Resolving customer issues that are raised in your Net Promoter or customer satisfaction survey are fundamental to the overall success of the program.

In fact, without processes in place to close the loop, your Net Promoter Score program is severely undercooked – organizations that close the loop on customer issues have a Net Promoter Score up to 11 points higher on average that those which do not. 

Give customers the option to request follow up

As a valuable touchpoint on the customer journey, your Net Promoter survey is an opportunity not just to gather feedback, but nurture customer relationships on an individual level.

So, if your customers want to talk directly to you, grab the opportunity!

One way to do this is to include an option in your survey for the customer to request follow up. This could be in the form of a statement or question at the bottom of your survey page such as “Request follow up from a customer service representative” with a check box. 

Example check box for customers to request follow up.
Example check box for customers to request follow up.

Follow up in person

Picture this: A customer gives you a “O” on the 0-10 Net Promoter scale, followed by a lengthy complaint, and requests follow up. Getting on the phone to this person sounds scary, right?

In fact, nine times out of ten calling a Detractor (someone who gives a score of 0-6 on the Net Promoter scale) is a far more positive experience than you may imagine. Normally, the very act of having someone follow up in person on any issues raised through customer feedback is more than enough to defuse any negative feelings. Common things that customer support staff say about calling Detractors are:

“They were so surprised we called them.”

“They wanted to give us a higher score.” 

and even….

“They said they felt guilty about giving us a low score.”

Put a KPI on time to close the loop

In 2014 it isn’t just impolite to leave customers waiting for a week to hear from you – it’s bad business sense. With the vast array of channels to communicate with customers, and real time information to act on, organizations need to set short but achievable timeframes in which all customer resolutions should be followed up. These depend on what kind of industry you are in, but a general rule is that all customers who raise issues should be contacted within 48 hours at least.

Note: Putting a time KPI on final resolution to customer issues can be risky, and may encourage staff to implement a “quick fix” to solve the issue rather than really address the root cause of the customer’s unhappiness. In a service-oriented culture, staff should be empowered to resolve issues for the maximum benefit of the customer – not in order to beat an arbitrary time limit.

Resolve issues with Promoters (and Passives) as well as Detractors

It’s easy to assume that Detractors – those who give a score of 0-6 on the 0-10 point Net Promoter scale – are the customers most in need of rescue. But that is not always the case. Occasionally, long term, committed Promoters also experience minor hiccups with service. Following up with these customers generally cements already strong relationships and ensures that the relationship will continue for years to come.

Example: One organization that uses Net Promoter said, “We found that some customers would give us a 9 or 10 and leave a comment saying that they had been booking with us for fifteen years, but on this one trip there was one thing that went wrong, and they wanted to let us know about it.

Implement the System, not the Score

As outlined in The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey, the Net Promoter Score has long since evolved into a fully-fledged System to not just capture and measure loyalty, but also close the loop on customer issues, analyze trends and root causes, and align the entire organization along the voice of the customer.

Analysis without action is like Clark Kent without Superman. Take action effectively, and you will see a significant, sustained increase in your customers’ loyalty as a result. And this will be reflected in your NPS score, too.