Now more than ever, businesses are trying to gain strong enough favor with their customers for them to share their positive experience with their friends. As a consumer, you’ve likely noticed the prevalence of offers on the back of your receipt, by a QR code or by a sign in the store asking you to complete a customer satisfaction survey after a transaction — and for good reason. Today’s customers have a broader knowledge of businesses and their competitors. Turning customers into evangelists by creating brand promoters is a key factor in the acquisition of new customers. In fact, 90 percent of potential customers trust peer advice when making a buying decision; by comparison, only 14 percent of consumers trust media or print ads.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix as an engagement metric to quantify customer satisfaction and thereby the inclination to share their opinion. Following a sales or support interaction, surveyed customers are asked whether they would recommend a product or service, using a scale from 1–10. Customer response scores are segmented into three groups:
- Promoters (score 9–10): considered to be loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fueling growth
- Passives (score 7–8): satisfied but unenthusiastic customers vulnerable to competitive offerings
- Detractors (score 0–6): unhappy customers who can damage brand image and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth
5 Steps to nurture Promoters through successful interactions
Step 1 - The first step toward developing a Promoter is to create a positive experience for your customer. Achieving customer satisfaction is particularly important during interactions with your contact center, since it is the formal point of customer-to-vendor interactions. Human nature shows that if we are pleasantly satisfied, our desire will increase to repeat the activity. For business, this means two things, both requiring significant planning and careful research before execution:
- Understand the expectations of the customer
- Prepare to meet or exceed those expectations consistently
Step 2 - A positive experience must be delivered consistently to create predictability. When customers expect a positive experience, by nature, humans want to do it again. When customers predict the positive experience, since human nature leads us to repeat satisfying activities, customers will begin to develop loyalty.
Step 3 – Profitability begins in the third year of the customer and vendor relationship lifecycle, because margin in the first two years of the customer relationship only recoups customer acquisition costs. To mature customer relationships to profitability in these times of peer influence, businesses need to create a loyalty into and beyond the third year of the relationship. When customer relationships become profitable, corporate energy is created to continue down the positive path of customer acquisition and growth for the enterprise.
Step 4 – When businesses establish loyalty with heightened satisfaction in customer-to-vendor relationships to the point of sharing that experience with their friends, Promoters are developed. Just ask customers of customer centric organizations like Harley-Davidson or Southwest Airlines to try a competing brand, and you’ll often see an enthusiastic response of loyalty. Customers pleased to the point of excitement with having their expectations exceeded want to share their enthusiasm, particularly in the social media enabled world.
Step 5 – A key element in ensuring customer satisfaction is to honor the customer’s choices. Since first impressions are impactful and lasting, the most notable of choices to honor is to respect the manner in which the customer chose to converse in the first place. In today’s smartphone ubiquitous, time-starved society, customers desire and expect conversations in the manner of their convenience and within increasing expectations of speed the completion.
Practically speaking, if a customer wants assistance within a smartphone application, businesses need to be prepared to deliver a positive experience contained within the smartphone app. To do this, contact centers need to be equipped both operationally and technologically to provide a consistent experience throughout all of the projected channels their customers desire.
Preparing for multi-channel access is a significant task considering the varying expectations and technologies required to deliver a consistent experience across multiple channels. Contact center vendors offer many technology choices, not all of which will achieve the goals intended. Significant cost items such as labor and process development can also make or break the success of developing a positively consistent customer experience. I have seen careful planning and budgeting with experienced talent go a long way to ensuring that results satisfy the enterprise and its customers — while staying within budget.