How to Write Email Survey Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

Micro-surveys are the key to gaining the customer feedback you need to power your CX program, and many of these surveys are sent via email. The first step to receiving that survey feedback is getting your customer to open your email. 

When it comes to open rates, your email’s subject line is more important than you might think it is. Two helpful email stats drive this point home:

  • 69% of recipients will look only at the subject line before flagging an email as spam.
  • 47% of recipients decide to open an email based only on the subject line.

If you’re trying to figure out all the possible reasons why your survey emails aren’t getting decent open rates, it makes sense to start with your subject lines.

1. Establish the right tone

Effective customer interaction is super dependent on speaking your audience’s language. This doesn’t just refer to the words and terms you use in your emails, even though that is obviously also extremely important.

No, we’re referring to your “voice” here – where you pitch the subject line on the “familiarity” spectrum. On the one side of this spectrum is “ultra conversational,” and on the other side, “ultra professional.”

On the conversational side, you’ll use language that makes your recipients feel like they’re being asked a question by a friend or a trusted colleague. These subject lines should make the recipient feel comfortable because they have an approachable tone.

Here are some examples:

  • “A quick question for you”
  • “Leslie, got a sec? ”

On the professional side of the spectrum, you’re using language that builds trust in your brand’s ability to take your service seriously. You don’t have to come off pompous or like you’ve swallowed a thesaurus. Stick to the point, and treat the recipient like someone who appreciates professionalism in the workplace.

  • “We’d genuinely appreciate feedback on our performance.”
  • “Leslie, how can we make you more productive?”

There are quite a few things to consider when choosing the tone of your survey email subject lines. Your brand image is arguably the most important, but things like recipient demographics and the industry you’re playing in should also play a role.

Building buyer personas is a standard practice in digital marketing. Many successful businesses go through this process to understand exactly who they’re selling to. This data is invaluable when deciding on the tone of your survey email subject lines.

2. Go beyond basic personalization

According to Campaign Monitor, recipients are 26% more likely to open an email if the subject line has been personalized.

What you use to customize the subject line will obviously depend on the data you have on the customer. Using their name is an obvious starting point. However, you can also reference their most recent purchase if your CRM has logged it. Or a virtual event they attended. A modern CX platform can grab this info and personalize the subject line. 

If you’re online mattress retailer Zoma and you’re sending out a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey email to find out how a support query was handled, if the shipping went well, or if the customer is satisfied with the quality of a recent purchase, you could take one of the following approaches:

  • “How did we do on your support query [#66456]?”
  • “James, how was the webinar with DocuSign?”
  • “How’s that Zoma mattress working out?”

Showing evidence that the email comes from a reputable origin (i.e., the actual company they interacted with) is critical if you want to maximize that open rate.

By using their name and referencing their purchase, you’re landing a one-two punch of credibility and massively increasing the chances of a response.

3. Talk about benefits

Let’s be frank here. When you send out a net promoter score (NPS) survey email, you’re basically asking an established customer to take time out of their day to reveal their feelings about your brand despite there being no immediate reward in it for them.

But that shouldn’t stop you from letting your recipients know that their feedback will result in long-term benefits for you and them.

Good feedback — both positive and negative — means improved service for everyone. A large number of honest responses will help you get better at designing new product features. Let your recipients know! Make them feel like their voice is important and that it benefits them to be heard.

Here’s an example. If you’re an energy services company like Ecopreneurist, and you’re sending out an NPS survey, you may want to try subject lines like these:

  • “Help us get even better at saving you energy.”
  • “Leslie, your feedback helps us save you money.”

Even though the email content will ask them a typical NPS question like “How likely are you to recommend Ecopreneurist to a friend?” the subject line can illustrate the eventual reward customers will experience by responding.

There’s a genuine correlation between improved service and receiving this type of information from customers. There’s no reason you can’t creatively leverage this relationship to create highly engaging subject lines.

4. Ask your recipients a question

A good subject line engages the recipient. You’ll want the subject line to make them think and feel something. Trigger their thoughts and their emotions.

A great way to do this is by asking a question. 

The right question can trigger introspection. It can make the recipient think about something they want to share with you.

A SaaS company like ShowMojo might employ a customer effort score (CES) survey to help them spot inefficiencies and/or improve in two areas:

  1. Onboarding. Good onboarding helps ensure “trial subscribers” see the product’s value and eventually become paying customers, and it’s a critical step in maximizing a subscriber’s lifetime value (LTV).
  2. Product features. A CES survey can gauge how easily customers are adopting a new product feature and help you optimize for improved adoption. 

In both cases, positioning the survey in question form is a great way to maximize open rates. For example:

  • “How hard was the migration to ShowMojo?”
  • “How easy was it to create a new rental dashboard?”

You can see in the above examples that the subject lines don’t even mention the survey. The two questions are directed at the customer and their experience. 

5. Keep it simple and short

You should keep your survey email subject lines to under 50 characters to be sure everyone sees it. The number of people opening emails using their mobile phones is increasing every year. And the limited amount of real estate on a mobile device means that subject lines are often truncated.

Yes, it’s hard to make a compelling case for someone to open an unsolicited email using so few words, so take your time writing. Constantly try whittling the number of characters and words down to an absolute minimum without compromising your core message.

Let’s take a look at some concise and effective customer survey subject line examples:

  • “Are we doing a good job, Leslie?”
  • “Where can we improve?”
  • “We’re always looking for honest feedback.”
  • “Give it to us straight; we can take it.”

A quick word on open rate benchmarks

What kind of open rates should you expect from your survey emails? Having a sense of benchmarks is critical if you intend to measure how effective your new subject lines are. 

According to our customers’ results, an open rate over 20% is solid, with only a small number of emails achieving a 30% open rate. If you see this level of engagement, you’re probably doing multiple things right. If it’s below this figure, realize there’s room for improvement and review your subject line copy against our recommendations.

Some final thoughts

Regardless of what industry you’re operating in, certain best practices will always be relevant when crafting email subject lines.

Here’s a summary of the most important things to bear in mind (along with a fifth bonus tip):

  • Personalize as much as possible.
  • Tell recipients about the benefits of completing the survey.
  • Ask a question.
  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Try to keep your subject lines under 50 characters.
  • Avoid spammy words like “opportunity,” “offer,” “cash,” “discount,” or “click here.”

There’s little point in rethinking your subject line strategy if you’re not backing up your efforts with data on the success or failure of a new approach.

You’ll want to A/B test your survey emails. A simple way to do this is:

  1. Split your email recipients into two groups (Group A and Group B). 
  2. Target Group A with subject line A. “Welcome! How was the sign-up process?
  3. Target Group B with subject line B. “Answer one question and help us improve.”
  4. Measure each email’s open rate. If Group A gets a higher open, a post-onboarding greeting works well for your new customers.

By A/B testing your email subject lines over time, you gain valuable knowledge about the subject lines that resonate with your customer base. Not only will that information help you with your specific survey, but it can also help other CX-focused teams optimize their customer communications as well.

Start sending customer surveys today with InMoment.

Quickly Build Your First Customer Feedback Program for Powerful Results

While so many companies are pondering how to grow their customer experience (CX) programs, there are plenty of CX champions looking to start a CX program. We talk with plenty of companies that are just starting up, or as we prefer to call it: Early Stage. 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not at all hard to get your Early Stage CX program started. With a little guidance, you can quickly build and implement a quality program that helps you:

  • Listen to your customers.
  • Learn from your data.
  • Act to optimize the customer experience.

As your business grows, you can expand your CX program with it. For now, however, you’re primed for the Early Stage option. So listen up; we’re going to get you started!

CX program fundamentals

CX programs center on Voice of the Customer (VoC) data — your customers’ feedback about their experiences and expectations for your products or services. 

The key to a successful program lies in how you gather that feedback, how you process and learn from it, and then act on it. 

This 3-step CX model is easy to understand, simple to get started and offers quick time to value.

Listen Learn Act model for first CX program

Step 1: Listen

Listening starts with strategic thought: 

  1. CX metric. What are you trying to learn?
  2. Survey process. How will you learn it? 

Start by defining the goal of your CX program. Maybe your priority is to optimize your software product or to improve the support experience. Knowing what you want to learn will inform your listening strategy. 

Have your goal set? Onward!

Get the ebook, CX FOR EVERY STAGE: How to scale your Voice of Customer program from startup to enterprise. Learn how to improve user experience for product led growth and loyalty.

Begin With Net Promoter Score (NPS)

It’s time to ask your customers some essential questions. We’ve bid good riddance to long, multi-question surveys. Because they’re tedious, their completion rates are dismal. 

To get customers to give you actionable feedback, you’ll want to use micro surveys. These single-question surveys: 

  1. Give you a score (aka metrics!) on customer loyalty or satisfaction.
  2. Give you deep insight by inviting the customer to explain their score in their own words. 

Because micro surveys are short, sweet, and to the point, more customers will answer them, meaning your response rates will soar.

There are three core CX surveys you should have in your toolbox: 

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  2. Customer Effort Score (CES)
  3. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) 

For your first customer survey, we recommend you begin with NPS. Net Promoter Score is the gold standard for measuring customer loyalty and will give you immediate insight into your customers’ stories.

Once you and your CX program have grown, you’ll likely need other survey types. But Early Stage programs can find out what they need to know with these three.

Choose Your First Survey Channel 

Alright, your question is at the ready. Now you need to decide how you will survey your customers. Each segment of your customer base probably has a preferred method of communication. Common options include: 

  • email surveys
  • in-app surveys inside a web or mobile product
  • SMS

If you’re unsure where to start, ask yourself this: Where here are our most important customers interacting with us?

If you’re still not sure, dive into this article about how to choose the best channel for your feedback survey. Here are some general trends we see with our customers:

  • SaaS business or mobile app: in-product survey
  • E-commerce business: transactional approach like sending an email survey a few days after delivery
  • Airline or utility (or other business already using texts or phone calls to communicate on customer mobile devices): SMS

Next comes the question of when to survey. Keep it simple. Ask NPS 30 days after a customer onboards, or whenever they will have had enough time to form an opinion about the experience you offer. The surveys are something you can “set and forget” and then just let the feedback roll in. A CX platform will survey a few users every day, so you have constant feedback coming in. Some platforms (like Wootric) offer a free plan for early stage businesses. 

Step 2: Learn

Here’s where things get exciting because your customer feedback is coming in!

The great thing about Early Stage is you can read and respond to every survey response. This will help you stay closer to the customer and develop a holistic view of your customer experience.

There are an art and a science to the Learn step that will allow you to take hundreds of pieces of feedback and make it actionable. To do that, you need to get busy.

Segment Your CX Data 

Even if your company provides only one service or product, your customers are not all the same. Categories of users have different needs and are bound to experience your company in slightly different ways. 

You’ve given the same NPS survey to all your customers. Your overall NPS score will let you know how you’re doing across every customer. However, your customers aren’t just one block of users. Our marketplace customers like GrubHub and Deliveroo have both consumers and restaurant owners using their app, and those two groups have different needs. By segmenting NPS, you’ll receive more actionable insights to optimize your product for the various user groups. 

Take our customer Homebase. They have two user groups for their SaaS product that streamlines employee scheduling: those who create schedules and those who receive schedules. Per CEO John Waldmann, “NPS has allowed us to segment out the feedback and look at how happy restaurant managers are with the product after the recent changes versus how happy the wait staff is. Are we skewing too heavily toward one side or the other? Do we need to spend some more product cycles to improve the employee experience?”

You can take a constant pulse of your CX program by reviewing the performance of your overall business and customer segment NPS scores over time. Tracking and metricizing customer sentiment over time is very helpful when you’re looking to make improvements. The bonus is you never miss a trend.

Identify Themes in Customer Comments 

While it’s interesting to read and respond to individual feedback, at some point, you will get more qualitative feedback than you can easily digest. Lots of feedback is a good thing — it means you’re growing!

Now’s the time to filter your text responses to understand the “why” behind the numerical scores. You’ll filter these responses for specific topics by using tags. Tags are associated with particular keywords you want to monitor, and they allow you to easily track the Share of Voice (SoV) of a topic. How much are people talking about price, performance, delivery, or a new feature? 

Setting up this categorization does a lot of things:

  • It helps you follow long-term trends.
  • It gives you insight into a topic’s trajectory.
  • It lets you know if you’re addressing your customer’s concerns effectively — or you still need to do more.

Step 3: Act

You’ve listened, you’ve learned, and now it’s time to make a difference by acting externally and internally!

Close the loop with customers

Every piece of feedback is valuable. While you’re hoping for promoters telling you what a great job you’re doing, it’s the detractors who care enough to let you know what needs improvement that can help you make the most significant business gains through your CX program. 

Close the loop, especially with detractors! 

Reach out via email or phone and address their concerns promptly. Passing your CX data to the system, you use to communicate with customers — like Intercom or Hubspot — can make this easy. Customers will appreciate that you took the time to listen and respond. You may even turn a detractor into a happy customer. 

Activate your brand promoters. When someone gives you praise in a survey response, ask them to write a review or give you a quote. These testimonials can be great ways to distinguish your brand from the competition. 

If you don’t have the resources to respond individually, write a blog post that summarizes what you’ve heard and the actions you’re taking and share it with your customers. 

Loop closing in practice

You may be thinking, “this sounds great in theory, but that’s a lot to expect from a new program.” Understood. Many people in the Early Stage of CX programs are also in their company’s early stage, with too much work and too few people. Our customer Albacross, a lead-gen software startup, automated closing the loop with its customers, which achieved program goals without taxing their resources.

Here’s what they do based on the individual NPS score:

Detractors (who rate their app low with a 0-6): They send two messages via Intercom asking for additional feedback. The goal here is to start a conversation and better understand why the customer is frustrated.

  • They send an email:

Albacross-Emails-for-CX

  • They send an in-app message that appears immediately after the user completes the survey:

in-app post-survey message from Albacore

Passives (who rate 7-8) receive an in-app email of gratitude, letting them know they appreciate the feedback.

In-app post-survey message from Albacore for passive NPS

Promoters (who rate 9-10) receive an email from the CEO offering gratitude and asking them to please review the company on a 3rd party review site:

In-app post-survey message for promoters

Evangelize CX data

You are trying to build a customer-first culture at your company. To do that, you need to communicate, communicate, communicate. 

Make sure everyone has easy access to CX information! From Customer Success and Customer Support to Product to Marketing and beyond, every person in your company has a part in creating your customer experience. Create a CX Slack channel and encourage the entire company to join. Put up wall-mounted dashboards that put CX metrics front and center with the newest feedback and the latest scores — report it right next to other critical business metrics at the next company-wide meeting. 

A single survey on a single channel offers significant customer insights. Like any new program, you want to start simply, optimize, and then expand. Once you have mastered the Early Stage program, it’s easy to move on to the Growth Stage and Expert Stage. 

How & Why You Should Customize the NPS Follow-up Question

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple and highly effective way to determine the happiness of your customers. This one rating — how likely are you to recommend <company> — gives you valuable business insights from the need to fix specific issues quickly, to long-term trends. 

The more actionable insight, however, comes from the follow-up question where the customer is able to explain the “why” behind their rating with an open-text answer that gives you the good, bad, and the ugly of their experience. 

By customizing your NPS follow up question, you’re better able to gain the insight you need to improve your CX and increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). We have four simple ways you can approach creating the optimal follow-up question for your specific needs.

Read More…

What is NPS: the Concept and Formula

You hear the term tossed around in most any meeting focused on customers: “What’s the NPS? How many Promoters do we have? How many Detractors?” You may be asking yourself “What is NPS and what should we be doing with it?” 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple, powerful measure of customer loyalty. By asking customers to rate their likelihood to recommend a product or service on a 1-10 scale, you can gain actionable insights to guide decisions across your business.

Let’s break down NPS and see how it works.

The NPS survey

The NPS survey asks your customers this simple question:

Nps question, NPS example, NPS survey, What is NPS

It then logs the response and gives the responder a chance to explain their answer in an open-text format.

Nps feedback, NPS question, NPS concept

That’s it! Because the survey is short, sweet, and to the point, customers are more likely to respond. And you’ve just gained valuable information ready to be turned into insights and used to improve your offerings.

Net Promoter Score calculations

Once you have the customer feedback, the fun part begins.

First, respondents are classified into three groups based on their answers:

  • Promoters. Rating 9 or 10. Loyal customers who are a great source of referrals.
  • Passives.  Rating 7 or 8. Customers who are satisfied with the service but are susceptible to competitors.
  • Detractors. Rating 0 – 6. Unhappy customers who can damage your brand.
Nps coding, NPS calculation, Calculate NPS, What is NPS

Calculating overall NPS

Calculating your NPS gives you a clear indication from one moment to the next how happy your customers are. Real-time tracking can alert you to threats to your business, allowing you to take quick action. Tracked over time, it gives you insight into which of the company’s actions have resulted in the most customer value.

To calculate your NPS, subtract the % of respondents who are Detractors from the % of respondents who are Promoters.

NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors

Mining customer feedback

The answer to the open-ended NPS follow-up question tells you the “why” behind the rating. Mining this text for insights is what makes NPS so powerful, because it gives you rich information on the customer experience you’re providing. So analyze the text answers and use them to guide the actions you take.

NPS Survey Feedback

Don’t forget to follow up with the customer and close the feedback loop. Imagine immediately responding to a Detractor’s complaint, targeting your Passives with an information campaign, or asking a Promoter to review your product online.

Ongoing Voice of the Customer

Repeat the NPS survey at regular intervals. Segment your NPS by types of customers to understand the “why” behind your score and how your decisions impact customer loyalty.

Once you have NPS down, you’ll be ready to add in additional metrics over time at key customer journey touchpoints. When you combine the feedback from your NPS survey with feedback from CSAT (customer satisfaction) and CES (customer effort) surveys, these 3 core CX metrics give you a great foundation for making business decisions based on authentic voice of the customer feedback.

Build end-user loyalty. Sign up today for free in-app Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

How to Leverage Net Promoter Score to Boost Customer Retention

You don’t just want to appeal to new customers – you also want to keep your current ones coming back again and again. Not only do returning customers require less introduction to your products and services, but they also tend to spend more than first-time customers, too. 

One user engagement strategy you can use to boost your customer retention is to make use of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system. Simple to understand, this powerful metric can give you a wealth of information that you can use to improve your brand. 

What is Net Promoter Score?

NPS is a metric designed to measure customer experience. First, you ask your customers a simple question:

“On a scale of 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend my brand/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

Then, customers are asked to explain in their own words why they chose the score they did.

From this, you can place your customers on a scale, where anyone who answered between 0-6 is a detractor, 7-8 is passive, and 9-10 are promoters. 

NPS Calculation

In order to get your NPS, you take the detractors away from the promoters.

Let’s say you’ve surveyed 100 people. Of these 100 people, 30 are detractors, 40 are promoters, and 30 are passive. That leaves you with:

40 – 30 = 10

Promoters – Detractors = NPS

Determining your NPS is important, of course, but analyzing the open-ended responses to the follow-up question is what will help you understand the “why” behind your score and make NPS feedback actionable.

What do these categories mean?

Promoters

This category (people who selected 9 and 10) are your loyal fans. They’re likely to be repeat customers, often spending more on subsequent purchases. They generally have a positive view of your brand (meaning if they do contact you with a complaints, they’re often more forgiving). 

As well as this, they tend to refer new customers to you – accounting for more than 80% of referrals for many businesses – and talk about you on social media/in person. You may see effusive praise, with descriptions like ‘we’ve been able to achieve our goals’ or ‘this is the only software I’ll use’, along with thoughtful suggestions for improvement.

Passive

This group (people who chose 7 or 8) tends to be satisfied, but not in the same way as promoters. They’re happy with their purchase, and they might buy from you again, though not nearly as reliably. 

They are unlikely to complain about you to colleagues, but won’t necessarily spend their time singing your praises or talking about you on social media either. They’re also likely to evaluate competitors if they see an interesting advertisement or offer, rather than being wholly loyal to your brand.

Detractors

You might think that a 6 is a high score to count as a detractor, but generally, this group are unhappy customers. Encompassing everyone who chose between 0 and 6, they’re likely to talk badly about you. At the higher end, there might be some positives mentioned, but they’re still going to have complaints. This is where a lot of customer churn and defection comes in.

Sometimes these customers may seem profitable, as many of them may be spending a lot of money with you. However, an NPS program isn’t about the initial revenue generated by a customer or account, it’s about customer lifetime value. Detractors are at risk of leaving your business and can even give your brand a bad reputation (and the lower scorers are likely to be difficult for your staff to deal with at times).

Image Source

What is a good Net Promoter Score?

Bain & Company, the originators of the score, consider between +30 and +40 to be a favorable score. (Why are we using +30, not just 30? Because it’s possible to have a negative score if you have more detractors than promoters). As you head up to +50, you’re looking at an outstanding result. If you’re at +80? That’s world class.

However, this will vary based on your industry and your location. Europe and Asia generally mark things more conservatively than the US. So, if you’re comparing your scores to your competitors, make sure you’re looking in the same place rather than at a global average. If your industry is one generally viewed negatively – think debt collection, or property management – then you’re generally going to have lower scores, too.

For this reason, it’s worth investigating NPS benchmarks for your industry, and your location, rather than relying on a general global average. It’s also worth focusing on improving your own score per quarter. If you go from 5 to 15, you may still be below the average, but a jump of 10 points is respectable and means you’re doing the right things.

How to use NPS to boost customer retention

Now you know what NPS is, it’s time to take a look at how you can use it to improve your customer retention. 

Make sure it’s accurate

Firstly, you need to make sure you’re starting off with an accurate assessment. There are a few common mistakes companies make, including:

  • Asking leading questions on the survey
  • Promising rewards for higher scores
  • Using methods that increase bias (like face-to-face rather than anonymous online surveys)
  • Only surveying happy customers
  • Asking too many questions at once

Using “set and forget” NPS microsurveys can help you avoid these pitfalls.  By starting with an accurate assessment, you can take the right steps. Having a false image of customer success can be harmful, as issues will go unrecognized and unresolved. 

Reach out to detractors

Responding to the customers who gave you lower marks is beneficial – both for finding out why they gave lower marks, and saving their business. 

Contact detractors right away.  If you can address their issue right away, you have a shot at keeping them as a customer.  

Even if you can’t meet their needs, it is important that their feedback be acknowledged.

If you lack the time to personally reach out to each detractor, you can still mitigate negative feelings by automating your survey response. Send an email right away to thank them for their response, and ask for more feedback.

Reading through detractor feedback, you’ll gain insights into why they wouldn’t recommend you and be able to adjust accordingly. For example, if half of the detractors respond with ‘processing time is far too long’, then you have something to work toward. 

Sometimes negative reviews are based on service factors, like the delivery company you used or customer support that is slow to respond. Sometimes, complaints won’t be directly about your business. For instance, if you provide companies with a virtual phone number, you might get complaints about it not working. Changing this can instantly boost results. Create the experience consumers expect by prioritizing improvements, drawn from their direct feedback.

Feed this data back into your product roadmap and to your sales team. Designing new products with these criticisms in mind can avoid the same issues in the future. Meanwhile, it also gives your sales team some leeway on what they can offer in response to these criticisms to overcome them at the point of sale or renewal. It’s an extra handy thing to add to their sales playbook

For instance, if a customer is concerned about delivery times, give your customer success managers permission to upgrade them to expedited shipping at no extra cost. If they’ve had issues with subscription software, offer them a feature upgrade. All of these solutions can turn your detractors into passive customers – and potentially even promoters.

Learn from passives 

Don’t ignore this group of customers. While detractors are clearly telling you their business is at risk, passives are more likely to silently churn.  It is your job to find out why and whether you should focus attention on this group. 

Segmenting your NPS feedback by business size or other factors will help you decide how important passive feedback is. If passives reside in important accounts or user groups, you may want to understand the “why” behind their lack of enthusiasm. 

One way to do this is to customize the NPS follow-up question. If a customer scores you a 5 or a 6, ask them “What’s one thing we could do better?”   

Engage your promoters

Not all of your effort should focus on your unhappy customers, however. You know that this category of people has positive things to say about you – so why not turn that into something official? 

Reach out to them and ask for reviews or personal testimonials you can use on your website.  You might want to automate asking for a review. That way you ask at the right time — moments after a promoter scores you a 9 or a 10!

If you don’t already have referral marketing in place, it’s time to implement it. Roll it out by targeting these promoters, who you know are likely to make use of it. 

This encourages customer retention by giving them special offers, but it also boosts acquisition at the same time. For B2B companies, this is especially helpful if some of your customers are well-known in their field, as businesses are likely to respect their opinion.

Referral and loyalty schemes aren’t always well suited to B2B brands, but customer marketing or a VIP program can work instead. Customer marketing seeks to deepen relationships by providing customers with multiple benefits. One such example might be providing access to your product roadmap as part of an advisory council. Alternatively, you could create a VIP ‘space’, where exclusive content and in-person events are offered.

Thank respondents

Reach out to your loyal customers, and thank them for being so. 

Getting an email that says ‘thank you!’ is a great boost and encourages them to remain loyal. Video can improve customer experience, so having a thank you video may be worth the investment – especially if it is personalized or includes some behind the scenes content.

While most of these efforts should target your promoters, some of them can be sent out to your passive base, too – potentially converting those 7 or 8 scores into 9s and 10s. Add value to your initial product through a higher tier service, exclusive access to industry information, or trade-in offers. These methods can tempt passive customers into a deeper relationship with you.

Keep Going 

Net Promoter Score shouldn’t be used as a one-off metric, but a regular measurement. To retain more customers, continue to listen to them, learn from their feedback, and take action. NPS is especially helpful for tracking if your tactics are working. You should see an improvement in retention as you begin to implement those suggestions above. 

Equally, you might see a drop if something changes, like an operating system update or switching to an IVR system to route customer service calls.  By regularly tracking NPS, you’ll spot improvements and problems quickly. You’ll know if something is working or not, and be able to mitigate negative effects as soon as possible.

NPS will help you improve the customer experience you’re providing and that’s the best route to customer loyalty. 

Retain more customers with InMoment, the #1 Net Promoter Score platform for SaaS

A Primer on the 3 Most Important CX Metrics – NPS, CSAT and CES

Welcome to the “Age of the Customer.”  Are you ready?

Increased competition in nearly every market is leading businesses of all types to search for ways to attract and retain their ideal customers.  Through technology, customers have unprecedented access to information about products and services. With a few clicks, they can compare your company with your competitor’s offering, and learn how others perceive you. As competition and buyer empowerment compounds, Customer Experience, or “CX”, is proving to be the only truly durable competitive advantage.

Not only does exceptional CX make customers happier, it drives customer behavior. More purchases and renewals. More referrals and positive word of mouth.

When you optimize for CX, the first step is to measure it. But “it” is a multi-layered concept, and to truly understand customer experience at scale, you may need to track three very important metrics. Together, these can give you insight into where you stand and how to improve your CX:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT/PSAT)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

Of course, no single metric is going to give you a complete picture, and you will have to discover how to adapt the big three to your business case. Nonetheless, these tried and true customer experience survey methodologies are used across industries, and are the foundation of a strong “voice of the customer” program.

What is Customer Experience? A quick definition to get us started

Customer experience (CX) is the cumulative impact of every touchpoint throughout the customer journey. CX managers first determine what a positive customer experience entails for their target clients, theorize and implement changes they believe will have the most impact, and use results to optimize each customer interaction.

With new technology and social media, we have more ways than ever before of interacting with our customers. And, that means, we have nearly infinite opportunities to delight them – or disappoint them. But focusing only on individual touch points, even if your goal is to maximize satisfaction with each one, is a mistake. Because CX isn’t just about the customer’s experience in the moment; it’s about how these touchpoints fit into the context of their end-to-end journey with your company.

End to End Customer Journey - TSIA
Image: TSIA.com

How do I measure Customer Experience?

Measuring customer experience (CX) requires a layered approach that can include in-depth user interviews and gathering data at key points of contact, as well as tracking metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES).

What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a CX metric that surveys customers based on one question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” Customers who are promoters score 9 or 10. Passives score 7 or 8. Detractors score 6 to 0.

In-app NPS Survey- Wootric

NPS is such a valuable tool for measuring not just customer experience, but also customer loyalty, because it transcends single experiences. It is often referred to as a brand or relationship metric. The NPS question asks the customer to draw on the sum total of their experiences with your company, not just the most recent, making it a good indicator for repurchasing (and growth).  As a result, it is often considered a “board level” metric.

It is paired with an open-ended follow-up question, like “Care to tell us why?,” so you also get rich qualitative feedback that can guide improvement efforts from product to support to marketing.

NPS Survey Feedback

While NPS surveys are sometimes deployed once or twice a year, a good, modern NPS program will use “drip NPS” to keep an ongoing pulse on customer sentiment, so you can react in the moment, instead of after the fact.

If you are launching a customer feedback program, the Net Promoter cycle is a great place to start. However, NPS surveys are high level. How do you learn more about the experience you provide at specific touchpoints or transactions along your customer’s journey? This is where CSAT comes in.

What is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is the most popular transactional metric. A CSAT survey asks a customer how satisfied they are with a recent interaction–often a purchase or a customer service call–on a rating scale.  CSAT is flexible and highly customizable.

You can also ask multiple questions in the CSAT format to create a longer survey (and then average those responses for a composite CSAT score), but we recommend you keep it simple.  An open-ended follow up question allows your customers to tell you what attributes of satisfaction are working–or not working–for them.  

Here is a 2-step CSAT survey on a mobile app:
CSAT Survey on Mobile App

You can also try other survey formats. Here is a smiley-face based CSAT survey embedded in an email:

Simple CSAT Survey in an Email

In the realm of CX, a short CSAT survey is most often used to gauge customer satisfaction with interactions with support personnel. It’s a great tool for identifying support agents who may need more training or to quantify the impact of your last team-wide training effort.

Customer satisfaction metrics are useful for gauging the ‘happiness’ resulting from recent interactions, which is valuable information, especially when you’ve been making changes and need to track the results. You will need to dig into the qualitative feedback you receive to understand which attributes of satisfaction are most important to your customers and which are areas that require improvement. In the food delivery example, those attributes could be promptness of delivery, quality of food, price/value, etc.

A related survey is PSAT or Product Satisfaction Score. This is an adaption of the CSAT survey that is popular with software developers and advocates of product-led growth. An example is an in-app survey that asks a software user “How satisfied are you with [this product or feature]?”  The specific, contextual feedback that users provide in a PSAT survey helps to prioritize a roadmap of product improvements.

What is Customer Effort Score?

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys ask the customer “How much effort did you have to expend to handle your request?” and is scored on a numeric scale. It’s a customer service metric that is used to improve systems that may frustrate customers.

Essentially, CES advocates believe that when it comes to customer service or support, “effortlessness” is the most relevant attribute of customer satisfaction. In fact, Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) customer experience research confirms that exceeding customer expectations results in little change in loyalty. The CES survey helps you identify and remove obstacles, and solve problems, so your customers can find success with ease.

Here is an example of an in-app CES survey:

CES-in-app-Survey

Here is another common way to ask the Customer Effort Score question in a survey:

CES Survey example

A CES survey is typically deployed after a support interaction. But, for SaaS businesses, the CES survey can also help gauge the effort the customer must expend to onboard with you, the process of installing and becoming trained in the use of software. Onboarding can be self-service or high touch, and likely a combination of both. These steps that lead to a customer’s first experience of value are critical to success.  CES survey feedback can help you get it right.

According to the Harvard Business Review, CES can predict repurchasing even better than CSAT, making it a go-to, critical metric for SaaS companies, that depend heavily on successful onboarding and customer success to lay the foundation for repeat purchases.

How do CX metrics work together?

If measuring Customer Experience requires a comprehensive view, these three metrics help you get there. CX consultant Melinda Gonzalez says to “think in terms of layers.” Net Promoter Score delivers the big picture of customer loyalty and relationship over the long-term. CSAT & CES are typically transactional metrics that can help you analyze key touchpoints in the customer’s journeyCSAT can measure overall satisfaction on a number of attributes so you can discover and refine those that are most meaningful to your customers. And, Customer Effort Score dials in on one attribute, effort, and is incredibly useful for smoothing the customer’s path to their desired outcome. 

You’ll always need Net Promoter Score, “The One Number You Need to Grow.”  However, the numbers you need have grown.  CX improvement takes focus, but modern survey platforms can help streamline the process. The reward is market success. When you edge out the competition through world-class customer experience–think JetBlue, Starbucks, Charles Schwab, and Trader Joe’s–your customers will reward you with repeat business and brand advocacy.

How can I improve customer experience?

Optimizing to improve customer experience begins with establishing a set point – your current metrics – and forming a hypothesis for how to improve it. The hypothesis is tested, and based on the results, a new hypothesis is formed to be tested again for further improvement.

This series of testing and optimization is meant for agile companies and can be a challenge if you’re using dated methodology. For example, a traditional approach of sending out feedback surveys only once or twice a year, often via bulk email to all customers, means that it can take a long time to see results, and response rates can be low. Surveys that go out to a percentage of customers every day (to avoid survey overload) deliver results in real-time, which is especially vital for rapidly evolving products and services.

Once you have access to nearly instant customer feedback, the challenge becomes digesting it and taking action.

Unlocking the insight from qualitative feedback is key to making the most of your CX metrics. Machine learning enables you to auto-categorize the topics and emotion in open-ended feedback, and do so at scale in real-time. Pair that with operational data about your respondents–like role, location, account, associated revenue–and you’ll be able to diagnose the “why” behind your scores and quickly prioritize improvements that will drive your business forward.

Customer experience isn’t just about making the customer happy during a single interaction, though it is important. In fact, each interaction is a small part of an equation that spans the entire relationship you have with that customer. With that in mind, you’ll want to start by taking stock of each potential interaction with your company, website, products, self-service support, and customer-facing representatives.

Improving CX is truly a team effort, so you’ll want to systematically go through each touchpoint to see who is in charge of it, how well it’s working now, and what improvements are feasible to make in the short term and the long term.

Editor’s note: This is an update of an article originally published on Nov 21, 2016.

Start measuring CX Metrics with InMoment

CX Tipping Point: 7 Signs You Need Text & Sentiment Analytics

The potential for machine learning to elevate the customer experience has everyone buzzing. AI-powered text and sentiment analysis can be an incredible solution for specific problems that CX pros face. 

But how do you know when the time is right to move to the next level of CX? Are there new tools you can purchase to step your game up? How do you know they’ll be worth it? 

There are clear signs that your CX program is ready for, and your company could quickly benefit from, text and sentiment analysis. And we’ll delve into them here.

Before we get going, some definitions:

  • Text analysis takes qualitative customer comments and determines relevant themes. Software companies might see themes such as ‘feature request’, ‘bug’, or ‘pricing’. This allows you to quickly see what your customers are focusing on, and then dive in to see what they’re specifically saying about each topic.
  • Sentiment analysis offers micro and macro insights into how your customers are feeling about your company and products. It determines whether the text received for each text theme is positive, negative, or neutral. It also analyzes the comment as a whole, assigning sentiment to the entire verbatim text.

Let’s look at the 7 signs text and sentiment analytics will be worth the investment for your company. 

1. You have a mature or quickly-maturing CX program.

Those of you considering text and sentiment analytics probably already have a few key elements in place:

Now that you have a relatively mature CX program, you’re wondering how to extract even more value out of it.

2. You receive 500+ comments per month (or you’re headed there.)

Ideally, you want to listen to all of your customers – not just a sample or the first to respond. In reality, at a certain point the sheer volume of incoming customer feedback is more than a CX program can handle without an upgrade. You know this is the case when:

  1. You feel excitement and dread regarding the amount of feedback you receive.
  2. You’re anticipating a whole lot more comments soon.
  3. You’ve even had to cap the number of comments you receive in a day to avoid being overwhelmed with the task of organizing and responding to everyone.

Overwhelming amounts of feedback is an amazing problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Using text and sentiment analytics, you can turn unstructured qualitative feedback, like NPS comments, into organized insight in a matter of minutes.  

Text and sentiment analytics allow you to analyze customer feedback using Natural Language Processing, looking something like this:

Read Google’s case study on Wootric and Natural Language Processing here.

By combining text and sentiment analytics, you can search negative comments and quickly assess, for example, that 80% of your negative comments are about pricing. Or 45% of your customers in the Northeast region are talking about slow delivery times. That summary lets you know where to focus resources, and how quickly you need to make the change relative to other company priorities.

3. You’re sitting on a goldmine of feedback, but unable to get actionable insights.

Do you have a backlog of comments waiting to be read and sorted? Or maybe you’ve skimmed a few comments to answer the urgent ones, but you keep putting off the others.

One of our clients came to us with NPS survey comments from thousands of users. But rather than mining that information, they were running focus groups to prioritize feature requests because it was easier. They were duplicating efforts to get information they already had but couldn’t access and act on.

“The two biggest mistakes [in CX] are not doing qualitative research in the first place and then not putting it to use.” –Morgan Brown, Product Manager at Facebook and coauthor of ‘Hacking Growth’

If you’re feeling this pain, it’s time to automatically mine the insight from that pile of comments you’ve been sitting on. Turn anecdotes and hunches that you’ve got about your customer experience into evidence-backed insight by using. And do it quickly with text and sentiment analytics.

CXInsight™ Dashboard tagging segmentation screenshot

Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard

Sliced and diced organized feedback is easily available with many platforms that offer text and sentiment analytics. Doing this can help you understand the root cause of trends – like the needs of different customer personas or geographic regions – more comprehensively.

4. Manual feedback organization & categorization is insightful, but painfully slow.

While some customers duplicate efforts between data gathering and focus groups to get insight, other CX pros just bite the bullet and spend hours reading customer comments, labeling them, and funneling them into an unwieldy spreadsheet. They’re understandably frustrated by how difficult it is to get actionable insight.

By using text and sentiment analytics, humans can get huge quantities of customer feedback sorted and analyzed at the push of a button. Better yet, computers don’t have bad days or lose focus.

Once organized with tags, your time is freed up to look at the themes and trends that arise from the noise, then create actionable strategies based on those insights.  

Now you can jump straight into action and the interns can work on more interesting, valuable projects!

PRO TIP: To get high quality insights at the push of a button, algorithms need to be trained. Be sure your feedback management software vendor has a team that will work with your data to ensure you get valuable insight from the start. With more data and occasional human guidance, you’ll get better and faster insight over time.

5. Your CX program lacks a real-time issue detection system.

An important element to providing a good customer experience is making sure any issues are handled quickly and efficiently. If you can detect and address them before your customer has a real issue, your CX program has paid for itself.

One of the benefits of having text and sentiment analysis is that your data and insights are updated in real-time. This means you have a new issue detection system.

Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard

This works best for a more mature customer feedback program with an established baseline, or status quo. For example, you know that on any given day, in any given geographic region, about 10% of your comments are tagged with ‘out of stock’ as an issue. When you check in and see that in Texas, 25% of comments coming in are tagged ‘out of stock’, that raises a red flag. You can immediately dig into specifics, read through the verbatims, and send those comments to the right people for follow up before the issue blows out of proportion.

The CX dream of being proactive in solving issues can be achieved with the help of automated organization of qualitative feedback.

6. Your internal teams aren’t agreeing on CX priorities.

It’s a given that successful companies focus on customer needs and experiences. The question is: is everyone at your company seeing the same information in the same way? If not, you’re wasting time and costly resources with competing priorities, and it is definitely time to invest in tools to fix it.

By having your CX tech parse the text and sentiment of your 1K+ daily inputs of customer feedback, you can democratize the information and insights across every team at your company. And that will ensure team leaders can quickly align to address the right priorities. So product development and customer support will be on the same page, and features will get developed (or possibly de-bugged) to meet the most important needs of the customer.

How does that happen? Feedback from every customer touchpoint is analyzed, from in-product surveys to emails. In this example, support ticket subject lines are auto-categorized and everyone from support to service to product to the c-level can see what issues are hot items to address.

Support Ticket Text Analytics in Wootric CXInsight

Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard

Looking at the text analytics, it quickly becomes apparent that 15% of the support tickets are related to bugs that need to be addressed. On the proactive front, product could also delve into comments tagged “feature request” and focus on user concerns about UX/UI.

7. You need to demonstrate the ROI of your CX program.

Companies are eager to hop on the CX bandwagon, but it can still be a fight to get the proper resources to make a CX program thrive. You’ve probably already shown the C-suite the correlation between CX and revenue growth, but there’s pressure to squeeze a little more ROI out of what you’ve established. 

Investing in a tool that pulls ROI from data is an expense. But it’s a more strategic spend than, and offers more immediate follow-up and action, than  performing passive data review and organization. It’s also a moredirect value-add and much less expensive than hiring a third party human operation. 

The cascading effects throughout the organization will increase ROI in the long-term as well.

  • Product teams can prioritize and build with evidence-based confidence. 
  • Marketing teams will gain an understanding of different personas and see customers excited to spread the word about your business. 
  • Support and operations teams will have early warning of potential issues and have more context when dealing with problems.

In the end, qualitative data is crucial to extracting value out of CX initiatives. Having more data from engaged customers should not be an obstacle. 

Is this the point?

Are you seeing any of these 7 signs when you look at your company’s CX program? If so, do a cost benefit analysis. Typically, once your program has matured, the cost of tools that create actionable insights out of customer feedback are far cheaper than the cost of misaligned resources and long delivery times. Text and sentiment analytics make the resources you put into CX initiatives efficient, and turn the large quantity of unstructured data into an advantage by mining insight that would otherwise sit in limbo. Move this tipping point in your favor.

(Editor’s Note: this post is an update of a 2018 post)

Wootric ranks #1 in ROI in Experience Management | G2 Grid Report

Note: Wootic was acquired by InMoment in January 2021. The Wootric product lives on as our Professional Plan.

Wootric, the CX management platform for maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV), has been recognized as a High Performer in the G2 Crowd Grid Report for Experience Management for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. Wootric also outperforms the category on all satisfaction measures including ease of use.

Notably, Wootric, which seeks to drive business outcomes from customer experience efforts, has the fastest payback in the category.

Wootric is ranked #1 in ROI (Return on Investment)

“Companies should expect a financial outcome for their investment in CX,” said Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer of Wootric, “Our turnkey approach means that our customers quickly understand user sentiment at the moments that matter, and analytics surface ways to immediately improve retention and engagement.  It is gratifying to see our customers’ success reflected in our ranking.”  In the G2 report, Wootric averages 9 months to return on investment, versus an average of 19 months for others in the experience management category, including Qualtrics and Medallia. 

Chart showing Months to Payback in Experience Management Category

Experience management platforms help businesses bridge the gap between the experiences they believe they are delivering to customers and the experiences customers are actually receiving. They enable organizations to collect feedback from their customers with surveys that measure net promoter scores (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT), and customer effort scores (CES). By combining and analyzing customer feedback from multiple channels, experience management software offers companies a holistic view of their customers’ experiences and how those experiences are impacting the business.

Wootric specializes in customer experience management for high growth B2B and B2C software-as-service and companies in digital transformation. Over 1200 brands worldwide are understanding and improving the post-acquisition customer journey with Wootric’s CLV-focused approach.

Enterprise users also gave Wootric the top rank for usability and easiest admin

“We understand that in order to have an impact, CX champions must engage stakeholders, democratize insights, and ensure data is at the fingertips of frontline teams in real-time,” says Prabhat Jha, CTO of Wootric. “Their needs drive our roadmap — whether we are talking about our native integrations with modern tech stack players like Salesforce, Intercom, Hubspot, and Segment or our flexible Voice of Customer analytics hub that can be customized to meet the needs of numerous stakeholder teams like Product, Support, Success, and Customer Insights.”  

The G2 Crowd Grid Report for Experience Management (Fall 2020) is a quarterly report that shows how the leading customer experience management solutions stack up to one another based on customer satisfaction and market presence. G2 Crowd’s scoring methodology blends data from user reviews and a vendor’s market presence, taking into account their social impact and market share, to generate the results for their Grid Report. Once scored, a vendor falls into one of four categories: Leader, High Performer, Contender, or Niche player.

This robust piece of research material should be read by CX practitioners and anyone evaluating a customer experience management solution. Learn exactly how each of the 26 companies included in the report received their score, their highest and lowest-rated features, satisfaction ratings, and more. Sign in and view this research on G2 to see:

  • Additional Data. Compare payback period (ROI) by vendor.
  • The G2 Crowd Grid visual
  • The Grid scores that determined each vendor’s placement
  • Side-by-side feature comparison
  • Methodology behind the scoring process

Learn how Wootric can help you improve customer lifetime value. Book a consultative demo today.

Customer Lifetime Value: A Guide to the Northstar Revenue Metric

The technical definition of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the revenue earned from a single customer over time. It’s an equation that subtracts the cost to acquire a new customer (CAC) from the total revenue from that customer. The goal is to make the revenue-over-time from each individual customer as high as possible.

But the technical definition doesn’t cover the magic that’s actually in CLV – as a metric and as a mission for a digital marketplace,  an e-commerce site, and SaaS businesses. Because when you go after CLV with intention, making it one of your “North Star” metrics, you’ll find that the cost-to-acquire actually shrinks. It becomes less expensive to acquire new customers, and the revenue pours in exponentially. 

We are also at an inflection point with SaaS. While many SaaS companies are still largely concentrated on acquisition-based growth through demos and trials, we’re seeing a shift to focus on the end-user and the metrics that capture how happy they are, because those end-users lead growth. And that’s where CLV comes in as a business case. It is the ideal way to tie customer loyalty to revenue.

Those end users who are sticking with you are also buying more from you (cross-sells and upsells) and they’re telling their friends and colleagues how great you are (referrals). In a sense, they become your virtual sales army. They’re out there warming up leads and sending them to you, so you don’t have to pay to find them

This is the magic we’re going to unlock for you in this comprehensive article. If you want to know how to maximize your bottomline, then improving Customer Lifetime Value is key. And we’re going to explain how it all works, and how you can start using it to get better ROI for your business right now.

Part 1: Making the case for CLV as the key metric for your customer experience strategy

I don’t know a single company that hasn’t pondered these questions:

  • What resource investment will have the most impact on customer health and revenue growth? 
  • What can (or should) I automate?
  • Should I invest more money into customer experience (CX), customer support, or customer success right now?
  • Should we focus on building this new feature or should we focus on infrastructure improvements that might make our platform more secure or faster, etc.?
  • Should we invest in self-service onboarding to improve the journey for the end user?

The answers to all of these questions lie in Customer Lifetime Value. 

If your business thrives on high-volume sales and high turnover, then you’re probably not a subscription-based business – but you also don’t need to worry so much about CLV. 

But, if your business would benefit from high-volume sales AND returning customers AND lower acquisition costs, then CLV is your metric, and you’ve probably got your answers to the above questions. The more you invest in both user experience and customer experience, the less you have to invest in customer support, leading to organic growth and a higher CLV.

CLV isn’t a passive metric – a numerical pat on the back for when you’ve done a “good job.” It’s an active, actionable metric that can be used in a few different ways.

Let’s look at a few different ways to use this metric:

CLV as Profit Metric

Traditionally, CLV has been used as a benchmark for whether your business is going well or going under. You look at your CLV/CAC ratio, and if it works out to at least 3 or higher (for every $1 dollar you spend acquiring a customer, you earn at least $3 dollars) you’re in the clear. You could then calculate the CLV/CAC ratio across your marketing channels to determine which are creating the most lifetime value (invest in those more) and which aren’t.

CLV as Customer Persona Builder

Once you start parsing out which clients have the highest CLV, you can look for what they have in common in terms of demographics, psychographics, user behavior, how they found you, and other characteristics. You can then use those commonalities to create better customer personas so you can go after higher CLV clients with intention.

Predictive CLV

CLV can be used to predict the lifetime value of new customers when you examine current behavior and purchase patterns, and then base projected behavior and patterns based on those early indicators. You might already know how to predict churn based on “red flag” customer actions, and this concept is the same but in the opposite direction. You look for retention and upsell-predictive behaviors by reverse engineering what your best customers did at the beginning, middle, and ends of their journeys with you (if they’ve ended!). 

CLV as Key Performance Indicator

CLV is a broad KPI of how well you’re serving clients, how valuable your product or service is to them, and how well you’re delivering your solution with the appropriate customer experience. It’s a great North Star metric. You know you’re headed in the right direction as CLV rises. But, you’ll also need metrics that tell you, more granularly, what’s going on and why at each stage of the customer journey. So we also use Customer Journey Metrics like Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score, Customer Satisfaction, etc.

Once you start tracking CLV, you can do so much with it to improve your business – which we’ll get to in Part 3. But for now, let’s look at CLV as an equation – or really, several equations.

Part 2: CLV as Equation – how to crack the code of calculating this complicated metric

If you are not mathematically-inclined, I’ll make this as straightforward as possible. 

CLV is revenue you expect to receive from a customer over time, less the cost of acquiring and keeping that customer. 

Here it is in equation form:
CLV = (ARPU X average # of months or years retained) – (CAC + CRC) 

People have been refining ways to calculate more accurate CLV ratios for years. What’s so hard? So. many. variables. Here are the basic numbers you’ll need for the CLV calculation for a SaaS business:

Average Monthly Revenue Per Customer (ARPU)

Here are all the different ways customers bring in value in a subscription software business model.

  • Original revenue
  • Renewal revenue
  • Upsell revenue
  • Cross-Sell revenue
  • Referral Revenue

Most calculations only deal with original revenue and renewal revenue, but that doesn’t cover the whole picture. When calculating Average Monthly Revenue Per Customer (ARPU) for our CLV equation, just remember to account for upsells and cross-sells, not just original revenue and renewal revenue. Referrals take care of themselves — they’ll show up in the customer acquisition cost (CAC) calculation because you’ll see that you’re getting more new customers without spending more on sales & marketing.

You’ll also want to know your CAC because the two are intertwined. Your CLV will increase if you are able to increase revenue from customers while maintaining or lowering your acquisition cost. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

How much you spent on sales & marketing in a given time period (learn more about this here)

Divided by…

How many new customers you gained in the same given time period

Customer Retention Cost (CRC)

The cost of serving the customer is often overlooked in CLV calculation. And if your onboarding customer success and/or customer service programs are significant, you definitely want to factor in Customer Retention Cost. Totango, a Wootric integration partner, wrote a whole book on calculating CRC, but a quick estimate looks like this: 

How much you spend to onboard, train and support customers in a given period

Divided by…

How many new customers you gained in the same given time period

CLV calculation in non-subscription models

One more way to calculate CLV is through a predictive model that can be highly accurate. This method is common in consumer businesses such as e-commerce. That equation looks like this:

CLV = (Average monthly transactions X Average order value) X Average gross margin X Average Customer Lifespan*

*The average customer lifespan is calculated in months.

Segment CLV to make it more actionable

Calculating CLV for your company can be revealing and is a great start to working with this metric.  Like measuring NPS though, it really isn’t actionable until you start segmenting the metric. To make CLV more actionable and predictive, you’ll want to separate these numbers by customer segment and acquisition channels. That’s when you’ll be able to optimize your acquisition strategies to raise your CLV rates even higher.

Start by looking at CLV by pricing tier or persona. For example, you may discover that the CLV for enterprise customers is no higher than self-service customers once you factor in the high cost of acquiring and supporting “the big fish.” 

Part 3: The 4 Most Powerful Ways to use CLV to grow your business

To use CLV as an actionable, predictive, productive metric, you have to segment your users and rank them by their CLV. Then you can look at the data you’ve collected on them – which acquisition channels they came from, what their first interaction was on your website, what their customer journey looked like through onboarding and beyond – to optimize each stage of the customer journey.

And then you can return to CLV as a ‘big picture’ measurement of your optimization progress. 

Here are three primary ways to use CLV to optimize acquisition and retention.

1. Optimize your acquisition strategies for CLV – and use CLV to optimize your acquisition strategies.

Your CRM platform should tell you which channels customers came through to find you, and you may notice that your high-CLV customers tend to come from one of those channels over the others. 

One of the most clear-cut stories of how a big company used CLV to increase profit is IBM. IBM used CLV to determine the effectiveness of their marketing channels to attract high-spending customers – direct mail, telesales, email, and catalogs per customer (yes, this is an old story – way back in 2008). When they reallocated resources to the best-performing channels, they 10Xed their revenue. 

It’s low-hanging fruit to decide to spend more marketing money on the channels yielding the highest CLV clients. But we can go one step further.

2. You can use your CLV to create better buyer personas.

Yes, this requires a platform that can gather all of the available information on each customer. But use whatever information you’ve got. You will find that your high CLV customers have a lot in common (though you may need to form segments for the commonalities to clearly emerge). 

Once you have your high CLV buyer personas, you can use them to form marketing, outreach, and retention strategies based on their specific acquisition channels and user behavior through onboarding and retention. 

For example, let’s say that you find that your high CLV clients come to you through G2 or Capterra. And once they reach your site, they don’t just “buy now” – they have at least one interaction with your live chat helpline. Your high CLV customers need a conversation before converting, which means if you tweak your G2 listing or website content answer their questions without having to reach out, you’ll likely see higher conversions from customers who’ll stick around.

3. Use CLV with Customer Success for higher retention rates & referral revenue

CLV and customer success are so intertwined as to be inseparable. Why? Successful customers don’t leave. So, when you want to improve your CLV, having a customer success program in place is one of the best ways to do it. Customer success asks, at each stage of the customer journey: What is the customer’s ideal outcome, and how can we best move them towards it? Then the customer success team can create strategies around supporting customers at pivotal moments – like places in the onboarding process where customers tend to get frustrated and leave (Customer Effort Score surveys are ideal for flagging these points of friction) or using churn-predictive behaviors to ‘red flag’ certain interactions to receive Customer Support pop-up chats.

4. Use CLV to obtain more referrals from customers.

Your long-term high CLV customers are your brand ambassadors and influencers, and once you identify them, you can start to leverage that by rewarding and strengthening their connection to your brand. That could be something as simple as inviting them to be part of a free Beta testing group, so they can give you their insights into the next iterations of your product or service, or even just asking them to write an online review. Some businesses host online communities for their best clients, or offer them priority support.

Want an even easier way to identify the customers most likely to refer you to others? Learn how to use NPS surveys to not only find your promoters, but encourage them to promote you more.

5. Use CLV to guide product design and validate product development decisions at the business level.

Product teams may be removed from revenue goals on the day-to-day, but strategic decisions about where to expend engineering resources should be made with business impact in mind. Product can use CLV to inform what customer segments the product should be designed for.  Building CLV-related goals into user stories or feature specifications can help prioritize the roadmap and provide a success metric for retrospective once the product is out the door. 

Part 4: 10 Ways to Increase & Optimize Your CLV

  1. Prioritize customer experience above everything else. And don’t just say it; measure it with metrics like Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Effort Score. Calculate and track churn rates and engagement metrics.
  2. Invest in customer success. Customer success drives acquisition, retention, and customer spending (upsells and cross-sells), raising CLV by helping customers achieve their ideal outcomes.
  3. Invest in UX testing. The data you get from UX testing makes your product easier to use, reducing friction, and making it a must-have tool for your users. 
  4. Pay special attention to onboarding. Churn happens most frequently during or shortly after onboarding, so paying attention to churn-predictive behavior patterns (often identified by a Customer Effort Score survey) in the onboarding process can help you form a strategy to smooth those friction points and find easier ways to move your client towards meaningful success milestones.
  5. Bring product management, customer success, customer support, and marketing together in shared responsibility for metrics. Collaboration between product and customer success is common, but it is a good idea to expand the team because they have so much to gain from working together. For example, with onboarding, product managers need to understand how their tech decisions affect adoption and retention metrics; and customer success teams need to have access to onboarding user data that helps them identify upsell opportunities. Some shared metrics for success include NPS, churn rate, trial conversion rate, adoption rate, and, of course, CLV.
  6. Use CLV as a segmentation tool.  This allows you to deliver appropriate experiences to customers who are high-value, and who have the potential to become high-value. The appropriate experience might be the level of customer support each segment receives, or the messaging they get throughout their buyer’s journeys. You may also find that each CLV segment has different pain points and needs, which you can target for even higher acquisition and retention rates.
  7. Ask your most loyal customers for support. Following up a positive NPS survey response with an automated request for an online review is simply asking happy customers to follow through on what they just said they’d be willing to do. They’ve already said yes – so make it easy for them to act on promoting you. This won’t directly affect your LTV score, but it will drive down your CAC as the referrals come in.
  8. Keep customers engaged by adding value to your product or service, or through high-value content. If you don’t have substantial updates/improvements/expansions planned for your product, you can keep customers engaged with educational materials–i.e. content that helps them reach their ideal outcomes faster and easier. This has the added benefit of being useful for top-of-funnel marketing as well.
  9. Listen to your customers and act on their feedback.  Voice of customer data is so important for improving products and reducing friction. The only problem is that sentiment analysis at scale can be difficult without the right tools.
  10. Don’t “acquire customers” – build relationships. The customers who stay with you the longest feel like they know you. They feel like you know them. You’ve become an integral part of their daily lives, and they’d miss you if you went away. So consider changing the way you think of acquiring customers. You’re building relationships. And the more personalized and personal you make your customer interactions, the more likely your customers will feel connected to you and committed to your brand.

Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value is really a whole-company effort, requiring a great product, great service, and a deep understanding of your customers’ needs, frustrations, and desires. It’s a ‘big picture’ metric; a North Star number to guide you towards creating better customer experiences. But this one metric can also shed light on valuable segments and strategies that can profitably impact your business. CLV is a number you can’t afford to ignore.

The 80/20 NPS Guide for B2B SaaS

In this guest post, Nathan Lippi, Head of User Research at PandaDoc, shares a Pareto principle approach to getting the most from a B2B Net Promoter Score program. 

NPS. It’s debated, loved, and hated, but in the world of B2B SaaS it’s rarely used to its full potential.

At PandaDoc, we’ve become increasingly customer-obsessed since the introduction of our NPS program two years ago, but we feel as if we still have meaningful room for improvement.

We’ve found there isn’t much written about NPS, specifically for B2B companies, so in order to level up, we’ve gone straight to the experts. With their permission, we’re sharing some key findings here.

We hope this guide helps you to get the most out of your CX program.

Let’s get to it!

The main purpose of NPS is to drive action

NPS is an easy, trusted, and benchmark-able way to start driving customer-focused action at your company.

Many companies obsess too much about the number when they’re starting out.

However, the most successful companies never lose sight of the fact that the primary purpose of CX metrics is to drive customer-focused action.

Once you’re driving customer-focused action, you’ll start to actually reap the benefits of increased retention, expansion, and word of mouth.

One Oracle VP’s Three-Step Recipe for NPS Survey Success

Joshua Rossman is an NPS OG, having run NPS at eBay and McAfee, among other companies. He’s now Vice President, Customer Experience Strategy at Oracle.

Through his years of experience, Rossman has created a three-step system he uses to get the most out of customer experience surveys, including NPS. He’s been kind enough to give us permission to share it publicly.

Step 1: Ask an easy-to-answer anchor question first to improve response rates

This principle is standard for NPS, but powerful enough to use across other CX surveys.

Ask your broad question first, and get a quantitative rating. Making your first question easy to answer will improve your overall survey response rates.

Step 2: Get S-P-E-C-I-F-I-C with your open-ended ask

Rossman has found that the standard open-ended question, “Care to tell us why?” often leads to vague, inactionable responses (e.g. “It’s hard to use”).

He’s found that asking promoters for specific reasons they recommend — and non-promoters for specific ways to improve — leads to much more actionable feedback.

Here are the specific questions he recommends for brand-level NPS:

Promoters: “What is it that makes you most likely to recommend {{company}}?”

Non-promoters: “What is it we could do that would make you more likely to recommend us in the future?”

These questions ask more specific questions — and tend to get more specific answers.

Various platforms such as InMoment can help you automatically categorize your now-more-specific NPS verbatims!

Each company will want to tag their work in a way that makes the most sense to them, but Shaun Clowes, former Head of Growth at Atlassian, says that they used machine learning to tag their feedback into three categories: Reliability, Usability, and Functionality. They used the ratio of different complaints to understand, at a high level, where their product needed work.

Step 3: NPS’ Secret Third Question

Even with the more specific responses you’ll hopefully get from the tweaks recommended in Step 2, not all B2B companies get such a high volume of responses that they can glean mathematically reliable responses from text alone.

One way to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that lead to an excellent (or poor) user experience is to follow questions about satisfaction with questions about various attributes of your brand. Ask a few extra questions with NPS and you can capture the overall sentiment for each area:

Wireframe example | Rating satisfaction of multiple attributes

After you’ve captured these details you can then run a simple linear regression, which will tell you which factors most influence if a person is a promoter or a detractor.

Various versions of the linear regression technique were also mentioned by Allison Dickin, VP of User Research at UserLeap, and other experts.  Hearing them reinforce the power of this third question helps us get really excited about what we might do with it.

“Extra questions should be used judiciously,” counters Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer at Wootric. “Think about it: When was the last time you responded thoughtfully to a multi-question survey?”

If you’re worried that such a long third step may lead to a negative user experience or lower response rates, a lighter option may be to ask the respondent to tell you what drove their score by selecting from a pick list of reasons.

If your follow-up question to detractors is, “What is the main thing we need to improve?,” you could offer a picklist that includes product, support, training, and value.

Not only are you learning what’s driving your score overall, but you’re also generating groups of users to follow up based on their interest. For example, your customer support team can learn more by reaching out to detractors who cite “support” as an issue.

Example 2-step in-app NPS survey with a pick list

Drive Strategic Action with a Cross-Functional Cadence

You may have noticed that our first heading was about driving action on behalf of the customer.

We’re touching on it again because, ultimately, driving action on behalf of your customers should be the primary concern of an NPS program.

Driving tactical action on behalf of customers was something we were already doing well at PandaDoc, before talking to the experts. Getting NPS data into Slack and other systems has been a pillar of our NPS program — this helps us take immediate action on issues that surface in feedback. One example: reaching out to an unhappy detractor and quickly fixing the issue that her NPS feedback brought to our attention.

However, learning how many companies drive strategic action on behalf of the customer in the following way, was eye-opening:

  • Collect customer feedback in a central repository (NPS, sales feedback, CS feedback, etc. — all combined together, somewhere like InMoment, UserVoice or ProductBoard.
  • Perform a 360° analysis of this data on a quarterly basis
  • Set up a monthly cross-functional cadence to decide which action to drive, and to track progress and accountability on ongoing courses of action

Fictional Examples of Driving Strategic Action:

Product Team

Diagnosis: Self-serve onboarding is our most common NPS complaint.  People often come away without understanding our platform’s core concepts.

Initiative: Improve self-serve onboarding to teach core concepts of the platform.

Success Team 

Diagnosis: Feedback about CS indicates all roles except admins are quite happy. Admins specifically have trouble understanding how to set user permissions, and they’d rather avoid going through training to learn something so small.

Initiative: Create micro-videos that explain to admins on how to manage user permissions.

Support Team

Diagnosis: NPS feedback indicates enterprise customers are unhappy with the time it takes to resolve support interactions involving custom features. 

Initiative:  Route tickets from enterprise customers directly to senior agents who have the expertise and product knowledge to resolve their issues.

Marketing 

Diagnosis: Many of the leads we’re attracting cannot benefit from our core value proposition.

Initiative: Better align their SEM campaigns and landing pages with promises that the product can fulfill.

Your metrics should flow from your unique business strategy

NPS has been sold by some as the be-all / end-all metric of a customer-centricity program. But this approach can be harmful.

While NPS is often a great way to understand brand-level sentiment, it makes sense to layer on additional metrics as your CX program progresses.

Jessica Pfeifer at Wootric and Allison Dickin at UserLeap agree on the idea that your CX metrics should flow from what’s most critical to your business’ success.

“You’ll be able to benchmark and track trends over time when you complement NPS with established metrics like CSAT, PSAT, or Customer Effort Score at critical touchpoints in the customer journey,” says Pfeifer.

“For example, you might trigger a Customer Effort Score survey to gauge how easy it is for a user to achieve ‘first value.’ What is that critical milestone in your product? In PandaDoc’s case, it might be sending a document. Here at Wootric, it’s when a customer has live survey feedback flowing into their dashboard.”

Both took time to talk to us about questions that can be used in addition to (or as an alternative to) NPS. Here are some examples:

Example Non-NPS Questions

Business question How to ask it
Examples from Allison Dickin @ UserLeap
What are the factors that affect churn, and what can we do differently to reduce it? First question:

How likely are you to use {{company}} for the next 3 months?

Follow-up question:

What would make you more likely to continue using {{company}}?

How well are we delivering on our core value proposition? First question:

How well does {{company}} meet your needs for {{value prop}}?

Second question:

How could {{company}} better meet your needs?

How is our first session going for users, and how can we improve it?
One option here is to pop up a question in-app, before the median session time. Another option is to email users after their first session.
First question:

How would you rate your experience getting started with {{company}}?

Second question:

How could {{company}} better meet your needs?

Examples from Jessica Pfiefer @ Wootric
How satisfied are users with our product, a feature, or service and how can we improve them? E.g. support interactions. Survey in product for feedback on features, survey via email or Intercom Messenger for support interactions. CSAT

First question:
“How satisfied are you with your recent support interaction?

Second question (customize based on score):
“What could we do to improve?

We have a key but difficult task that we need to make easier for users.
How difficult is the task, and how can we make it easier to do?
CES

First question:
“How easy was it for you to {{key but difficult task}}?

Second question:
“What could we do to improve?”

Takeaways

  • NPS is a great way to get started with driving customer-centric action
  • Use Josh Rossman’s three-part system to get the most out of your CX surveys, including NPS
  • Use analysis and a cross-functional cadence to drive org-wide, customer-focused action
  • As your business grows, layer on metrics that fit your specific business needs

This is just the tip of the iceberg for NPS, but we hope it will help your company squeeze the most out of your CX research program.

Hit me up on Twitter (@nathanlippi), and to let me know what’s worked well for you and your company!

Retain more customers with InMoment, the #1 Net Promoter Score platform for SaaS

How to Use CX Metrics to Find Bottlenecks to Product Led Growth

We are all competing in the End User Era now.

Investor Blake Bartlett coined the term “End User Era” to capture an important shift that is happening on an organizational level across industries: “Today, software just shows up in the workplace unannounced. End users are finding products on their own and telling their bosses which ones to buy. And it’s all happening at lightning speed.”

Companies like DocuSign, Slack, Zoom, and Hubspot are examples of SaaS companies that are thriving in the End User Era. Their success is rooted in products that end-users love. Product Led Growth codifies this end user-focused growth model. PLG relies on the product itself as the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion and expansion. This approach goes all-in on end user ease and productivity to drive growth, and is a radical shift away from the acquisition growth model so familiar in the software industry.

Customer Experience (CX) metrics have an important role to play in this strategy—something I explored in-depth in a previous post: Customer Experience in the Era of Product Led Growth.

Customers will tell you where your PLG bottlenecks are.

Metrics are essential to understanding progress on the product led growth curve. Typically the PLG model evaluates business and pipeline health based on user actions (clicks) and subscription revenue.

This is where CX metrics are so valuable. Voice of customer data illuminates the “why” behind the clicks and the cash. Classic CX surveys like NPS, PSAT, CSAT, and Customer Effort Score(CES) monitor customer sentiment — providing critical insight into behavioral and revenue metrics.

By analyzing the open-ended comments that accompany the rating-scale questions you can identify positive and negative themes in what customers are saying. Based on what you learn, you can confidently prioritize improvements to your product that will remove bottlenecks, the enemy of PLG success.

At the core, Product Led Growth is about taking tasks that would traditionally be done manually and putting them into the product to create efficiency and a better customer experience. Step back and map out all of the steps in your funnel from acquiring an initial lead all the way through to turning that lead into a paying customer who sees value in the product. Where are the bottlenecks?

— Kyle Poyar, Market Strategist, OpenView

How do you know where your bottlenecks are, and whether you are eliminating them?

Let’s explore each metric to understand how it can help you identify and address bottlenecks, with real-world examples from our customers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): Loyalty and more

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys ask customers to evaluate how likely they are to recommend your product or company to a friend or colleague, this “propensity to refer” is an excellent predictor of future growth.

Unlike the other metrics covered here, which are flexible and easily customizable, true NPS surveys follow a very specific format when it comes to asking the first (of two) questions. By asking that first question in a specific way, using a standard scale, companies can compare their NPS scores to industry benchmarks. The second question, which gathers qualitative data regarding improvement opportunities, can (and often should) be customized.

NPS Surveys ask two questions…

Question #1: “How likely are you to recommend this product or company to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10?”

Question #2: “What can we improve about this experience?” (if they rated you 0-8) or “What did you love about this experience” (if they rated you a 9 or 10).

The first question allows you to calculate your Net Promoter Score, which is a number between -100 and +100 and serves as a benchmark for progress. For detailed information on how to calculate NPS, and what the number really means, take a look at our Net Promoter Score post.

The second NPS survey question is just as important, if not more so, than the score itself because this qualitative data tells you what you need to do to improve end user experience.

Why is NPS key to Product Led Growth? Traditionally viewed as an indicator of growth (as mentioned above), NPS is also a crystal ball when it comes to retention. NPS gives you a glimpse into the minds and hearts of your end users. It can provide a constant stream of feedback about bottlenecks and that will help you create products that enable the ease and productivity you are going for.

In short, NPS captures what’s most important to users, whether it’s documentation, training, or aspects of the product itself. NPS is typically the foundation of any CX program, and since you don’t want to get overwhelmed in the beginning, there’s nothing wrong with making NPS your sole CX metric at this stage.

NPS Example: DocuSign

Docusign logo
DocuSign uses NPS to gather feedback on product features and pinpoint any bottlenecks in the experience. They achieve this by customizing their NPS follow-up question (the one that asks users to explain their score). In the in-app survey pictured below, Docusign asks “Tell us about your experience sending an envelope.”

Wootric NPS Survey in DocuSign

Guneet Singh, Director of CX at DocuSign, believes that regardless of which metric you use, it’s vital to understand how customers feel about your product at key points in their journey. In other words, don’t wait to conduct an annual survey—gather continuous data and refine your product based on that feedback.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Because Support is a Bottleneck

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), like NPS, is another metric you can use at various points in the customer journey. The classic use case for CSAT is following up on a support interaction, where you can ask customers about their experience:

  • Solving their specific problem
  • Working with a particular CS agent
  • Working with your company in general

CSAT surveys can use a scale ranging from “very satisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” often followed by a question that asks the user to share the reason behind their score.

What makes this touchpoint so vital from a PLG perspective? Support calls, by definition, are a point of friction—nobody contacts customer support when things are going right.

Product Led Growth endeavors to eliminate support interactions altogether. When was the last time you reached out to customer support at Slack or DocuSign? Chances are, it’s never happened. That’s the seamlessness you’re going for.

This touchpoint is a rich source of insight into frustrations that customers face. Product teams that prioritize end user experience pay close attention to feedback from support as they improve product and design new features.

CSAT Example: Glassdoor
glassdoor logo
Glassdoor, the popular site for job listings and anonymous employer reviews, uses Customer Satisfaction surveys to gather feedback on support interactions. When a support case is closed in Salesforce, end users receive a personalized CSAT survey via email.

Carmen Woo, Salesforce Solution Architect and Senior Application Engineer, holds the cross-functional CX technology vision at Glassdoor. “What is intriguing about our use case is that we use machine learning to analyze feedback. Comments are tagged by topic themes and are assigned sentiment to capture the emotion behind the user’s words.

“The [InMoment] platform allows our Support team to segment feedback by agent and other relevant business drivers to uncover insights that contribute to optimizing our support function, and it can also reveal bottlenecks that are best addressed by improving product features or design,” says Carmen.

Product Satisfaction (PSAT): Adoption and Engagement Bottlenecks

PSAT surveys are highly flexible, and they can be structured the same way you structure Customer Satisfaction survey questions—asking customers to rate their level of satisfaction with a product using a scale from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied” (e.g., 1-3 or 1-5) or through a binary response (e.g., “happy face” or “sad face”).

PSAT surveys are best delivered within an app, when customers are using your product and can give you fresh, timely feedback. The customer sentiment derived from PSAT surveys is the necessary complement to behavioral metrics. Sure, you can see in the clicks that users are not adopting a feature, but why? PSAT helps to answer that question and guides optimization efforts.

PSAT Example: HubSpot

Marketers that use HubSpot, the popular CRM software, may recall responding to a Product Satisfaction survey when using a new feature for the first time. PSAT gives Hubspot immediate feedback on whether a new feature is delivering value to the end-user.

Even if you’ve done extensive user testing, getting feedback on a feature within the context of a user’s experience of the whole product is valuable. Is there friction? Should the feature be tweaked in some way?

This approach, which is a key aspect of lean UX design, ensures you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole with a product feature that sounded great in theory but didn’t serve your end-users in the real world. New features can bring complexity — the bain of end user ease. By continually asking for feedback in-product, you can better calibrate that balance and maintain a frictionless, easeful end-user experience.

Mobile CSAT survey for banking app
Example InMoment PSAT survey in a mobile app.

Customer Effort Score (CES): Identify Bottlenecks in Onboarding

A seamless onboarding experience is key to widespread adoption. If end-users have to work too hard to get up and running, they’ll give up and try a competitor’s product. Even if you have an enthusiastic champion within a company, if they have to prod others to adopt or spend time convincing them of your value, their own enthusiasm will wane. As such, it’s important to evaluate how much effort end users must put into getting started.

Customer Effort Score (CES) asks how difficult it was to accomplish a given task using a predefined scale (e.g., 1-7 or 1-5). Here is an example of a CES survey:

Customer Effort Score Survey in Intercom Messenger
Example InMoment CES Survey in Intercom

CES surveys are frequently used to follow up on support calls, but they’re also extremely valuable when evaluating the onboarding experience. Success teams know that the seeds of churn can be sown in the onboarding phase. They have been using feedback from CES surveys to both (1) follow up with that customer to fix the problem and (2) develop tasks and processes that will prevent future customers from experiencing the same bottlenecks.

However, in the context of PLG, addressing onboarding feedback isn’t just the domain of the Success or Support team. It is vital input to UX teams that seek to eliminate tasks that would traditionally be done manually and put them into the product to create efficiency and a better customer experience.

CES Example: Watermark

Watermark is in the EdTech space, and they’ve taken a comprehensive approach to optimizing user experience. Here’s how they do it, starting with Customer Effort Score surveys.

Watermark has a complex onboarding and training process, so they gather data at the end of each of three phases of training using CES surveys. The feedback goes to the implementation and training teams to both (1) improve the process and (2) identify customers who may need extra support. Then, of course, they look for larger trends and modify their onboarding experience accordingly.

Watermark also measures NPS & CSAT.  NPS is measured across six product lines, and Watermark studies the correlation between NPS and renewals. Higher NPS scores predict a greater likelihood for renewal, and improving products based on NPS survey results is key to Watermark’s customer retention strategy. CSAT surveys, triggered from Salesforce Service Cloud when a case is closed, help to evaluate and improve Customer Support.

And as Dave Hansen, the CX champion at Watermark, points out, they dig into the data to identify points of friction. “The feedback we’re getting tells us that there isn’t necessarily an issue with our overall solutions,” says Dave. “You may have issues running a certain report, or you may have issues with the way you have to click through to something.”

Product Led Growth strategy is about end user experience.

The four CX metrics covered in this post (NPS, CSAT, PSAT, and CES) offer insight into end user experience and augment behavioral data with the voice of your customer.

Remember, don’t allow scores to be your sole focus. There is gold in the open-ended feedback you receive. Without analyzing the open-ended feedback you receive, the metrics are just benchmarks that you’ll aimlessly try to identify bottlenecks through guesswork. In the end, that won’t get you very far.

Product Led Growth is all about creating a smoother experience in the moments that matter. CX metrics and voice of the customer comments help technology companies do just that.

Get the ebook, CX FOR EVERY STAGE: How to scale your Voice of Customer program from startup to enterprise. Learn how to improve user experience for product led growth and loyalty.

10 Things Every SaaS Business Should Know About Net Promoter Score

So you’ve been reading up on Net Promoter Score. Your colleagues in the SaaS world tell you that it’s the best way to take your customers’ pulse. You’ve seen a few case studies claiming it’s the only number you need to measure.

It’s true that Net Promoter Score is a great way to engage with your customers and solicit tons of feedback. But it’s also true that there are quite a few nuances that result in a successful survey program.

As a SaaS company with SaaS customers like Zoom, DocuSign and Hubspot, we have a unique perspective on NPS in cloud software. To make the most of your time and energy, we’ve put together this list of things SaaS businesses should know before they dive into the NPS world. Read More…

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