Best Practice Tips for NPS surveys
Best Practice for Running a NPS Survey

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a company’s customer relationships. The measure of customer loyalty is calculated based on responses to a single survey question: “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

According to the Pareto Principle 80% of business comes from 20% of customers, meaning that a small group of customers is bringing in the most revenue. That’s why customer loyalty index is a metric that matters.

Fred Reichheld, who introduced the concept of NPS, together with Bain & Company and Satmetrix performed numerous studies and found that the “likely to recommend” question had the strongest statistical correlation with repeat purchases and referrals.

It’s no wonder that NPS metric has been widely adopted with more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies now successfully using it.

The NPS response scale is from 0 (not at all likely to recommend) to 10 (extremely likely to recommend).

Depending on the score that is given to the Net Promoter question, customers can be categorized as:

  • Promoters = respondents giving a 9 or 10 score (loyal enthusiasts who keep buying from a company and urge their friends to do the same)
  • Passives = respondents giving a 7 or 8 score (satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who can be easily wooed by the competition)
  • Detractors = respondents giving a 0 to 6 score (unhappy customers that can damage your brand’s reputation through negative word-of-mouth)
    NPS categories
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The question is, how to effectively craft your questionnaire in order to have a good response rate from your customers. Below are the 10 best practice tips which, I hope, will help you to achieve this goal.

  1. Questionnaire
    A good way to start your Net Promoter Survey is to ask the following question: “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” You can also tailor the wording for a particular purpose. For example, if you need a feedback for a support service you have provided, you can ask: “Based on your support experience, how likely are you to recommend our company/service?”After the main question, you an also add an open-ended follow-up question, such as: “Why did you give us this rating?”
  2. Subject line
    If you want your customers to open your message and take the survey, it is important to that they don’t consider your email a spam. For this reason the subject line should clearly identify your company. It is also preferable that the subject is personalized to your survey.A good example would be: “[Company Name] Customer Survey” or “[Company Name] is looking for your feedback” for a general NPS survey. The cause for contact is communicated genuinely and clearly and there is a high chance the customer will take a few minutes to respond.
  3. Body
    The body of your email should be brief, yet compelling. Write in a friendly and sincere tone. Your message should encourage completion of the survey and present your company as a true partner.
  4. Signature
    To demonstrate the company’s commitment to the survey initiative, all emails related to the survey should close with the signature of an appropriate senior-level executive in your organization.Depending on the company, this could be the CMO, the head of Customer Success, or even the CEO. This will signal the customer that their effort in taking the survey is really important and will be valued.
  5. Timings
    Most companies choose to engage customers with surveys once a quarter. Some leading companies survey a sample of their customers every week. Ultimately, it depends on how closely you want to watch your customer interactions. Finding the right balance between high rates of response and customer fatigue is the key.
    It is necessary to consider the times when your customers are less distracted and busy, so that they can pay attention to your message and complete the survey.Avoid sending emails on holidays or during common vacation times. Consider if there are major industry events going on, or perhaps, a quarter end, which would take your customers’ attention away from giving feedback to your company.Good practice is to send emails in the early morning, late morning, or middle of the day, avoiding Mondays and Fridays.
  6. Advance Notice
    Before sending out the actual questionnaire, it is recommended to send an advance notice email. In this email you can communicate to the customers that they should expect a survey, tell them why it is important and how your company is going to use the clients’ feedback.
  7. Reminders
    Some of your customers on initially receiving the survey, will not complete it right away and may forget about it later. To maximize the survey output, you can remind this portion of your audience about the need to complete the survey. It is recommended to send no more than two or three reminders to avoid irritating your customers. Make sure also not to send reminders to those who already completed the survey and leave an option to opt-out of it for those who are not interested in taking it.
  8. Follow-Up
    As you start receiving first customers’ feedback, it is necessary to start building a follow-up process. Active listening which leads to action is an important factor in running a successful Net Promoter Score program.Naturally, different types of feedback will require different kind of response from your company. To facilitate the follow-up process, you can start tagging customers according to their response. A few examples could be “customer service”, “feature requests”, “existing bugs” etc.A personal touch means a lot to your customers, so make sure to invest your time in that.Different categories of customers take a different follow-up approach. For example, if you are contacting a promoter, you can make them feel special by offering them additional discounts, early access to new features or some useful resources. If you are following up with a detractor, make an effort to engage with them and suggest a solution to their complaint in a friendly manner. This may just change their mind about your company.
  9. Showing Appreciation
    To strengthen the customer’s confidence that their voice is heard, demonstrate that you listen to both positive and negative feedback.You can use phrases such as “your feedback helps us to improve our service to you”, or “your feedback is very much appreciated and will be used to provide a better service to you/design better products for you etc.”
  10. Sharing Results

It is important to share what improvements were made in your company based on the customers’ feedback. For example, it could have given you an idea for a new product or a new service feature. Share that information with your clients and thank them for inspiring you and fueling change in the company with their comments.

This will help you to get higher response rates on the surveys you may be running in the future, as customers will remember that the time they spent on your survey and their feedback were put to work.

A well optimized NPS program is one of the tools which help companies to build proactive customer service and adjust to customers’ needs. The survey can provide a steady stream of data, which can be used to improve your products and services, retain more customers and spread the good word using the power of your promoters.

Showing the level of your customer loyalty, net promoter score is a number worth monitoring. What other best practices does your company use to successfully implement and run an NPS survey? Please share in the comments.