Unleashing the Power of NPS in the B2C World
NPS has received some bad press lately from various bloggers, but when used properly Net Promoter Systems can be an effective engagement tool for customers and employees. We usually hear this in relation to business-to-business scenarios, but the principles and concepts for Net Promoter Systems hold true for classic business-to-consumer models, too.
You notice I am referring to the Net Promoter “System” and not the Net Promoter “Score”. The score is just an indicator. The score is like the gas gauge on your car dashboard. It shows how effectively the engine and driver are managing the resources. Is it time to plan for a fill-up or to back-off on the accelerator? Many businesses get so focused on the Net Promoter “Score” that they miss the opportunity to leverage the Net Promoter “System” to improve products, services and relationships through this powerful engagement tool.
Do the right things and the score will reflect the great things you’re doing. Small businesses and franchises like restaurants, coffee shops, or convenience stores can leverage the following Net Promoter System basics to improve their Net Promoter Scores.
Put promoters to work
The power of NPS is realized when the voices of promoters are activated. Promoters bring in new customers who are also promoters. Take advantage of this with special recognition of the promoter and the new customer. Make them your trusted advisors and check-in with them regularly.
Close the feedback loop and take action on complaints and improvement suggestions
- Customer feedback is a gift, so take it seriously and place high value on it.
- Thank your customers for taking the time to share their thoughts, perspectives and opinions.
- Relationships are built one conversation at a time, so put on your “listening ears” and do your best to not take criticism personally. Be their advocate. Avoid explaining and solutioning. Take extra care not to come across as defensive.
- Real-time conversations are an effective way to understand the retail experience and dig deeper for some of the specific details not mentioned in the survey responses and scores.
Tell customers and employees how their feedback is being used to improve their experience
- Today’s consumers want transparency and they want to know that their feedback has been heard, understood and actioned.
- Share the top improvement suggestions for the month, quarter or year with customers and employees.
- Engage customers by asking them to help prioritize the improvements.
- Engage employees by asking them to validate the to-do list and add critical insights that may be missing.
- As each improvement is delivered, ask customers and employees if they are feeling a positive difference in their store experience. This kind of activity shows you care, it builds trust and creates a true partnership.
Make it easy for customers to do business with you
Simplify business processes, organization structures and language used to communicate with customers and employees. Effort is highly corelated to loyalty for which NPS is an indicator. The Effortless Experience, by Matthew Dixon, spells this out explicitly with a large volume of data to support the need for low effort experiences. Difficult experiences decrease customer loyalty and NPS, while low effort experience increase loyalty and NPS.
To identify effort laden areas of the customer experience, begin with conversations with your employees. They want to be valued for what they know and not solely for the job they perform. Show them how valuable they are by asking for their suggestions.
Employees know where the extra work is. Ask them to identify the places which tools and processes add more work or time. They also know the things that make the customer journey an unhappy one, as well as the issues customers have stopped complaining about. Engaging with employees will help reduce effort for customers, encourage engagement and boost loyalty. It may even save costs and improve profits.
A word of warning: when asking for employee input, be prepared to take action or it can backfire. Place as much (or even more) value on the voice of the employee as you place on the voice of the customer. Respond to it.
It comes down to this – chain stores and franchises can get the most out NPS by activating promoters, listening and taking action on customer feedback. They can kick-it up a notch by communicating what they are learning from the feedback and what they are doing. Then, take it to the next level by bringing in employee feedback and then taking action on it.