NPS Black Belt Guide – Yellow Belt: Plan your attack*

(don’t just leap in)

*you should think of NPS as a way to lovingly embrace your customer rather than attacking them, but for the sake of our black belt theme, we’re going to call it an attack.

Right, you’ve convinced your boss? and the rest of the business that you need to start measuring NPS. What’s next?

This Yellow Belt Guide covers simple tips to make sure you’re ready to kick off.

First consider:

·      What data do you want to get out of the process?

·      Who are the right people to be asking?

·      What’s the right time to be asking them?

·      And how should you ask the question?

Even if you’ve been measuring NPS for a while, it’s a good idea to come back and run through these questions with your team.

1. Start from the finish

It might sound backwards, but before you start firing off surveys, it’s pays to think about what your objectives are – we talked about this a little bit in the White Belt post as far as setting KPIs and targets. Defining your objectives for your NPS (program) will help you think through how you structure your survey.

The most common business objectives:

·      Improving product

·      Increasing customer satisfaction

·      Decreasing turnover of customers

·      Increasing referrals from existing customers

·      Increasing revenue from existing customers (upsell)

These are all related to each other in different ways and generally all important to a business, but you may have one particular area which you need to solve for most urgently.

2. Time your attack carefully

The element of surprise might work in a fight, but it’s not the case when it comes to collecting feedback – you want to make sure you survey customers at a point where it will seem relevant from their point of view.

Trigger, don’t blast

Occasionally customers are blasted all at once to get a bench mark NPS result. However, it’s not recommended to “batch n blast” and you’ll get the best results sending surveys at particular customer engagement points.

This could simply be after an initial purchase; around customer support queries; before their subscription ends or when they add additional features or products to an existing order.

Pick your triggers

Considering the outcomes you want to get from your NPS program will define when you want to trigger a survey.

If you’re looking to improve product quality – think about how long it takes to really get to know the product. If it’s a simple product, you might want to survey them a couple of days after they first buy or subscribe. For a more complex product, wait a little longer or survey at intervals throughout a customer’s lifecycle – eg 2 days after purchase then again at 1 month and 6 months.

If you want to measure customer satisfaction, then focus on customer support engagements. Consider triggering a survey a day or two after a support ticket is closed.

NPS survey added to workflow in HubSpot marketing automation

In most cases, your existing systems already have processes built around the best trigger points such as customer sign ups or purchases, so it’s really easy to trigger surveys at the right time.

3. Choose your weapon wisely

NPS is all about one scientifically tested, effective question “How likely are you to recommend {insert your awesome brand here} to a friend or colleague”. However, there are a couple of things to think about:

Wording of the question:

If you’ve got a very specific data point you want to collect information on, it can make sense to alter the question slightly. For example, if you were specifically wanting to evaluate your customer support team’s effectiveness you might change the wording slightly to “based on your recent experience with our support team, how likely are you to recommend…”

Use your powers carefully though…

While altering the NPS question slightly can be helpful in some cases, you need to use caution – a couple of things you should keep in mind:

Different wording can lead to different results, so you want to be careful that you’re not leading customers down a specific path and influencing their answers. Not sure on the wording you’ve chosen? Ask our friendly support team – they’ve seen the results of thousands of different questions being used, so can help guide you.

You also need to be careful about comparing results across surveys where you’ve asked the NPS question in different ways – this can make results unreliable. We make it easy to separate results from different segments in the AskNicely dashboard so that you can easily exclude.

The combo move

Using the follow up question is your opportunity to get more information or context around a customer’s rating – and this is where you customise your survey:

Rather than “do you have any other feedback?” – you can guide customers to give more information:

Promoters (9 or 10): Thanks, if there was one thing we could do to make our service even better, what would that be?

Passives (7 or 8): Thanks, what would it take from us to get a higher score next time?

Detractors (0 – 6): Sorry we didn’t do so well, can you tell us the main reason for your score?

Wording like this helps ensure each group give you information you can use to pinpoint areas for improvement. It also encourages customers to use language that will make it easier to group comments based on common themes.

Another option is to provide customers with a select range of options before they give feedback. For example, this fitness centre gives any detractor a range of choices which help them quickly identify common problems.

Gym NPS survey with detractor tags

After the customer selects an option they’re prompted to add further feedback in the standard NPS open text format.

Offering a select range of options like this can help give you more usable data, but can also restrict a customer’s feedback so only use this approach if you have a few specific areas of interest.

Learn more about this feature in AskNicely on our support portal

4. Know when to call in the backup

If you’re trying to identify areas where your business is strong or weak, then understanding which area of the business the customer or their feedback relate to can be very important.

AskNicely integrates with other systems so the data you collect from each customer can be made even more useful.  One of our airline customers integrates their booking system with their NPS data so they can look at score by type of aircraft, route flown and the crew who were on duty which gives them great insight into areas within the business. They also pull in details like gender, age and even salutation to identify demographics who tend to have a better or worse experience.

NPS leaderboard from AskNicely dashboard with data integrated from HubSpot

This dashboard shows NPS scores split up by data points which have been brought in from HubSpot highlighting some problem areas where recent results have been low.

Think about how you can make your data really, really useful. Customer’s plan type, city, state, county, length of time as customer, product type or customer support representative can all be useful data points to include.

Now you’re ready to go

With your objectives clearly defined and the right data sources selected, you’re ready to go – so start sending out some surveys and you’ll be ready for our next post where we’ll look at how to find quick wins early on in your NPS program so you can start pushing that score upwards as soon as possible!

NPS Black Belt Guide – Yellow Belt: Plan your attack*

(don’t just leap in)

*you should think of NPS as a way to lovingly embrace your customer rather than attacking them, but for the sake of our black belt theme, we’re going to call it an attack.

Right, you’ve convinced your boss? and the rest of the business that you need to start measuring NPS. What’s next?

This Yellow Belt Guide covers simple tips to make sure you’re ready to kick off.

First consider:

·      What data do you want to get out of the process?

·      Who are the right people to be asking?

·      What’s the right time to be asking them?

·      And how should you ask the question?

Even if you’ve been measuring NPS for a while, it’s a good idea to come back and run through these questions with your team.

1. Start from the finish

It might sound backwards, but before you start firing off surveys, it’s pays to think about what your objectives are – we talked about this a little bit in the White Belt post as far as setting KPIs and targets. Defining your objectives for your NPS (program) will help you think through how you structure your survey.

The most common business objectives:

·      Improving product

·      Increasing customer satisfaction

·      Decreasing turnover of customers

·      Increasing referrals from existing customers

·      Increasing revenue from existing customers (upsell)

These are all related to each other in different ways and generally all important to a business, but you may have one particular area which you need to solve for most urgently.

2. Time your attack carefully

The element of surprise might work in a fight, but it’s not the case when it comes to collecting feedback – you want to make sure you survey customers at a point where it will seem relevant from their point of view.

Trigger, don’t blast

Occasionally customers are blasted all at once to get a bench mark NPS result. However, it’s not recommended to “batch n blast” and you’ll get the best results sending surveys at particular customer engagement points.

This could simply be after an initial purchase; around customer support queries; before their subscription ends or when they add additional features or products to an existing order.

Pick your triggers

Considering the outcomes you want to get from your NPS program will define when you want to trigger a survey.

If you’re looking to improve product quality – think about how long it takes to really get to know the product. If it’s a simple product, you might want to survey them a couple of days after they first buy or subscribe. For a more complex product, wait a little longer or survey at intervals throughout a customer’s lifecycle – eg 2 days after purchase then again at 1 month and 6 months.

If you want to measure customer satisfaction, then focus on customer support engagements. Consider triggering a survey a day or two after a support ticket is closed.

NPS survey added to workflow in HubSpot marketing automation

In most cases, your existing systems already have processes built around the best trigger points such as customer sign ups or purchases, so it’s really easy to trigger surveys at the right time.

3. Choose your weapon wisely

NPS is all about one scientifically tested, effective question “How likely are you to recommend {insert your awesome brand here} to a friend or colleague”. However, there are a couple of things to think about:

Wording of the question:

If you’ve got a very specific data point you want to collect information on, it can make sense to alter the question slightly. For example, if you were specifically wanting to evaluate your customer support team’s effectiveness you might change the wording slightly to “based on your recent experience with our support team, how likely are you to recommend…”

Use your powers carefully though…

While altering the NPS question slightly can be helpful in some cases, you need to use caution – a couple of things you should keep in mind:

Different wording can lead to different results, so you want to be careful that you’re not leading customers down a specific path and influencing their answers. Not sure on the wording you’ve chosen? Ask our friendly support team – they’ve seen the results of thousands of different questions being used, so can help guide you.

You also need to be careful about comparing results across surveys where you’ve asked the NPS question in different ways – this can make results unreliable. We make it easy to separate results from different segments in the AskNicely dashboard so that you can easily exclude.

The combo move

Using the follow up question is your opportunity to get more information or context around a customer’s rating – and this is where you customise your survey:

Rather than “do you have any other feedback?” – you can guide customers to give more information:

Promoters (9 or 10): Thanks, if there was one thing we could do to make our service even better, what would that be?

Passives (7 or 8): Thanks, what would it take from us to get a higher score next time?

Detractors (0 – 6): Sorry we didn’t do so well, can you tell us the main reason for your score?

Wording like this helps ensure each group give you information you can use to pinpoint areas for improvement. It also encourages customers to use language that will make it easier to group comments based on common themes.

Another option is to provide customers with a select range of options before they give feedback. For example, this fitness centre gives any detractor a range of choices which help them quickly identify common problems.

Gym NPS survey with detractor tags

After the customer selects an option they’re prompted to add further feedback in the standard NPS open text format.

Offering a select range of options like this can help give you more usable data, but can also restrict a customer’s feedback so only use this approach if you have a few specific areas of interest.

Learn more about this feature in AskNicely on our support portal

4. Know when to call in the backup

If you’re trying to identify areas where your business is strong or weak, then understanding which area of the business the customer or their feedback relate to can be very important.

AskNicely integrates with other systems so the data you collect from each customer can be made even more useful.  One of our airline customers integrates their booking system with their NPS data so they can look at score by type of aircraft, route flown and the crew who were on duty which gives them great insight into areas within the business. They also pull in details like gender, age and even salutation to identify demographics who tend to have a better or worse experience.

NPS leaderboard from AskNicely dashboard with data integrated from HubSpot

This dashboard shows NPS scores split up by data points which have been brought in from HubSpot highlighting some problem areas where recent results have been low.

Think about how you can make your data really, really useful. Customer’s plan type, city, state, county, length of time as customer, product type or customer support representative can all be useful data points to include.

Now you’re ready to go

With your objectives clearly defined and the right data sources selected, you’re ready to go – so start sending out some surveys and you’ll be ready for our next post where we’ll look at how to find quick wins early on in your NPS program so you can start pushing that score upwards as soon as possible!


About the author

Kai Crow

Kai is based in our Auckland, New Zealand office and while his name means ‘food’ in the New Zealand native language of Maori he is not actually edible. When he’s not keeping our sales and marketing stuff running, Kai’s out riding a mountain bike or running down the beach with his two dogs, Rufus and Sparky.

Other posts by Kai Crow

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