"I don't know if anybody's ever told you that half the time, this business comes down to 'I don't like that guy.'" Roger Sterling, Mad Men.
As any fan of Mad Men will know, in the agency world client-agency relationships can be unpredictable.
So one might imagine that Net Promoter® would be a popular industry metric to benchmark performance, increase retention and drive word-of-mouth buzz. After all, these are things it is being used for in a number of other industries globally.
Yet despite this potential very few agencies are using Net Promoter. And even less are doing so publicly.
But one CustomerGauge client – a digital and innovation agency headquartered in the UK called Volume – is pioneering use of the metric in an agency setting to gather feedback from its relatively small number of B2B clients, and seeing a number of benefits as a result.
An agency that aims to be world class in everything it does, Volume maintained relatively long-lasting client relationships even prior to implementing its Net Promoter program. Due to this, the agency knew it was doing a lot of the right things.
But the agency lacked an objective way to measure the strength of these relationships, and independent evidence of what it was doing right and what it could improve on.
Surveying with CustomerGauge
Using CustomerGauge to survey customers has a number of advantages for Volume that a DIY survey lacks.
The CustomerGauge dashboard delivers real-time feedback direct to the fingertips of key decision-makers in the organisation via a Twitter-like feed, which means that the organisation is being drip-fed the information it needs to know about what it is doing right and what it can improve on.
Perhaps because of the strength of its relationships, the quality of feedback and level of engagement given by Volume’s clients is among the highest we’ve seen in terms of specific information and actionable insights. Some of Volume's Net Promoter survey responses are so detailed they even commend individual staff members by name for a particularly outstanding effort.
Finally, as a third party independent platform, using CustomerGauge to gather feedback ensures that the responses are collected consistently and feedback and scores measured neutrally.
Benefits of Net Promoter
The agency is seeing a number of benefits from its Net Promoter program, including:
- Authoritative, transparent, and objective feedback it can take into client reviews.
- The ability to measure the performance of all departments in the business, as opposed to client-facing roles that are more often the focus of internal surveys.
- A recognised marketing tool that the agency can take into pitches, and external evidence to support agency awards entries.
- The ability to independently verify which people to put on which accounts, and a voice in the agency’s internal recognition program, which helps to enhance people’s careers based on outside, unbiased evidence.
The agency is seeing a number of benefits from Net Promoter, but of course embedding a Net Promoter program within the organisation does not come without challenges.
Net Promoter enthusiasts will know that once an organisation embraces the Net Promoter philosophy and makes it a part of the culture, there is little place to hide.
Now that the organisation has made Net Promoter a metric to measure its client loyalty, the organisation must continue to deliver the world-class work it is creating at the moment just to maintain its score – and improve to get a higher score. This is a challenge, but as Volume Chief Executive Chris Sykes notes, is “something our clients will no doubt be happy to hear.”
Volume’s current NPS stands at about +60 – a high score for any sector but particularly impressive in the competitive creative industry.
But more important than the score, Volume's experience shows that despite a reluctance (or lack of awareness) on the part of most industry players, agency relationships don't need to live and die according to Roger Sterling's cynical view.
With the right software tools and willingness to embrace the philosophy from the top of the organisation down, Net Promoter can deliver actionable feedback into the agency organisation, provide supporting information for pitches and awards entries, and give the agency an added marketing tool that is widely recognised (and used!) by client-side businesses globally.
Read the full press release: Volume turns up Voice of Customer in agency land