Building Strong & Lasting Customer Relationships with Wendy Miller
In February 2022, hundreds of leaders from service businesses across the world gathered together online to take part in the Global Frontline Experience Summit, an event we are delighted to sponsor and host again after its hugely successful first run in 2020. It was a phenomenal event with a contagious heaping of inspiration, excitement and possibility for anyone working in the customer experience and frontline service space.
If you missed the summit, brought to you by our Frontline Magic Community don't worry! All of the sessions are available right here, and are just as powerful the second time around.
Wendy Miller is the Senior Vice President of Customer Success at Ruby. She’s passionate about building proactive service organizations that grow through strong, long lasting customer relationships. Wendy is a guru of all things customer journey management, data analysis and process optimization. Her presentation at the Global Frontline Experience Summit takes us through three key data cornerstones that she uses to gauge the health of a service business and their team. Wendy also talks to the importance of feedback loops through connecting your frontline to your bottom line. Let’s dive in!
The Data Cornerstones
The three data cornerstones that Wendy uses to measure the success of a brand and their employees are:
- NPS and CSAT
“Each data point is important in it’s own right, but all three must balance in order for the customer success team to operate effectively”
Wendy says that each cornerstone is not only tied to the customer health score, but also frontline employee compensation.
“In my experience two things are always true. One: people only do what is measured. Two: always tie compensation across the team to the behaviour that you need.”
NPS & CSAT
NPS measures customer loyalty by asking what Bain refers to as the ultimate question (“How likely are you to recommend us/our product to a friend or colleague?”). Your customers will fall into one of three categories:
- Promoters respond with a nine or ten: they are your brand champions, usually making repeat purchases, spending more money, and talking up their great experience with your company.
- Passives respond with a seven or eight: they’re satisfied but unenthusiastic, and are vulnerable to being wooed away by your competitors.
- Detractors respond with a six or below: these unhappy campers are likely to churn and even bad-mouth your brand.
You can get the full d-low on NPS, including best practices, NPS software and more in this blog.
CSAT is short for "Customer Satisfaction". This usually asks the direct question, "How satisfied are you with your experience? It can be combined within a broader survey with other questions or it can be asked as a standalone question.
Using CSAT after an interaction can help to gain an understanding of the “here and now” view of your business. Whether you tailor the question to be about a specific interaction or your overall business, because you’re asking about satisfaction, it tends to give a reflection on how customers see your business through the lens of now.
To measure your CSAT, each option is scored from 1 to 5, with very unsatisfied being a 1 and very satisfied being a 5. You then take the average of all of these scores.
You can learn more about CSAT and how to choose the right metrics to measure customer experience here.
Both NPS and CSAT are important metrics for not only evaluating customer sentiment but also provide a forward view into the health of your customer base.
Measuring along the customer journey
At Ruby, Wendy and her team measure their NPS and CSAT scores multiple times along the customer journey so they can understand where they stand with their customers.
“We have an NPS survey right as the customer completes onboarding, another at the 8 day mark, another at the 90 day mark as well as annual surveys. Surveying often means we’re able to see gaps and areas for improvement”.
In addition to NSP, Ruby captures CSAT on every email communication within the support function. Their goal is to deeply understand how their customers feel about the experience at every touch point. With this mindset, they’ve seen pretty awesome results.
“We want to know how we made each customer feel at every interaction. As a result, we have a 62.7 NPS score, and a 93.7 average CSAT. We’re pretty proud of that.”
Curious about your company's NPS score? Use our calculator here.
The next pillar Wendy focuses on is employee productivity.
Are you maximizing:
- Time? ⏱
- Effort? 💪
- Resources? 📖
“The primary goal of measuring productivity is to determine if the business is putting time, effort and resources into the right initiatives”
Measuring productivity can be tricky to navigate. Employees can be anxious and hesitant to these metrics, so it’s important to have a strong communication and coaching programs in place. It’s also important that employees know what is being measured, why, and how it will be used to guide decisions. Keeping this transparent and clear heightens the level of trust you have with your frontline teams.
“There are expectation requirements on each customer facing role to ensure we are meeting our customers when they need us, even if they haven’t raised their hand. We make sure we tie compensation directly to those measurable actions”
Measuring NPS, CSAT and employee productivity drives us to retaining customers and building brand loyalty.
Customer retention refers to the rate in which a company is able to keep customers coming back for more. It considers strategies to turn customers into repeat customers, and decrease the number of people who churn (drop off or look for alternatives). High customer retention rates signify a business is providing an experience that resonates with customers, and means they are able to maintain their position as a preference over their competitors.
“While NPS gives a forward view into the health of our business, and productivity metrics help us evaluate our teams, measuring our gross and net retention let us see the fruits of that labor”
To retain customers, Wendy says reinforcing and incentivising frontline teams to deliver on required behaviours and KPIs is mission critical. How? You can use a frontline recognition tool to catch your teams doing things right to reinforce awesome work.
Bonus: Leveraging Feedback Loops
When we talk about feedback loops, we’re talking about getting insights from our customers and feeding them to the very people responsible for delivering customer experiences: our frontline teams.
Feedback loops for service brands are like Froot Loops for kids; they’re circular, full of variety and critical for survival.
Wendy says that we must have systems and processes in place to leverage and encourage feedback loops to help customer-facing teams deliver on what matters most to their customers. Too often, all these wonderful learnings about our customers fail to reach the people who need them (frontline teams).
You can use a feedback tool to connect real-time customer feedback with all your teams, systems and processes, based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS®) framework.
To Wrap Up
To successfully measure the health of your service business and your frontline teams, and to build strong, long lasting customer relationships, you need to measure NPS and CSAT, employee productivity and customer retention rates. These can not be measured in isolation, and require an integrated, holistic approach to gain a full view on customer success.
Want to see more presentations from the Global Frontline Experience Summit? We’ll be releasing blogs every week diving into all the juicy insights from our incredible lineup of speakers. In the meantime, you can join the Frontline Magic Community to receive updates, frontline news and more!