Image from

Do you wish you knew more about your customers? And no, that doesn’t mean learning what their favourite color is or the name of their pet cat. Knowing more about your customers means knowing what they find useful, what they want to see more of, and what they think you could improve. It means knowing what they think of your business.

Do these sound like things you want to know? If so, you need to start using net promoter score (NPS) feedback.

What is NPS?

The NPS system is all about the customer experience. It’s a way of determining the rate of customer loyalty. It’s a typical benchmark that companies use to determine whether a buyer would turn into a return customer or if they would recommend your services to a friend. As a result, you can then use your NPS feedback to reduce customer effort. So, how does it work?

Say you sell a virtual phone and fax service. Once a customer has added the product to your website shopping cart and completed the purchase, you’ll send them a single NPS survey. The score is measured using numbers. This is normally a score form and reported with a number from 0-10. The form will ask one simple question:

“How likely are you to recommend our services to a friend or colleague?”

The customer will then give their rating out of 10. Responders are divided into Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8), and Promoters (9-10). From this feedback, you can calculate how your customers feel about you, i.e. what percentage are Detractors, Passives, and Promoters.

Source from

Why is NPS important?

Ever heard of Apple? It’s difficult not to. You won’t sit on a train or cross the street without seeing at least one person glued to an iPhone.

Apple was founded on having quality products that people dreamt of buying. However, for a long time Apple didn’t have a retail presence. Back in 2007, their NPS score was 57. People were put off by the fact that they couldn’t easily speak to a customer service adviser about the products.

But, since introducing the Apple store, their NPS score has increased drastically, reaching an impressive score of 72 in 2017. Since then, scores have fluctuated slightly, but improvements since the Apple store appeared is clear. Some plausibly argue that the Apple store functions to interact with customers instead of directly to sell products. This shows that, when a company chooses to invest in the customer experience, their NPS results will drastically change.

Apple analyzed their NPS score and established that customers wanted face-to-face interaction. The Apple store means that customers can now speak to a human being. Those who don’t like buying online can buy in store. They can ask a sales adviser for advice. Customer effort is, as a result, reduced and the NPS score is higher.

Most companies already use an NPS system. However, many find that it isn’t doing what they want it to. When a company is struggling to get tangible or useful results from their NPS system, it’s probably because they aren’t using it correctly. Companies need to survey strategically to get valuable insights.

So, here’s how to use NPS feedback to reduce customer effort and boost the future of your business.

1. Send it to all customers

Most companies aren’t sending NPS surveys to all of their customers. Often, it only goes to the newbies. While it’s useful to know what your new customers think of you, this doesn’t paint the complete picture.

Research shows that you need to take all customers into consideration. Here are the five groups you should be focusing on:

Source from

  • Prospects: these are people who haven’t made a purchase yet. They may have signed up for a free trial or simply visited your website. They’re interacting but not purchasing. Survey this group on your website to get an understanding of why a purchase hasn’t been made.
  • New Customers: these are the people who have recently made their first purchase. Survey them 30-60 days after purchase to give you a sense of your onboarding process from their perspective.
  • Renewals: these are the people who have made a purchase and their renewal time is approaching. Will they stay with you? Keep an eye out to determine which customer group they will fit into.
  • Advocates: these are your long-term customers who have repeatedly made purchases. Renewals could fit into this group. Survey them once or twice a year.
  • Losses: Renewals could also fit into this group. These are customers you have lost. This group must be surveyed to establish why they didn’t renew. However, most of these will turn into Detractors. Don’t let that stop you from surveying them.

You want to reduce customer effort for all customers – not just ones in a certain group.

2. Choose your time wisely

So, you’ve decided to start using NPS feedback. When do you use it? It’s important to know when to send your NPS survey.

An NPS survey should always be sent early on in a customer relationship. This way, if they become Advocates, you can track the customer experience as reliably as possible. For example, if a customer gives you a score of 9 for your predictive dialer software for two years, and this suddenly drops to a 7 in the third year, you know that something has gone awry. You can look back over your relationship with the customer and determine what made their opinion of your company change.

The best way to get a good sense of your customer experience and reduce customer effort is to send an NPS survey twice a year. This means that you can get reliable feedback without a customer feeling overwhelmed or pestered.

3. Act on the results

This is where reducing customer effort really comes into play. There’s no point sending an NPS survey if you don’t do anything with the results. NPS feedback exists to make you better and manage customer expectations. It doesn’t exist for you to watch passively.

Customers will be frustrated if they spend time answering a survey to find out that nothing ever changes. What’s the point in them filling it in? Here are the best ways to act on the results from your NPS survey.

Thank Promoters

You love your Promoters. Of course you do. Most of the time, they help in building your brand on social media and through word of mouth. They’re enthusiastic about your business and that feels great. So, take the time to thank them for their positive feedback and loyalty. A customer continues to be a Promoter if you interact with them and appreciate their support. Consider reducing time by using a chatbot to do so, as AI is becoming popular in many industries.

But you can do more than that. Press your Promoters for answers. Why are they so impressed with you? Often, Promoters won’t be specific in their feedback. This can lead you to become overconfident or complacent. So, go back to the beginning. Why did they choose your services to begin with?

Once you’ve established this and what they particularly like about your business, you can make sure to focus on continuing to perform in these areas. Don’t forget to ask probing questions for sales.

Image from

Pay attention to Passives

Passives can easily be overlooked. They’re the middle group. This might mean that you spend more time on the Promoters and Detractors and forget about them. However, in some ways Passives are more important than Detractors.

Passives don’t feel any passion towards your business. While the Detractors are very upset about something, they’ll probably get fast attention. And, at least they care. Passives are neither here nor there, meaning that they could potentially give up on you quicker than the Detractors. Passives are telling you that your product isn’t worth their time.

So, what’s the solution? Reach out to the Passives and gain a deeper understanding of what isn’t working for them. Have they found a better price for the cloud PBX system you’re selling? Or is it simply that they aren’t fully invested in getting a product of this nature?

Act quickly with Detractors

While you should always take negative reviews with a pinch of salt, you need to pay attention to Detractors – and act fast. Word of mouth travels quickly, and a Detractor could very promptly warn people away from your business. Focus on understanding what made them score you harshly – Is it because of poor product condition, delayed shipping or bad customer service? Once you’ve done so, implement the changes and let them know that you have listened to their feedback and made productive solutions.

Customers want to know that their feedback counts. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you reach out and thank them for their feedback, no matter how harsh, they will see that you are attempting to improve. Getting angry or arguing with feedback never helps anyone. You will alienate customers and lose business.

Don’t forget the power of your employees, too. Sure, NPS is all about customers, but if you use customer feedback in combination with employee feedback, you can reduce customer effort further. Your employees are the people communicating with customers on a daily basis, so they might have a better idea of why a certain customer is a Detractor.

For example, USAA, an insurance company that rates highly with NPS, has an “Innovation for Community Enterprise” which encourages employees to submit ideas to improve. Because of this collaborative effort, its NPS score is an impressive 75.

NPS Reduces Customer Effort

The fact is that NPS reduces customer effort. If you use your results effectively and offer proactive customer service, you can improve the overall customer experience. Not only will you keep your Promoters, but you’ll get new customers too.

So, if your current NPS system is sitting idly and not helping, you’ll need to refresh it. Think about how to use the results to your advantage and ease life for your customers. Your business exists to please them, so you should be spending time on their experience so they don’t have to. It works for Apple, so why shouldn’t it work for you?