NPS can be dangerous for your company - this is how you can fight that Matthias De Clercq - November 30, 2020

Customer Experience Milosz Klinowski Bw0D0 Ill W8 E Unsplash D28718180092E32Fa9F66F585104B060

I’m a big believer in numbers. Nothing better, for instance, to tell you how your company is performing than the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the willingness of customers to recommend your company's products or services to others. It’s one of the most interesting and tough metrics out there, right? But there’s a drawback to it as well.

Sometimes, we are lulled into this dangerous type of complacency when we get (pretty) good scores. They may be positive numbers, but they are also “just” numbers. It’s how you act on them that counts; how you are obsessed with continuously improving your processes for your customers.

You might be measuring the wrong thing

That’s where the feedback loop comes in, one of my favourite methods of continuous improvement. Now, I know that a lot of you are biased towards this type of data-driven feedback loops. You’re probably thinking about these highly expensive AI-systems that measure everything that your customers are doing and then automate certain reactions so that you can immediately act on their needs and wants. It does not necessarily have to be that. I’m for instance a huge fan of Hello Customer. Simply put, they offer this highly intelligent feedback platform that connects customers to the employees of an organization. They gather feedback from various channels - Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, website, e-mail, etc. - and build a powerful engine that can read, categorize and really understand what customers are talking about. The beauty of their tool is that they are measuring what customers are feeling rather than what they are saying. This actually uncovers a much deeper truth than the NPS.

I loved what Leslie Cottenje told Steven Van Belleghem in their podcast conversation: that they often found out that companies tended to listen to a minority - the most disgruntled customers - because these were the ones that shouted the loudest. Now, I’m not saying that you should not be listening to the latter (negative feedback is the most actionable form of information out there) but that you should measure the right thing, and focus on those priorities that are sometimes invisible to the eye (or ear), but very present in your customers base. Systems like Hello Customer’s are very valuable for that.

But above all, listening to and empowering your own team in the field is just as valuable.

Accept that your field crew knows more than you do

Back when I was Country Manager Belgium at Coolblue, we made sure that our delivery crew received their daily NPS. The reason was twofold. First, this practice helped install a culture of extreme customer centricity, as the customer’s opinion was their permanent companion. I really loved that, but I was a lot more excited by the other side of this coin. We adapted the system so that the delivery crew was able to give internal feedback on this daily NPS score: they could explain what they thought had gone wrong, and what they believed could have been a solution.

Without this extra shackle in the feedback loop, their NPS would have just been a number, and the according interpretation of their management would have lacked the ultra-valuable context of the field. But this is perhaps my favourite result of this method: allowing them to discuss and analyse their NPS greatly empowered our delivery team. It immediately became clear that it increased their involvement, as well as their willingness to improve processes. The effort we put in becoming more customer centric actually resulted in a simultaneous form of employee centricity.

So yes, I’m still a big believer in numbers, like NPS. But they are only valuable when you conclude the right things, and then act upon them. My advice is to install systems that measure your customers’ voice and create a culture of customer obsession that is based on the first-hand information of an empowered team.

Matthias De Clercq C626353C6A9C102D3983655F4D11887E
Matthias De Clercq

Matthias De Clercq started as Chief Commercial Officer at nexxworks, and then moved out to become Chief Operations Officer.  Before that, Matthias had been working at Coolblue for...

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