By now, most of us are familiar with using Net Promoter Score, the likelihood that your customers will recommend you, as a superior alternative to traditional customer satisfaction metrics. However, most NPS programs fall well short of their potential.
The reason? Typical NPS programs focus just on operational issues and are primarily based on using online surveys to develop quantitative metrics. These studies can provide good data on how satisfied customers are with your support, the quality of your products, how easy your system is to use, where you stand with customers overall, etc. BUT they miss the big picture issues – questions such as:
- What are the barriers to expanding your footprint that are caused by larger business issues, not just features and service delivery?
- What area the emerging threats to your platform/products?
- What is the potential to cross-sell new offerings to customers and who are the most promising prospects?
- What is the profile of your most successful customers that should be channeled back to sales and marketing?
In Topline’s view, if you are engaging your customers, you should be engaging them in a dialogue about strategic issues as well as operational ones? This is what we mean by Strategic NPS.
Topline’s Strategic NPS Methodology
Our unique approach leverages the conversation with customers for strategic and operational questions. The methodology is based on a broad scale survey followed up by selective interviews. Where the survey can provide on How and What, it is the insights that come from interviews that get uncover Why, which is the key to developing an effective action plan. Our approach includes:
- Adaptive Surveys: B2B customers often segment by size, industry, or other dimensions and have multiple types of users and stakeholders within an account. To account for this diversity, we develop adaptive surveys where the questions are dynamically tailored to the role of the individual and nature of the customer’s business. This approach enables us to generate more detailed and relevant data than is possible with a linear survey where everyone sees the same questions.
- Selective Interviews: We follow up the survey with a set of selective interviews from the survey respondents. Interviews enable discovery and provide a degree of insight that are not possible from surveys. It is the interview findings that enable our clients to formulate solutions.
- Results Benchmarking: For many reasons, NPS scores for B2B technology solutions are lower than those for consumer businesses. Comparing your company’s performance to Apple is not just disappointing, it is unrealistic and may lead you to focus on the wrong things. Topline has assessed the Net Promoter Score for many B2B technology solutions and can benchmark your NPS performance against similar businesses
- 2X Per Year Sampling Frequency: For B2B clients we recommend a sampling frequency of twice per year. This provides a steady stream of high value feedback with enough time between rounds to measure the impact of changes. More often than that becomes too intrusive to customers and is too frequent to measure the results of operational changes.
- Change Measurement: In B2B businesses, high level metrics move slowly and it is just not practical to wait a year or two to find out whether what you are doing is working. To truly gauge the impact of your initiatives, you need to measure the success of those initiatives directly. For that reason, with each iteration, in addition to measuring key metrics over time, we add new questions designed to measure the effectiveness of the actions you have taken.