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What have you learned through your experiences measuring NPS? For which segments of users do you measure it, and how often? Depth of integration into your product? Doing it in-house vs. paying for a service?

  • LM

    Lincoln Murphy

    over 6 years ago #

    I find a lot of people rolling their eyes at NPS lately... as if it doesn't work, isn't valuable, or is something that only works with consumer-oriented products and services; that for some reason it simply doesn't work in B2B.

    But this is the same reaction you see to other things that people tried half-way - or just implemented incorrectly - and then were unhappy with the results.

    Or, more appropriately... they didn't know what to do with, or how to interpret, the results, meaning the surveys were basically pointless.

    Look, NPS is actually awesome. It's one very useful (but weighted appropriately for your situation) input into the health of your customers.

    At Gainsight we have NPS surveys built into the product, that our customers can enable to fire off at appropriate times (and people; know who you're surveying and weigh that accordingly) and trigger Customer Success Manager (or other system) intervention based on the NPS score and/or how it affects their overall Health Score (again, figuring in weighting against other Customer Health inputs).

    You do have to be careful how often you send these, but "careful" is relative; it depends. A good rule of thumb is to send after a significant interaction with the customer. An even better rule of thumb is to send after a significant (success) milestone reached by the customer.

    Positive event = positive result. But not for the ego boost that comes with a high NPS. It's even better than that! Read on...

    This is where you start to really get into the power of NPS surveys, and where most people go wrong.

    Depending upon where the respondent scores, they'll either be a Promoter, Detractor, or Neutral. At Gainsight, our Chief Customer Officer Dan Steinman said it best: it's either Promoter or Detractor... we don't want Neutrals!

    Most people focus on the Detractors. Just like you focus on unsubscribes from email lists, unfollows on Twitter, etc. it's human nature to focus on the negative. What could we have done better! Argh!

    And while that's important and we need to understand what's going on to cause someone to be a Detractor (though a full-blown Customer Success Management product like Gainsight will give you the additional context that you need to see so you won't panic; "oh, they had a serious support issue this week, that was resolved but angered some folks... it was resolved and they're otherwise healthy."), it's super-important to leverage the Promoters.

    Promoters are people that just raised their hand and said "yes, I would be willing to tell someone about your product."

    They didn't, however, raise their hand to say that, and then actually go tell anyone. That's the hard part. It's up to you to take that Promoter and orchestrate their telling others.

    Whether that's getting them to write a review for you (or you write it for them based on your knowledge of the success they've had with your product and get them to sign-off on it), or to talk to a prospect, get their logo on your site, etc. Having a very clear workflow for acting on Promoter results is huge. Generally it's some type of escalated advocacy ask... first it's a quote, then it's a case study, then... etc. Whatever works in your world with your customers.

    And, BTW, leveraging a Promoter for advocacy doesn't have to be external. Sometimes that takes forever to get through legal or other approvals or they're just not there yet (even if they said they were).

    But if there is internal expansion potential in that company, immediately following a Promoter result would be a great time to ask your customer contact to invest some social capital and introduce you to their peer in another department. Write the email for them so all they have to do is hit send. Or just give let them do it from in the app; enter the email address and hit send. Done.

    That's one simple way you can orchestrate intra-company virality and grow LTV with one customer.

    So much more to say on NPS but that's more than enough for now...

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 6 years ago #

      Love the internal champion recommendation! Hadn't thought of that one before. BTW, Qualaroo now supports branching in NPS to make it easier to do this type of stuff. Not as comprehensive solution for NPS as you guys are doing at Gainsight, but for someone already using Qualaroo it will be valuable way to experiment with this type of stuff.

    • EK

      Eugenia Koo

      over 6 years ago #

      Thanks! What is your marketing approach in getting users to complete the survey more regularly/often? We offer a freemium consumer service and our current thinking is to segment by free vs. paid, about a week or two after they activate- NPS is not yet integrated into the product itself, so it'd probably be executed via email (and it seems the quickest/cheapest survey option is surveymonkey).

      • LM

        Lincoln Murphy

        over 6 years ago #

        To get people to take action, the main thing is to make the ask at the right time. It is rare - in my experience - for that "time" to be the same for every user/customer. Users/customers will reach milestones in your app on a unique cadence so - even if the variance is a day or two - basing your survey purely on a timed interval is probably going to be less effective than triggering it based on actions taken by the user or customer.

        Like I said, my suggestion is to make the ask either after a significant interaction with them or - even better - after they've achieved a success milestone.

        That said, there are lots of ways to make the ask that will get results, but I'd say in a low-touch scenario, like the free users of a Freemium product - emailing a survey is probably the least effective *unless* you've done a great job of getting them used to interacting with emails from you. Some do this better than others.

        You should also manage expectations from day one... one of the keys (IMHO) to Freemium being a successful strategy is that there's a quid pro quo with the free users. They get your stuff for free, and in return you get something. Could be data, content, they spread the word, or it could be feedback. Make that known from the outset that you expect their feedback. Will this result in 100% participation? No... but managing expectations from early in the lifecycle always helps.

        Quick Digression... managing expectations is also how you dramatically improve free to paid conversions in Freemium, too... let them know from the outset that they can use the free version forever, but that there is a Premium version that they can upgrade to at anytime. This reduces a lot of the psychological barriers that "free forever" puts up and when you make the offer to upgrade later they are much more open to it.

        While you said this isn't possible now, at least for others reading this, I'd definitely consider building this functionality into your product. That way - if they have a high score - you can show them a way to act on their self-identification as a Promoter and help them help you by spreading the word (internally to net new prospective customers/users, or internally to other departments).

        Barring deep integration into your product, you could use something like Qualaroo to display the survey on the page/screen where the success milestone took place. Or you could use Intercom to pop that based on an action in-app or a ping from a support system.

        There are lots of ways to make this happen... the tools are there, the first thing is to figure out why you're doing what you're doing.

        You should also have a very clear plan for dealing with the Detractors (and Neutrals)... in fact, I suggest giving them a way to immediately detail why they gave you a low score. If you don't give them a place - and permission - to share their thoughts, vent frustrations, they might just do it publicly. However, if you don't act on that or if you make them feel like they were talking to a gaping void... then they'll eventually make their way out into public... only this time with more steam.

        I write too much.

  • JP

    Jessica Pfeifer

    over 6 years ago #

    NPS is exactly what you make of it.

    If you're consistently comparing against your own performance over time, looking for feedback trends, and actually closing the loop with customers as @lincolnmurphy mentions then you're getting a one-two punch: a valuable quantitative business measure and a meaty qualitative pulse in just two lean questions (the ranking and the why).

    I'm now doing this for a living at Wootric (in-product NPS tool for Saas/e-comm companies) so here are a few best practices I see:

    --Be consistent in your methodology (which customers you sample, how often etc.). Your product and customer interaction with your product will determine how often you measure...for relationship NPS it's fairly common to give people a little time to work with you before asking (up to one month), and then leave them alone for at least 3 months before inquiring again. Automate this process of ongoing sampling if you can--that time is much better spent taking action on customer feedback.

    --Yes to segmentation! Sample randomly across your key business segments as long as you can identify and filter them for analysis. As @austin mentions, drilling down into scores and feedback for a type of user or a payment plan (for example) can reveal meaningful differences and deeper insights. I'd also focus on your active users -- use NPS to prevent churn rather than diagnose why it happened. While it is valuable to know why churned customers left you, I'm not convinced that NPS is the best tool for this group (nor should it be combined with your active score.)

    --If it makes sense for your business, stick NPS in your product. Catch users in the moment (in a place that doesn't disrupt user flow), and make it clean, short, and frictionless to respond. I know many companies are happy with just a 'representative sample' of users to fill out an email NPS (even if that means only a 10% response rate), but I'd rather hear from as many of my customers as possible. Across our own customer base we see response rates of 50% or more with in-product NPS. In-product NPS also becomes a more valuable tool for the product team, because you'll often get great product insights that might not make it into an email response a week later.

    As for build or buy, I think you should figure out the role NPS will play in your company (who owns, integrations, survey approach etc), and then make the decision based on resources and fit. Given that the market for tools is evolving quickly this is certainly a more compelling choice than in the past, but may not be for everyone.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 6 years ago #

    We've been thinking a lot about NPS over at Qualaroo.

    cc'ing @Sean :)

  • LT

    Luke Thomas

    over 6 years ago #

    Always ask a follow-up question.

    Even something simple like "Why" allows you to uncover the specific reason why someone gave you a particular score.

  • AL

    Alfred Lua

    almost 6 years ago #

    @sarahleeyoga wrote an interesting article on how to use NPS and CSAT together to get a complete view of your customers and how to convert them into Highly Satisfied Promoters.

    The issue with NPS is that customers with high satisfaction still churn. After plotting NPS and CSAT score together, she is able to divide the chart into 4 sections:
    - Advocates
    - Promoters with bad service experiences
    - Wildcards
    - Wasteland of lost customers

    She then talked about each of the sections and suggested how to work with them.

    Link: http://blog.kayako.com/nps-isnt-telling-you-everything/

  • DR

    dave rigotti

    over 6 years ago #

    Does anyone have B2B / Enterprise SaaS NPS benchmarks?

  • JB

    Jon Burg

    about 6 years ago #

    I have been in this space for about ten years and currently work with a platform-provider offering NPS services. The advice below is based on my work agency-side, brand-side and platform-side.

    I have found incredible success using NPS, particularly when it's used strategically. NPS is a metric is like any other - it describes what has happened. But metrics can't tell you why things are happening, only what has happened. To make NPS (or any other metric) meaningful and actionable, you need to dive in and understand the underlying motivators behind the metric or trend.

    I usually collect NPS on an ongoing basis, using it as a performance benchmark and as a red flag for customer issues. I always segment my NPS or CSAT by topic. This will allow you to understand where you need to focus your resources and where you are exceeding customer expectations.

    While you can generally create your own NPS reports using in-house resources, I have always worked with outside services or platforms.

    I do this for two reasons:
    1) This party services have often invested in reporting dashboards and third party integrations which will help you identify the reasons for high or low scores. They have already done the legwork. Building this on your own takes time and resources.

    2. Outside vendors often have relevant expertise. A good vendor won't approach this as a consultant trying to increase billable hours. They will come to you with exercises that will help you focus your objectives, and processes that will help you deliver actionable insights back to your business.

  • PV

    Paul Vesely

    over 6 years ago #

    1. Don't ask the project manager who was the main point of contact to be present on in the conversation when the client gives the rating to you (the manager).
    2. Give a full intro as to what is NPS to the client before asking for the rating.
    3. Don't make the client feel pressured.

  • AL

    Austin Lilley

    over 6 years ago #

    Biggest thing is to expect your NPS to be different for different cohorts. The key is to finding out why (ask with a follow up as @lukethomas mentioned).

    Where are key interaction points for your product? I've generally used it after a customer has used my service and had some time for implementation. Really interested to see what @sean says.

  • PK

    Phillip Klien

    over 6 years ago #

    The way I see value in NPS is it's consistency and the fact that it is the closest thing we have as denominator for customer satisfaction. I also agree that timing is critical to get NPS responses - and I believe that email has two problems: (1) people don't open email and (2) people will be affected by their current situation and may not rely a response adequate to their experience. People have to give feedback while they are using the service.

    I wanted to implement NPS so much at my last SaaS startup, that I actually created an in-app/website survey system that collects and showcases data. Do check it out: http://fanexam.com