How to Measure Customer Care with an NPS

What is an NPS – Net Promoter Score?

Any piece of training or development needs to be measured to see what difference it’s made.  This is the Holy Grail professional trainers have been working towards for decades and for many programmes, it’s not that difficult to measure the impact if you start off by deciding your measures before you embark on the training.

But the trickiest one to measure is customer care training; until now that is.  The answer, which many organisations I’ve been working with recently have discovered, is the NPS or Net Promoter Score.

Net Promoter was developed by Fred Reichheld, and detailed in his book “The Ultimate Question”.

In this short article I’d like to share with you the best practice from a number of organisations and how you can implement an NPS in your firm.

Why an NPS?

Firstly why bother?  Simply because you need to know what your customers think of you.  Not how great you are, or whether your widgets are the best and your customer response team answers calls in 3 rings.

Customers nowadays are not prepared to answer such detailed questionnaires. But they will be prepared to answer one question…would you be prepared to recommend us to a friend, colleague or associate.

Let me convince you further. Customers are now in control of the buying process, sales people are no longer required in their traditional fashion and many are now being called “talking brochures“.

Companies now realise that customers make a decision to buy in two ways. One, they Google the solution they’re looking for and, secondly, they ask someone in their network if they know of a company that can help.

This asking someone is hugely popular today with the rise of social networking and the celebrated “like” button.  Interesting research has proven that people believe customer testimonials even if they haven’t met that person.

Personal recommendations have never been more important. So you need to measure this ultimate action from your customers and you can do so with the NPS.

A final thought to convince you to embark on the NPS journey.  What gets measured gets done is a famous saying and so true. So if you measure your customer’s reluctance or acceptance of referring you, then you’ll do what you can to improve the score.

And did I forget to mention that everyone else is doing it, large and small companies. Siemens, Philips, BP, Tescos, …they’re all doing it and some even have the need to measure the NPS amongst their Boardroom objectives which filter down to everyone in the organisation.

How can you measure NPS?

How can you measure it?  You need to be talking to your customers, or emailing them asking them to complete a brief online survey that takes a minute.  Beware of offering incentives; just tell them that you want to constantly improve the service you give them.  Most people are happy to work with that.

How you get your customers to do the survey is up to you.  You need to do it anonymously, leave out the names, that doesn’t matter and don’t ask your sales people or customer service people to ask customers as the pressure will be too much for an unbiased response.

Last month, I was at a supermarket checkout and as the lady was scanning my items; on the screen facing me was the message “Would I be inclined to recommend them“.  With the cashiers’ face beaming a wide smile; I was unduly influenced to give my opinion.  Instead I didn’t bother and smiled back.  A clever idea in theory but not in practice.

Emails are best, it could be a tex message, which is another good reason to harvest email addresses and mobiles from customers.  With emails you can hyperlink them straight to a survey page.

On the survey page you need to ask them the vital question. “How likely are you to recommend us to a business partner, colleague or friend?” You then give them a 1 to 10 grading, 1 is not likely at all and 10 is a definite.

Let me show you graphically.


An example NPS Questionnaire

To create the NPS score you take the percentage of people opting for 9 and 10, known as promoters and then deduct the total percentage of those who opted for 0 to 6, known as detractors.

So getting a high percentage is tough as few people go right to the extremes of any survey.  Many will opt for 7 or 8 and these numbers are ignored.  Get it?

Some companies ask a few more questions to make the most of the survey.  Here’s some suggestions:

  1. How likely are you, to recommend us to friends, colleagues, associates?
  2. Where can we improve?
  3. Who’s the biggest competitor to us?
  4. How likely are you to recommend this competitor to friends, colleagues, associates?
  5. What does this competitor do better than us?

Pretty smart eh?  I love this package of five questions as it gives you real nuggets of information to improve and advance your service and customer care.

Next steps for NPS

Getting customers to do the survey is the hard part, you might want to outsource this part or use some of the companies online to help.

A final word of wisdom on customer service came recently from Seth Goden.  I loved this, again so simple. Recruit nice people to give fine care to customers, then create processes that don’t get in the way of them giving this naturally pleasant care.

Too many organisations create processes that prevent people giving this.  Care and service are separate. Care is the people side; service is the processes and procedures.