This post is a follow up to one of our most popular posts: Boost your Net Promoter Survey response to 60%+.
Customer survey rockstars know a lot about how to maximise Net Promoter® survey response rates. They understand the importance of mobile-optimised surveys. They send relevant, well- timed, and appropriately-worded emails. And they set expectations with clients (and customers).
But another factor that has the potential to significantly affect survey responses, especially for B2C businesses that tend to send surveys to personal email accounts, is Email clients.
Curious to see if there was a difference in how users of Gmail, Hotmail, Ymail, and other email clients respond Net Promoter surveys, we analysed 400,000 records from Europe, North America, and Brazil across five CustomerGauge clients from Q1 of 2013.
And this is what we found…..
Microsoft is the most popular email client among B2C customers…..
Microsoft (Hotmail, Live, Outlook, etc) accounted for more than a quarter of all emails that were sent by our clients in Q1 of 2013. Google (Gmail, googlemail) came in a distant second at 14% and Yahoo! at just over 9%. Over 50% of emails sent went to five domains, namely Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, AOL, and GMX.
…but Microsoft gets only 54% of the response rate that Google receives…
There is a distinct correlation between email client and Net Promoter survey response rates. While it may be the most popular email client for customers, Microsoft delivers only 54% of the response rate of Google and retains a significantly lower response rate than all other email clients except AOL.
You will note that “All Others” has a similar response rate to Gmail – it appears that if people give you their work address it is because they are open to communicating.
…Microsoft’s lower response rate is not because of a high bounce rate.
A factor that may affect responses is bounce rates. But our findings show that although Microsoft accounts do indeed return a higher bounce rate than other domains, it is less than one percent higher than Google and less than half a percent higher than Yahoo and “Others.“
So what does it all mean?
Our research shows:
- If your business has a high level of Google and/or “Other” email contacts in your database, you will receive a higher response rate to your surveys.
- If your contact list includes a lot of Microsoft and/or AOL addresses, you will receive a lower response.
It is not completely clear is exactly why this is the case. Anecdotal evidence says that Microsoft accounts tend to be checked less frequently, or used as secondary accounts, but we have to be hesitant to draw firm conclusions without the appropriate evidence.
Likewise, our research does not measure variations across different markets – so if you operate in a market that has a significantly different mix of email clients, our findings may not be relevant to your situation.
Nonetheless, if your database has a high percentage of Microsoft and/or AOL accounts, we suggest being particularly diligent in communicating to customers any benefits they may receive by being contactable at that address, and possibly asking for email confirmation to ensure that the customer checks that account.
Would you like to know more?
In the interests of enabling businesses to drive higher response rates for their own surveys, we are happy to share more information about these statistics.
If you leave your details below, we will send you an anonymised email response presentation, including:
- Sample size
- Spread across clients
- Data contribution by email clients
- Response rate per email clients
- Bonus stats on email opens by device and mobile trends
Parasol unfurls eNPS results in public (gasp)
The UK’s daintily named Parasol Group – an umbrella company (see what they did there?) that claims to be one of the UK’s biggest employers – has publicly shared the results of its eNPS (employee Net Promoter) survey on its blog.
This is interesting to us because despite examples of employee engagement driving higher operating margins, few businesses use Net Promoter to regularly measure employee loyalty, and less still share those results publicly.
In its post, the contractor-employment organisation starts by providing statistics on how happy employees are with different aspects of working for Parasol – a good way to demonstrate to employees (and potential employees) the high standard of support it offers.
Next, it notes that a small percentage of employees would consider working for another umbrella group on their next assignment. It asks these people to let Parasol know the reasons why and anything they could do to improve. Again, a good demonstration of its willingness to listen and learn.
Finally, it says there is a slight decline in NPS compared to last year, but notes that its score of +30 would have ranked it fifth in the most recent Net Promoter industry benchmark report for the UK. This is where we feel the announcement falls short. While we understand that as an umbrella company, Parasol’s employees could be considered customers in some senses of the word, comparing scores with an unrelated customer-focused Net Promoter report that measures companies across industries strikes us as a case of comparing apples to oranges.
While it’s fantastic to see Parasol sharing its eNPS results, we believe the company could have been better served by acknowledging there has been a slight drop in its score (check), providing the reasons why loyalty has dipped slightly from the previous survey (not explained) and outlining the steps it is taking to turn the situation around (also not explained).
This would have had the following benefits:
- Communicated to employees that their feedback is being heard and acted on and highlighted the fact they employees are active stakeholders in the business.
- Helped increase retention.
- Given the organisation a publicly visibly roadmap to improve the employee experience that would provide the internal impetus to make the necessary changes.
We consider ourselves a high ‘Passive’ on this particular announcement, with the potential to be nudged into Promoter territory the next time around. Parasol blog
The lowdown on Lowe’s high NPS
In the battle of the US home improvement giants, Lowe’s Net Promoter Score leads Home Depot across both male and female shoppers.
However, Home Depot leads rival Lowe’s in key areas including sales growth and stock price. Home Depot also has more male shoppers, which is significant because male shoppers tend to spend over than a third more than their female counterparts. So if Net Promoter can be considered as a forward indicator of growth, what is going on?
According to Pam Goodfellow of Prosper Insights and Analytics, one reason may be that among males, store location is a major factor of Home Depot’s attraction, and Home Depot has around 15% more stores than Lowe’s. And although Lowe’s has a strong lead in NPS among female shoppers, its lead among the more lucrative male shoppers is less pronounced.
The conclusion? While Home Depot is leading many key indicators now, if Lowe’s can continue a long term approach to nurturing customer loyalty and expanding its retail presence, it may not be much longer before its organic growth starts to outpace its great rival. Stay tuned for future developments! Forbes
- At its earnings call, property managers FirstService revealed that it uses Net Promoter to measure its service quality and employee loyalty. Seeking Alpha
- Freight shuttle service FW Trucking has begun its first Net Promoter customer feedback survey. Press release
Net Promoter News: Rumble in the Aussie telco Jungle, Airlines fly in formation with Net Promoter, Fidelity uses NPS to broker new customers
Rumble in the Aussie telco Jungle
The Australian telecom landscape is an entertaining space to watch as Telstra, Optus, and now Vodafone (the three biggest players in the market) have in recent times placed a renewed focus on customer retention with Net Promoter.
Vodafone is a particularly interesting case. In 2010, it dropped over half a million customers and watched its market share slide from 27 to 23 percent. The drop in market share is reflected in Net Promoter Score. The average NPS given to the business by customers who joined between 2011-2012 is -27.
Acknowledging the root cause of the problem with admirable clarity, Vodafone boss Bill Morrow noted; “We need to fix every single customer interaction. If I’m going to win you over and have you look at us in an admired sort of way, I can’t miss once with you. I need to hit every single time.”
In fact, the carrier is already making progress. Following a network guarantee launched in 2012, new customers are giving the business an NPS of +4. The business aims to return customer growth by the end of the year, and to have the fastest 4G network in the market.
But with both Optus and Telstra taking steps to improve their own customer experience, the CX rumble in the Aussie telco jungle is just beginning. ZDNet Australia
Airlines fly in formation on Net Promoter as industry standard
In recent times, US airlines have widely adopted customer satisfaction surveys, but a new article shines a light on how much emphasis many of them specifically place on Net Promoter.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
- Multiple carriers say they have “religiously adopted” Net Promoter.
- United, Southwest and Virgin America say they watch NPS closely, while JetBlue and Delta say their NPS results correlate to company profits.
- While non-NPS surveys with multiple questions get response rates under 5%, JetBlue says it receives a 15% to 20% response rate, and Virgin America says it gets 20%.
These comments are significant because they support some attributes of Net Promoter that we commonly share with prospects and clients, including that Net Promoter surveys drive higher response rates (meaning more raw data to from which to gain insights) and that improved NPS correlates with increased revenue (examples mentioned almost weekly in this space).
Fidelity uses NPS to broker new customers
Tweep @jbreitfelder has shared a print advertisement from Bloomberg Businessweek for online trading brokerage Fidelity, which appears to refer to the business’s Net Promoter program with the sentence: “Nine out of ten reviewers with a Fidelity Rollover IRA would recommend it to their friends.”
There seems to be a footnote to the sentence, which we assume gives the source of the figure. This is something which we recommend businesses always do when using statistics for marketing purposes, lest it alert the balderdash-o-meter of potential customers.
While we really like the idea of NPS as social proof for marketing, if we were to make a suggestion, it would be that sharing feedback (as well as scores) both internally and externally could be a even more effective use of the data gained by a Net Promoter program (Hint: CustomerGauge has customisable tools that make sharing feedback easier).
- Auto Expert, an automobile locating and buying service in California, has reported that its net income for 2012 rose 148% over 2011, with revenue up 24%. This correlated with an NPS of +93. Press release
Apple, American Express, [Your business here]: Do you want to operate a world class Net Promoter Program?
Learn how to make your business a customer service leader with our Webinar: Six ways to operate a world class NPS program.
The webinar was hosted by Michel Falcon, Principal of Falcon Consulting and CustomerGauge’s partner in Canada, and moderated by Adam Dorrell, CEO of CustomerGauge.
About Michel Falcon
A native of Vancouver, Michel was previously a part of the respected customer experience team from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, where he led the organisation’s Net Promoter system. Besides championing improved customer experience for Canadian businesses, he regularly speaks at customer service conferences and contributes to online and print publications. Read more about Michel here.
Presentation highlights: Six ways to operate a world class NPS program
Tip 1: Create initiatives to increase the good and decrease the bad
Too often businesses gather feedback and let it sit in what Michel calls a “virtual storage unit.” Understand what you’re doing well, and repeat that across the enterprise. On the flipside, also understand what you’re doing badly, and although there may be a temptation to take it personally, instead use it as an opportunity to make operational improvements.
Tip 2: Share, Share Share!
Educate everyone across the organisation about Net Promoter. This is where Net Promoter is handy – its simplicity means it can be understood by everyone from the CEO to frontline employees.
Tip 3: The score is for the scoreboard, and the comments are for the playbook.
Too often organisations spend too much time obsessing over their score, but the true value is gaining insights from feedback, and keeping an eye on the score over time. Take the data and make your company more intelligent.
Tip 4: Embed NPS into the DNA of the organisation.
The simplicity of Net Promoter as a system means that even a few hours to educate new employees on its benefits can go a long way in shaping the culture for the organisation.
Tip 5: Practice patience
Michel suggests listening to feedback for a minimum of three months before implementing customer-driven change. Improving customer experiences is a long term commitment, not an overnight project.
Tip 6: Understand the ROI to stay motivated
Customer experience drives organic growth two ways; through Customer Lifetime Value (repeat purchases) and Customer Network Value (referrals).
Net Promoter News: Fools rush in on Citi NPS gold, NetFlix streams “House of NPS”, Lack of M-commerce Promoters for Major retailers
Fools entertain Citibank “Buy” recommendation
According to both the US court of public perception and sentiment among investors, big banks’ stock is down. Their sins are numerous. From their part in precipitating the financial crisis, to being “too big too fail” (read: arrogant and out of touch) and for hitting customers with nuisance fees, banks have few friends and even less advocates.
Yet this week, Doug Levy, author and CEO of MEplusYOU, said that Citibank could be a solid investment option based partly on the fact the business is using Net Promoter to put a renewed focus on customers. But his analysis takes into account where the bank has come from.
“Some companies embody a Relationship Era approach to doing business intuitively, automatically. Some get there because they’ve experienced pain. Citibank‘s clearly in that latter category,” Levy told the Motley Fool.
What we like about this analysis by Levy is that it takes into account where Citibank is going in terms of growing customer loyalty, rather than where it has been over the last few years. And by way of supporting evidence, Citibank improved its customer experience rating by 15 percentage points between 2012 and 2013 in the Temkin Experience Ratings. This was the largest improvement by any company of the 246 surveyed.
With a consistent focus on the customer, it may yet be proven that buying shares in Citibank will come to be seen as a (Motley) “Foolish,” rather than (actually) foolish investment. The Motley Fool
NetFlix streams “House of NPS”
Internet television biz NetFlix has a stratospheric NPS in the +80s. its closest rival, Verizon FiOS has a score in the low twenties, and a number of other rivals lag further behind.
Interestingly, this news also comes via of a financial analyst, who uses Netflix‘s NPS as supporting evidence in building a “Buy” case for the business. “Netflix’s high customer satisfaction coupled with continuously improving content will continue producing many happy customers, myself included,” said analyst Jayson Derrick. Seeking Alpha
Are retail customers ‘webrooming’ as well as ‘showrooming’?
According to new research, Target, Best Buy and Walmart deliver a (surprisingly?) good mobile experience for shoppers, with between 69% and 83% rating the retailers’ mobile sites as either good or excellent.
Yet intriguingly, these experiences do not translate to high Net Promoter Scores for the retailers’ mobile sites. On this measure, Target was the lone ranger in positive territory at +11, with the other two in the negative doldrums.
These scores seem to suggest that building a satisfactory mobile experience is not enough to nurture loyal shoppers. This should be of great concern to big retailers. As m-commerce becomes ever more popular, the ease with which shoppers are able to ‘webroom,’ (named in honour of the practice of ‘showrooming’) or flip between mobile shopping sites to find the best deal will only increase, as will the pressure on their margins from ecommerce sites such as Amazon and eBay.
Pam Goodfellow, an analyst who presented the research, suggests that; “Delightful experiences, consistent messaging, and excellent service delivered through all channels are paramount when building this sought-after, loyal customer base.” Prosper Discovery
- Credit union America First shows that financial services businesses can earn customer advocacy, reporting an NPS of +83. GoBankingRates
- Financial tech biz Direct Capital has announced a self-reported NPS of +65. PR Web
No IT system is an island. Most enterprise systems have ways of getting data in and out – some easier than others. But at CustomerGauge, we are proud of our track record in integrating with all sorts of diverse systems from mainframes to PC servers.
We have interfaced with Salesforce.com, SAP.CRM, Siebel, DigitalRiver, Magento to name a few.
Part of our ability to do this is our publicly documented and available API (Application Programming Interface) system. For those that wouldn’t know an API from your BMI, an API is an “application program interface” – it allows CustomerGauge to automatically send and retrieve data to and from any external system. And we’re proud to announce new upgrades to our set of APIs for CustomerGauge 3.0.
The updates extend the previous API system (2.0) to simply and quickly get data in and out of nearly any external system.
For the new 3.0 API, we use well known interfaces, and several standard ‘methods’. The APIs are REST-based. You can use them with XML or JSON input/output. Files can be “POSTed” to the API for improved security.
We now follow a “CRUD” scheme – you can Create, Retrieve, Update and Delete records as needed. You can read all about the differences and new capabilities on the CustomerGauge Support Site.
Net Promoter News: AT&T’s Net Promoter fail, Travel Counsellors advise trust, Southwest customer experience flies north
AT&T scores marketing campaign success, Net Promoter FAIL
AT&T had a problem – a low NPS among young Asian American males. In order to increase loyalty, it sent out regular surveys and included a follow up question. It used root cause analysis and implemented a closed feedback loop to incrementally improve its offering, increase loyalty, and drive positive WOM and sales.
Actually, according to a post this week, instead of doing any of this, AT&T conscripted a marketing agency to drive up its score. interTrend Communications, an agency that helps brands connect with Asian Americans, created a cheesy whimsical web series with a crowd-sourced storyline called Away We Happened. The series heavily features AT&T, has received over 6 million views so far, and won an Effie in the process. Oh, and AT&T’s NPS dramatically increased from -11 to +39.
By many metrics, the campaign is a success. But using Net Promoter as a measure of success is misplaced. We may be preaching to the converted here, but Net Promoter is a system that has its strength in listening to customer feedback, making incremental customer-focused improvements in the organisation, and (sustainably) increasing scores and revenue over time.
In a worst-case scenario, a quantum leap in NPS such as this can obscure underlying customer service problems underneath the sugar rush of new Promoters. And unless feedback collection, analysis and closing the loop are embedded in the organisation, there is the danger of an equally swift drop in scores, with corresponding negative WOM and loss of market share or revenue. Marketing
Travel Counsellors advise trust
Travel Counsellors is an exemplar of travel industry trust and innovation and owner of possibly the world’s highest NPS. But whereas much discussion around Net Promoter focuses on customer service and loyalty, the key driver for Travel Counsellors’ growth is agent recruitment.
That’s not to say that customer relationships are not important, of course – according to chairman David Speakman, “We look after all the laborious admin so the individual ‘travel counsellor’ is left to build their own business by building relationships. TripAdvisor is the electronic mode of advice but it’s referred to; not trusted. We build our business on trust.” Insider Media
Southwest customer experience flies north
Southwest Airlines use of Net Promoter has helped propel it to one of the leading positions in terms of customer experience among American airlines.
According to a company rep, “We segment [Net Promoter Scores] by airports, but can also further refine the analysis by buying behavior, such as loyal or frugal customers. By looking at the scores, our employees can see where they need to step up.”
While Southwest is clearly on the right course, there is some possible turbulence up ahead. According to rival JetBlue, its leading NPS among US airlines gives it a “huge advantage” over its rivals. Forbes
- According to YouGov, the Apple App Store has the highest NPS of any app market place in Germany, and 84% of iPhone users regularly download chargeable apps. GooglePlay is visited by more users by percentage of market share, but only 58% of them regularly download chargeable apps. Telecom Paper
- Australian dealer groups have been advised to use Net Promoter to get a better understanding of advisers’ satisfaction with their services. Money Management
- TeleTech has conducted a test to find out whether delivering an exceptional customer experience as measured by NPS positively impacts sales, and had a positive result. TeleTech
Net Promoter News: BlackBerry’s vibrating device leaves Pentagon unsatisfied, RBS faces royal challenge to improve CX, 50% Lloyds bonus tied to NPS
BlackBerry’s “vibrating device satisfies most needs” (but not the Pentagon’s)
In a post creatively headlined “BlackBerry CEO: Our vibrating devices will satisfy most needs,” chief Thorsten Heins has claimed the BB10’s Net Promoter Score is “high” in every market is has entered. But where a few months ago this might have sounded merely hopeful, now it comes across as assertive. Early sales are stronger than expected, many new users are switching from other platforms, stock is up, a mystery buyer has placed an order for a million handsets, and even Google’s Eric Shmidt has admitted he uses the non-Android device.
But it’s not all champagne and canapés. BlackBerry’s high level of security has made it a favourite among organisations that value sensitivity. However, the Pentagon has reportedly put in an order to replace its 470,000 BlackBerrys with Apple products, and the British Government has not yet made a decision on BlackBerry’s security classification (after early reports suggested it had been rejected).
As CustomerGauge’s Canadian partner Michel Falcon says, “the score is for the scoreboard, but the feedback is for the playbook.” Has BB made the mistake of focusing on its Net Promoter Score at the expense of listening to feedback from its big, established customers?
RBS faces royal challenge to improve customer happiness
The state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland does not have a lot of love from its customers, but UK retail chief Ross Maxwell-McEwan wants to turn that around. At its earnings call, he outlined the challenges facing the bank with impressive zest and candour:
“The things that we’ll be focusing on will be our customer. We will measure ourselves strongly against the aspiration of getting to #1 net promoter score, at which point we’ll start right at the bottom in many, many classes. So it is a big aspiration but one that I found our own teams are very keen to get to grips with and work out how (and) what we need to do to move that score.”
Adding that the bank’s score is “well and truly negative” (at about -15), McEwen says he is pushing Net Promoter Score throughout the business as a key feature both by channel and by product.
The bank has dragged down the market average in Scotland, with their other brand NatWest positive and slightly ahead in the market. The threat comes from smaller banks that RBS customers are being attracted to with higher scores – and this is creating an the opportunity but also a threat.
Comment: From an Net Promoter News point of view, it’s interesting how CEOs usually put NPS right at the top of these calls, but analysts prefer to ask questions about product yields and ratios, rather than customer experience. Credit to Maxwell-McEwan for being refreshingly honest about the issues here. Later on in this call he tries gamely to answer a question at the end by bringing it back to the customer and responds: “…I think if you don’t start tackling the real issues for customers, you will never create a really good retail bank here.”
Lloyds Banking Group Links Bonuses to NPS
We imagine that top traders with £1m+ bonuses will not be losing sleep about Net Promoter, but it will be on the mind of 1000s of retail bank staff as Lloyds Banking Group announced this week it will base variable pay to staff on customer feedback rather than product sales from 1 April 2013. After a successful pilot in 70 of the banks branches it will be rolled out to all 1800 Lloyds TSB and Halifax branches in the UK. Based partly on risk assessment, the quarterly payment will be based on the employer’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) from customers through interactions they have had with the group. For any payment to be made, customers must rate the bank as excellent, and NPS will account for 50% of the variable pay award. Tip: Lloyds staff wishing to get ahead of the game should immediately follow Net Promoter News on twitter now! @customergauge
- With an NPS of +65, airline JetBlue has claimed it has a “huge advantage” over American, United, US Airways, Delta, and Southwest. Skift
- Primo Water Management has announced it has begun to use Net Promoter in its earnings call. Seeking Alpha
Warby Parker brings 20/20 vision to business and philanthropy
Neil Blumenthal was previously director of social enterprise VisionSpring, which supplies affordable prescription glasses to low-income earners in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
In 2010, the bespectacled entrepreneur co-founded Warby Parker, a trendy eyewear brand that has already grown to a workforce of 150 and a swanky showroom in Manhattan. But social good has not been swapped for profits. According the Warby Parker site, almost a billion people lack access to glasses, and to combat this problem it has a policy to donate one pair of glasses for every pair it sells.
The company’s vision to bring 20/20 sight to the world’s low-income earners has done nothing to dent the enthusiasm of customers. Along with a highly successful ecommerce operation, the brand’s Manhattan showroom does $3,659 in sales per square foot and its army of overjoyed (and very good looking) customers is driving a Net Promoter Score of +91. And in the process of this growth, it has already donated a quarter of a million pairs of ‘specs. Mashable
Scouting for the key to non-profit satisfaction
There are a number of non-profit organisations that use Net Promoter, and one of these is the Boy Scouts in the US.
This organisation has a mature Net Promoter program (last year it delivered 750,000 surveys), and is mining the “Voice of Scout” (that’s really what they call it) for insights by asking follow-up questions in addition to the basic Net Promoter question. However, this week the program attracted attention for unwelcome reasons after a local news station in Tennessee picked up on a story about some questions that have been interpreted as homophobic.
This aside, the organisation has a number of resources online about its program that may be of interest for other non-profits (link below), and the good news is that Scouting is viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light by both Scouts and their parents, recording a nation-wide score of +46 from a response rate of 11%. Scouting.org Wreg Memphis
- French bank Boursorama, part of the Société Générale Group, has announced in a self-puffer that according to research by Bain & Company, it has the top Net Promoter Score of any French bank at +51. The industry lags well behind, with an average of -13. Press release
- Small biz consultants AQB announced it has been named Intuit’s “Premier Reseller of the Year” for 2012-13, based partly on an NPS of +98. The business won the award in 2012, and has seen triple digit growth as a reseller from 2010-2012. EINNews
- Internet Marketing biz Volume 9 announced an inaugural NPS of +49. PRLog
A good example of a client requested development that is now available to everyone: CustomerGauge users now have the option to bookmark searches – a small but helpful platform upgrade that allows users to save time by accessing favourite searches whenever they want.
It’s simple to do. After you have selected your filters, data range and type in any report, and apply whichever filters you choose, click on the the blue star at the top right of the report page. A drop down menu will ask if you want to “Add this to Bookmarks”, and the bookmark can be created by clicking on the link. And this is now available as a bookmark for all users in your CustomerGauge system.
Below is a screen grab of a mock search, with the “Add this on Bookmarks” option in the top right hand corner. Easy!
And here it is, step by step:
It’s available as an option for all CustomerGauge clients.