The frequency of data collection might need adjusting for a smaller company with a smaller client list. The NPS survey might be conducted quarterly instead of monthly, with the data aggregated into a rolling average. Less frequent surveying will also reduce the cost and the risk of over-researching a relatively small client base.

There is one advantage that SMEs have over the large companies when it comes to taking action based on NPS data. The agility of smaller companies allows them to identify the critical issues and swing into action mode very quickly and make any adjustments to the operations or organizational structure. Large organizations, in spite of their best intentions, still take a lot of effort to enact the changes indicated by the NPS data.

A Net Promoter Score™ program does require an effort and investment, but for the smaller enterprise it could prove to be one the best investments they could make to drive business growth and profit. You don’t have to be one of the Big Guys to benefit from NPS.

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

 

In my previous blog I offered some advice on the implementation of a Net Promoter Score® program within your organization. That blog created some further discussion as to which methodology is the best for NPS® data collection – telephone, online or a combination of both. The answer?

It depends.

Online data collection offers speed, efficiency, broad reach and (sometimes) lower costs. Online would be appropriate if you have a current, qualified customer contact list. If you do not have a list of your current customers or competitive customers, you’ll need to acquire a list from a panel provider who will supply profiled email addresses from commercially available list brokers. The participation (or response rate) varies greatly depending on the quality of the list, the relationship with the respondent and the list source. Client provided lists may get a response as high as 40% while a purchased list that is poorly profile may be well under 5%. Considering that the overall cost is relevant to the participation rates, online data collection may not always be the lowest cost alternative.

Since online surveys are self administered, they are also self-selected. The respondent decides if they want to complete the questionnaire, creating a sample bias. There are many potential respondents who never make the email list because they are not readily accessible or they do not have an email account. This is another source of sample bias which shows that online data collection, which has its advantages, is not truly representative of the target profile. Too many potential respondents fall through the cracks.

 

Telephone data collection (CATI) has been around for decades and is still a widely used methodology for research data collection. While many complain that it is intrusive and an invasion of privacy, the truth is that telephone data collection is a viable option for NPS. The greatest advantage of telephone is the human element – the personal contact. For a NPS relationship-type study, a telephone interview conducted by a skilled, well trained interviewer can be a very positive experience for both the sponsor client and the respondent. This is especially true when conducting NPS studies with B2B respondents, senior executives and high value customers. The interviewer becomes a representative of the company. You’re not going to get that with online data collection.

Nothing beats telephone to get directly to the voice of the customer. There is a proactive element of the personal interaction of a telephone interview that generates a high level of information. We’ve understood this for quite a while and have developed a new service called Question-Based Digital Voice Recordings (QB-DVR). This allows us to record each and every telephone interview and play them back at the question level. This is a unique and effective tool to hear the actual discussion behind the quantitative data. Now you can hear the actual voice of the Promoters and the Detractors.

 

Your immediate reaction might be that telephone date collection is far more expensive than online. Our experience has shown that a well executed, brief NPS telephone questionnaire 3 to 5 minutes in length and using a qualified client provided list can be just as cost effective as an online study. The time and effort required for the programming and hosting the online questionnaire as well as the lower response/participation rates may. in fact, result in a completed online questionnaire similar in cost to a telephone interview.

What about those occasions when the target respondents cannot be reached by email? If you are committed to an online format then you’re out of options, but if you are working with a data collection partner that does both telephone and online you have a viable solution. With the proper configurations and training, a skilled telephone interviewer is able to contact the respondent, qualify them, acquire their email address and then immediately send them a link to an online questionnaire. This works well with senior execs and high value financial customers where confidentiality is an issue.

So, you do have several options when it comes to collecting NPS data – telephone, online or a combination of both. The methodology you select really depends on the situation and the research objectives. Just be cautious that you don’t blindly select online data collection without considering all the options. Think about it and do it right the first time.

eith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

 

You’ve bought the book “The Ultimate Question” by Fred Reichheld, visited the websites, read the blogs (maybe even mine) and downloaded the white papers. You’re convinced Net Promoter Score® and customer loyalty tracking will work for your company, but how do you begin?

You’re not alone in feeling a bit overwhelmed. Just this week, while attending seminar on customer loyalty, I met the marketing manager of a regional insurance company who was convinced her company needed an NPS®implementation. She told me that the company was interested in NPS but they didn’t know how to get started. This gave me a chance to explain my 5 step approach to implementing a Net Promoter Score® program that I’ve dubbed “The Five A’s to Net Promoter Score®”. Or, if you’re Canadian like me, you might call it “The 5 Eh’s to Net Promoter Score®. (That’s a bit of regional humour/humor, folks.)

The five steps are Align, Aim, Ask, Analyze and Act. Here’s how they work:

Step 1 – Align

Make sure that you company is aligned and ready for an NPS program. This starts at the Executive Offices, flows through all levels of middle management and finishes up on the factory or salesroom floor. You’ll need buy-in from all levels of the company, especially if the NPS results are integrated into employee performance metrics. People tend to act differently when money is involved.

Don’t assume that everyone is aligned and stays aligned. Constant communications will be needed throughout the program. You’ll need management and operational commitment at the beginning, middle and end of the process. Create an obsession for NPS and create an obsession for the customer.

Step 2 – Aim

Establish exactly who it is you are targeting. Do this by demographics, behaviors, attitudes, segment or what ever criteria make sense for your business. But, once you’ve identified the target, keep your eye on the target and be consistent. Don’t let your attention wander.

Net Promoter Score is about tracking and improvement of your loyalty measurement, so you’ll need to determine where you are and where you want to be. What is your NPS today and where do you aim to be 3, 6 or 12 months from now?

You’ll probably want to identify measure and track several key attributes of your business that have a direct impact on loyalty, eg. product performance, service, value, cleanliness, friendliness etc. These attributes need to be meaningful and actionable. Set benchmarks for these attributes and then measure and communicate the results. This is how you’ll make operational improvements.

 

Step 3 – Ask

The old adage “Garbage in, garbage out” is very true for a NPS program. The quality of the data is only as good as the quality of the data collection process.

So, ask the right questions. Ask the right customer. Ask at the right time. Ask using the right research methodology. Most importantly, think before you ask. Spend a bit of time thinking through the strategy of asking before making the leap.

If you’re not sure how to ask correctly, ask from some help from an experienced Net Promoter® Partner. Find a partner you can trust who understands NPS and can advise you how to ask correctly.

Step 4 – Analyze

What get measured gets done, and what gets analyzed gets implemented. You’ll end up with some very powerful data when you implement an NPS® program, but it will have very little value unless it is analyzed and acted upon.

The ups and downs of the Net Promoter Score™ indicate the health of your customer relationship. You’ll need to analyze the key attribute ratings and the open-ended responses to identify what structural and/or operational changes will need to be implemented.

Remember that Promoters will tell you the great things you do and how to acquire more customers while Detractors identify those areas that need to be fixed that cost the company money. A little concerted data analysis will soon show you the light.

Step 5 – Act

This could be the hardest step of all. Now, you’ll have to make something happen based on all this knowledge that you’ve acquired. This starts will consistent communications of the NPS results – the good, the bad and the ugly. If the company is aligned from the very beginning, there will be a built-in expectation of regular NPS updates, so don’t disappoint your peers of management.

Promoters and Detractors are talking to you – screaming in some cases – so listen, learn and act. Your Promoters will tell how to improve your marketing message, product offering and benefits statements. Do this and you profits can increase. Detractors, maybe your best friends in this process, will tell you what needs to be fixed. Do this, and you can stop the financial bleeding. Either way, you win.

Communicate the learnings form the NPS process. Use the information to drive change and innovation. Celebrate your successes. Then repeat on a regular basis.

eith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.