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by Emily Neier
on August 28, 2018

Think of Net Promoter Score (NPS) like your business’s cosmic sign: it says something about your business, and when prospects or other businesses see it, you want it to make a good impression. Calculating your company’s NPS is a little more complicated than knowing your birthday, but it’s worth measuring periodically to understand how customers feel about your business and its products or services.

NPS is a calculation based on the results of a survey of customers conducted by an organization that asks the question, “How likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?”. Customers answer on a scale from 0 to 10, and depending on their answer, they’re prompted one or two additional short answer questions to explain their response. In the end, the organization takes the percentage of promoters (those who answer 9-10) and subtracts the percentage of detractors (those who answer 0-6) to produce a number between -100 and +100. Respondents who answer with a 7-8 are considered passives and not included in the NPS calculation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything from their feedback.

Benefits of a NPS Process

Why calculate the NPS, and why do it over and over again? Think of your organization’s NPS as an assessment of your company’s merit, that is:

  • Measure the Competition
  • Evaluate Employee Satisfaction
  • Recognize Potential
  • Identify Possible Repeat Customers
  • Track Changes

Measure the Competition: Because a NPS is easy to measure, it’s become a standard for a lot of organizations. That makes it a good piece of data to benchmark your organization against others in your industry. Which companies have higher scores, and what are they doing that you’re currently not? More specifically, you could look at website design and what kinds of content they’re posting on what topics. You’re already watching your competitors closely, so calculating your NPS will help your organization identify where you stand in the pack with your competitors.

Evaluate Employee Satisfaction: The NPS has become a standard. It’s one single number on a linear scale that is easy to calculate and understand. And organizations don’t have to use this formula just on their customers—it’s also a good indicator of employee engagement and satisfaction. The eNPS (employee net promoter score) is a similar style survey that asks the question, “How likely are you to recommend this company as a place of work?”. This one might hurt a little to find not all of your employees are so happy that they’re willing to bring their friends on board, but it is important to hear out employee detractors. They might be seeing something you’re not.

Recognize Potential: The NPS scoring system has received some criticism because it only measures customers’ potential to recommend a business and not actual promotions from customers. However, if we use the example of a bow and arrow, an arrow in a drawn bow has more potential to hit a target than one sitting in the quiver. A NPS survey will help your organization recognize which of your customers are ready to fly, who’s waiting in the quiver, and who still needs a couple feathers.

Identify Possible Repeat Customers: If a customer says they would recommend your product, they are also likely to buy from you again. Knowing who your promoters are also means knowing where the potential is to sell a new product or renew a subscription. They’ve already bought from you and know who you are, so that’s less work for your team to get them on board for something else.

Track Changes: Regularly surveying customers and employees helps track how you’re doing over time. Did your eNPS go up or down after a major staff change, and did people have anything to say in their responses on how that change has affected their view of the company? Or on your last NPS survey, your customers had overwhelming criticism of your website’s navigation. After making some changes, have their attitudes improved? How do your customers and employees feel after a new product launch? The possibilities are endless of what changes can be measured, but surveys have to be conducted regularly in order to track any change.

Implementing a NPS Process

In a perfect world, your organization provides the absolute best service to every single customer and they’re all completely satisfied and your company has a NPS score of +100. In reality, a positive NPS is good (more promoters than detractors), and anything above +50 is considered excellent. The good news about reality is there’s always room for improvement! Knowing your NPS gives you opportunity to identify the areas you’re excelling in and the areas that could use some work. Below are some tips to get you started on your NPS journey.

Setting up your survey: Before you can start calculating, you have to collect customer and employee data. The HubSpot Services Hub has the power to set up multiple kinds of surveys, including customer loyalty surveys. Create surveys to send via email and customize your follow up questions based on the score your respondents give and the thank you message respondents see when they complete the survey. Once in your customers’ inboxes, HubSpot collects all the response data and calculate your NPS. All your qualitative responses are available to review in HubSpot as well.

How often to survey: For both NPS and eNPS, surveying twice a year is a good starting point, but some companies send out these surveys as often as four times a year. You don’t want to send out surveys too often, or you might see your NPS drop from sending out too many surveys. Think of a relative or friend that, out of the kindness of their heart, asks you a dozen times whether or not you’d like a glass of water when you visit.

When to survey: Sending out NPS surveys at peak stress times in your customers or employees lives means their stress will be reflected in their responses. If you distribute textbooks and your audience is primarily professionals in education, back to school season might not be the best time to drop a survey link in their inbox (if they’re really stressed out, they might not even make the time to respond). Additionally, while it’s important to know how employees feel about major company changes, asking in the middle of one may yield some different responses than if the survey was sent once everything settles down.

What to do with survey responses: What’s reflected in one number is a lot of qualitative data. Those short follow-up questions are key to a successful NPS survey. Take responses on why customers or employees gave the answers they did, and identify what was repeated, good and bad. Sending out a survey allows you to calculate these scores, but it also says to employees and customers that you’re listening. Don’t let their words fall on deaf ears—take action to show you’ve heard them.

If the office vending machine has stopped carrying Cool Ranch Doritos and half of your employees brought it up in their eNPS responses—take a minute to reach out to the company that stocks your machine. That sounds silly, but it starts with a single phone call or email and would show employees their company listened to what they said.

On the other hand, use positive NPS responses to your advantage. Remember that bow and arrow? Create opportunities for promoters to promote. You’ve identified the people who would likely give customer testimonials or share your content on social media—make sure they’re getting content they might share, and don’t be afraid to ask for a few testimonials. And, as always, address issues brought up by your detractors or passives in a timely manner.

 

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