No More Guessing Games: How NPS Surveys Can Help You Measure Customer Satisfaction

Kate Cygan on December 07, 2021

I’m not big on guessing. It just seems like an unnecessary risk. Why go through life being blindsided by problems when you could catch them early by regularly checking in? All it takes is one “How are you doing?” or “Does that sound good to you?” and I immediately know if I’m on the right track with someone.

One tactic I use in my professional life is a weekly report from my team ranking their overall attitude from 1-10. It’s a quick pulse check that can tell me if people are doing great or if they might need a little help. And since it works so well with my team, why not use it for clients too?

We do our best to regularly ask the brands we work with for their feedback. We want to make sure we’re meeting their needs and providing the best possible service. To help you see how you can implement NPS surveys in your business, we’ll talk a little bit about how they work and show you how we use them here at Lone Fir Creative.

What Is an NPS Survey?

NPS stands for Net Promoter Score. It’s a metric used by customer experience programs to measure customer loyalty. The process is pretty simple: Your customers are asked a single question, either by a survey or in-person/over the phone - “How likely is it that you would recommend [organization/product/service] to a colleague?”

Their response is captured, recorded and added to the list of other responses from customers or clients who have been asked this question. All responses are crunched together and then your company is assigned a satisfaction score of -1 - 100. The higher the overall score, the greater your customer's happiness.

These scores are often regarded as the gold standard when it comes to measuring customer experience. Since their inception in 2003, millions of businesses have started using NPS scores as a reliable benchmark for performance. The survey responses are a straightforward measurement of customer satisfaction that shouldn’t be overlooked.

How Does it Work?

Now, I know what you might be thinking. How in the world does a computer put a number to customer satisfaction based on a single question? Seems futuristic, but it’s really just magic math.

Based on their answers, customers are grouped into one of three categories:

  • Promoters: Reported 9 or 10. These customers are loyal and enthusiastic.
  • Passives: Reported 7 or 8. These customers are satisfied with your company but not enthusiastic enough to be considered promoters.
  • Detractors: Reported 0 to 6. These customers are unhappy and unlikely to buy from you again. They might even discourage others from working with you.

The program you’re using will generate NPS results by subtracting the decorator percentage from the promoter percentage. (You can pass on the passives.) So if your survey showed 5% of respondents are detractors, 30% are passives and 65% are promoters, your score would be 65 - 5 = 60. Not too shabby!

Who Should Ask for an NPS?

Your type of business can determine who should ask customers for an NPS. In general, the employee with the closest relationship with the customer should be the person to ask. This might be a marketing consultant if you’re an agency or a customer support representative who helped the customer through an issue. If your team members don’t work directly with customers often, you could always utilize automation in your CRM to send over an email after someone makes a purchase.

Sometimes you’re going to come across unhappy customers. Although the joy of customer feedback surveys is seeing how well you’re performing, finding those customers who had a bad experience can sometimes be even more valuable. You don’t want to wait until customers are happy to ask how they’re feeling. Check in regularly to get an accurate picture of how they feel about the overall relationship.

You can even reach out to respondents who gave you a low score to see what problems they faced and how you can resolve them. If you can fix the issue before future customers encounter it, you could easily boost your customer retention rates.

This conversation can sometimes be tough to start and even tougher to ensure you’re getting an accurate response — not just nice words because the customer doesn’t want to give feedback that isn’t great. 

If you’ve asked the customer and they give you a score that’s representative of how you feel the relationship is going, you may not need to dig further into their response beyond, “That’s great! If I may ask, what made your experience a 9?”

On the other hand, if you feel a customer isn’t happy with the partnership or the service but they give a 10, you should dig in a bit deeper to make sure that this response is truly representative of how they feel. 

One way to approach it is to simply ask, “What could have made your experience a 9 or 10?” This question is open-minded and allows the customer to highlight the aspects of their experience they feel comfortable sharing. It also keeps them focused on positive action you could take to resolve the situation, which is more helpful to you.

When to Ask for an NPS?

The frequency you ask for an NPS from customers depends on the type of business you have. For example, if you mainly sell products, it’s most beneficial to ask for a score after someone has purchased from you. If you work with customers on a long-term basis, you might need to check in more frequently.

To adhere to these different business models, there are two types of NPS surveys:

  • Transactional — These surveys are sent after the customer interacts with your brand, such as purchasing a product or going through a support call. This type of survey tool can help businesses understand customer satisfaction about a specific product or topic.
  • Relational — These surveys are used on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually. It gives you more of a real-time pulse on your customers’ experiences. You can use this data year over year to provide a benchmark for brand performance and predict customer loyalty.

How Lone Fir Uses NPS

We regularly use NPS as benchmarks in our own agency to ensure our clients are happy with our services and the partnership overall. 

It’s important for our client services team to have a pulse on how our clients feel about us as an agency. If we have a client who’s a promoter, they’re more likely to renew their business with us, provide a testimonial, give a HubSpot partner review or even refer people within their own professional network to us.

If we have a client who’s a detractor, then we need to follow up with them to understand their pain points. How can we better address their needs? How can we solve their problem? This process goes beyond a single customer’s response too. 

At Lone Fir Creative, we measure a NPS two different ways:

  1. As mentioned above: all numbers are recorded and crunched to give Lone Fir Creative one satisfactory Score.
  2. Average NPS score by client: This means we want to know, on average, what our clients are reporting from 1-10. This metric allows us to better understand how we’re doing with our current client base as a whole. 

Because of this, I report two different numbers to my leadership team:
A score of 1-100 on overall satisfaction and an average net promoter score by client.

As far as frequency, we request an NPS from our clients at natural planning stages throughout the partnership. Here at Lone Fir Creative, we work with our clients in evergreen cycles. Every 90 days we check metrics, re-establish priorities and plan with the client what the next 90 days will look like. This is also when we like to check in and get an NPS. It’s a good time to see how we’re doing (because we just finished a marketing plan) and how we could improve (because we’re planning a new one).

If we’re working with clients on a project basis and not 90-day cycles, we’ll ask at the end of the project to better inform how the process was, how the end deliverable is, and how the overall experience was. 

Tools To Track Your NPS

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you track your NPS, but one of our personal favorites, and most used, is HubSpot. If you have a HubSpot account and access to the Service Hub, then you can easily create and deploy NPS surveys to your customers. 

There’s a convenient NPS HubSpot integration that can link up with your marketing emails so you’re set up to automatically send NPS surveys at regular intervals. As results start trickling in, you can use the built-in HubSpot dashboard to track trends like response rate and assess specific points in the customer journey. You can even see how your score stacks up against industry averages.

👉 Also Read: Why Go HubSpot

You Shoot, You Score

Getting a frequent and transparent pulse on your customers’ experiences is one of the most important things you can do to ensure happiness, retention and a great experience with your brand. A net promoter score is what helps you gauge all of these things and can inform future strategic decisions.

As a HubSpot Partner Agency, we love helping brands utilize NPS surveys. If you’re interested in using NPS surveys in your business or just want to chat more about how it can help, reach out to us! We love talking about client happiness and would be happy to give some advice.

Kate Cygan
Kate Cygan
After being in the industry for over 11 years, she’s been on international business at global advertising agencies, worked at small startups, and everything in between. Her favorite thing about what she does is the deep, open and transparent conversations she has with clients. Through those, she’s able to uncover their goals and challenges to create a plan that will help their business succeed and get them to where they want to be.

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