Culture Shift: How NPS Changed Everything at Ivory Group
When Junji Kamoshida joined our video call in mid-December, his office was nearly empty—but it was still a full week before Christmas.“We told our team earlier this year that if we reached an NPS of 77 for the final quarter, we’re getting extra days off,” said Junji, laughing as he gestured around the empty office. “It worked!”
Junji is the CEO and co-founder of Ivory Group, a recruiting firm based in Sydney, Australia. When Junji and his co-founders, Tim Signo and Mark Grace, started Ivory Group in 2011, NPS (Net Promoter Score) wasn’t on their radar—but they did have a clear vision for what they wanted to accomplish.“
We saw what we deemed to be a lack of integrity in the recruitment world,” said Junji. “It was all about numbers and KPIs. We saw a gap that we could fill by providing great quality recruitment.”
As it turns out, they were right. Ivory Group grew quickly by emphasizing quality service, which they think about as “not just fast and reliable, but delightful”.
Measuring (and marketing) customer service
Their early success sparked another idea. “About two years ago, we came to a realization. The industry of recruitment has a bad name in Australia, so if we could find a way to measure what great service is, and market it as a point of difference, we could really stand out and be noteworthy.”
At the same time, one of Ivory Group’s recruiters was feeling restless in his current role and wanted a new challenge. Junji deputized him to take on the project of quantifying and marketing the great service Ivory Group was already providing.
He soon came across AskNicely, and Ivory Group onboarded our customer feedback solution in December 2017. The initial idea for measuring NPS was sparked by Ivory Group’s desire to differentiate, but the impact of adopting AskNicely extended far beyond marketing.
“It’s achieved a hell of a lot,” Junji said. “In the last two years, our internal culture around service—including myself as CEO—has really changed.”
How conversations led to change
As Ivory Group began measuring NPS, they also began talking about it. A lot. They include NPS in their quarterly OKRs, track it publicly in each office location, share weekly digests with every employee, and have a Slack integration channel that publishes real-time ratings in a dedicated channel.
“People are proud about having a good NPS rating,” said Junji. “It brings them a lot of joy. It’s really been an entire cultural change around going from a fast, reliable service to a fast, reliable, delightful service.”
There were a few speed bumps along the way. At first, their Slack channel embraced full transparency by publishing every score in real-time. Early on, though, one employee received a zero from one of her clients and “was heartbroken”. “I think it was too early,” said Junji. “We changed the settings so that only scores of 8 and above appear on the public Slack. We want it to be a positive experience that encourages people.”
As Junji and his team began to include NPS in their marketing materials, they also learned that many prospects don’t know much about how NPS is calculated. (A score of 77 is much more impressive when you understand the scale starts at -100, not zero!)
Their solution was simple and smart. Christine Celerio, Recruitment Administrator, researched publicly available NPS for Australian and global brands and assembled them into a graphic for their marketing presentation decks. Showing their own NPS next to brands like Apple (63) or Airbnb (45) helps their prospects understand the context—how exceptional Ivory Group’s customer loyalty score really is—at a glance.
Christine happens to know the ins and outs of NPS at Ivory Group better than most. She leads the team responsible for replying to feedback, responding to every customer with automated workflows or manual response when needed. She also helps coordinate the workflows that request Google reviews from Ivory Group promoters, which they advertise prominently on their website.
What’s next for NPS at Ivory Group
In 2020, Ivory Group plans to focus on employee engagement, including how they leverage NPS.
For the first time, NPS will be factored into selecting winners of their Consultant of the Quarter and Consultant of the Year awards. Ivory Group will also begin including individual NPS ratings in employee performance reviews, and are just starting to discuss adding a new position: a Candidate Relationship Manager who will manage candidate happiness and enjoyment, based on the NPS framework.
“NPS has become our differentiator,” said Junji. “And it’s been a real cultural change here. We’re trying to embed NPS everywhere we possibly can.”
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