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Finding the Right Net Promoter® Tool: Why General Survey Tools Might Not Work

How do we choose what type of tool we are going to use, when we decide we want to begin with the Net Promoter® System?

This question is not an easy one to answer. Each company has to make that tough decision somewhere between cost, functionality and needs. However, I believe that in understanding what NPS’s ultimate goal is, we can help to narrow down what type of tool is needed for NPS to meet its goals.

NPS tools are grouped into essentially two categories:

  • Passive - getting started, testing NPS, receiving (first) customer feedback.
  • Active - reacting to results, improving customer experience, tracking customer resolutions.

Passive

Passive NPS tools are more a flashback to the original Net Promoter Score than the current Net Promoter System. Undertaking such NPS is simple in its scope, results and responsibilities.

Passive NPS tools allow companies to understand exactly what their customers are thinking about them. For, in its current construction NPS is the standard “would you recommend” question and a comment box for respondents to leave feedback.

This gives companies the ability to discover their NPS score, feedback and the individual scores of customers. But this is where the functionality of general survey tools end. With passive NPS tools, companies can only “receive” their NPS findings. Very little action can be taken within the tool to improve customer experience, retain customers and help them spend more. And while companies can obviously take action independently of such tools, this will prove to be chaotic and messy as there is no tracking or deep analysis functions.

While some companies jump straight into NPS, for others it can be a difficult decision to make. As, the results and need for NPS are weighed against the resources that can be invested in it. So, it is understandable that companies uncertain of NPS’s benefits, wish to start with a general purpose survey tool or what can be termed passive NPS.

However, for those that only want to discover their score or believe the score is all NPS is about, a general-purpose survey tool is all a company needs. However, I would argue that knowing an NPS score is only useful in creating a beginning point from which to start improving customer experience. If your score is -10, 30 or 50, this tells you that you’re doing bad, okay or pretty good, but it doesn’t give you in-depth analytics of root causes or simple management systems for rescuing at risk customers.

Active

An active Net Promoter System tool is one whereby surveying and collating NPS data is just the beginning of the story.

With a dedicated NPS platform companies can use the results they receive and turn them into action. For knowing what customers are thinking is informative but using that information to create a system that improves the experience for customers, is the real benefit of NPS.

To help create an active NPS, dedicated NPS software tools such as CustomerGauge’s allow:

Survey and database management

Dedicated NPS tools allow large databases to be surveyed automatically and have surveys triggered by criteria set in a user’s CRM. This means surveys can be transactional (after making a purchase or using customer support) or relational.

Survey releases can be staggered in smaller batches to create manageable feedback, giving companies the capacity to address individual customer issues as they receive them.

Firefighting/Closing the loop

Whether this is rescuing dissatisfied customers, utilizing loyalty to create more sales or simply rewarding loyal customers, a big part of NPS’s strength is taking the feedback received and responding to customers.

Workflow functions then allow companies to manage the process of responding to customers, with responses able to be appointed to particular people, department, etc.

With these workflow abilities the outcomes of interactions with customers can be logged for all to see. So, if a customer issue requires multiple interactions with different employees, the outcome of each interaction can be tracked. Giving employees the ability to see what has already happened and take the correct course of action.

Analytics & Reporting

Dedicated software provides in-tool analytics and reporting that allow companies to filter by segment, meaning companies can drill down further into their data and pinpoint weak points in their experience. For example, data can be sorted by department, team, country, product or service; giving companies the capacity to determine if one department or maybe team is receiving more negative feedback than others.

Findings such as these can help determine the priority of closing the loop (if one service stands out as problematic, those that raise this issue could be addressed first) or provide insights towards creating greater structural change to remove the root causes of such problems.

Furthermore, dedicated software also allows companies to track the evolution of NPS and the feedback of repeat respondents across weeks, months and years giving companies an understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

While, reports can be customized for different people at different levels of the organization and sent automatically once set up - meaning the right information goes to the right people. So, if upper management wants to see the NPS score by country once a month, these reports need only be setup once and they will automatically go out.

Passive NPS is good for testing the waters but real NPS is active

The above features of dedicated NPS tools are only a handful of features that are offered in comparison to general survey tools, however those mentioned are crucially important to creating an NPS that is active.

General survey tools provide a good tool for those that are apprehensive of NPS, as they let users discover the simple survey/results component of NPS. However, although many companies understand the benefits of NPS come from its ability to engage customers, these same companies wish to start small (general purpose survey tool) and determine its viability from there.

The problem is, using a passive NPS tool to attain active NPS results is just not possible, but will leave passive NPS users thinking NPS itself is at fault. For, simply collecting customer feedback leaves NPS incomplete. Dedicated NPS platforms though, give companies the resources to take action at both the individual and structural level, to create a better experience that retains customers longer.

Interested in finding out what an active NPS tool can do for you, try CustomerGauge's no commitment free trial.

Next Up: Why customers prefer self-service support, if it's done right

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