Defined by Harvard Business Review as “The One Number You Need to Grow”, the Net Promoter Score® is the quickest metric you can use to assess customer satisfaction and loyalty with your brand. As 2017 is fast approaching, understanding which future investments and initiatives will earn you more promoters will come particularly handy, wouldn’t it? In this article we’ll discuss what some of the lowest NPS brands can learn from the highest performing brands based on their Net Promoter Score. We have sourced our data from NPS benchmarks studies to gain a picture of the NPS range within an industry.
The Case for Banks
Satisfaction in the banking sector has significantly improved since the global financial crisis in 2007 when the average NPS among banks quickly dropped from 40 to 22 over the course of two years. Consumer confidence has improved due to more and more banks embracing the customer experience agenda and offering products and services that delight customers. However, the industry is still very much subject to overall trends in public opinion. Specific banks that have been associated with scandals rank near or at the bottom of the NPS average for that industry.
NPS Benchmarks shows us that HSBC, for example, has earned a Net Promoter Score of - 24, after a series of customer service complaints have damaged the brand’s reputation. A combination of poor customer service and overall negative public opinion can significantly hurt a brand’s consumer sentiment and hence lead to a low NPS. The American bank USAA in contrast is enjoying some of the highest NPS scores for the industry (see image in the right). The ease of doing business with the company, combined with the feeling that customers are treated fairly has helped USAA achieve the impressive NPS score of 81. Currently one of the leaders in customer delight in the banking sector, USAA has carefully invested in initiatives that reduce customer effort and lead to active promoters. For example, a study by Stephanie Woerner and Peter Weill from MIT Sloan revealed how the bank has transformed itself, and specifically, how the IT unit has addressed the changing demands from customers in order to deliver a superior customer service. USAA has become the first financial services company to allow customers to check their bank balances via text message. The brand also now offers technology for customers who have been involved in car accidents, allowing them to instantly attach photographs and voice recordings to their insurance claims, which can be initiated remotely. Such innovations can serve as an example of customer experience best practices. USAA has become an epitome for a brand that is not obsessed with technology, but customers, and has their needs and expectations at the centre of its operations.
What does the future hold in the banking sector? According to Forrester Research and KPMG, banks will need to do more to keep up with competitors and may explore new approaches such as augmented reality tools on mobile apps or guided selling tools on digital in-branch experiences. The key for banks of every size, however, will be meeting customer expectations across every channel to provide a satisfied customer experience at each and every touch point, including the branch.
Customer Sentiment in Travel and Airline
The case for customer satisfaction with the travel industry is particularly interesting as well. Investments made by airlines to improve the passenger experience by lowering fares, achieving better on-time arrivals, reducing the cases of lost luggage and in-flight service enhancements have all had a positive effect on customer satisfaction. According to research by Crimson Hexagon, more and more airlines are also paying attention to their social engagement strategies in order to earn more positive customer sentiment about their brand. Despite being in a highly competitive industry, there are several airlines that have managed to stay on top of NPS benchmarking charts and continually delight their passengers. Others have struggled to satisfy their customers with the overall flight experience and service and have produced poor profits.
As can be seen from our NPS Benchmarks study below, JetBlue and Southwest are the two airlines that have continuously managed to grow their percentage of promoters and enjoy record high profits. Southwest, for instance, adopts an entirely customer-focused approach when it comes to service. Keeping their brand promise to customers, having enthusiastic and friendly employees, as well as providing an effortless customer service are factors that have helped the brand maintain a loyal customer base that are happy to spread good word of mouth. Additionally, both Southwest and JetBlue pay high attention to their social media customer complaint recovery, which has helped both companies enjoy a very positive passenger sentiment.
American Airlines in comparison ranks at the bottom of NPS scores for this sector. Poor customer service, lack of passenger support and social media disengagement have achieved the company a score of -8. You can see from the example below the difference between American Airlines and JetBlue in terms of handling social media complaints. Both brands are troubleshooting similar issues, but their approach to response varies, with JetBlue tapping into customers’ emotions.
@bethj5 Our apologies for any errors with your ticketing, Beth. Please call Reservations for assistance at 800-433-7300.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) March 25, 2015
What About Your NPS?
NPS is one of the most useful metrics companies can use to gauge their customer health, pinpoint weaknesses and strengths to help identify areas for improvement. Keeping up with your NPS industry standards is important in order to be a competitive brand. If you are wondering how the overall NPS is trending in your industry, check out NPS Benchmarks—you will also be able to see how some of your biggest competitors are doing. Finally, if you wonder how to improve your NPS be sure to download our free eBooks, written by customer experience and NPS experts.
Special thanks to our contributors from MIT Sloan, Stephanie Woerner and Peter Weill!