I was listening to a news conference today about the merger between United Airlines and Continental. Reporters were asking the CEO’s of both companies some questions about it and I caught an answer from the United CEO where he stated that he only pays attention to the positive emails he gets on his Blackberry from his customers. Wow. Is he in the dark ages or what?

Any business person should be aware of all of the ratings they get from their customers whether it be positive or negative. A simple metric that you might want to look into is the Net Promoter Score. Simply defined, NPS is built on a simple question that you ask your customers:

“Would you recommend my company to your colleagues?” on a scale of 0-10, 0 being the worst, 10 being the best.

People who rate you:

  • 0 – 6 are your “detractors”, people that wouldn’t recommend you.
  • 7 & 8 are your “passives”, people that think you’re alright, but not great.
  • 9 & 10 are your “promoters”, people that tell all their friends about you.

Then you take the percentage of all detractors and subtract them from the percentage of all promoters. You ignore passives. Then you’ve got your NPS score.

To put it on a scale for you AT&T’s score is 11, and Apple’s score is 77. It’s a great metric to find out how your customers feel about you and a great opportunity for you to ask for open comments. If your customers are saying great things about you to their friends, you’ll potentially get a new customer, and you didn’t have to pay for it. It’s all about a great customer experience.

What We’re Learning

Last year at VerticalResponse we had to focus our teams on parts of our systems that weren’t
customer-facing and even though we had to do that for our business, it
hurt us from our customer’s perspective. This year we’re able to refocus and we’ve been taking a hard look at Net Promoter Score. We just released a new upgrade to the way our customers create email and it has addressed a lot of our customer’s pain points.

What we found as the key to a successful NPS program is the communications that go back to customers about their issues and what we did, or what we are doing to fix any issues they may have.

How To Give The Survey

We use email marketing to send a survey to our customers, we include a survey link in our newsletters and we post splash pages on our site to ask the ultimate question. We also provide an open comment field for them to fill in, and we categorize those comments into buckets. We assess what any customer issues might be, and if we’re in the process of fixing anything or we already did, we use our own email marketing service or a phone call to get back to customers.

Have you done the this type of survey to your customers? What did you learn?

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