Picture this: you go to the doctor every year, and every single year the doctor tells you that there’s something wrong. Your blood pressure is too high. You’ve gained too much weight. You’re not taking enough vitamins. But then, one day, you go to the doctor, and they give you a clean bill of health. Nothing is wrong, and you’ve been doing a great job. Awesome!
Do you stop going back to the doctor, convinced that you’ll never again have a problem? Probably not. Reassured by a new bill of health, you may become even more committed to staying healthy than you were before.
That’s the same way that it should be for NPS. How do you know your NPS is good? Just because you finally get to the NPS that you’ve been targeting for quarters (or maybe even years) doesn’t mean that you can or should stop working at it—just like with physical health, consistently achieving your NPS goals requires constant vigilance and effort.
Surface level customer insights are not enough
It's possible to meet NPS goals and still have both detractors and passives making up a fair chunk of respondents. Think about this: the average benchmark NPS score for SaaS products is 26. This score could be achieved with 50% promoters, 24% detractors, and with 26% passive respondents. What does this translate into? 50% of your customers feel are either sitting on the fence or taking negatively about your product. Not a great place for any company to find themselves in.
This is why simply meeting benchmarks aren't a great goal. If you and everyone else you knew got a crumby score on a test, would you be satisfied because you were in good company? No. You’d probably want to improve that score.
That’s the same hunger that should be brought to an NPS strategy. Even if industry benchmarks are satisfied, that may mean up to 50% of users wouldn’t recommend your product to anyone. Just because the overall score is good doesn’t mean that the composition of your NPS score is good. Consider focusing on the number of detractors and promoters received, instead of the aggregate score.
The other thing to consider is your response rate. Even with a high NPS, you may only hear from 10-20% of your customer base and by continuing to improve your CX, you’ll hear more from customers engaged enough to respond to surveys - providing even more insight.
Move passives to promoters
Consider the example benchmark score of 26, having 26% of users reporting as passive is a big threat to your company’s success. According to ChurnZero, “passives have no problem switching to a different brand if the price is even just slightly better. Being passive (or passively “satisfied”) means that it just doesn’t matter to them.” That’s much scarier than detractors or promoters who feel strongly enough about your product.
A HBR study found 20% of passives who are technically “satisfied” also indicated an intention to leave a service.
Even with an excellent NPS score, there is still significant opportunity to shift passives to promoters. To get deeper into customer data and uncover the opportunities for improvements, organizations use AI programs like NLP to get even deeper insights into the drivers behind their scores. Instead of listening to your gut instinct, or manually reviewing every survey response, use AI to determine the most significant changes you could make to your offering.
Turn promoters into brand advocates
Promoters are great. They love your product, are vocal on social media about why they love it, and provide actionable customer insights.
Once someone has left a promoter response for NPS, take the time to reach out, thank them, and start building a relationship. After that, consider asking them to leave reviews on G2 Crowd, Google, or the preferred review site of your industry. These types of reviews carry more weight than paid advertisements and will lead to additional revenue. They also increase retention rates by 5% and increase profits by 25% to 95%.
Those reviews also serve as yet another data point for an insights team. In this study with Skymesh, we dove deeper into review data to uncover sentiment trends and understand even more about what customers want.
So, by getting additional reviews outside of NPS, you boost your online profile to potential customers as well as open up a treasure trove of insights to use to make your product even better.
Continue to perfect your services
NPS should gradually drift upwards. Attention therefore, should focus on NPS trend rather than hit a mythical number. The latter can obviously be construed as supporting the rather unfortunate continue use of vanity metrics in customer insights/CX reporting.
You don’t have to focus this conversation entirely on your passives or detractors, either. There are tons of insights to be learned by discussing your promoters. Talking about your promoters allows you to engage your organization in uplifting discussions about what you’re doing well instead of just continuing to rag on all the broken things.
There’s always room for improvement, and continuing to pay attention to NPS will give your team the upper hand when it comes to understanding your customers’ needs, and who to reach out to if you’re curious for more insights.
NPS will never be perfect
You will likely never have a perfect NPS score. Until you do, you should continue working to understand your customers’ motivations. Even high NPS benchmarks usually consist of some passive and detractor customers, which means that there will always be more people to talk to and more perspectives to understand. Beyond that, there are tons of opportunities to elevate customers out of their existing segment: passives to promoters, and promoters to brand advocates. Growing those relationships also lends you critical insights to continue to build your product to be the best, most satisfying it can be.
Everyone wants to do customer insights right but they're setting themselves up to fail if they rely on tools that automate what humans already do manually. That's just automation and isn't true innovation. Customer insights teams today are allowing technologies to reveal the areas that need the most improvement.
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