We build our business on trust, not just code
At Agilcon, we feel highly connected to our customers. Their success is our success. We are committed to understanding the unique needs of different companies and encouraging them to achieve extraordinary things.
You cannot successfully run a business without being at least good at managing your customer relationships. However, most companies today have gone a step further and are aiming for superior customer service as their marketing strategy.
They believe that if you place the customer needs at the center of what you do and sustain high performance across critical services, over time, you will have developed an unmatching level of customer satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty, as well as their willingness to pay more.
How successful are we at keeping up superior customer service?
PWC study from 2018 shows that although customer expectations about the level of service in different industries vary, most feel that their expectations have not been met.
And why is this so? Most companies do not fully commit to what it takes to achieve true customer intimacy in terms of:
- knowing what the customer needs,
- setting up their organisations to be able to cater to those needs,
- having the organisational mindset and flexibility to quickly adapt to new demands from the market.
Of course, there is no perfect system for this, but in our business practice, we have adopted the NPS both as a metric and as a management tool to be able to get actionable insight from customers and use that information to manage real and impactful change in the organisation.
“Our success is based on the success of our customers. As simple as that. This is one of our core values here at Agilcon. So we always work closely with our customers, to make sure they get the most out of our products. A great customer experience is built on consistent, quality interactions that show a company is in tune with them. And our key customer health metrics (NPS) help us identify brand advocates and at-risk accounts, so that we can fight issues proactively.” – Marko Perme, CEO at Agilcon
So what is NPS?
Many companies use and love the NPS system because of the simple fact that it is straightforward, quick to implement, and very efficient.
NPS is really beautifully simple. You ask your customers how likely they would be on a scale of 0-10 to recommend your product/service to friends, family, or colleagues. People who answer 0-6 are “detractors” – those who will actively discourage others from your business. People who answer 7 or 8 are “passives” – they will most likely not talk about you at all, and people who answer 9 or more are “promoters” – those who will encourage others to become your customer. Subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, and you have your NPS score – the higher, the better.
This input serves as a basis for satisfaction/dissatisfaction drivers analysis and for the feedback loop where you will work on fixing your relationship with your dissatisfied customers, mend broken processes, and exterminate points of friction from your customer relationships.
An important thing to consider is that the value of the NPS survey comes mainly from the open-ended questions where customers are asked to give feedback. Usually, the question looks something like this: “Why did you choose that score?”, “How can we improve?”, “What is the main reason you chose that score?”.
Agilcons NPS is well above the industry average
Because of our commitment to improvement and many efforts of our team to learn from mistakes and include customer suggestions into our operation, Agilcons NPS is 56, well above the industry average.
Since our first measurement in 2018 (30) we are growing by leaps and bounds. Our NPS increased by 26 points and we are strongly decided we are not slowing down anytime soon.
How do we do it in Agilcon?
Like many of our customers, we use NPS to measure our performance and customer satisfaction in all our projects.
1. We use both rNPS* surveys, which run periodically (2x per year), and where we continuously scan for undetected problems.
2. After each implementation, we run a tNPS* survey, together with an additional long-form questionnaire where we look at how effective our project was and measure the whole team's performance - from sales, consultants, and technical staff.
3. NPS is so important to us that we go to great lengths to secure above-average response rates.
“We first contact our customers via email, then our customer success team and project managers also address them in person. Even our CEO reaches out to customers who do not respond and explains why their feedback is important to us.” – Nejc Vidrih, Customer Success Lead & NPS Project Manager at Agilcon.
4. After we have collected the feedback and stored it in Salesforce CRM, we use the feedback to reach out to individual customers, educate our teams, and improve processes.
“Info about survey results is available to account managers, a customer success team, and everybody in contact with the customer. In addition, we often provide feedback to our customers on what we have done with their input and show them that we value the time and effort they put into their responses.” -Nejc Vidrih, Customer Success Lead & NPS Project Manager at Agilcon.
5. We take care of complete transparency within the organisation of what is going on with our customer relationships, and our teams take customer feedback seriously. We have a system in place to deal with issues immediately.
*A detailed explanation of NPS types is added at the end of this article.
Use feedback for meaningful action, or not survey at all
As NPS is a measure of customer advocacy and indicator of their attitude towards your company, this information is crucial when dealing with customers in any situation. You have to remember that the customer thinks that you KNOW all about their problems and past communications with you. That is why it is very important that the score and the feedback that the customer has given you is stored in your CRM and accessible to frontline staff and anyone else in the company who is dealing with customers directly.
This information may help you shape your conversations with your customers, show that you truly listen and care about the problems and will help you be more effective in solving their issues.
“Customers want to be heard, and numbers can tell much about a customer. But that is only half the story. The other half is understanding what customers think and feel about your brand – and why. We take customer feedback very seriously. We work hard to find an appropriate response based on their relationship with us and target the right areas for improvement.” – Marko Perme, CEO at Agilcon
The brain behind Agilcon’s NPS Case Study: Irena Domjanović, Partner at Agilcon Croatia.
For more in-depth advice on conducting an NPS study, read on.
- 1 Meet the players: detractors, passives, promoters
Depending on how they answer the standard “how likely are you to recommend us” question, customers are categorised into three groups—promoters, detractors, passives:
Promoters (score of 9 and 10) represent a company’s most enthusiastic and loyal customers: these people are likely to act as brand ambassadors, enhance a brand’s reputation, and increase referral flows, buy more and stay with you longer, securing your company’s growth.
Detractors (score of 0 to 6, included) are unlikely to recommend a company or product to others, or worse, they could actively discourage potential customers away from a business; in all likelihood they will not repeat purchases with your company or cancel their service.
Passives (score of 7 or 8) are not actively recommending a brand, but are also unlikely to speak badly about you. Although they are not included in the NPS calculation, passives are very close to being promoters (particularly when they give a score of 8), so it always makes sense to find a way to win them over and.
- 2 How to interpret Net Promoter Score?
Net Promoter Score is always expressed as a number from -100 to 100; the score is negative when a company has more detractors than promoters, and positive in the opposite situation.
In the Net Promoter system, average scores vary greatly between industries and on the internet you can find various benchmarks for different industries. I encourage you to look at them to understand what is a “good” or “bad” score in your particular industry. Regardless of the industry averages, any score below 0 would mean you have more detractors than promoters and you should take special care to remedy this situation.
Important thing to consider is that the value of the NPS survey comes largely from the open-ended questions where customers are asked to give feedback. Usually, the question looks something like this: “Why did you choose that score?”, “How can we improve?”, “What is the main reason you chose that score?”.
This input serves as a basis for satisfaction/dissatisfaction drivers analysis and for the feedback loop where you will work on fixing your relationship with your dissatisfied customers, mend broken processes and exterminate points of friction from your customer relationships.
- 3 How to survey?
In the NPS system, everything starts with the survey. Depending on what you will use the NPS survey results for, as well as at what maturity level your customer experience organisation is, there are several options.
It is important to understand different options that you may use to understand which is most appropriate for your particular situation:
The, so called, relationship NPS is a survey that most companies do when they do NPS surveys. This survey is meant to be a measure of the health of your customer relationships and is usually done periodically, in most cases, once a year, on a representative sample. In this survey, your customers are most likely to give you the idea of what they think of your company in general and it is a good measure for the likelihood that the customer will stay with your company.
Things to consider:
- Make sure your sample reflects the structure of your customer database, based on the criteria relevant to your particular industry (for example, demographics, geography, usage criteria, purchase patterns etc.).
- Remember that you have randomly selected your sample and that customers may be referring to events that happened some time ago in their open responses. rNPS, although a great measure of general attitudes, satisfaction and advocacy of your companies is just not fast enough to catch certain problems you may have in your processes.
- Accordingly, since it is a sample, it may be difficult sometimes to understand how big a certain problem is and what is the real % of your customer database that is affected by a certain problem.
- Very often, companies get disappointed from the value of insight they get from their NPS surveys and, in our experience, this almost always happens because they have only been doing rNPS surveys which is just not enough if you are really serious about your customer experience.
tNPS – the so called touchpoint NPS is a survey that measures the performance of certain touchpoints, usually within a certain process in the customer journey. For example, if you are selling and servicing garden equipment you may want to evaluate how your customers are served in different stores, how satisfied they are with the buying experience on the website etc.
Also, you may want to see how you are doing in your after sales activities, how your customer support is doing, what are the typical problems when doing repairs etc. tNPS surveys run 24/7 and surveys are usually triggered by some event on a touchpoint that you have identified as relevant and important for customer experience (has ability to delight or anger the customer), has enough volume, is governable etc. Scores and open answers are collected continuously.
Things to consider:
- tNPS is what will give you the fuel to run your customer experience effort. No better way to learn about what is really going on, than from customers, right? However, if you will not do anything with the feedback, get in touch with the customers and let them know that they have been heard and that you will do something to fix the problem, it is better you do not do the surveying at all.
- tNPS is a great input for subsequent surveys that can measure how certain drivers are performing over time in the whole database. For example, if you keep seeing problem X on a certain touchpoint, you may run a separate survey to understand the problem in depth or survey in the database to understand how big the problem really is.
sNPS is “strategic” NPS, a variation of rNPS. The focus of this study is the benchmarking with your competition. Usually, the sample sizes are smaller and there may be a problem of statistical significance, so usually this survey is compared to the other NPS surveys that you would be doing.
- 4 How to use the insight?
“Vision without action is daydreaming” as the old saying goes. The same applies to insight that you have gathered but are not using to improve how you service your customers.
If you do not use insight for concrete action, this will hurt you in several ways:
- All the effort and costs you have put into surveying goes to waste.
- Internally, the teams working on the NPS system end up wasting a lot of energy for surveying, making reports and presentations that lead to nothing which demoralises the organisation and has long lasting negative effects on any future attempts at improving customer satisfaction.
- Finally, you lose credibility with your customers. Actually, it is better not to survey at all if you will not use customer feedback for meaningful action and let your customers know what you have done based on their feedback.
In the NPS system, the actions we use from the insight is called “the feedback loop”.
How it works?
- A special team in your organisation will have regular meetings and go through the feedback which will then be categorised into “fix now”, “reach out to customer” and “root cause analysis”.
- Individual problems that have been identified will usually require someone from the company to reach out to customers either to get more data on the issue or to fix the relationship – say you are sorry, say what you will do to fix the problem etc.
- Whatever you can do to fix the problem now – do it. And let the customer know about it.
- A lot of the problems that come up during surveys have to do with some systemic fault that usually takes some time to analyse and fix. This is where typical project management or agile methodology steps in.