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Improving NPS for a Better Customer Experience

Net Promoter Score

Quality Assurance in the contact center is being used to improve NPS (Net Promoter Score) and overall customer experience

“How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? Could you please rate your recommendation on a scale of 0-10?”

These are two questions that can induce anxiety into any business. But the questions are real and have been so since 2003 when Frederick Reicheld of Bain & Company wrote about what he coined the Net Promoter Score (NPS) in an article for the Harvard Business Review.

Reicheld’s premise is simple. Answers to the “likely to recommend” question are rated on a scale of 0-10 and the responses are divided into three groups as follows:

• Promoters (rating of 9-10)• Passives (7-8)• Detractors (0-6)
The Net Promoter Score is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractor responses from the percentage of promoters. The goal is to get as high a Net Promoter Score as possible as an indicator of customer perception of a company’s service and support.

So How Do You Boost Your Net Promoter Score?

1) Truly Listen to the Customer


Perform a deep analysis of your call records. Consider how many calls are subsequently transferred into other departments.  How many result in escalations or complaints?  Do some listening and consider what the main drivers are for these transfers and escalations. A big negative for NPS is when customers feel that they have to deal with many people or departments to get a query resolved. On many occasions, a customer’s issue will have several threads to it, all of which need to be resolved or actioned in some way.
Empower your frontline to handle queries outside their own department’s main scope and provide them with access to whatever systems they need. This greatly enhances their chances of providing the customer with a ‘one-and-done’ resolution to their call.

2) Perfect Your Greetings and Closings


While it might sound obvious, how consistent is your team with their hellos and goodbyes? The greeting is your customer’s first experience with your company, so make sure the call starts out on the right foot – keep it informal, ask them how their day is going, be interested in them as a person and show how you value their business.

Enabling an advisor to see a customer’s history makes for smoother handling of a call without the customer having to repeat themselves. Your employees also need to know what to do when a call is going wrong and how to get it back on track. Having dealt with the call or query, make sure your advisors finish each call on a positive – remember that’s the impression that your customer will leave with.

3) Review Your Scripts


Sometimes an advisor’s strict adherence to a script can bypass common sense and cause more problems than solutions. Giving employees the freedom to act with common sense and not stick rigidly to a script, regardless of the circumstances, can deliver better NPS scores. If a customer has not had their problem resolved and you ask: ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today’, it is likely to be met with a negative response. This lack of common sense is likely to increase dissatisfaction as the customer hasn’t been helped yet.
Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

4) Follow Up Fast


Prompt follow-up with customers can help contact centers drive increases in NPS. This closing works for several reasons:

• demonstrates your commitment to the customer experience
• resolves individual problems
• gives you greater insight into the issues that drag down your customer loyalty


How fast you respond, who follows up and even the means of contacting the customer can depend on the type of feedback received, as well as characteristics of the customer or account. Often, simply hearing that feedback was received improves a customer’s perception of your company. Use follow-up calls to learn more about customer issues. This can help you pinpoint the root causes of recurring problems so you can fix them at the source.
Richard Burns at NICE

5) Boost Morale in the Workplace


Without an emotional investment in their work, most employees are going to have a difficult time maintaining exemplary service, which can cause your NPS to slip. Allow the team to review themselves alongside their superiors. This demonstrates that the individual’s opinion is valued and their development matters, as well as allowing senior employees to build a rapport with their teams. Utilize reward programs like ‘employee of the month’ or competitions that encourage excellent NPS. Pride in good performance is always an incentive to raise or maintain standards of work. These schemes provide continued encouragement for advisors to provide the best service they can, which in turn goes towards raising your NPS.
Enda Kenneally at West Unified Communications

6) Make Exceeding Customer Expectations the Primary Goal


Rather than focus on the NPS itself, make exceeding customer expectations part of your call center’s goal. To do this, you need to look at the NPS as something that measures the difference between the expectations a customer has and the experience they receive.
Prompt advisors to deliver positive surprises and go the extra mile, rather than concentrating on compliance or reducing the call duration. This will exceed customers’ expectations and help you achieve better NPS scores.

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Evaluating the B2B Customer Experience Effectively: Program Design is Key to Success

B2B Mystery Shopping

B2B companies have a unique challenge in evaluating customer experience. Many times the sales and business cycle is long and consists of several steps to complete the entire experience. This may be in the form of initial order placement/purchase, delivery or products and services, and final billing. Depending on the industry, there may be steps in between that don’t necessarily apply to all customers – perhaps a company that offers rentals and some customers may require service calls – so how is it possible to fully evaluate the customer experience with so many moving parts?

A well formulated and thought out feedback process will serve to be an effective tool. Thinking outside of a traditional “how did we do?” type format is the best way to approach this.

Why?

Since the B2B processes are much longer than a typical retail experience, for example, it’s best to get feedback while the experience is fresh in the minds of customers. So the logical thought may be surveying customers at each step of the process. However, that could lead to response burnout as customers may be inclined the respond to one or two requests for feedback, but will soon tire of completing feedback surveys each time they have an experience with a company.

So what’s the answer? There are three guidelines to consider to create an efficient program:

Take time to lay the foundation

Initial planning will help with this. The first thing to think about is the customer experience, from start to finish. What basic steps are involved for a customer to do business with you? If you sell products or services, that may be initial purchase order, receipt of products/services, billing processes, and resolution of any issues if they arise.

If the company rents products, that journey may look a bit different. It may start with the initial order, then to delivery of items, any service or maintenance calls if they are necessary, return of the products, final billing, and overall experience.

Survey design

Once you determine the steps of the journey, it’s easy to create separate feedback surveys to capture journey specific information. This will be effective in reviewing customer satisfaction at each step of the process – you may find that when people are dissatisfied with an overall experience, it could be due to one specific part of the journey. If you don’t know what step that is until the experience is over, it’s too late to work to improve it. However, if feedback is captured along each step of the way, it’s easier to pinpoint the weaker areas of the process and fix them quickly.

Keep the surveys as short as possible. Multiple surveys allows for fewer questions and journey specific questions to be asked. Carefully consider what information is needed to get the appropriate feedback – nothing more, nothing less – and build a short survey for each step of the journey.

Develop contact rules

What about response exhaustion? A well designed system can alleviate response rate reduction that comes with surveying the same customers at each step of the journey.

Consider setting up some initial guidelines for the feedback process. One example may look like this:

  1. Create call list segmentation for each step of the process. A list of customers who recently placed orders is compiled and used to request feedback on this step of the process. A second list is created for those who received a delivery of products/services within the last 3 weeks, and so forth.

Each contact list will reflect a different list of customers. However, depending on the business model, some companies may find themselves on one or more contact lists at one time. To alleviate this, additional parameters are needed.

  • From each list, cross reference to remove companies that fall on one or more list. From there, determine which companies have been contacted in the last six to 12 months. This takes away the chance to contact a customer too often.
  • Create a feedback cadence to request feedback at key times – not too soon after an experience but not too far out either. Some of this will depend on the size of the customer base, the length of the customer cycle, and other key factors. Ideally, customers should be contacted within one to two weeks of experience an interaction with a company.
  • Decide on a request format. Will telephone or email (or a mix of both) get the best results? Initially, test email and telephone based survey requests. Many customers are busy and do not answer calls from unknown phone numbers, but this is not always the case. Some companies find that telephone requests have a better response rate over email requests. Furthermore, they find that customers who are contacted via telephone tend to share more narrative detail regarding their experience. This unstructured commentary can yield information that would never be uncovered with a more traditional survey set up.

With so many moving pieces to the customer cycle, it can seem like an overwhelming process at first. However, once it is set up and a cadence is determined, the process can run smoothly and provide deeper insight about the entire customer experience, quickly finding strengths and areas for improvement.

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Customer feedback across the journey – tips for a successful program

For traditional restaurant and retail companies, feedback programs can be pretty straightforward. However, for others, such as ecommerce, the process can be a bit more complicated. There are many parts of the journey, from the buying experience to the purchase experience, all the way through complaint resolution to overall product satisfaction.

How is it possible to get feedback at each step of the process in a way that doesn’t inundate customers to the point of survey exhaustion and make sure the experience is recent enough to get accurate feedback about the experience?

Below are some tips to creating an optimal, efficient feedback program for businesses with many steps in the customer journey:

Remember, there is no “one size fits all” feedback survey. Try to avoid sending one feedback survey request at the end of the customer experience. That’s too general and won’t give you the best insight possible. Companies also run the risk of customers not recalling earlier aspects of the experience, so the data may not be as accurate. Multiple feedback surveys are the best bet when the overall experience is a series of steps taken by a customer.

But…don’t feel like you have to get feedback from a customer at each step of the process. While businesses think that the only way to get the best feedback about the entire process is to ask for feedback from Mr. Jones each time he has an interaction with the company, this isn’t necessary. You can get feedback from a variety of customers at different touchpoints to gain overall satisfaction data without risking your customers tuning out.

Keep it simple. Feedback surveys should be short; the shorter, the better. If multiple surveys are used for each step of the process, this can easily be done while getting the best information possible. Want to add more bang to your buck? Offer an open ended narrative option simply asking, “What would you like to tell us? What can we do better? What would you like to see? The sky’s the limit, so share your thoughts.” You may be surprised at the ideas and suggestions your customers have.

Look beyond your most loyal customers. Just like not inundating customers with multiple surveys over time, focusing solely on customers who subscribe to a loyalty program isn’t the answer either. Their time and loyalty needs to be respected; it may be easy to use this group for feedback needs, but it’s important to respect their loyalty and not rely on this group too much. This group may also have different behaviors/opinions/experiences than non-loyalty based customers, so it’s good practice anyway to capture feedback from a broader customer base.

Social Media Monitoring

Take advantage of social conversations. Combine traditional feedback with unstructured feedback on social sites. Taking the last step a bit further, go outside social media audiences and look for feedback from customers that are not tied to a company’s social sites but are talking about your brand, products, or services socially. This is achieved through social media listening – there are many tools to listen to customers talking about a certain topic and compiling that data to tie into feedback results. Unstructured data is a technological goldmine and brands should be aware of how to use this data for greater insight.

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