How to Start a Customer Success Program from Scratch

If your SaaS company hasn’t leapt on board the Customer Success train yet, it’s likely due to “focusing on other things,” or “we don’t have the budget for that right now.” But prioritizing a customer success program pays big dividends in returning revenue – so much so that it’s gaining the reputation as the ultimate growth hack. That’s not hype – Customer Success is how SaaS businesses raise retention rates and increase referrals while paving the road for cross-sells and upsells.

Why Should You Establish a Customer Success Program?

If you’re focusing most of your resources on acquisition, you’re missing out on one of the greatest growth engines at your disposal.

“Customer success is where 90% of the revenue is,” – Jason Lemkin, venture capitalist and founder of SaaStr

Customer Retention

Acquisition may get the ball rolling, but retention is where the big money is. Big, sustainable money that costs less and less to make. And, this alchemy only works when customers achieve the successes with the product or service that they’d hoped for upon signing up. Customer success programs are large factors in reducing churn and helping increase long-term customer retention.

Expands Business

Statistically, successful customers:

  • Spend more money over time
  • Are highly likely to consider additional products and services
  • Serve as enthusiastic brand advocates that reduce the Cost to Acquire new customers (CAC)

Easier Future Acquisition

That last point, customer evangelism (aka. brand advocacy), is the most significant benefit of Customer Success and the one that leads to spending less on acquisition efforts, while acquiring more customers.

When your company understands what success means to your customers, then ensures they receive what they need to achieve it, those customers respond – on Facebook, on Twitter, on Yelp, on Linkedin, and in person. They become not just your fans, but your best salespeople, helping your company grow.

But how do you start a customer success program from scratch?

First, let’s start with what customer success really is, because any time a term becomes a “buzzword” it tends to lose its original meaning.

What Is Customer Success?

Customer Success is how you help customers achieve their desired outcomes, even if those outcomes are outside of the product or service you provide. 

With this as our definition, Customer Success is really about one thing: Giving your customers everything they need to be successful with your product – within and outside of the product.

For example, if a person downloads a SaaS budgeting app, they don’t want to budget per se, but they do want to pay off their credit card debt and start saving for a kitchen remodel. That is what success means. Not using the app. Not budgeting. But finally running your hands over smooth quartz countertops and showing off that Big Chill refrigerator when the neighbors come over.

That is success. Your product or service is merely the means to get there.

Sure, you can pile more tasks onto your Customer Success department, like planning upsells and cross-sells and customer referral rewards programs. But if you don’t have that one thing in place first – their success – you can’t move onto anything else.

You Had One Job

It’s why I advocate building Success Milestones into Product Development’s user flows.

What Are Success Milestones?

Success Milestones are when customers receive value – value that they recognize – from using a product. It’s when that budgeting app customer saves their first thousand towards that Big Chill ‘fridge.

Building Success Milestones into your user flow is a useful way to chart what’s happening within the app and link it to wins happening in real life.

For businesses looking to build a Customer Success program from scratch, this is a key concept. Your process begins by understanding your ideal customer’s real life.

You need to understand how your product fits into their lives, helps them achieve their real-life goals, what frustrates them, and what blocks them from achieving those goals.

Which leads us to Step 1.

How to Start a Customer Success Program

Step 1. Get to know your ideal customer really well (through qualitative data)

When your company was merely a gleam in your founder’s eye, there was (hopefully) a process in place to identify ideal customers and find out what problems they needed to solve, which pain points felt the worst, and what they deeply wanted to achieve.

If your founder followed the Lean Startup methodology, customer interviews happened to ensure product-market/problem-solution fit well before Product Development set to work.

But, if your company skipped those steps, you’ve got a lot of qualitative data to catch up on.

Don't panic everything will be okay

Do not panic. You don’t have to start at the beginning, because you have a product and customers already. What you need to do now is focus on the segment of customers who fit into your ideal customer profile.

Your ideal customers are: Customers who love your product, use it, and tell other people about it because they love it so much.

You can identify which of your existing customers fall into this category by tracking brand mentions, but you can also just ask.

When it comes to identifying your best customers, a Net Promoter Score survey is fast and efficient. You can send the survey via email or within your app (a less disruptive option), and ask existing customers “On a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being most likely, how likely are you to recommend this product to friends and colleagues?”

Anyone who scores a 9 or 10 is a “Promoter.”

Promoters are the people we want to speak with when developing Customer Success Program strategies because we know, for certain, that they have problem/solution fit. Not all customers do. Customer Success can only do so much, and if there isn’t that problem/solution fit from the start, you can’t manufacture it. So you have to identify it, attract more of it, and nurture it.

Customer Success is as much about identifying customers likely to be a good fit as it is helping them achieve their ideal outcomes.

Ask some of your Promoters – those who scored 9s and 10s –  if they’d be willing to speak with you, or at least fill out a detailed open-ended-question survey, so you can confidently identify your ideal customer’s needs, wants, pain points, ideal outcomes and more. This qualitative data will allow you to create solutions that speak uniquely to them.

Sarah E. Brown, Head of Customer, Community and Brand Marketing at ServiceRocket, uses a Voice of Customer program with NPS to understand how well they’re delivering outcomes for customers and improve marketing at the same time:

“VOC is executed through our marketing function in conjunction with our Customer Success team, and together we are able to identify high NPS customers as brand advocates and follow up with them to create high-value marketing collateral like co-hosted webinars, case studies, podcasts and video testimonials.

Through our NPS review program, we have an incredibly clear picture into our customers who are using our product to achieve successful outcomes. Then we channel them into becoming vocal advocates who bring in new customers and help current customers love our software even more.”

Step 2. Build Your Team

Once you understand who you’re serving and what they’re trying to achieve, you need to put your team together. Sure, you could hire an experienced Customer Success manager or consultant, but you can also look inside your own building – at the Sales department.

A good salesperson already knows your product and your customers, which makes for a relatively easy transition. The key, however, is to shift the sales mindset from selling the product to setting up customers for success.

That can be a substantial challenge. Because sometimes, a customer’s success won’t come from being upsold, and it can run counter to the salesperson’s gut instincts to not jump at an immediate sale, and say “Hey, your company is on the smaller side. I don’t think you need this additional service yet. So let’s focus on how we can help you grow to the point where this service would be really useful.”

Customer Success can, sometimes, mean delayed gratification. But the loyalty you build by giving advice that is 100% to the customer’s benefit is priceless.

When assembling your Customer Success team, there are a couple more very important characteristics to watch out for: You’ll need people who are good team players and great communicators, because the most effective Customer Success teams are those that work closely with Sales, Service and Product to find ways to bridge success gaps.

Step 3. Determine What Structure You Need to Help Customers Reach Their Ideal Outcomes

If you have the resources, investing in a full-service Customer Success platform, like Gainsight, is a great way to begin. But these solutions can be out of reach, budget-wise. If that’s the case, then you may have to DIY and create your own processes.

Things you’ll need to consider:

  • Customer segments – do you have one “ideal customer” or an “ideal customer” for each user segment?
  • Do your user segments require different levels of help to reach their ideal outcomes? Often, one segment of users needs a higher-touch approach than another segment (and no, you shouldn’t base higher-touch vs. lower-touch solely on how much the segment pays – a lower paying segment might have high-paying potential with the right nudge).
  • What are the desired outcomes for each segment? Do they require different resources to reach them?
  • How do you intend to track customer health? What can you identify as “red flags” of disengagement?
  • Do you have a way to mark different customers according to their life stage – and whether/when they are reaching their Success Milestones?
  • If you have an existing product and the ability to track user behavior within it, where do users drop off?
  • Is there a process in place to identify when certain Success Milestones are reached and present opportunities for logical upsells?
  • Where are success gaps happening for each segment? (A success gap is the space between what your product does and the user achieving his or her desired outcome).

Step 4. Must-Have Metrics

  1. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the foundation for a strategy to increase ROI and sustain growth, but its shortest definition is: The revenue earned from a single customer over time. LTV includes Cost to Acquire a new Customer (CAC) and Churn rate – how quickly customers leave. However, most calculations fail to include cross-sells, up-sells, and the value of referrals for each customer, which increase LTV. To affect LTV, your marketing strategies should take these other factors into account as well. LTV is, perhaps, the most important metric CSMs in subscription-based businesses can track because it’s the best at predicting success… or failure. Cost to Acquire (CAC) is intimately connected with LTV because if your CAC is higher than or equal to your LTV, your business is FAILING! The Cost to Acquire number comes from tracking metrics like  manufacturing costs, research, development, and marketing – everything you need to convince a potential customer to buy. While the equation is simple enough – just divide the total costs of acquisition by total new customers within a specified time period – adding up every acquisition-related activity is where companies get bogged down.
  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS) works better than churn to score how well you’re doing at delivering desired outcomes. Sometimes, an unhappy customer won’t get around to churning – the effort is just too low on their to-do list. But if you ask that customer if they’d recommend you to a friend (the NPS question is “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”), you’ll get an honest answer. Many NPS platforms also allow you to segment your surveys for even deeper insights. This is a great number to use if you haven’t got time to creat a complex customer health score system.
  3.  Churn is important to track, but more so in the context of understanding what causes churn and how you can proactively prevent churn. Yes, you need to know how many people are leaving. But that number is too little, too late. What you really need to track are the leading indicators of churn.
  4. Customer Effort Score – Traditionally used by support teams, CES can also be used to get feedback on user experience in onboarding, new feature setup, and to identify obstacles to users finding value.

Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

There are others. Groove reduced churn by 71% by using what they called “red flag” metrics, including:

  •         Length of first session
  •         Frequency of logins
  •         Total number of logins 
  •         Time spent on individual tasks (the longer the time spent, the more trouble the user is probably having, and the more likely they are to churn)

Whatever metrics you track, essentially, you need to know how well your customers are doing at any given time, identify when they’re experiencing success, be alerted when they run into trouble, and have a plan in place for helping them to grow and succeed even more (by using more of your product when it can benefit them).

It’s helpful to plan all of this within the context of the Product department’s user flows, which brings us to…

Step 5. Collaborate

Customer Success can’t do its best work separated off from other departments, keeping its data in a silo. It won’t do you any good to collect all of this data on your customers if you can’t share what you learn with departments able to act on that information.

To really begin to see the results of your Customer Success program, you’ll need to open lines of communication with Sales, Customer Service and Product Development so you can work together to identify and bridge success gaps for customers. Better yet, invite one person from each department to be part of the Customer Success team.

One example of effective collaboration is between Product and Customer Success. Customer Success needs Product Development to address product-specific success gap issues, and Product Dev needs to understand the broader concept of ideal outcomes, and where success gaps are occurring, from Customer Success. A good place to start collaborating is to align behind customer feedback. Use that to start discussions and to lay the foundation for the solutions you can find together.

When you bring these two departments together, you can achieve all of that and more, like building in Success Milestones into the app itself so users can track their own successes (and sales teams can keep tabs on their progress and introduce upsell suggestions when they make sense).

Step 6. Focus on One Thing at a Time

Is it retention after onboarding? Identifying upsell opportunities? Filling success gaps? Once your customer success program is set up, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on next. Kayla Murphy, Customer Growth, Advocacy and Success at Trustfuel works with early-stage Customer Success teams and recommends focusing on one thing at a time.

“Start with one focus and build processes to go with it. Institute QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) or regular check-ins. Start tracking your usage data and figuring out which metrics give you the best picture of customer health.

Just start.

Many of the teams I work with felt a great deal of analysis paralysis at the beginning of their customer success journey. They were worried about annoying customers, tracking the wrong metrics, or focusing so much on unhealthy accounts that morale dies. You have to start somewhere and no one knows more about your customers right now than you. Start being proactive and consistently evaluate your processes.”

Just start, perhaps, is the best advice.

How it All Works Together

Let’s pretend that customer acquisition is a game of “Who can prove their worth the fastest?”

The players are you and your competitors.

When a new user signs up to try your product, it triggers a series of events – the goal of which is proving your worth before that user gets bored and signs up with your competition.

When a new user signs up…

–          The new user receives a welcome email from a Customer Success agent who asks them what they would most like to achieve with your product.

–          The new user is impressed that somebody cares (they care! They really care!) and replies: “I’d like to sell more balloon poodles at the next county fair.”

–         The Customer Success agent replies “I love balloon poodles! So cool! Would 50 more balloon poodles be a realistic starting goal for the next 3 months?”

See what happened there? The customer success agent keys in on the new customer’s desired outcome, then creates a specific, measurable, attainable goal that they can keep track of. Maybe there’s even a page built into the website that helps the customer track their own progress towards their goal.

These steps don’t need to happen over email (although this is exactly what Slack does during onboarding). They can happen within your product too. Or a combination, like using a simple in-app how-to program to guide newbies through their first several actions. Then you might use customer feedback on their desired outcomes to send them an appropriate ebook or link to relevant blog posts to help them achieve it.

Essentially, you prove your worth by making your customer’s success a priority – and making sure they know it!

Build an effective customer success program with InMoment today.

Why SaaS Companies Need Net Promoter Score Feedback from End Users

If you are like most B2B SaaS company leaders, you send your buyers an Net Promoter Score survey out to gauge loyalty and solicit feedback. If you are focused on retention, you need to know the answer to the NPS question: How likely are you to recommend my product or service?   However, you may be hesitant to ask the same question of the hundreds of end users of your product. 

The fact is end users are your customers, too.  After purchase it is your end users that must become the champions of your product. If they are unhappy they will tell your decision makers or, worse, let their feelings be known on social media.

Knowing what end users think of your product is invaluable, essential intelligence for your QBR. 

Whether you are in Sales or Customer Success, here is how end-user feedback plays into your Quarterly Business Review with your key stakeholder. He or she may not know how happy or unhappy their people are with your product. But you do!  

Scenario 1: End users are happy.  Imagine being able to tell a VP of Product or CMO that end-users gave your product a 52 NPS, and rattling off some of the great verbatim feedback you’ve received from promoters.  You’ve harnessed that brand advocacy. Now picture a competitor cold-calling your client. Is that VP even going to take the call and “explore other options”? No way. Not a good use of her time. 

Scenario 2: End users aren’t so happy.  That’s still good intel. You can be proactive. Let the decision maker hear it from you (they may already have heard from their people anyway): “Your team is achieving  [a success goal], but they have definitely experienced frustration with this new feature of ours. We know it didn’t meet expectations, but I want to assure you that the fix is on our roadmap for Q2 and you will be the first to be upgraded…”  

Either way, you are a proactive, knowledgeable and trustworthy partner to your stakeholders.

Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Learn how to modernize your NPS program for growth and higher loyalty with end-user feedback.

End-user NPS feedback will shape your product roadmap

Hearing directly, day in and day out, from end users provides a pulse of sentiment and qualitative feedback that Product teams need.  There is nothing like hearing about a new feature directly from a user.  And, users will identify a bug before the company can — you have an quality control army to support you. Some SaaS companies, like Magoosh, use in-app Net Promoter Score survey feedback to A/B test product versions for customer happiness. The product team at Hootsuite adds a feature to each quarterly roadmap that is derived from end user NPS feedback.

The Best Way to Survey End Users

Lengthy email surveys are not appropriate for end users. You need to know if users like your product, if they’d recommend your product, if it actually helps them in the way they need. You don’t need a lengthy survey to get actionable feedback from them. Plus, even if you do have their email contact information, that isn’t a channel they expect to hear from you in. If you send users a survey via email, they might not recognize who it is coming from.

Use in-app NPS surveys to get the information you need from users of your SaaS product. Surveys inside your SaaS application will give you the contextual feedback you need in real-time.  And the best part is that a well-designed in-app survey is unobtrusive.  It won’t interrupt the work that users are doing in your product. When a user opts to respond, it will only take them seconds to do so.

“The Wootric in-app survey is great. It’s non-intrusive, and it doesn’t block our customers from doing what they need to do in our dashboard.” Sterling Anderson, Customer Insights Manager, Hootsuite

Resistance to asking end users for feedback 

Leading edge, customer-centric SaaS companies like New Relic, DocuSign and Consumer Reports have made the leap to asking end users for Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback. You may be struggling with the same concerns they had to overcome.  Let’s run them down:

2. I don’t have a relationship with end users.

B2B SaaS companies often do not interact with the end-users of their product. Historically, even getting to the end user was nearly impossible. You may have communicated with one or several stakeholder decision makers that have signed off on the subscription purchase, but not had a single email address for the people actually using the product every day.

This is where in-app surveys truly shine. Users have an existing relationship with you through your product, and are more likely to give feedback when asked within the product experience.

2. The volume of responses is scary.

The idea of going from 2 or 3 survey responses per account to hundreds can sound overwhelming. With modern Voice of the Customer software platforms though, feedback is aggregated and analyzed for you–often using machine learning.

Sending surveys is automated as well.  You don’t have to create survey “campaigns.” You can drip Net Promoter Score surveys and get constantly updated, real-time feedback. That way you’ll never miss a trend. Alternatively, you can trigger Customer Satisfaction or Customer Effort Score surveys at key points in the customer journey.

3. I don’t know how to respond to end-user feedback.

Depending on the feedback, you can respond in a couple of very productive ways:

  • You can send set up an auto-message to thank users for responding to the survey. This can be customized based on whether the user was happy or had a complaint.
  • Promoters, or highly satisfied customers, can be referred to Customer Success or Marketing for testimonials or case studies.  Route unhappy end user responses to Customer Support for follow up.
  • If responding to each user isn’t feasible, one simple way to close the loop is to create a blog article that talks about the feedback you’ve received and what you plan to do about it.

4. Am I going to mess up my corporate KPI by surveying end users?

Segmentation can help here. Parse your metrics by buyer, admin and user, for example, to maintain continuity with previous buyer-only NPS data. If you believe that end-user feedback has value — there is a way!

5. Yikes. Am I REALLY ready to hear feedback about my product? 

This may be the single greatest fear we encounter! It takes a brave business to ask for real, unvarnished feedback from end users. And it takes a smart business to know how to use that feedback to build better products and improve user experiences. It’s not for the faint of heart. But it is essential for businesses hoping to grow, gain referrals, and lead their industries. A modern Net Promoter Score software platform can help make this organized and manageable.

Modern CXM software will help you get it right.

End user feedback will tell you your strengths and weaknesses, which are both valuable information. Understanding what end users love can strengthen your relationships with the decision makers. Knowing where end users get into trouble puts you ahead of negative feedback at reviews, ensuring you’re prepared with a game plan to remedy the issue and keep the account.

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

8 Innovative Ways to Use CX Metrics to Create Unbeatable Customer Experience

What we call Customer Experience (CX) is the total effect of each interaction between brand and customer over the course of the entire relationship (and it’s really all about how they feel). Positive feelings = effective CX, whether the interaction happens in a SaaS product, on a social media page, a website, over the phone, in person, or driving on the freeway.

This isn’t the same as User Experience – not at all.

Whereas UX is commonly concerned with evaluation of your product or website – a very limited scope – CX encompasses the entire experience of each customer from end-to-end, including touch points on your website, off your website, offline, on mobile, and person-to-person contact. You need both.

Fortunately, UX can be relatively easy to optimize.

Optimizing CX, on the other hand, can seem like an impossibly large task.

But keep in mind: CX is the sum total of specific, concrete, controllable occurrences. You know exactly when and how your customers interact with your brand, right? (No? You should – if it happens online, it’s all trackable). Your task then becomes understanding which CX metrics to track and how to use those metrics to create unbeatable – unforgettable – customer experiences for all.

Why is CXM so important?

Customer Experience Management (CXM or CEM) is a burgeoning field because CX heavily influences the likelihood of three very important actions:

  • Repeat purchases
  • Referrals
  • Complaints

Repeat purchases and referrals are growth engines, decreasing the cost of acquiring new customers, decreasing churn, and increasing lifetime value.

Complaints – especially public ones on review sites – are damaging, influencing untold numbers of prospects to look elsewhere for solutions.

CX can also act as a powerful differentiator in a sea of similar products and services. It’s a key to not only increasing revenue, but also gaining lasting competitive advantage. Studies have shown that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better CX.

And, in a study published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that “Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.”

It should be a ‘no-brainer,’ but you know how the saying goes: What gets measured gets managed.

First, a summary of the CX measurements we will cover.

The Most Important CX Metrics to Track

      1. Net Promoter Score

      2. Customer Satisfaction

      3. Customer Effort Score

      4. First Response Time

      5. Problem Resolution Time

      6. Contact Volume by Channel

      7. Social Listening Stats

      8. Referral & Review Rates

Now, let’s dig into each one.

8 CX Metrics: Definitions (and What to Do with Them)

      1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

        Net Promoter Score is a simple survey that asks users to rate, on a scale from 1-10, how likely they are to refer the product/service to a friend or colleague. Those who score 9 and 10 are your promoters – they are delighted with your work and are more likely to buy more and bring their friends. People who score below a 6 are detractors. They are not having a good experience, not at all, and are very likely to tell other people about it!

        NPS is a classic “brand metric” but product teams, like those at IBM, are using NPS to improve customer experience.

        In-app NPS survey

      • How to use NPS for CX: We’ve written a whole book on this topic, but here is a new, innovative approach: Use an NPS threshold as a go/no-go milestone before launching a new product or feature out of beta.IBM is developing a new Slack-like communication product for their customers’ teams. Using IBM’s Watson machine learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing) capabilities, this SaaS product can summarize channel conversations for those who don’t have time to wade through all the team chatter. The AI also aims to summon and post in-channel all relevant information about sales opportunities that are discussed by the team. When asked when the product will be on the market, Inhi Cho Suh, General Manager, Collaboration Solutions at IBM, proudly says, “There is no launch date.” She is measuring Net Promoter Score in this new SaaS application to capture real-time feedback, and says the product will only be released when it earns a satisfactory NPS from beta users. 

Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Learn eight ways to optimize customer experience with a real-time approach to NPS.

      1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

        A CSAT survey asks a customer how satisfied they are with a recent interaction – often a purchase or customer service call – on a rating scale.

        CSAT survey in-app from Wootric

      • How to use CSAT for CX: This is an incredibly valuable metric to track when you’re trying to optimize for CX, because this metric will show you which specific interactions are most in need of improvement. It is most often used after an interaction with Customer Support. Use it as a compass to point you in the direction of where your attentions are most needed. Depending on your survey program, you can deliver these surveys in-app, and choose various survey formats – even an emoticon scale. Using CSAT at journey points is a new way of leveraging this time-honored metric.  For more information on CSAT, check out our previous post.
      1. Customer Effort Score (CES)

        A CES survey asks the customer “How much effort did you have to expend to handle your request?” and is, perhaps, the most telling metric of how positive your customer’s experience has been. The harder it was for them to get an answer, the worse their experience, and the lower your CX.In-app CES Customer Effort Score Survey Some say “effortlessness” is the most relevant attribute of customer satisfaction. “If I had to choose only one KPI, I would use Customer Effort Score (CES). While the relative importance of effort as a driver of satisfaction differs depending on your company’s business model — e.g., selling shoes online vs. providing legal advice — it is a measure of one thing that all customers have in common: using your products and services should be as easy as possible. Nobody wants to expend more effort if given the choice.” – Mark Mollet, Customer Experience Manager at Helpling (source).

      • How to use CES for CX: Typically, you’ll deploy a CES survey after a customer support interaction. But, more and more SaaS companies are using these to gauge the effort required during the onboarding process (the point at which users are most likely to churn). The results of the survey will tell you how easy your onboarding process is, and you should see your numbers improve as you work to simplify the process.
      1. First Response Time

        This is the amount of time it takes a company to respond to a customer query. Customers expect very fast response times, and when brands don’t meet their high expectations, they become frustrated and CX drops. How fast is fast? Studies show that 53% of customers find 3 minutes to be a reasonable response time while waiting for a support agent – by telephone. Email is a bit longer at 24 to 48 hours, but the best companies, like Buffer, work on replying within one hour. And then there’s Live Chat – which requires a nearly instant response.

      • How to use First Response Time for CX: The faster the responses, the happier the customers – that’s a correlation that nearly always holds true. But, of course, if it were easy, everyone would do it! So how can we make faster response times easier? One way is by creating a Slack community for customers. ProdPad’s Director of Customer Success observed that email and Twitter weren’t creating the levels of customer engagement they were hoping for (which they knew because they were tracking those metrics). So they created a Slack community specifically for their customers to get instant, direct help, both from the brand and from other customers. Customers don’t even have to participate to get value – they can learn from everyone else. The results speak for themselves: 99% of their churn is from customers who are not part of the Slack community.
      1. Problem Resolution Time

        How fast can you solve a customer’s problem? Or, let’s put it another way: How many people does the customer speak with before the issue is solved? As a customer, there are few experiences more frustrating than speaking to someone who is incapable of solving your problem, then being bounced around to several other people who also are not equipped (not knowledgeable, not permitted, not empowered enough) to offer a solution. This is what Problem Resolution Time measures. You can get the answer with a simple survey, sent after a customer support interaction is completed, asking how long it took to solve the problem.

      • How to use Problem Resolution Time for CX: This metric serves to alert you to problems that affect the efficacy of your customer support program. You’ll probably need to do additional digging to get to the root of the problem (insufficient training? Are agents not empowered to handle issues without managerial oversight? Is it difficult to transfer customers to the appropriate person quickly?). You may not be able to find a quick fix, but once you solve these issues, your CX will improve drastically.
      1. Contact Volume by Channel

        Paying attention to volumes of calls and the number of inquiries you receive may not seem like the key to increasing customer happiness, but Buffer says it is. (Note: A high volume of service tickets isn’t necessarily a bad sign – it means customers want to be successful with your product. It’s the quiet customers you should worry about!)

      • How to use Contact Volume by Channel for CX: Buffer checks for spikes that indicate rushes in support traffic at certain times of day, which they then use to allocate service employees and resources so they are ready to meet demand. Of course, they always have a “buffer” to handle sudden support demands also. Not only does Buffer look for patterns in volume – they also track which channels their customers use most (emails, chat), and which questions are most frequently asked. That way, they know how cost effective it is to create a self-serve knowledge base, or find other methods to quickly and efficiently answer questions.
      1. Social Listening Stats

        Listening to the conversations happening about you via mention.com, or some other tool, and jumping into the conversation can create a community-like, welcoming customer experience that reaches very early in the sales funnel, all the way down to the Customer Success stage. Buffer is really good at this.
        Buffer's social listening on Twitter

      • How to use Social Listening for CX: By monitoring your mentions in real-time, and allotting the human-power to respond in real-time, you’re creating an additional touchpoint with your brand – and another opportunity for positive, interactive, engaging experiences. The best part is: You’re doing it in public. Some potential metrics to use to help with social listening include how many people are talking about you, how many comments hashtag your brand, support reach-outs, Twitter chat participation, and of course, mentions.
      1. Referral & Review Rates

        Perhaps the most accurate measure of customer experience is the oldest: word-of-mouth recommendations (aka. referrals and reviews). NPS measures the willingness to refer, but only tracking actual referrals and reviews will give you the genuine numbers.

      • How to use Referral & Review Rates for CX: Tracking referrals and reviews requires a combination of social listening and a trackable customer advocacy program (which works hand-in-hand with tracking NPS to identify promoters early and encourage them to act). Referrals and reviews not only measure how successful your customer experience efforts are, they can also encourage a sense of personalization and interactivity – but only if you respond and reward these highly valuable behaviors!

Customer Experience is truly the key to retention and growth at its most fundamental levels. When customers love your products, enjoy working with you, feel good about asking questions (and getting prompt answers), and come out of each interaction feeling good about you and themselves, growth and profit are natural byproducts.

However, as natural as this is, when you need to create these positive experiences at scale, you have to track your successes and failures, understand which metrics have the most impact, and come up with creative ways to make your target customers smile at each touchpoint. It’s a tall order, true. But doable.

Improve CX! Sign up today for free NPS, CSAT or CES feedback with InMoment.

Auto-Analyzing Sentiment in Survey Feedback Using NLP: How Do Customers Feel About Your People?

Wootric (now InMoment) uses CX metrics—Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Effort Score—to monitor customer experience for high-growth companies. We take a customer-centric approach to survey design. For example, our modern 2-question Net Promoter Score survey invites customers to elaborate freely on the reason for their score. We deliver millions of surveys that achieve response rates of 30-40%, generating thousands of pieces of unstructured customer survey feedback each week.

Why Is Survey Feedback Important?

Because when you communicate directly with your customers, they can identify exactly what works, what doesn’t work, and where the pain points are that may be detracting from their experience. Honest feedback gives you the insights you need to make improved business decisions and optimize the customer experience. As such, the right customer survey can play a significant role in increasing customer retention and helping your organization reach its goals.

Two Step in-app NPS Survey to collect survey feedback

Customer feedback comments are a treasure trove of information that can help a company shape their product and service for success. Until now it has been difficult for a Customer Insights Manager or customer experience management (CXM) teams to mine and aggregate qualitative data for insights that can guide business decisions.  

Auto-Tagging with Sentiment Analysis

We recently announced early access to a new product feature: auto-tagging. For auto-tagging, we use our homegrown machine learning system along with Google Cloud Natural Language API to automatically categorize open-ended customer-survey feedback that our customers get as part of their NPS, CSAT and CES programs. The goal is to help companies put some structure to all of this qualitative data. We have a long list of customers eagerly waiting to get their hands on this feature. It’s a good problem to have.

In addition, we are developing the ability to identify the sentiment of the feedback. The goal is to determine not only what the customer was talking about, but to say whether the feedback is positive, neutral or negative. It is particularly complex to decipher multiple “sentiments” within a single comment.  

Here is an example feedback comment that we received in response to a Net Promoter Score survey on our own production application (we practice what we preach):

“Setup guide for customizing social sharing on iOS SDK was confusing. Diego reached out with sample code which helped a lot.”

Wootric (now InMoment) is a SaaS product, so our auto-tagger uses a SaaS data training model and applies three tags to this survey response (Documentation, SDK, People), and assigns a NEUTRAL sentiment for the feedback as a whole. This obviously is pretty good, but we want to do more.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could dig deeper into survey feedback and apply sentiment for each tag as well? In the above example, the customer was not happy with the SDK Set-up Guide, but was pleased with Diego’s assistance.  This nuance is buried under the overall NEUTRAL sentiment. Ideally, the Documentation and SDK tags would be identified as having negative sentiment, while the People tag would be positive.  

We Can Identify Sentiment Associated with People, Team, Organization or Location

Buried survey feedback is not a trivial problem to solve. However, using Google Cloud Natural Language API’s latest feature called “entity sentiment analysis” we have made progress. We can already get sentiment for entities referenced in feedback where an entity is defined as People, Team, Organization and Location. In this case, Diego is an entity of type People and positive sentiment is correctly attached to it.

Example of Auto-tagging an InMoment NPS Survey Response

CUSTOMER LANGUAGEAUTO-TAGSSENTIMENT
“Setup guide for customizing social sharing on iOS SDK was confusing. Diego reached out with sample code which helped a lot.” NEUTRAL
“Setup guide” Documentation    future
“iOS SDK”SDK    future
“Diego”PeoplePOSITIVE

A Business Use Case

Our customers often trigger a CSAT survey using our incoming webhooks and workflows when a support case is closed in their CRM system like Salesforce or Zendesk.



We notice that survey-feedback responses often reference a team or specific person that the customer has engaged with. Auto-tagging this feedback as “People” with applicable sentiment will provide these companies with an easy way to measure and track how customers are feeling about the people aspect of a company’s Customer Success or Support program.

Retain more customers. Start getting CX survey feedback today with InMoment.

How Net Promoter Score has Evolved to Keep Pace with Modern CXM

Net Promoter Score is the go-to CX metric for companies that want to measure and improve customer loyalty, a harbinger of growth. Thousands of companies use NPS, from the start-ups of  Silicon Valley to the Fortune 500.  One reason for this popularity is that Net Promoter Score programs have evolved in response to technology and the changing landscape of customer expectations. 

The core tenets of Net Promoter Score have stayed the same since NPS was created in 2003 by Bain & Company. “How likely are you to recommend this product or service to colleagues?” is the NPS survey question, and it is followed by an ask for open-ended feedback. Customers respond on a scale of 0-10 and are bucketed into promoters, passives and detractors based on their response. The formula for calculating the NPS metric is straightforward.

NPS Calculation

However, the world of customer experience management, or CXM, has changed dramatically. A few macro things have happened.

  1. Social media has empowered our customers with a voice — the conversation is no longer expected to be only one way, and negative word of mouth can be amplified quickly. Every voice counts.
  1. We as businesses have to work harder than ever to retain customers — customer experience is increasingly a differentiator and a battleground with more competition and low switching costs.
  1. Companies have many more touchpoints to engage with customers than it did back in 2003.We now have sophisticated mobile devices, web platforms, customer facing point of sale systems. Meanwhile, our customer’s email boxes are overstressed with newsletters and promotions all vying for their attention.

When I ran NPS campaigns back in 2003, I was sending long form surveys to my customers in quarterly batches. Emails with links to long form surveys were considered the ‘innovative’ way to get feedback. Response rates were dismal. Sadly, I still receive some of those today!

This, of course, still is a valid way to collect NPS feedback — you will get some of your customers to go through the effort — but it doesn’t take advantage of any of the macro trends I mentioned above. And honestly, customers are getting smarter and less patient with spammy surveys.

Launching or revamping an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

How Net Promoter Score has evolved

Modern NPS leverages technology, closes the loop with customers and engages the whole company.  Here is what you should expect:

  • Timely, ongoing feedback. You can keep a real-time pulse on your business. This alone is magical. Reading, sharing and responding to customer feedback as it happens — talk about raising the profile of the customer’s voice inside a company!
  • Modern NPS survey is short and to the point — just the NPS rating and open-ended feedback. A 10 or even 5 question survey? No way.  Survey fatigue is a real issue. Keep it short and you will get many more customers to tell you what’s most important to them.
  • Reaching customers where they want to give feedback, in a low-friction and lightweight way. For example, in-app surveys that take seconds to complete may a better experience for SaaS customers than dealing with another email survey in a crowded in-box. E-commerce companies may use a combination of in-app, email, or SMS to reach their customers depending on where they are in their journey.Tow Step in-app NPS Survey by Wootric
  • High response rates — your expectations should jump up from single digits to 30-40%. Customers are willing to give you feedback cycle after cycle because it’s easy. 
  • Leverages intelligent NPS software. Software that is designed to get your business to action faster. It’s giving you analytics. It’s helping you comb through open-ended text and sentiment. And it’s making the process of closing the loop with customers easy and turnkey.
  • Customer feedback is shared internally. It doesn’t get buried in spreadsheets and left unaddressed. It is shared in Slack, it is routed automatically to departments to take action in their systems of record such as Intercom, ZenDesk or Salesforce.

Net Promoter Score has come a long way, and the end result is better outcomes for companies and their customers.

Start getting free Net Promoter Score feedback today. Signup for InMoment.

Why Setting Expectations is a Customer Success Must

Most customer success articles you’ll read talk about helping customers reach their ideal outcomes – ideal outcomes are the most important thing, the very job description of customer success. But there’s another job that comes before ideal outcomes, one which, if done poorly, will result in churn even if ideal outcomes are achieved.

Setting expectations.

Let’s begin with a cautionary tale – a true story – of a SaaS app that failed to set expectations that matched what the app did.

It’s a fitness app which shall remain nameless, but it’s much like its primary competitor, MyFitnessPal. Unlike MyFitnessPal, it offered a sleek, integrated user interface that seamlessly brought together exercise tracking via pedometer and nutrition tracking, but it also offered something more: A personal fitness coach. (I should also mention that this particular fitness app is one of the most expensive currently on the market – but for such personal attention? Totally worth it.)

Except.

While on the website copy and in the app itself, this company promised a customized approach to getting fit, complete with a personal wellness coach who would be accessible via private chat to offer encouragement at times of crisis and temptation, it didn’t deliver as described.

Within a few days, it became apparent that the “personal coach” is really only accessible via group chat. In fact, if you try to contact the coach via the in-app private chat box (which even has the coach’s picture on it), the coach will never actually see your message – you’ll get an automated reply from a bot.

When all of this was revealed – in the group chat room – every participant was taken aback, and several initiated their free trial cancellations within days.

Even though they liked the app.

Even though they were already seeing the results they’d hoped for.

Yes, even when customers were achieving their ideal outcomes, because of the mismatch between their expectations and the services delivered, they left.

But not before sending feedback – which went unanswered.

It was a customer success failure of a magnitude we don’t, frankly, see very often. And it’s almost painful when you realize that nearly all of their churn was completely, 100% avoidable.

If only they had matched customer expectations to what they were actually prepared to deliver.

What it felt like was a bait and switch.

Setting expectations is a foundational element of customer success

“There are three key tasks that challenge every Customer Success team in its initial phase of development. The first is to appropriately set and manage perceptions and expectations, both of the customers and of the rest of the company. The second is to establish a clear and necessary connection to significant revenue streams and profitability. The third is to gather, analyze and use the right data to fulfill the group’s mission.”Mikael Blaisdell ED, Customer Success Association

The fitness app example above is a classic case of sales and marketing not being aligned with product development, customer service, and customer success. Clearly, none of these departments were speaking with each other, or customer service could have told marketing that customers were complaining about being misled. Or marketing could have spoken with produce development to see how they could better deliver on the promise that was bringing people in the doors.

None of these things happened, but an empowered customer success team could have bridged these gaps.

Customer success, of any department, has the power to bring people together. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all working for the customers’ success. We’re all trying to create a product and experience that works.

If you find yourself spending time trying to “adjust” customer expectations, check in with sales. Check with marketing. Check with customer service. See where the disconnects are, and what you can do to address them and bridge those gaps.

7 Rules to Set Customers up for Success with Expectation Management

Rule #1: Communicate

The key to setting expectations – and setting customers up for a successful experience – is really communication. Not only do you have to communicate clearly and accurately with the customers themselves, you also have to keep lines of communication open with all of the other departments who have a hand in creating the customer experience.

Rule #2: Don’t overpromise (and under-deliver)

That fitness app made promises it clearly never intended to keep – maybe that was intentional (a real bait and switch!), or maybe it was the unhappy result of teams failing to communicate what was possible to deliver. Either way, they committed the cardinal sin of expectation management – they created a high expectation and failed to reach it.

Rule #3: Know what you can and can’t do

To avoid overpromising, you have to know what you can afford to do for customers. Often, this isn’t easy because management and customers expect that you can do more than is realistically possible, which means you have to manage expectations on both sides. If it’s a time issue, start tracking how much time it takes you to do certain tasks, or to serve each customer. If it’s a funding issue, keep tabs on what it costs to deliver everything that is expected. Then you can build a case for getting more funding, or pairing down services.

Rule #4: Talk through obstacles

When working with customers to define their ideal outcomes and success benchmarks, discuss potential obstacles from the start. Discussing potential issues before they arise prevents  customers from getting nasty surprises, and prepares them to work with you to overcome these roadblocks.

Rule #5: Value your customers’ trust

Nothing upsets customers more than feeling like they’ve been duped – that you’ve violated their trust. Trust is easy to lose, and nearly impossible to win back. And once a customer stops trusting you, they stop being customers and become detractors, telling everyone who will listen their story about how you let them down. Customer loyalty, lifetime value and retention are rooted in trust. And without them, your SaaS business can’t survive.

Rule #6: Track user behavior & sentiment

It sounds like SaaS 101, but clearly not all SaaS companies are tracking when and why users are bailing out of the onboarding process. If you don’t have a system in place to send “red flag” notifications when users are exhibiting signs of distress, you’re losing customers and probably don’t even know why. It’s well worth the investment to purchase a good user survey system to keep your finger on the pulse of CX metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) for customer loyalty, or Customer Effort Score (CES) to keep tabs on how onboarding is going. 

Setting up a customer feedback program? Start getting in-app NPS feedback or CES feedback for free with Wootric

Rule #7: Let them know when you’ve exceeded expectations

Okay, now for the fun one: When you’ve exceeded expectations (or when they’ve reached a milestone faster than expected), make sure they KNOW it! Celebrate with them. Point out their successes and you’ll help to reaffirm their high opinion of you.

Customer success teams are uniquely positioned to understand the whys behind the whats of user behavior. But if you keep all of your insights to yourself, without sharing them with other departments, you’ll continue having to “manage” mis-aligned expectations. Set yourself up for success (and your customers too), by addressing expectations early.

Are you meeting customer expectations? Get started with free in-app customer feedback with InMoment.

Two Big CX Trends: Why You Need Text & Sentiment Analysis of Survey Responses

Wootric’s text analytics platform analyzes survey responses using Natural Language Processing (NLP.) Learn More

The challenge of open-ended feedback

Qualitative feedback in survey responses: Marketing, Product, Customer Insights, and Customer Success teams love it! There is nothing quite like hearing authentic, open-ended comments about your product or service directly from customers in their own words. Nothing is more powerful than hearing from the customer first hand: It drives action.

Individual anecdotes tell a story that can provide color and context to business metrics like Net Promoter Score, but how do you make it actionable? How do you aggregate qualitative data to see trends and get insights that can drive business decisions?  To a certain extent, this has always been an issue for voice of the customer feedback programs. However, two broad trends are driving an increase in qualitative data and creating more urgency. As a result, the problem of “metricizing” open-ended feedback is now more acute.

Customer experience survey trends that are driving the need for NLP

First trend: The shift to customer-centric surveys.

It has become more and more difficult to persuade customers to respond to traditional company-centric surveys — the multi-question monstrosities that ask customers to rate attribute after attribute on a 5 or 7 point scale.  Long, boring, tedious — and frustrating. Response rates in the single digits are common.

I recently visited the website of a major department store and was prompted to fill out a pop-up survey with over 30 (!) questions. I thought I’d get an opportunity to tell the retailer what was important to me — how much I loved their shoe selection and that I’d had a disappointing experience in one of their stores. I didn’t finish the survey.

In an effort to improve response rates, many companies are now thinking about the survey experience from the customer’s perspective. A Net Promoter Score survey that asks one question and lets a customer provide open-ended feedback is a better user experience — and customers are more likely to respond.

Wootric is modern customer feedback management software that allows businesses to gauge and quantify customer loyalty through proven feedback metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES). We are firm believers in the customer centric approach.

For example, here’s an NPS survey that Wootric presents in-app (we also support mobile, email and SMS) that usually takes a user less than 30 seconds to complete.

Two-Step-in-app-NPS-Survey

Second trend: Hearing from as many customers as possible.

Traditionally, customer research efforts were satisfied with feedback from a statistically significant sample of customers. Now that any customer has the potential to influence the trajectory of a business — whether taking their complaints public on Twitter or writing a glowing review on Yelp or G2Crowd — more companies are proactively asking all customers for feedback. This instantly opens a direct communication channel, and gives companies the opportunity to build, monitor and leverage  relationships with any and every customer.

These trends put the onus on companies to make sense of a firehose of open-ended feedback, and that is tough to do.  Dedicating resources to tagging and sorting hundreds, even thousands, of comments is expensive and just doesn’t scale.

Natural Language Processing to the rescue

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a type of machine learning that enables computers to understand human language. You can read how Wootric applies NLP to customer feedback like NPS and CSAT survey responses in this article.  And here are three familiar examples of NLP at work:

  • Machine translation like Google Translate.
  • Sentiment analysis — sifting through all those Twitter posts to analyze how people feel about the latest iPhone, for example.
  • Chatbots — the customer support “agents” that have become the first line of interaction when you reach out for tech support online.

Unlocking the power of open-ended feedback

NLP is solving the unique challenges in the field of customer feedback management using text and sentiment analysis. Being on the forefront of this innovation means Wootric customers are seeing those benefits now. We work to free our customers from the time and expense required to manage this data. We use text and sentiment analysis to surface and aggregate insights for our customers, helping them to prioritize resources and route responses for follow up action. Read more about what we are up to here on the Google Cloud Platform blog.

Learn more about CXInsight™, Wootric’s text analytics platform for customer feedback.

Customer Health Score: Advice from Three Customer Success Experts

Customer success teams measure and track many key metrics. From SaaS platform usage to NPS, they are always analyzing data to maintain a pulse of customer health and happiness. Many of these stats will also go into an overall account metric known as Customer Health Score.

Wootric recently hosted the San Francisco Customer Success Meetup and the focus of the evening was Customer Health Score (CHS). Three experts shared their techniques for constructing and measuring this metric.  Loni Brown from Entelo, Jeff Johnson from Splunk, and Jon Turri from Raise.me offered several tips and insights to setting up a Customer Health Score program and the intricacies involved.

Interested in viewing the whole Customer Health Score panel session? Watch the video here

What is Customer Health Score (CHS)?

Customer Health Score is a metric designed to predict a customer’s likelihood to stay a customer  – or churn. Loni started by providing her explanation of what CHS is, “a metric that provides insight into what is happening in your customer accounts early enough that you can be proactive.” Formulations of CHS can be simple, but are often complex.

That description works well, but there isn’t an industry standard for Customer Health Score, which may be confusing and overwhelming for some customer success teams. The panel agreed that variables and the weighting formula for CHS vary based on the company and industry. It depends on what is indicative of success for your customers.

What Goes Into a Customer Health Score?

Each of the panelists has had to identify and gather the metrics available to them, then single out the most indicative numbers to create a formula for their score. This means the first iterations are often messy and need regular adjustment until the method produces results that are consistent with how CSMs see their accounts.

When creating your score, it’s good to isolate 4-6 indicators for CHS. Loni mentioned that the Entelo CHS score card includes eight different numbers, though she allowed that her formula is very comprehensive. Among other things, the Entelo CHS includes Net Promoter Score (NPS), the number of support tickets per user, usage of the tools on her platform, and success milestones. Entelo is a recruiting platform so in their case, success milestones include personnel hires their clients have been with the help of Entelo.

Jeff added, “Support cases are important, but they don’t always mean something is wrong” so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you add them to your formula.

The panelists discussed the subjective components of their CSH formula, suggesting that only 1-2 of your included metrics should be subjective, but that they can be quite important. For instance, Jon adds “Relationship strength is the highest weighted metric for us.”

After initially setting up your Customer Health Score formula, it’s important to give it 6-10 months without changes, or you won’t be able to track it accurately over time.

Tracking Customer Health Scores

A favorite tool for tracking CHS is Gainsight, used by 2 of the panelists. It imports metrics you’ve indicated as important and allows you to weight each parameter, culminating in a unique formula for your each customer’s CHS.

In Gainsight, you’ll see accounts that are Green, indicating good health. They could be an opportunity for an upsell or additional revenue. Yellow, which are accounts that might be experiencing a problem. Red accounts are in poor health and are at risk of churning.

Loni uses Wootric to track Net Promoter Score. She imports this NPS data into Gainsight via Salesforce for the benefit of her success team and her CHS calculation. (Having her NPS data in Salesforce benefits the sales team, too. For instance, if a client could be a potential advocate, exporting that to account and contact records in Salesforce makes it easily accessible to the client’s sales manager.)

Setting up your NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Learn eight ways SaaS companies are leveraging Net Promoter Score for customer loyalty and growth.

A good indicator that your formula is working is to check positive and negative accounts and be sure the metric matches what is happening with the client. For instance, if a customer hasn’t taken training, submits multiple support tickets, and hasn’t been successful with your product it makes sense they would be in poor standing.

Optimizing your CHS can be great for revenue opportunities. Loni stated “Sales can come to me and say ‘we are trying to make quota, do you have any accounts for us?’ and I can print out of a list of green accounts and hand them over knowing they are good prospects for upsells.”

When our host was asked by an audience member what impact panelists had seen on churn and expansion revenue, Jeff answered, “You’ll see an immediate impact when taking immediate action.”

Set Up Customer Health Alerts

Once you’ve chosen the metrics for your score, you’ll want to add alerts to your system that notify you if and when something happens. Jeff says “If anything should be a fire alarm, build it into your logic in Gainsight. Think about what those fire alarms are.”

Jon cautioned, “The CHS Scorecard won’t give you everything….you have to have an escalation process in place.”

For example, if your NPS for a particular account goes from promoter to detractor you’ll want to have a CSM address the account. This means the overall scorecard could be showing a positive account when there is a problem, so it’s still important to look at every metric on a client’s card to make sure it is in good standing.

Taking Action on Customer Health Scores

The next step after setting up your CHS alerts is to create playbooks to work from when there is an alert or an account drops from green to yellow or red. This gives CSMs valuable information to work through any problems and put the account in good standing when possible.

Jeff suggested that you focus efforts on getting yellow accounts to green. A healthy account is six times more likely to rebuy or upsell than one that is “okay, ” he says. The effort you put into getting an unhealthy red account to an “okay” yellow account may not be worth it.

As the company grows, your CHS program should as well. At Raise.me there are thousands of customers/students who use the program. Because of this Jon has learned to use segmentation. He tracks a CHS for new customers going through onboarding and a CHS for long term customers.

In one last bit of advice, Loni’s recommends to “Make sure the team and company are bought into the score or people won’t act on behalf of it.”

Thanks to our panelists, it’s clear how valuable and productive Customer Health Score can be for Customer Success teams. It can take effort to determine the right metric for your company, but the result can be an excellent program that decreases churn.

Retain more customers. Sign up today for free in-app Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

How SaaS Companies Do NPS: Learning from Customer Success at HelloSign and Optimizely

There is a thriving Meetup group of Customer Success professionals here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Customer Success is a new and evolving field, so each monthly gathering is packed with Customer Success Managers from SaaS (Software as Service) companies around San Francisco who want to learn the latest insights from experienced Customer Success leaders. (Note: If you don’t live in the SF Bay Area, you can still benefit from the expertise shared at these monthly meetups.  Whenever possible, Junan Pang and the other organizers post a video of the event on their meetup page. )

In January, the group met up at Rainforest QA to explore a topic that is a big part of every Customer Success organization but may not always get the right level of focus…Net Promoter Score (NPS)!

Running an NPS survey program is easier than ever. No more annual NPS email survey campaigns or analyzing data in spreadsheets. A modern Net Promoter Score platform will survey your customers in real-time, start collecting data, and do the analysis for you.

Can’t get much simpler than that, right?

Actually…

There’s a lot more to NPS than what you see on the surface and every CSM knows it.

Maranda Ann Dziekonski, VP Customer Operations at HelloSign  and Jennifer Ruth, Sr Director of Customer Success at Optimizely shared how they approach Net Promoter Score and tips for getting the most from this metric including whether it should be anonymous, how to improve it, and how an enterprise company should handle feedback.

For starters, the experts shared what NPS is and how to calculate your score. While most tools will automatically calculate it for you, it’s good to know what goes into this important number because it has such a significant impact on your company.

Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

NPS is a one- question survey that asks: “How likely are you to recommend our product to friends of colleagues?” It is generally followed by a single, open-ended question, like “Care to tell us why?” that gives your customer an opportunity to elaborate on the reason behind their score.

Two Step in-app NPS Survey by WootricNPS delivers a board-level metric and the “one number you need to grow.” The survey “metricizes” customer loyalty. It is the most important baseline metric for driving improvement in customer experience. NPS stands above CSAT (customer satisfaction) and customer health scores because it is meaningful and understood across all departments. Your NPS indicates precisely how happy your users are with your product/service, so it holds everyone accountable for customer centricity.

Why does Customer Success use NPS?

One reason Customer Success departments in particular pay close attention to Net Promoter Score is because a low NPS can be an indication of potential churn.

How is NPS calculated?

Customers rate their likelihood of recommending your company on a scale of 0-10. Survey answers 9 & 10 are considered promoters, 7 & 8 are passive, and 0-6 are detractors. You take the percentage of detractors and subtract it from the percentage of promoters to get your score. Here is more on the concept and formula.

NPS scale

NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors

What is an average NPS?

Everyone wants to know — how does my NPS measure up to the competition? In the tech industry, Maranda Dziekonski suggests that a score of 25-50 is average.

Why use the NPS survey?

One reason is that the non-intrusive one-question NPS survey is customer friendly, especially when compared to the user experience of traditional “This will only take 10 minutes” multi-question surveys. As a result, NPS surveys garner much higher response rates. And you want to be hearing from as many customers as possible because, as Dziekonski of HelloSign says, “80% of your detractors are tweeting complaints on social media, 80% of your promoters are those who will contribute to expansion revenue.” Knowing how they feel can help you engage with them in the right way. 

Who should own NPS in your company?

Both experts agreed that the NPS point person should be customer-facing. For example, the NPS champion should be on the customer success or support team. In their experience, other departments such as marketing are less likely to take the key step of closing the loop with the survey respondents. CSMs, on the other hand, will reach out and learn how they can keep the customer as a promoter.

What about Net Promoter Score within enterprise businesses?

Marketing, Product, Sales, Education, Service/Support, and the C-Suite are all stakeholders in the Net Promoter Score program you create. All of them benefit from NPS data. While every department should get the information, only one should own it and drive motivation for improvement. That department should also regularly track what is being done to impact and improve NPS by all departments.

How often should you ask your customers the Net Promoter Score question?

Both experts agree that no customer should be asked more frequently than every six months. However, that doesn’t mean you only execute the survey every six months. For example, if you survey a new user after she completes the on-boarding process and then survey her again every six months, you will have a constant pulse of NPS data coming in all the time from various users. However, you’ll have to decide how often works best for your company.

In-app or Email NPS Surveys?

“I get more responses from in-app users. Where with email, it gets lost in the shuffle. However, if your customers or stakeholders don’t log in to your SaaS product, then in-app won’t work and email is the way to go,” said Maranda Dziekonski.

How often should you run other surveys?

The experts agreed that CSAT should run after every contact with support. However, it’s important to schedule out how often a person will be targeted for feedback; you don’t want to over-survey customers and risk annoying them.

In addition to NPS and CSAT, HelloSign does an annual marketing survey.  Jennifer Ruth said that when she was at Adobe, they sequenced NPS with other surveys and supplemented that data with Customer Advisory Board feedback.

Therefore, it’s important for companies to have one person or function create a centralized customer feedback plan. When other departments need feedback, they can do it through that point person. There is nothing worse that overwhelming customers with too many surveys, and having a gatekeeper and a plan ensures that doesn’t happen.  “Come up with an approach that minimizes customer burden,” said Jennifer Ruth.

On Choosing the Right NPS Platform

You’ll want one that can quickly scale as you grow. Multichannel NPS tool is best. It should be easy to reach customers on your website or in your SaaS, in your mobile app, and through email.

Your NPS platform should handle sampling for you and help you analyze the data for deeper insight. For instance, you can run in-app surveys in your SaaS product and have your NPS platform automatically resend the survey to customers every six months. You might want to analyze data by certain groups — Enterprise versus SMB users, for example — and the right NPS platform will help you do this.

It is also important that your tool integrates with other platforms like Mixpanel, Intercom or Salesforce, so you can easily automate sending the survey based on customer “events” such as use of a particular feature, or a support conversation. Integrations also mean the feedback can be pushed to platforms that you and the other departments are in regularly. For example, when NPS scores and feedback are pushed into Salesforce, account managers can have more informed conversations with customers. They will know before the call if the account might be primed for upsell or need some TLC.

Should NPS surveys be anonymous?

Jennifer Ruth of Optimizely shared that at one company she worked at, the company did maintain customer anonymity. The thinking was that customers would be more honest if they knew they were not identifiable.

Most companies, however, feel that it is critical to know who the survey response is coming from. This is for two reasons. First, and most importantly, it  allows you to respond directly to the customer. You can thank them for their feedback and hopefully addressing any concerns they have. You can also invite happy customers to advocate for your brand. When customers know that their input is valued, they are more likely to respond to future surveys.

Second, knowing who responded enables deeper analysis of NPS data.  Companies often segment responses by persona, plan or other properties for deeper insight into the “Why?” behind the score.

How do you improve NPS?

Several ways to improve NPS were discussed.

The first, and the easiest way to do it, says Jennifer Ruth, is by reading through the open-ended feedback given, identifying the customer’s issues, notifying and working with the departments involved to address the issues of individual customers.

Another approach involves segmenting data –deeper research to understand which cohorts are happy or unhappy, and specifically working on strategies to respond to their input and improve their loyalty. HelloSign segments their NPS data by salesperson, CSM, and product line to thoroughly understand any trends and where there are issues with customer happiness. Since their feedback scores are not anonymous, they can also have CSMs connect with those who are detractors (0-6) to find out why their score is low and help them be more successful with the product.

Improving response rates

Everyone wants to hear from as many customers as possible. HelloSign uses this approach: Before they send an NPS survey via email, they reach out before hand and let users know how important the NPS survey is. Their users know their responses will be reviewed. They also reach out after the survey is sent to remind and encourage response.

Including a deadline for the survey has also helped encourage feedback. They found that getting the email addresses of the people who use the product — not just the person who installed it — and surveying them was critical to getting relevant responses. (In the past, HelloSign noticed that engineers who regularly install their product don’t respond to the survey requests.) 

How do you follow up with Passives and Detractors? 

The good news is that if Detractors responded, they are engaged. Do your research — look at all tickets, analytics before you reach out to the customer. Be direct and be human. People will respond to that authenticity and will give you feedback and tell you how you can help.  Make sure the customer feels empowered.

The NPS survey system is a powerful, yet streamlined way for customer success teams and companies to metricize customer loyalty and work to improve it. A Net Promoter Score program can help you keep customers happy, prevent churn, and improve your product.  

Retain more customers. Sign up today and get started with free Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

Wootric launches Net Promoter Score for Salesforce on the AppExchange

Wootric, the Net Promoter Score platform for boosting customer happiness, has launched the Wootric Net Promoter Customer Feedback survey application on the Salesforce AppExchange. Designed to bring the full power of Net Promoter Score (NPS) data to Salesforce users, the integration was created with input from Salesforce customers and NPS power-users like Zoom.us, Entelo and Percolate.  

Download the Wootric-Salesforce integration from the listing on the AppExchange.

With the Wootric-Salesforce integration, day-to-day users of Salesforce —  customer success, sales, marketing and service/support — can improve retention, upsells and customer experience from within Salesforce. The application enriches contact and account records with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric and Voice of the Customer (VOC) feedback comments in any language. Surveys can also be triggered from within Salesforce.

Highlights of the Wootric Net Promoter Score integration on the AppExchange

Features of the integration today include:

  • Net Promoter Scores and feedback in Contact Records
  • Account level Net Promoter Score and feedback roll-up
  • Seven (7) Net Promoter Score Reports that auto-populate the Wootric Dashboard in Salesforce
  • Ability to trigger NPS surveys from within Salesforce using workflows
  • Direct install that takes minimal developer resources to configure.

Future plans include a similar integration for Wootric’s new Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys.

Account Level Net Promoter Score (NPS) Data in Salesforce

See more Screenshots on Wootric’s AppExchange listing.

Easy Installation, the Right Features

“As I spoke with customers about the features they wanted in a Wootric-Salesforce application, I quickly learned that it is a challenge for Salesforce users to find a customer feedback app that is genuinely easy to install and use,“ said Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer at Wootric. “So we took time to build an integration that is both useful and painless to install.”

Wootric customers are already benefiting from sharing Wootric NPS data across the company through Salesforce. “The Wootric integration came with out-of-the-box reports that are great. Because the fields exist within Salesforce objects, we were able to setup automated alerts to account owners for easy follow-up. We’re able to view average scores at any scale: across company, industry, account size, etc,” said Caitlyn McCormick, Marketing Manager at Percolate. “If you’re looking for scalable NPS reporting and transparency across your organization, I recommend Wootric’s Salesforce integration.”

The real impact of customer feedback in Salesforce

When critical Voice of the Customer data collected by Wootric is accessible in Salesforce, it can align teams around boosting customer happiness.

Customer-centricity improves when customer experience data is available to Salesforce users

This year, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. Now that CMOs are spending as much money on technology as CIOs, companies that use Salesforce are looking for the technology stack that will help them win on the customer experience battlefield.

Wootric’s sophisticated yet light-weight approach to customer experience feedback management is the choice of companies in over 70 countries around the globe. Now, by integrating Wootric with Salesforce, marketers can share customer insights and feedback across functions to improve CX.

An easy win for Sales & Success teams: Knowing exactly what the customer is thinking today

With the Wootric-Salesforce integration, Net Promoter Score data sits at the end-user record, buyer record and account level, so it is visible to sales and success teams that are having onboarding, upsell and renewal conversations. Did a user just rave about your new product, or are they disgruntled? How has account NPS been trending since the last call with the buyer? Business intelligence transforms the sales conversation.

Improve customer service and onboarding with triggered surveys

Asking for feedback after a support interaction or at a key journey point is now possible by triggering Wootric surveys based on events in Salesforce. This enables Customer Support or CX teams to assess and improve interactions with people and product.

Zapier vs. Salesforce Integration

Some Wootric customers currently utilize Zapier to move NPS data into Salesforce.  The advantages of using Wootric’s Salesforce integration instead of Zapier include: out of box VisualForce pages for Contacts and Accounts, Account level roll up of NPS, out of box reports and dashboard, workflow and survey triggers, and  historical data migration (which can be costly and difficult with Zapier.)  Using Zapier will continue to be a cost-effective option for companies that do not need these features.

For a more information and a free trial of the Salesforce integration, please contact sales to learn more

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There is a Correlation between CX and Revenue Growth – and Here’s the Data to Back It Up

“Our conclusion: superior CX drives superior revenue growth.”
Harley Manning, Forrester

“Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experiences”
Peter Kriss, Harvard Business Review

There is a lot of chatter happening in business circles about customer experience (CX) as a growth engine. It’s almost intuitive – you and I both understand how having a great experience affects us as customers. We all have businesses we love, products we’ll follow to the ends of the earth (in hopes they’ll finally go on sale), and websites we follow with almost religious fervor.

As CMO, VP of Success, or Head of Customer Support, you are constantly advocating for customer experience within your company. After all, from the very first moment the second blacksmith’s shop appeared in the village, creating competition for the first blacksmith’s shop, customer experience has been a deciding vote for who gets the business – just as much as price and quality. But as a business owner, or a professional marketer, you can’t afford to go with your gut. To win resources you need data to back up your argument that CX is the future (you know it is).

There is a correlation between CX and revenue growth, and we’ve compiled the research to back it up.

Why the effects of CX have been tricky to track

Customer experience has been treated as a ‘soft’ discipline, and I have a theory as to why. 

We’ve grown up with it. Whether watching Santa send Macy’s store shoppers to competitors in Miracle on 34th Street, or walking into Nordstrom’s shoe department to be followed around by suited young men carrying piles of boxes to the nearest padded chair. We recognize great CX when we experience it ourselves.

However, it’s inherently subjective. Subjective issues – anything based on opinion or emotion – tend to be hard to track. One person’s “helpful” is another person’s “pushy.” Your “attentive,” might be my “stalker.”

Modern tools now quantify CX

But online buyers’ journeys are different than the sales experiences most of us grew up with. With modern tracking and customer surveys, you can tell (often in real-time) whether your efforts are coming off as too much, or too little. You can identify problems and preferences, which allows you to fine tune the end experience for your target customer.

Most importantly, for the first time in human history, we have the tools to track the actual, absolute effect that positive customer experience has on a business’s bottom line. This is transforming the discipline of customer service into the science of CX.

The science of CX starts with measurement. Read the article, A Primer on the 3 Most Important CX Metrics – NPS, CSAT and CES, and start measuring CX today.

It’s no longer just “the right thing to do,” it’s an engine for measurable growth.

“CX is no longer just a discipline; it is the basic ingredient for growth”
Winning on the Battleground of CX, Forrester

Data that ties CX to Revenue

Transaction-based v. Subscription-based CX

“What we found: not only is it possible to quantify the impact of customer experience – but the effects are huge.” – “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified,” Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review looked at the revenue data from two global $1B+ businesses – one was a transaction-based business, the other was a relationship-based subscription business.

We looked at two companies with different revenue models — one transactional, the other subscription-based — using two common elements that are relevant to all industries: customer feedback, and future spending by individual customers. To see the effect of experience on future spending, we looked at experience data from individual customers at a point in time, and then looked at those individual customers’ spending behaviors over the subsequent year.”

Transactional business models rely on frequency of customer return and how much they spend per visit. Modcloth would be a good example – they want you to come back every day and buy (or at least Save to Wishlist), and come up with ingenious ways to incentivize that behavior.

Subscription-based businesses include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or even those recipe kits from Blue Apron. No matter what they’re selling, the model is the same. It relies on retention, cross-sells and upsells.

The results?

After controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases…

  • Transaction-based: Customers with the best past experiences spend140% more than those with the poorest past experiences.
  • Subscription-based: Customers with the best past experiences have a 74% chance of remaining a member for at least another year; customers with the worst experiences have a 43% chance of being a member one year later. In fact, those who gave the highest CX scores were likely to remain members for another six years.

CX Effects Across Multiple Industries

On Harley Manning’s Blog at Forrester, Manning (Forrester VP and research director) discusses two studies, conducted one year apart, that compared five pairs of publicly traded companies “where one company in each of the pairs had a significantly higher score than the other in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index during the period 2010 to 2015.”

The Customer Experience Index measures each brand on a scale from “Very Poor” to “Excellent” in these six categories:

  • Effectiveness
  • Ease of use
  • Emotion
  • Retention
  • Enrichment
  • Advocacy

Then, Forrester looked at the businesses’ revenue data and built models to calculate the compound annual growth rates for each of the ten companies over those five years.

The results:

The publicly traded companies studied ran the gamut of industry types, from cable to retail to airlines. But in terms of the CX effect, industry didn’t seem to matter as much as the reported CX scores each company received.

In two industries, cable and retail, leaders outperformed laggards by 24 percentage and 26 percentage points, respectively. Even in the industry with the smallest spread, airlines, the CX leader enjoyed a healthy 5 percentage point advantage in global revenue. And when we compared the total growth rate of all CX leaders to that of all CX laggards we saw that the leaders collectively had a 14 percentage point advantage.” – Harley Manning, Forrester

Unlike the Harvard Business Review’s study, Forrester did not control for outside influences that could have driven revenue growth. But, they did conclusively determine that “customers who have a better experience with a company say they’re less likely to stop doing business with the company and more likely to recommend it.” They also observed that companies with superior CX saw increased growth in customers.

And, as Harley Manning points out, “Both of those factors should drive increased growth in customers and, in turn, increased growth of customer revenue.”

Essentially, as CX rises, so does revenue growth.

But there’s another interesting correlation that Forrester’s Customer Experience Index research uncovered. The top performing brands, including USAA, Barnes & Noble, Etsy, QVC and Zappos.com, “achieved a 17% compound average growth between 2010 and 2015 – which is no small feat with many of them already in the top revenue percentiles in their respective industries.” (Salemove.com)

Compared with the brands at the bottom, who only saw a compound average growth of 3%, that is a very wide gap.

To put a possible dollar amount on this, consider: “a one-point score improvement in the CX Index can lead to an increase of $65 million in revenue in the upscale hotel industry,” according to Forrester’s Harley Manning.  

CX spending is on the rise

You may think companies still seem to feel more comfortable spending money on things that do not have a direct impact on customer experience, or that Support and Customer Success teams can still be the last area to receive investment. Think again. Per Forrester research, 71% of business and technology decision-makers reported that improving CX will be a high priority for spending in the next year.

Ready to join the CX revolution?

Now with modern survey platforms, companies of all sizes can measure and improve customer experience at scale.  Forrester’s CX Index measured six attributes of experience and probably took months to collect, analyze and report. However, a lightweight approach to CX improvement using metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) can get you 90% of the way there and not break the bank. 

The key is to start small. Determine your “north star” metric. Get customer feedback, take action, repeat.  Consistently repeat this process. As your company’s customer experience improves, so will your bottomline. 

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Net Promoter Score for Startups: Saastr’s Jason Lemkin and Wootric CEO Deepa Subramanian on NPS as a KPI

Jason Lemkin, the founder of SaaStr, interviewed Wootric CEO and cofounder Deepa Subramanian at Dreamforce 2016, getting her thoughts on best practices for Net Promoter Score for startups and learning how – in two short years – she grew the NPS platform she built herself into a runaway success with users in 75 countries around the world. Here are highlights from the interview!

How Deepa built Wootric from code to customers

Jason: Deepa, tell us about what Wootric does, how big you are, and any other core metrics.

Deepa: Well, to give you some context, I was a very early engineer at Salesforce, starting in 2003, and it’s been kind of a wild ride since. I went to law school. I practiced law for a bit. I ran Schmendricks bagels, my first foray into entrepreneurship.

But my true passion is technology so this is where we are. Wootric is a Net Promoter Score tracking platform that helps companies boost customer happiness. This is what we are today. But what we really want to bring to businesses is intelligent turn-key customer feedback management that helps them align the entire company around the customer and customer experience metrics. Like NPS.

Jason: Let’s talk a lot about that. But first, just because of your background, let’s go back in time. How is building software today different than it was when you were at Salesforce? And what surprised you about building software today?

Deepa: That I could do it. I mean, I built Wootric, just me.

Jason: Just you?

Deepa: In this universe, with AWS and Heroku, my first six months of MVP cost me nothing. I was able to manage the entire stack — whereas when I joined Salesforce, I think we were over a 100-person company. You needed 11 developers and a whole infrastructure team.

Jason: So you built the prototype, or even version one, all by yourself in six months?

Deepa: It had actually been about 10 years since I coded, so what I did was work for two weeks with a consulting company called Thoughtbot, where we peer programmed the MVP, and then I took it on.

Jason: So that de-rustified you. And then you brought on the rest of the founding team?

Deepa: Jessica Pfeifer is actually a very old friend of mine. She is a brand marketer, most recently at Clorox. But I knew that before Harvard Business School she had been a marketing consultant in China running what were basically customer experience survey programs.

I did a user interview with Jess at her kitchen table, and it was so productive and so exciting that I said, “Jess — you need to come work with me. How do I convince you?” She’s one of those people who goes by her gut, and she said, “I’m going to do this with you.”

Jason: When did you decide to expand the team? Was it when you got your first paying customers?

Deepa: I think it was after we raised our first round of financing.

Jason: Well that certainly helps, to pay their salaries. And how much did you raise?

Deepa: Jessica and I raised $2.5M from Cloud Apps Capital and others.

Jason:  Just the two of  you? That’s pretty badass. It’s certainly a testament to you. Did you have paying customers yet?

Deepa: We had in the range of 10 or 15 customers at the time who could be referenced. This was in April, 2015.

Jason: What did they say they loved about Wootric that helped convince your investors?

Deepa: Two things. First, the end-user survey experience. I think they thought this was so unique, since NPS products tended to focus on the experience of the person giving the survey.  The other thing was that it took them just a few minutes to install. Which for the enterprises we were talking to – they had never seen anything like that.

Jason: This makes me curious, and I’d like to back up for just a moment. How did you get the first 10 customers? Where did they come from?

Deepa: Hustle. The very first few important customers were basically my network, talking to CMOs, customer success. 

Jason:  If the first 10 customers were hustle, where did customers 11-100 come from?

Deepa: All inbound.  We have this viral component–people saw the survey. They loved it, and they were, like, “Who is this?” And they clicked on the “powered by Wootric” in the survey. So, the next big five customers came in virally. Today, we have over 100 paying customers. It’s been a third virality, a third content marketing, and a third partnerships.

Basically, what I’ve learned is if you want a repeatable, scalable outbound sales model you need to have sales professionals come in. We’ve now brought on two AE’s and these are very unique individuals. They’re good at what they do, but they’re very creative. They know that this is not something that’s been figured out already and they’re ready to listen, give me feedback, work on this model. One of them has a strong B2C Rolodex, and he understands brands really well. The other is much more experienced selling to SaaS companies, B2B organizations.

Net Promoter Score from vanity metric to KPI

Jason: Okay, let’s shift the conversation to talk a little bit about NPS. Let me start with the transformation in my thinking. I used to hate NPS, and here’s why. My experience working with NPS at a Fortune 500 company was that it was an excuse for mediocrity. You could have a stale product that was no longer competitive in the market, but your existing customers loved it because they were used to it. Thus, you could see very high scores in very mediocre products. That turned me off.

Then I started to work with a few dozen SaaS companies and they all tracked NPS early. At that point, I saw the magic, and now I am a big proponent. So, what’s changed NPS? Maybe I’m viewing it wrongly, but I think there’s almost been a revolution how people think about it.

Deepa: NPS used to be looked at a vanity metric, but now people have realized the power of using this as a period-to-period key performance indicator (KPI). That’s when it becomes really powerful. Companies have also come to realize that NPS is not a program that you run once a year, or once every six months. You want to incorporate it into your ongoing reporting. Also, people have realized that the data is applicable across the organization, beyond just Insights or Marketing. 

Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback to drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

Jason: Should NPS be one of the top 5 or 6 metrics for the whole company?

Deepa: Absolutely. It should be a board metric. 

Jason: Everyone in the company should be responsible for NPS.

Don’t be spammy about NPS surveys

Jason: Some folks get worried, especially if they haven’t done NPS before, that they’ll annoy their customers if they ask them for too much too often. And I know if you use something like Wootric, the bar is very low. It only takes 60 seconds or 30 seconds. But should I be worried about asking for too much feedback from customers?

Deepa: Absolutely, you can’t be spammy about surveys. Wootric’s so end-user focused–very careful about right question, right time, right customer, right device. And all of this needs to be coordinated. If you have the resources to do it yourself by all means do it. But Wootric can do all that for you.

Jason: How often can I survey my customers, at least for NPS, without asking too often? What’s the right cadence?

Deepa: It really depends on the business. Let’s take a SaaS company for example. If your customers are engaging pretty frequently in your products, I would say once every three months. But what you want to do with that is get a statistical sample. You want to smooth out the collection so that you’re talking to everyone over the course of that three-six month period.

What about segmenting NPS by user group?

Jason: How much should I segment my NPS by customer base?

Deepa: It kind of depends on the size of your user base. That said, segmentation is really useful. If we’re talking about SaaS companies, you want to know how your enterprise base is doing, versus your plus level customers, and so on.

Jason: If you segment between small, medium and large you’re often going to see very different data in those segments, right?

Deepa: Absolutely. But if you don’t have statistical numbers in each of those groups, then your score is just going to be noise [focus instead on the qualitative feedback you are getting.] So you need to think about how big is each user base and whether the numbers are actually significant.

What if I have a low Net Promoter Score?

Jason: Here’s another high level NPS question. What if my NPS is low, say ten or worse?

Deepa: Do not fixate on a low score number. Just worry about moving it and worry about the trend. Your customers are giving you feedback. Take that input, and do everything you can to drive up your score.

Jason: Do you think there are certain industries or verticals that inherently have lower NPS than others?

Deepa: Providing a good user experience is definitely more challenging in some industries. Airlines come to mind. But I don’t want to demotivate any company at the outset. You have to start somewhere. If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Jason: If my NPS is lower than I like, how much can I change it in one period of time? What’s a reasonable expectation? Let’s say I’m at 20, and I want to be at 40. What’s the right goal, and how quickly can I expect results?

Deepa: I think the right goal is a couple of percentage points every period. You know, maybe one period is one quarter, maybe a period is six months.

But what you actually want to see more is different signifiers, not just the score moving up. For instance, how many passives, which are basically low hanging fruit, have I moved over to promoters. Or how many detractors have I gotten to be passives? How many have I rescued from churning? You do want to move the score a couple of points up, but you really want to dig in a little bit more and have tangible shifts that will lead to score increases.

Jason: Let me ask you one more tough question. What should my NPS goal be for the end of next year? For example, if I’m 20, should I aim for 50 percent improvement next year? If I’m already high – if I’m 60 or 70 – should I aim to maintain it, or go even higher?

Deepa: The goal is the same regardless of the number, to get those promoters to give you the referrals. Get those passives to love you. Get those detractors not to churn. That said, if you trust your program, a concrete goal to strive for would be to get it up every single period by a couple percentage points.

How can startups implement Net Promoter Score early?

Jason: Okay, here’s my last question. I want to implement NPS today. I’m busy, I’m tired, I have a lot going on, but I’m excited, and I want to get started. How do I do this with Wootric?

Deepa: If you’re a web application, you need to install one piece of Java Script, just like Google Analytics. If you have a mobile app, it’s a SDK. If you want to use email, you can do that with us as well.

Jason: Okay, so one line of code or some email addresses, and I can get started…Wootric helps me select the right cadence and the right amount of times to hit everybody?

Deepa: We come out with defaults and you can just go with that. But if you want, our customer success team will step in and advise you.

This interview was edited for space and clarity.  Special thanks to the team at Salesforce for Startups.

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