How often do you keep your New Year's resolution? Come on, be honest! Did you really exercise four times a week this year? Or skip the desserts and that end of day cigarette? Shh, I won't tell. Get on with your bad self. ;)
Depending on who you ask, many will agree that 2016 was a rough year. As we ring in the holiday season, and celebrate the end of 2016, we thought we’d offer a few tips on how to optimize or, if you’re an NPS first-timer, kick start, your NPS program for 2017. So, go on pretending you'll play good and kick your vices, but let's also make a pledge, a "work New Year's resolution" if you will, to make 2017 the "Year of the Customer".
If you got a chance to read our article, 10 Steps to a Killer NPS Program, or saw the infographic on which it was based, some of these NPS tips may sound familiar. Regardless, use this as a quick refresher when January 1st rolls around.
Kick Start: Set Targets + Get Buy-In
As we mentioned in our “10 Killer Steps…” article, it’s important to set KPIs and Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound (SMART) goals in the coming year for your NPS program. It is also vital to set specific benchmarks you want to measure during the year, such as churn.
You could, for example, look to raise your NPS score by 10 points by 2017's end, or reduce churn by 5%. You could even set more specific goals for different departments within the company.
Remember though: Setting your targets is no solo task. This should involve the c-suite and other decision-makers within your business. Having c-suite "buy-in" ensures widespread adoption across departments. Explain how NPS is applicable to each facet of the business, from frontline employees to CEOs. Demonstrate how creating a culture of accountability engages employees in taking a greater stake in their everyday work.
Optimize: Evaluate Drivers (Then Set Targets) + C-Suite Cheerleading
It isn’t just first-time NPS users who should be setting targets. Every year should be an evaluation of your primary and secondary drivers to get an understanding of each level of your business and their performance. By evaluating your drivers, you can more easily identify what your focus should be for the year.
In the book, Root Cause Analysis: The NPS Handbook® to Analyze the Drivers of Loyalty, Jørgen Christensen discusses how companies can perform simple driver analysis to see what is driving customer loyalty or simply driving customers away. Use this kind of analysis to inform your targets for next year.
Setting targets should also be in discussion with the decision-makers in your company: aka the c-suite. Check in with your c-suite level cheerleaders to ensure company-wide adoption of new targets in the coming year. Make sure the direction is clear for the whole company at each level and the expectations you plan on setting.
Kick Start: Assess Your NPS for 2016 + See Where You Stand
If you are already know your NPS score, benchmark yourself against others in your field to set goals for your own program. In her blog post, What Can Brands With Low NPS Learn From The Top Performing In Their Industry?, Cvetilena Gocheva discusses how companies should learn from top performing brands in their field as a measure for success.
Use tools like NPS Benchmarks to see where you stand against other companies in your industry. Tools like this allow you to keep tabs on how other titans in your industry are ranking. You can even add your own NPS score to the website and update it over time to show how you have improved.
If you want to keep abreast of other NPS news, check out the Net Promoter News blog series, which publishes weekly articles on Net Promoter news and scores in the business world.
Optimize: Assess Your NPS for 2016 + Compare + See Where You Stand
To ensure you learn from the successes and failures of the year past, make sure you schedule a “Year in Review” meeting with your CEO, CMOs, and department heads to review your current NPS for 2016.
Ask the following questions:
- How did you do this year? Not only company-wide, but region-based, department-based, representative-based. Benchmarking different regions and departments is useful for determining high-performers and areas within your business that need a helping hand to improve. Use hierarchical reporting to illustrate performance across-regions, departments, and reps. Based on your 2016 KPIs, you can benchmark how you did in each area and discover best practices and pitfalls within your program. For example, what can the Berlin office teach the Seattle office?
- Where do you need to improve? Where did you excel? Did your score increase as a whole, or perhaps in certain departments? Or did you see a bit of a dip? Did you use the proper survey drivers to indicate what is affecting your scores? Are there areas where you lack conclusive data? Take a look at some of your biggest critics and highest praise. NPS is all about learning from your customers. Customer feedback is what gives you the biggest competitive advantage in the market. Use your detractors’ and promoters’ reviews and feedback to identify the finer details in your score.
EOY reviews provide great cases for continued buy-in. Show colleagues how a years’ worth of NPS data can provide direction for improvement in the coming year. If you’ve implemented NPS before, compare the current year results with 2015 to show how you have improved in certain areas and where improvement still needs to be made in others. (You can also use quarterly business reviews [QBRs] to get a seasonal understanding of your performance throughout the year.)
Once you know your current NPS for the year, see how you rank with others in the industry using NPS Benchmarks.
Make sure to update your score each year!
Kick Start: Train Employees
Once you’ve chosen to adopt a Net Promoter System, ensure each touchpoint employee is trained in its usage. Your Customer Success Manager should provide clear instructions for how each employee should be using the system—from frontline employees to managers to CEOs.
Beyond training employees in basic usage, it is also important to demonstrate best practices for using the system efficiently and making the most of the software. Here’s a great video from a company called Areas that uses NPS to drive their Voice of Customer (“Guest”).
Optimize: Retrain Employees + Reward Top Performers with Incentives
Once you’ve reviewed your 2016 findings, you can use the information to learn which employees may need help in tackling new or existing initiatives or closing the loop. In many cases, it won’t be a matter of retraining individual employees, but individual departments or certain regions.
In addition to retraining, engage your employees by rewarding top performers in your company. Implement incentive programs to encourage employees to go that extra mile. Often, it doesn’t take much to get employees to that point. Just as your customers want to be acknowledged, so do your employees. Whether it's a gift card or a "makeshift trophy", a little recognition goes a long way.
New Year, New You—Reinvent for 2017
Whether you are starting a new NPS program or optimizing your current system for 2017, it’s true what they say: new years are a time to reinvent yourself. We’re not talking about a total rebranding, or an apologize fest for past bad behavior (though, if you ask Dominos, that can be a pretty effective tactic). Take advantage of your NPS tools and make customer experience and service a priority for 2017. All the other pieces will fall in place.
As you take a step in this brand new world to a brand new you, be sure to avoid common pitfalls in the NPS process by checking out the eBook below.