The Future of Net Promoter Score is Here: from Lagging Indicator to Crystal Ball ft. @Wootric

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazdesky).

Revenue growth and profitability — are the two metrics the C-Suite cares about the most. They tell you exactly how you did this month or quarter. But do strong sales predict next quarter’s results? Hardly.

What if the C-Suite had a crystal ball that could not only predict their growth and profitability, but give glimpses into the minds of their customers in time to save accounts that might otherwise go under?

We haven’t really had that capability, until now.

Traditionally, Net Promoter Score has been a “lagging indicator.” NPS surveys were typically sent out once a year, or once a quarter at most. There would be a big push to get the survey out, another push to respond, and then a mad dash of trying to piece together what happened during that time to result in the scores received.

But modern NPS programs are different. They can be that crystal ball.

Customer Experience Predicts Growth & Profit

More studies and reports are coming out by the day proving that Customer Experience is a key predictor of growth and revenue — for every type of company, business, product and service. It’s not just a “SaaS thing.” Brick-and-mortar businesses are optimizing for it too, and seeing results.

One of these reports, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s, The Value of Experience: How the C-suite values customer experience in the digital age, found that companies that prioritize investment in customer experience (CX) have better revenue growth (59% vs. 40%) and higher profits (64% vs. 47%) than companies that don’t prioritize customer experience.

McKinsey & Co. found that “Optimizing the Customer Experience typically achieve[s] revenue growth of 5–10% … in just two to three years.”

And, there’s no better way to optimize for customer experience than by using the NPS metric.

NPS = Customer Experience

There are so many ways to ask about customer experience. You can send lengthy surveys and open-ended questions; you can ask customers in person or over the phone. But there is no question — or list of questions — that reveals the unvarnished truth like the NPS question:

How likely are you, on a scale of 1–10, to recommend this product?

Customers don’t have to worry about hurting your feelings or protecting the job of the “very nice customer service rep” who didn’t help them at all. They just have to choose a number. And, by framing the question as whether they would recommend the product, you tap into a very honest desire to help other people (help them by sharing great products, or help them by warning them away from bad ones).

With one question, NPS gets to the core of whether customer experience efforts are working, or not. This is what makes it the ideal tool to help teams optimize for customer experience. Budge this one, simple number, and you’ve got real progress.

In Fred Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question 2.0, he includes a revealing, real-world example of NPS in action:

Phillips electronics tracked NPS for a sample of accounts over time and found that where NPS increased, revenue grew by 69%. Where it remained steady, revenue grew only by six percent. And where NPS declined, revenues actually decreased by 24%.

Modern NPS = Crystal Ball

What is the difference between NPS and a modern NPS program? Part of the difference is in how the surveys and tracking are managed. A modern NPS program has an easily navigable dashboard that shows you your current scores and compares them to previous ones, lets you see trends clearly, displays qualitative feedback with the quantitative score, and records all of these results in one, central location.

But convenience isn’t the most important difference between the old ways of conducting NPS surveys and cutting edge NPS.

The most important difference is the ability to get NPS results in real-time.

This capability is what gives modern NPS programs the ability to act as leading indicators of customer experience, and by extension, growth and profit.

By polling different customers every day, your customers don’t get over-surveyed (so their response rates improve), and you can see the results of your customer experience efforts immediately, and pivot accordingly.

No more wasting time on customer experience strategies that don’t work. No more wasting resources on measures that don’t actually delight your customer base. If something works, you’ll know it. And, if something doesn’t work, you’ll know that too.

But the crystal ball of modern NPS can do one more thing: Let you catch a glimpse into the minds and hearts of your customers. Along with the basic NPS question, the survey offers a qualitative response screen that lets survey respondents tell you why they scored the way they did. Then, it lets you read those responses, tag them by theme (like “Feature Request“), and send them on to the appropriate department, like “Product Team” or “Marketing.”

The customer receives an appropriate response, improving their experience as a result of taking the customer experience survey.

Not even crystal balls can do that.

A modern NPS program is an incredibly powerful tool that lets you track customer experience in real-time and easily identify actionable insights.

Get our new ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. We’ll show you how to get the best results by modernizing your NPS program for the most successful year ever.


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