The technology industry has been continuously disrupting and leading markets when it comes to innovations and customer experience. Companies like Apple, Dropbox, Cisco, HPE Software and Veeam Software have served as real examples to other businesses for customer-centricity and above all business growth. When it comes to customer loyalty and retention, the technology sector scores an overall NPS® of 59. In comparison, telecommunications sits at an NPS of 28, financial services at an NPS of 34 and consumer brands an NPS of 46.
Today, we're exploring some of the leaders in the technology industry when it comes to NPS. Along with discussing their NPS scores, we'll also walk through the tactics and initiatives that helped those companies achieve that score.
Apple is one of the biggest advocates of the Net Promoter Score®. The multinational technology giant introduced the NPS system back in 2007 and since then has been systematically listening to customers and managing its business in response to their needs.
Apple currently has an NPS of 89. The tech giant is famous for proactively listening to customers, empowering employees to deliver a very personalised customer experience and for quickly closing the loop on customer feedback. Here are some of their most successful CX & NPS techniques:
- The A-P-P-L-E approach to customer service:
A: Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome
P: Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs
P: Present a solution for the customer to take home today
L: Listen for and resolve issues or concerns
E: End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
Apple employees use the same steps with every new product the brand releases. As a result, customers will leave the store delighted and tell their friends and colleagues about their wonderful experience at the store and thus become brand evangelists.
2. Listen to customer feedback
Apple also has a centralized NPS team that uses customer feedback to better understand the reasons behind customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. What’s fascinating is that Apple’s team does a daily standup, where employees review the NPS feedback received from customers and discuss what can be improved. In doing so, Apple makes sure employees understand the power and importance of customer feedback.
Here’s an example of what one of Apple’s NPS surveys looks like:
3. Quickly Close the Loop
From our experience and knowledge, companies who close the loop within 48hrs, can enjoy up to 12% increase in customer retention. Taking into account that acquiring a new customer can be 4 to 10 times more expensive than retaining customers, closing the loop the right way is extremely important. Following an NPS survey, Apple store managers call detractors within 24 hours. Apple has found that by following up with dissatisfied customers 24 hours after completing an NPS survey has resulted in great return on investment—every hour spent calling detractors was generating more than $1,000 in revenue or additional sales of $25 million in the first year.
SAP is a German multinational software corporation, serving more than 296,000 customers in 190 countries. The technology giant relies on customer feedback to make their products and service better and meet customer expectations. SAP is also a big promoter of the NPS system and sets NPS targets on an annual basis.
In 2016, SAP announced it ended the year 2016 with an NPS score of 19. With an initial 2016 NPS target of 25, SAP conducted a customer survey to uncover the drivers behind their final score.
Thanks to customer responses the company learned that it needs to invest more in improving the quality of SAP's follow-up process to ensure timely resolution of customer issues. Following up on customer feedback, especially when it comes to detractors, is called closing the loop. At CustomerGauge, we preach about the importance of closing the loop right many times. From our experience, companies who close the loop within 48hrs, can enjoy up to a 12% increase in customer retention.
How did SAP tackle customer dissatisfaction? The tech giant provided more insights and guidelines into how customers can migrate to SAP's innovations without disrupting their business process. In doing so, the company equipped customers to do self-support and reduced the number of customer issues. SAP also shared that the company's objectives for 2017 will be centred around customer loyalty, employee engagement, growth and profitability. SAP's NPS target for 2017 is between 21 to 23, and for 2020 the company aims to achieve an NPS score between 35 to 40. We’d love to hear if the company is on the right 2017 track!
Dropbox is another technology giant famous for its NPS score tactics. The company currently has an NPS score of 32, and is known for the way it activates its promoters to spread the word their brand. Dropbox also gives you additional storage space with each referral, which resulted in an insane growth of their user base by 3900% over a 15 month period. As such, Dropbox not only measured the likelihood of customer recommendations, but also equipped customers to do so. The company made it easy and appealing for early fans to promote to friends and family in exchange for earning more data storage.
Cisco takes customer feedback very seriously. The company has deployed a variety of technologies and strategies to enable prompt and accurate customer feedback analysis and response. These include customer and employee listening posts, text and sentiment analytics, social media monitoring, and targeted on-demand surveys. Cisco’s NPS score currently sits at 38. What’s even more interesting is that Cisco pays very close attention to negative customer feedback. Curtis Hill, SVP Customer Assurance at Cisco shares:
“We know that if you, as our customer, take the time to communicate with Cisco about a bad experience, you’re probably angry, frustrated, and definitely have something to say. So, please give it to us straight.” - Curt Hill, SVP Customer Assurance at Cisco, Source
Listening to negative customer feedback helps Cisco easily identify customer pain points and put forth improvements.
Cisco shares how, several years ago, customers were frustrated about packaging and shipping standards for some of the company’s spare parts, cables, and adapters. As a result, Cisco’s team gathered further insights from customers, partners and distributors via surveys to act on the negative feedback. Cisco customers can now order set quantities of parts, shipped with minimal packaging and clear labeling on the carton that includes product name, serial numbers, and quantity. By listening and acting on negative feedback, Cisco was able to minimize customer effort and increase satisfaction.
Veeam Software is an innovative provider of solutions that deliver Availability for the Always-On Enterprise™. The tech company develops backup, disaster recovery and virtualization management software for VMware and Hyper-V virtual environments. Veeam Software has recently been included in Forbes 2017 Top100 Cloud Companies, as well as Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup & Recovery.
The tech software company has been investing in NPS for years, and results show the company’s score is increasing on an yearly basis. Here’s what we found:
- Veeam's 2014 NPS score = 30. - Source
- Veeam's 2015 NPS score = 62. Surveyed around 145k customers - Source
- Veeam's 2016 NPS score = 61. Surveyed around 1,800 customers - Source
- Veeam’s 2017 NPS score = 73. Increase by 11 points - Source
Veeam Software’s NPS improvements have also been accompanied by phenomenal financial gains. Not only did Veeam see NPS improve by 11 points in 2017, but it also achieved a 27% year-over-year increase in revenue growth.
Based on our research, we found that Veeam Software is also very proactive in drilling down to the reasons why customers are satisfied and willing to recommend the company. Veeam customers highlight the quality of products and the professional work of the customer support department, SEs and sales specialists, who, in a survey, got the highest ratings for their work.
In 2015, Veeam Software introduced gamification to their customer support team in order to increase customer satisfaction. The gamification system showed a weekly leaderboard, individual achievements, and a closed-case progress bar. The system then tracked each team member’s activities and assigns reward points for completed tasks. For Veeam, the use of gamification has meant that managers are able to improve performance by pinpointing problematic issues or bottlenecks in the work process, in turn creating an experience that creates loyal happy customers. The result? Their NPS improved by 32 points to 62 for 2015.
HP Software is the Enterprise software segment of information technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HP claims that the HP Software segment is effectively the globe's sixth-largest software vendor with 5,000 partners and 50,000 customers, and works with 94 Fortune 100 companies.
Serving such a large number of customers only works by proactively listening to customer feedback via NPS. We recently sat with Dr. James Borderick, Head of Customer Experience Analytics at HPE Software to discuss the company’s NPS story. HPE Software currently has an NPS score of 47. The company’s head of CX shared with us how they reached such a score:
1) Senior buy-in
NPS was first introduced in HPE Software by Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE. Meg brought Net Promoter with her from her time as President and CEO of eBay. Therefore, NPS was already a ubiquitous metric throughout Hewlett- Packard Company, which later became Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Measuring and acting on NPS became a key way in which HPE Software tracks if they are on the right track to customer-centricity.
2) Know the drivers of customer satisfaction
In addition to asking the ultimate question (i.e., on a scale from 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend HPE Software to your colleagues?), HPE Software also adds 2 verbatim questions to the customer survey - “Why?” and “What would you improve?”.
“We keep surveys short and simple to improve verbatim feedback and actually improve customer happiness (who really wishes to spend over 10 minutes on a survey?)” - Dr. James Borderick
3) Link NPS to Revenue
HPE Software has successfully proven within the company that NPS is a driver of revenue. As such, the company is able to show to the C-suite how much 1 NPS point is worth to the business. HPE Software has as a result proven that NPS is more than just a metric, it is an indicator of future growth.
“Linking NPS and revenue makes people sit up straight.” - Dr. James Borderick
HPE Software has a mature NPS program enough to enhance it by adding revenue figures. CustomerGauge’s Definitive Guide to Monetized Net Promoter Score goes into details of how and when companies should combine NPS with revenue figures, such as subscription fees, sales revenues, profits and customer lifetime values. We highly recommend you to read the eBook to dive into the details and best practices on how to achieve such results.
The American company McAfee is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. Based on our research, McAfee has an NPS of +2, which puts it at the bottom of the technology industry. The most common customer dissatisfaction reasons include automatic re-billing of McAfee customers’ credit cards. While McAfee’s NPS score is among the lowest in the industry, we investigated further to see how McAfee is tackling that.
The antivirus software company conducts on-going customer surveys to identify customer pain points and drivers of satisfaction. McAfee uses both transactional and relationship surveys to gain a more holistic view on key customer touchpoints. The transactional surveys are normally sent following a customer support interaction with McAfee. Relationship customer feedback is collected on a monthly basis and cover a wide variety of questions.
McAfee’s Mobile Security (MMS) app recently released an update which includes an in-app NPS, on-demand survey. The company is also very active in using closed-loop processes to follow-up with customers after a survey completion. The McAfee team is then responsible for analyzing the results and sharing feedback with all levels of senior management across the organization.
Seems like McAfee is on the right track when it comes to working on improving their NPS score and customer loyalty. We are excited to see what they will achieve.