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Building a Net Promoter Score Tool is Easy, Until It Isn’t

I joined Wootric last spring as the first full-time engineering hire. When I’m not busy scaling out our infrastructure, designing APIs or squashing bugs, I enjoy writing about our technology.

Wootric is a customer happiness platform that measures Net Promoter Score across web and mobile applications. NPS is a metric for gaining insight into how customers feel qualitatively about your product. In my opinion it’s a nice complement to the other quantitative stats we usually rely on such as logins, signups and unique visitors. My experience at Wootric has given me a new perspective on whether or not to use a 3rd-party NPS tool or build one from scratch.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away my team decided to build our own NPS system. Our lead designer raved about the benefits of Net Promoter Score and it seemed simple enough to implement so we were sold. All we needed to do was create a little survey, show it to our users and store the results in the database.

What initially seemed very straightforward ended up taking more time than we thought. But isn’t that always the case. I would say at a minimum an engineer and a designer spent 1-2 weeks on this feature. After it was all said and done we had at best an extremely bare bones system for collecting NPS data.

Our system was flawed in many respects. We hadn’t considered sampling periodically so we ended up with low response rates. And what feedback we did get was squirreled away in the database and never seen again. We never responded or learned from the users who took time to give us feedback.

Upon realizing how much work it would take to make this system useful, we abandoned ship and never revisited NPS again. I don’t remember exactly how much time we spent but given the results it was enough to consider it wasted.

If you’re thinking about building your own NPS tool from scratch, I would seriously advise you to consider whether or not you have the resources to do so. On the surface it seems trivial but there’s actually a lot of polish involved. It takes time and resources to do it right. Doing it right involves domain and UX expertise that isn’t obvious. And done poorly it can hurt your relationship with your customers because their feedback remains unaddressed.

If you decide that you don’t want to go down that road, there are some great options out there for you. I happen to work for one. Wink, wink. Here are a few features that I think make us stand out from the crowd.

  • Beautiful clients for web, mobile web, iOS and Android.
  • A configurable sampling algorithm to ensure your customers are surveyed when you want.
  • API and CSV export for taking control of your data.
  • Integrations with Intercom and Slack to help you close the loop.

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Ray Sohn, Technical Consultant at Mystery Bodega, previously at OkCupid and Recurse Center, is a climbing enthusiast and frequently documents his adventures.

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