I found this gem: 7 Confessions Of An Apple Macintosh Specialist which is interesting partly because of how they fix iPods (they don’t), but more for their religious policy of getting your email at checkout. It’s all about the Net Promoter Score. Here’s the detail:
2. Why we will ask you for your e-mail at checkout.
This is for two reasons. One, we will send your receipt to your email, and two there is a survey at the bottom of the email. This leads to the store being ranked on what is called detractors and promoters. The company takes an average from the surveys and ranks us. 10-9 is a promoter, 8-7 is a “passive” and 6 below is a detractor. Which leads to the next confession.
1. If you fill out the survey and rank us 6 or lower, a manager will call you the same day or the next, corporate policy.
They usually will ask why you had a bad experience, and offer to make it better, usually by discounting something or another for you. These are directly related to the salesperson who checked you out, so we get our asses reamed when we make a detractor. Also, If you complain to a manager, nothing usually gets done, it goes in one ear and out the other. Buy something very small, have them email your receipt, and fill out the survey. The management will wait on you hand and foot. Oh, and return the product.
OK, so slightly cynical at the end, but evidence of the good practice Apple have to improved customer relations. Customer Satisfaction runs through the company at all levels. Probably why their NPS is so high.
And a great example of how you can use Net Promoter Score in retail.
Although it suspiciously sounds like a made up story, apparently UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls up voters to answer questions and spread good word of mouth according to bbc.co.uk.
The prime minister is understood to ask the No 10 switchboard to put him through to people who have written to him with questions or concerns, and a Mr Wafid Rafique told how Mr Brown called him two months ago to talk about the Iraq war. He said the PM apologised on behalf of the government “for what had happened to the people of Iraq”.
Mr Rafique had written a letter to Brown, but had not expected reply.
This approach by Gordon Brown is easy to lampoon, but seems to be becoming a trend (and I applaud it). I was talking recently to a colleague who had worked with the CEO and Senior Executive team of a major consumer company to call some consumers and follow up comments.
It was not a qualified success. First, the senior execs were not happy at all with having to spend valuable time call ing customers (although they had all been enthusiastic of adopting Net Promoter in the company. Second they were quite nervous about what they would hear. Third, it was hard to get anyone at home. Finally, when the CEO did get to speak to someone, he was slightly miffed that the consumer had no clue who he was (and even when explained how lucky they were to get a call were not impressed).
But having said this, I believe that occasional or regular customer calling should be part of an executive routine – this would get the nerves out the way, create some useful customer feedback and help senior execs understand some issues from the front line.
Good luck if you can get your CEO to adopt a “Gordon Brown Calling You” campaign!
A selection of news from around the web, with some useful NPS benchmarks
15% sales increase due to Net Promoter.
From the Dallas Business Journal and others: Tony Hartl, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Planet Tan, is cover boy of this month’s Fortune Small Business magazine. The story focuses on Hartl’s success with customer service metrics. Last year, the company adopted a “net promoter score” approach, which measures customer promoters minus the detractors. He says the strategy led to a 15% increase in same-store sales during the first quarter of 2008. The company takes in about $10 million in annual revenue. …
“The success of our salons depends predominately on the customer’s experience,” Hartl says. “Finding the service edge that will be the differentiator between our stores and the competitor down the street is especially important in today’s economy. In the first quarter of 2008, same-store sales have increased by 15 percent as a result of concentrating on survey feedback and addressing the customer’s needs.”
Net Promoter for Presidential Candidates
BIGResearch have been tracking NPS scores for presidential candidates. Survey size was more than 8,000 respondents with Respondents asked to rate, on a scale from 0 (Not at all likely) to 10 (Extremely likely), the probability they would recommend a candidate to a friend or coworker. 10 and 9 responses indicate Promoters, 8 and 7 responses are Passives and 0 through 6 are Detractors. As Hillary Clinton suspends campaign, Clinton promoters are shifting their recommendations.
The worst score by party was John McCain (-2.1 NPS from Republicans). Obama was voted a slim +1.26 by Democrats.
Microtargeting “Influentials” in politics
Sticking with politics, an innovative political canvassing company is borrowing Net Promoter techniques. According to Campaigns and Elections TargetPoint is the only political firm using net promoter scores to find high-value voters known as “influentials.”.
Net Promoter in Small Business
Good article from CNN Money “Get Customers to sell for you” which covers how entrepreneurs in small and medium businesses have been bitten by the Net Promoter bug. “Posting the score to employees, and encouraging them to boost it, can help a business owner focus her staff on customer service” says Ronald Hollis of Quickparts who displays NPS numbers on flat screen displays in the office. Article outlines how small business owners are following Reichhelds “Ultimate Question” book as a how-to manual and calculating score themselves. Results in nutshell:
PlanetTan (see above) 66 Appletree Answering Service: 56 Learning Rx 72 Quickparts 63
And a lovely comment here from Spencer Enterprises (NPS 72) about how NPS helped the company listen to customers.
Dealer.com crows about Net Promoter Score
According to Dealer.com’s press release: “best in software industry for service” announced that its Net Promoter Score of 41 was within a few points of Adobe’s score (the industry leader) of 46. Dealer.com is an online marketing service for auto-dealers, and have been using NPS since 2006.
Chief Customer Officer: Agent of Change or Fall Guy?
Short but sweet article from CRM News entitled “Chief customer officers need patience, energy“. Companies like Bank of America, Chrysler and United Airlines have appointed chief customer officers recently – and some have had better results than others.
Businesses see the need for putting a single person in charge: research found that 54% of North American banks have a chief customer officer or chief experience officer. A Forrester survey found 40% of companies with someone in a role of managing customer experience across products and channels and in large companies, one out of three has someone in a senior role starting to look at creating the position.
Bruce Temkin says: “A lot of what the work is for a chief customer officer is culture change”, but warns that companies who just require chief customer officers to improve the net promoter score are not taking the right approach.
“It’s the kiss of death if the company turns to the chief customer officer and says, ‘You’re responsible for improving our net promoter score,’ because then the rest of the execs wash their hands of it,” Temkin said. “Then it doesn’t happen.”
Reichheld on creating an “Accounting Standard” from Net Promoter
I covered this on my commentary on the Net Promoter conference in London “Big Dog” Metrics… Again here, in a podcast Fred Reichheld says
“Net Promoter Score is our attempt at creating a universal system that is so simple and intuitive that eventually everyone will use it as their accounting system for customer and employee relationships. And as the need for that universal system is obvious, every single vendor in the satisfaction and market research space comes up with their own, unique ‘mine is better’ black box system, because that’s how you earn profits; buy my black box, my expertise. I think the only way we’re actually going to make progress is if we just settle on something that’s open source, everyone has access to it and it becomes an accounting system. And that, I think, should be a Net Promoter System.”
Vonage touts NPS in quarterly earnings call.
According to earnings transcript, Broadband telephone supplier Vonage are happy to talk about many customer metrics, including net promoter score. “The percent of customers, who actively promote Vonage, lets those who don’t increase to 28% in April, up 10 full percentage points from the beginning of the year. The net promoter score is an important metric use to help assess the health of the customer base. Overall the higher the NPS, the healthier the base.” The company go on to say: “In recent months we have seen an increase in the percentage of promoters, and a decrease in the number of detractors. As this trend continues, we believe it will translate improvements in customer churn over time.” Evidence that NPS (and a focus on customers) is appealing to investors…
Airports adopt Net Promoter Score
Phoenix Marketing’s Airport Net Promoter Scorecard (NPS) for the first three months of 2008 placed Tampa as the best “away airport” with NPS of 19.7 percent, well above the national average of -20.3 percent.
More than 6,000 passengers took part in the study and rated airports on a number of factors including transport to and between terminals, terminal facilities and baggage handling.
BA NPS low, may go lower after T5 fiasco
From recent research within the travel industry: Emirates and P&O provide the most highly recommended experience to travellers, with a net promoter score of 32. Virgin also ranks among the top three with a NPS of 27. British Airways (BA) were in 9th position with a NPS of just 11.