Why NPS Should Matter to Your Contact Center

By Tony Iero

npsIn a contact center, there has never been just one key performance indicator (KPI) that determines success. Metrics, such as quality scores, first call resolution (FCR), average handling time and revenue per call, are all meaningful and can indicate if you’re on track with providing optimal service levels while sustaining a high level of business optimization. Yet, there is one KPI that has recently become more closely evaluated and discussed than all others. It’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Developed by Bain & Company and first introduced in the Harvard Business Review in 2003, NPS has become a customer loyalty metric used by leading brands, including Apple, American Express and General Electric, as well as a growing number of smaller organizations.

How is NPS calculated? It can be boiled down to one simple question. “How likely is it that you would recommend a company to a friend or colleague?” The answer is ranked on a scale of 0 to 10. Those who promote a business will give a ranking of 9 or 10. Those who remain neutral will provide a ranking of 7 or 8. Those who are likely to complain or share a bad experience with others will rank a company between 0 and 6.

NPS and the Contact Center
Although the Net Promoter Score is focused on the customer’s view of an overall brand, there’s more to this metric than how a customer feels about a product or service they’re buying. Consider that large-scale contact centers handle millions of consumer transactions each year. With each interaction, whether it takes place on the phone or via one of the growing number of digital communication channels, there is the opportunity to increase or decrease the NPS. Extended hold times or high-effort experiences that require multiple steps or transfers, could quickly cause customers to not want to recommend a company to friends or colleagues. In contrast, seamless, personalized journeys or unexpectedly impressive, proactive interactions could propel customers to sing the praises of a company.

Delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX) has always been essential to growing and sustaining a loyal customer base. And, measuring service quality has happened since the earliest days of contact centers. Yet, many now believe that NPS is more relevant because it uncovers a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty, as well as the quality of service being delivered in a more complex contact center that consists of multiple channels and more self-service options. So, how can a contact center use NPS effectively to improve their overall success? Keep reading!

Survey, Survey, Survey
You’ll never know your company’s baseline NPS if you only survey customers once and never again. Scores can fluctuate dramatically depending on day-to-day service challenges, and not everyone is going to respond to a survey the first time it is sent. If you haven’t already, consider creating a system to survey customers on a consistent basis. This can be via email, mobile app, IVR or other channel. The key is to keep it short and simple. The survey should be the sole call-to-action with one single question – How likely are you to recommend (your company) to others?

Thank Respondents
Not everyone will have the same response to your survey. This is why it’s important to tailor your thank you. Those who gave a high ranking should receive a thank you email response that includes content that they can share with others. Remember – you’ve already identified that they are your promoters! Thank you emails to neutral customers can include more passive suggestions, such as following your company on social media or revisiting your website. For “detractors,” the best approach may be to offer them a way to unsubscribe to emails. This may defuse anger in some of these individuals, and it will help you remove those from your list who have the potential of sharing negative experiences with others.

Fine-Tune Future Engagement for Each Customer Group
With three very distinct groups of customers (promoters, neutrals and detractors), you can begin to tailor more focused content to either maintain or improve their NPS stage. For example, promoters may respond favorably to sharing information about your company with others if they get a free perk for making a referral. However, don’t expect neutral customers to have the same response. This group can be more difficult to figure out. Some may be interested in premium content or a form-free offer they can download. Others may not respond to any amount of nurturing. It’s likely you’ll have to experiment to determine the right level of engagement with this group.

For detractors, it’s often best to altogether avoid proactive email marketing efforts. A low touch way, such as via Facebook or Twitter, may be the only approach initially. Over time, you can test out the waters with detractors who are actively engaging with your company via social media in a positive way.

Follow Up
Net Promoter Scores are not set in stone. In fact, well-planned nurturing campaigns can be highly successful in bumping up scores. Thus, it’s important to survey again after running a campaign. Many companies will schedule NPS surveys on a regular cycle, such as once a quarter or after a typical buying cycle. This can happen via email, IVR, mobile app or other channel. The key is being able to gather the rankings and carefully compare them to past results to identify trends and causes for changes in the overall score.

Understand Your Rankings
A drop in NPS can happen to any company and for many reasons. The key is being able to determine the cause of the customer dissatisfaction and make improvements before more customers fall into the neutral or detractor categories. If it’s a case of long hold times, a solution like VHT Callback can help you overcome unexpected spikes in call volumes.

Using NPS with Other KPIs
Will evaluating a variety of KPIs be completely replaced by the Net Promoter Score? Some contact center experts believe so. However, more predict that this valuable metric will be used alongside other long-standing forms of analysis to not only identify customers’ level of enthusiasm and loyalty, but also to determine the best course of action for making improvements. While there is debate on the level of importance of NPS, no one will dispute that a customer who would tell a friend or colleague about a positive experience is worth their weight in gold.