Product Managers: Why You Should Include Customer Success Milestones In Your User Flows

As a Product Manager, you develop user flows to chart how customers move from signup to successfully using your SaaS product. Your colleagues in Customer Success are doing the same thing — mapping a flow of customer milestones to success.

But “success” can mean different things to PMs and CSMs. And, while both teams employ user flows (or customer journeys), what they put on them are very different, reflecting their very different goals.

You are responsible for making the product functionally work, with enough awesome UX so it’s relatively intuitive for the customer to use. For your team, “success” often means that the product works. It does what it says it will do, and does it well.

Customer Success is responsible for helping customers use the product to achieve their desired outcome. Most of the time, that desired outcome isn’t in the product – it’s outside of it. For example, if I purchase a budgeting app, my desired outcome is to save enough money to sun myself on a Caribbean beach, with a good-looking server to bring me fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. The Customer Success manager’s job is to get me there.

You might say it’s a conflict between focusing on the world inside the product and the wide, wide world outside of it.

And that conflict can bring about a deep divide between Product and Customer Success.

Yet, we’re all working towards the same goal: Creating a product people love, need and want more of.

What if you were to bring both user flows together, so the functionality inside the product meets the desired outcomes outside of the product?

The Customer Success Perspective

This is a basic Customer Success User Flow, riffing off of Lincoln Murphy’s mockup. This type of user flow shows how customers get to each successive Milestone – or the parts of the product that will take them to the next step towards reaching their Desired Outcome.

But this chart doesn’t show the most important part for the CSM: The success gaps between signup and that Desired Outcome.

It’s in these spaces that Customer Success does most of its work.

Success gaps are what stand between product functionality and success milestones or desired outcomes. My budgeting app might help me save money, but will it help me have an amazing Caribbean vacation? Of course not – the product isn’t designed for that.

But Customer Success content is designed for that. In e-books, blog posts, or social media ‘quick tips,’ Customer Success can tell me everything I need to know to successfully budget for my dream Caribbean getaway. This content can tell me things like “Don’t forget to include hotel taxes and airline fees in your budget,” or “When budgeting for vacation, experts suggest planning on spending $140 a day for food for two.”

Let’s take another example: Hubspot.

HubSpot’s product is an impressively integrated website, social media management, marketing, CRM and Sales platform. Their customer’s desired outcome is to build a successful online business. So, HubSpot’s Customer Success team created a Sales blog for salespeople, a Marketing blog for marketers, and the Hubspot Academy with certification courses in inbound marketing, email marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, sales software, marketing software, design for web and marketing agencies, contextual marketing, and HubSpot design.

They’ve created everything you could possibly need to succeed, in the real world, using their product.

HubSpot is an extreme example – most businesses don’t have the resources for anything so comprehensive. But the principle behind it is something we can all employ.

Give your customers the tools and information they need to do what they need to do.

And this is where Product comes in.

The Product Management Perspective

When you think of user flows, it is typically about what you want users to do next in the product – the functional completion of getting from A-Z.

In your user flows, you’ll see interactions within the product, with options for different paths users can take within the product.

And, once again, success gaps are between every single action.

This is often where you will insert in-app tutorials to cover the usability success gaps, but it’s not the PM’s job alone to think outside the product. That’s what Customer Success is for.

This is what I’ve been recommending to my clients

My clients often have user flows, ready-made, from their Product teams. They may or may not have user flows from their Customer Success teams – and if they don’t, I tell them to create one.

You have to, have to, HAVE TO know where your success gaps are!

Lately, however, I’ve recommended a new way to create user flows: By bringing Product Management and Customer Success to co-create a user flow together.

A user flow that shows what functionally needs to happen…

  • Onboarding/Acquisition/Retention stages
  • Success Milestones
  • Where to move from Freemium to Paid subscription
  • When to ask for Advocacy
  • When to Upsell
  • Markers indicating success gaps
  • Where customers will find their first value, next values, and desired outcomes

It’s a user flow that brings together success inside the product with success outside of the product. And, it opens the door to getting Product’s ideas on ways to close the success gaps from within the product, and Customer Success’s ideas on how to improve UX.

What does this look like?

Something like this:

Product + Success Perspective on Customer User Flow

Clearly, this is a greatly simplified version of a user flow. But do you see the two sides coming together? Do you see the potential within those success gaps for Product + Success brainstorming?

And, most importantly, do you see how this user flow can actually get the user – from a Product and CS perspective – to their Desired Outcome?

Think of it this way: Every success gap presents an opportunity for Customer Success and Product to design a solution to bridge it. Sometimes that solution will be entirely on CS’s shoulders, like creating informative content, how-to’s, or videos. Other times, that solution will require your expertise to create an in-app pop-up tip, milestone celebration, or alert – and, when the success gap is a little too wide for a quick fix, a new feature or expansion.

By mapping both perspectives at the same time, you’re building the customer’s success into your process from the beginning.

The bottom line is…

If you and your Product team are only talking about the functional completion of the product, then it’s time to add a few more chairs to the conference room table – and invite Customer Success in.  Your product will be stickier when the functionality inside the product helps customers achieve their desired outcomes outside of the product.

Start getting free in-app feedback on your product today. Signup for 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. 

Start measuring Net Promoter Score for free with InMoment

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Emotion to Drive Customer Loyalty

Emotion is coming to the forefront of Customer Experience (CX) management, not because it’s warm and fuzzy, and not because leveraging feelings is devilishly manipulative, but because when you use emotion to drive your CX efforts, it becomes a powerful differentiator.

More companies are getting better at the functional basics of customer experience, like responding in a timely manner to questions, streamlining the purchase process, and smoothing out onboarding (not to mention creating a decent product) – which means they need something unique to offer that separates them from their competition.  

What is the most unique, even unforgettable thing you can offer? The way you make your customers feel. It’s for this reason the bar for CX is inching up.

The fact that understanding and influencing emotion is a vital ingredient for business success is not surprising — it has been the heart and soul of brand efforts. It is also the foundation of the emotion-recognition techniques (measuring physiological responses) currently in pilot for some retailers and old-school ethnographic research. – Forrester 2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer

Emotion not only carries the ability to define your company in a sea of competitors, it can also inspire viral word of mouth marketing from people who love you and want to express that to a large audience, whether because they’re influencers with their own followers, or reviewers.

Bad things are worse than good things are better

We are hardwired as human beings to be more sensitive to negative events than positive events. And this sensitivity only increases when we’re in a heightened emotional state – focusing on the negative becomes even easier.

As odd as it may sound, this is good news for those of us in the business of relieving pain points. You’ll get more appreciation from your customer by removing pain than creating delight. So, if a customer comes to you with a problem, you can expect them to be in a heightened emotional state, which means not only should you tread carefully, you’ll do well to relieve their most urgent pain points as soon as possible!

As a species, negative consequences take an enormous toll on us. In fact, we’ll go farther out of our way to avoid negative consequences than we’d go for positive results of equal measure (it’s called “Loss Aversion”). This behavior is predicated on the emotional truth that something bad feels worse than something good feels better. Losing $20 might wreck your day. Finding $20 may make you happier for an hour.

How does this translate to CX?

Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment companies, was getting ready to redo its site, and rather than just considering customer acquisition, or lead-generating instruction, they studied how people felt about investing. They looked at whether their target audience was new to investing, had been investing for a while, and what their emotional baggage might be around the topic of investing in general. They discovered that, new or experienced, most people feel overwhelmed. Now, if you visit Vanguard’s site, their design is very simple, even sparse. They knew that visual clutter would only enhance the feeling of overwhelm. Their new design reduces it.

Delta airlines also makes a point to reduce customer pains. They set up their phone systems so that if you call in response to getting a text message saying your flight was canceled, their automated phone system will put you straight through to the appropriate person rather than route you through a dozen exhausting options.

United Airlines has been working diligently to improve its public image by tackling some of its thorniest customer experience pitfalls, like lost luggage. The airline recently introduced a service that lets fliers follow their luggage on the United smartphone app, and get text message alerts if their bags miss their destination. Instead of being angry and frustrated by lost bags, passengers are calling this “Amazing” customer service. As one passenger told the Huffington Post:

After I arrived, I received a text message alert that one of my two bags did not make it and would be delivered to my address within 24 hours,” she says. “I also received an email where I could track my bag, see who was delivering it and at what time. At no time did I have to wait in line or on hold for them to rectify their mistake. They simply took care of it and kept me informed every step of the way. To me, that was amazing customer service.

Amazon offers one of the most loved customer experiences, some argue, because it provides “an unparalleled sense of emotional satisfaction.” How do they do that? Not through being especially warm and fuzzy, but by reducing pain points with features like multiple wishlists, a save-for-later area, an easily accessible cart, and even more easily accessible price comparisons, along with shipping cost reduction and the nearly instant gratification of Prime. If and when a customer does have a problem, returns are easy and customer service gets top marks.

A lot of bad customer experiences are ‘death by a thousand cuts’ annoyances. Avoid exacerbating pain in an already painful situation, and the better the customer’s perception of their experience will be.

Emotions lead to loyalty – the key to growing SaaS businesses

Emotion is linked to loyalty (and CX is linked to emotion). In the hotel industry, which has the largest percentage of customers that reported feeling “valued” one study reported, 88% of the “valued” people will advocate for the hotel brand, and more than 75% will stay with the hotel brand.

The TV service provider industry, unsurprisingly, has the largest percentage of customers who report feeling annoyed. Only 8% of these annoyed people express willingness to advocate for the TV service provider, and just over 1 in 10 intend to keep their existing relationships with the provider.

For the SaaS industry, retention is a key metric for profit and growth – you can’t afford to annoy, disappoint, or frustrate your customers. Essentially, customers are 5 times more loyal when they feel valued, than when they feel annoyed.

The most important emotions for loyalty in the U.S. are, in fact, feeling valued, appreciated, and confident.

For example, there’s something about Slack that makes you feel confident (and a bit cool) that you’re part of something that’s on the leading edge. That’s not just because Slack is relatively new – they engender this feeling on purpose with Slack release notes (which are hilarious, self-deprecating, and charmingly relatable) that make updating the app a pleasure. Not only do they manage to keep everyone up-to-date, they remove the significant pain of updating an app and replace it with a positive emotion.

Note: Positive emotions that drive behavior like repurchases and advocacy differ by country and culture, even by customer base. In the UK, Germany and France, for example, the top three loyalty-inspiring emotions are slightly (yet significantly) different.

Positive Emotions that drive behavior
Source: Forrester

Loyalty weakening emotions differ by country and culture too. U.S. customers share their loyalty-weakening emotions with their U.K. friends.

Emotions that weaken customer loyalty
Source: Forrester

Be sure to understand the emotions of your specific customer base rather than make assumptions.

Interestingly, customer loyalty itself comes in multiple flavors. Loyalty can mean retention (the customer will maintain existing business), enrichment (a customer will buy additional products and services), advocacy (the customer will recommend the company).

Do you know how your customers feel about their experiences with your business?

How to Measure Emotion in Customer Experience

Most CX measurement programs don’t quantify customer emotions – they focus more on metrics that reflect a rational or cognitive evaluation of experiences. Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian, senior analyst at Forrester, says businesses can begin measuring emotion in CX by first defining metrics that measure critical emotions in influential experiences (the ones with the highest impact on customer relationships).

Yes, that means you’re making it up as you go along. You have to figure out for yourself which metrics effectively measure emotion for your customers, in your context. One way to do this is by tracking sentiment in Voice of Customer data – people convey a wide range of emotions with the words they use. Some companies, like Lenovo, use text analysis software to measure changes in sentiment scores, alerting when sentiment falls below a certain threshold.

Using a sentiment analysis tool, you can track positive or negative themes and dig into specific words most often used by your customers to describe how they feel. You can also mine customer feedback and questions, or any other written message from your customer to you. Of course, the most straightforward way to get Voice of Customer data is through surveys, and if you time your surveys right (and ask in the right channel), you can begin to tell what events trigger which emotions.  

Whichever method you choose to get your emotion metrics, the goal is the same: to define the emotional context customers have around your product, industry, and specific touch points in your sales funnel, onboarding process, and usage. From there, you can identify and alleviate pain points, gain loyalty, and win brand advocates.

Prove the value of emotion to yourself first

Emotion is a relatively ‘wooey’ topic. It’s still considered soft. It’s not taken seriously by many. So make it your mission to prove the value of emotion early on in your program by first targeting the highest-emotion touch points, and developing experiments for how to improve customers’ emotions around those experiences. Then track your success rates.

But remember, emotion is contextual, and you don’t have control over the entire context of a customer’s experience. That said, companies who value customer loyalty are willing to go to creative lengths to keep customers feeling good about their brand. Join them.

Win customers for life. Start getting Net Promoter feedback today with InMoment.

In-app, Email or SMS Surveys? How to Choose the Best Customer Feedback Channels for Your Business

Omni-Channel Customer Feedback

You know your business inside and out. You know that listening to customers and responding to their needs is the key to staying competitive. Still, you might be struggling with where and when to survey your customers. A pop-up survey in your web app? Send them an email? What about a text message on their mobile phone? Figuring out the most effective channel to ask for feedback can be confusing.

The good news is that you have more options than ever before.  We’d like to help by giving an overview of where companies are engaging their customers, and how multiple channels can work together. Then, you’ll be better equipped to develop a plan that best meets your company’s unique needs.

Why take advantage of multiple feedback channels

Start with a customer-focused approach: when, where and how do your customers want to give you feedback? This inquiry can quickly lead to a multi-channel approach.

Fight survey fatigue

An improved survey experience helps you maintain high response rates. Not every customer wants to fill out an in-app survey, not every customer opens email in their inbox. However, a lot of people do want to give feedback, and appreciate the opportunity to do so. So your goal is to get more and more sophisticated about the “where and when” over time.

Reach more stakeholders, in the right context

When you leverage more than one survey channel you can expand the pool of users you’re hearing from. You may have an email relationship with some customers, and in-product engagement with others. A multichannel approach also lets you choose the right channel for a given interaction, and to customize your Voice of the Customer program for your business model.

Which Customer Feedback Survey Channel is “Best”?

Is one survey channel more brand-oriented or more transaction-oriented?  Which is the best? This is a very common question. We think the most important factor here is when you survey, rather than which channel.

Here’s why. If you send an NPS survey right after purchase, you can expect that response to be more influenced by that last transaction. However, keep in mind, an NPS survey triggered by a transaction is still colored by the brand experience.

To help you think this through, here is some information about the different channels:

Email: Lower response rates, but higher rates of qualitative feedback. Think about it: How often do you take the time to open emails from businesses, let alone respond? However, those customers who do take the time to answer a customer feedback survey via email are more likely to be invested in your brand and take the time to write comments that provide more detail to the “why” behind their score.

In-app (Web or Mobile): Higher response rates, lower rates of qualitative feedback. In-app surveys can deliver contextual feedback, and we find that customers will answer the question they are asked. They are absolutely willing to provide higher level feedback when prompted in a web or mobile app. This is why customer experience management platforms offer feedback tagging, sentiment analysis, and other means of gleaning insight from the fire hose of data that many companies receive via in-app surveys. Nonetheless, fewer in-app respondents will take the time to give qualitative feedback.

The high response rate that in-app NPS surveys deliver can be a positive trade off, especially for SaaS businesses focused on reducing churn. You may prefer to get a gut impression that you can follow up on rather than radio silence from a passive or unhappy user that ignores an email survey.

SMS:  With transactions, deliveries, and services, sometimes texting is the most effective and immediate way for you to interact with customers. It also allows you to grab customers in the place they tend to spend more and more of their time – on their mobile phones.

So, really, it’s not about which is better. The question is, “Which channel or channels are the best fit for my business and my customers?”

Scenarios Where Using More than One Customer Feedback Channel Makes Sense

1. Targeting Distinct Stakeholder Groups with Different Survey Channels.

Consider the enterprise sales model as one that can benefit from both in-app and email surveys. Here we are talking about a SaaS company or other business with a very strong digital presence. In this example, your company is using the Net Promoter Score system to measure customer loyalty.

If your brand is an online product, we’ve seen huge success when you choose in-app surveys as your primary channel. This is because end users of a SaaS product relate to your company through your digital platform. They probably don’t open your marketing emails because they aren’t looking to be sold to. They just want to do their thing in your product everyday. For them, it makes sense to give NPS feedback in-app, and they are mostly likely to respond there.

Now consider some executive stakeholders or buyers of your platform. They don’t spend as much time in your product (if any), but you definitely want to know their opinion. For this group, delivering an NPS survey via email is likely the way to go, and email gives you a higher chance of getting qualitative feedback in their response.  

So, in this case, it’s the combination of in-app and email surveys that gets you the info you need. 

2. Reaching Customers Throughout their Journey

E-commerce is an interesting use case here. The e-commerce business often has a couple of different customer survey touchpoints: online and offline. Every customer needs to place an order–typically on a website or mobile app. It can be valuable to learn how a customer feels after the ordering process, and that survey can often happen in the web application.

Once the product is delivered, the customer may register delight or dissatisfaction. For e-commerce businesses, it really makes sense to capture that sentiment via email or SMS because, honestly, if the customer had a bad experience, they’re probably not going to come back to your site to give you feedback.

The power of those two surveys together—one in-app and one via email—can give you an insightful story of the customer journey, and it can only happen by tapping into multiple feedback channels.

3. Surveying Customers Across All Lines of Business

As companies evolve and develop new forms of business for growth, customers of those different products might require distinct feedback channels. A good example is a technology company that hasn’t fully migrated to the cloud and still has legacy software offerings. These types of businesses in transition have a software user base “on premise,” where the only option is to do an email survey. Newer, cloud-based offerings from the same company can opt instead for in-app surveys.

Here is another example. A media company might get in-app survey feedback from subscribers or readers who visit their website. However, the same company may find that email surveys are a better channel to reach customers that receive subscription services via home delivery.

4. Improving Response Rates among Low Engagement Customers

Supplementing one channel with another may help you get a higher response rate.  For example, if you start your feedback program with in-app surveys and you find that certain customers just aren’t using your application that frequently, or aren’t receptive to an in-app survey, then you have the flexibility to try another channel. See what those customers prefer to respond to–try an email survey, try SMS, or try surveying in a mobile app if you have one. That way, every customer’s voice is being heard on their terms.

5. Evolve to Reach Your Customers Where They Are

There are times when companies communicate with customers primarily through SMS. Think about your mobile provider, bank, airline, or ride share service. You expect to hear from them through that channel and count on the immediacy that texting provides. This is when it makes good sense to survey through SMS in addition to other channels, particularly for transaction-related feedback.

You’ve Got Choices

There are times when “it just depends.”  Multi-channel customer feedback gives you the flexibility to survey customers based on the way they prefer to communication with your business. It lets you engage a broader segment of users across multiple touch points and lines of business. You can get the big picture, each step in your customer’s journey.

And, it lets you meet your customers on their terms. Don’t risk filling your customer’s devices with unwanted messages. The sensitivity that multi-channel feedback offers can help you avoid survey fatigue. That means higher quality feedback to help you grow your company.

Start measuring Net Promoter Score in multiple channels with Wootric

In-app, Email or SMS Surveys? How to Choose the Best Customer Feedback Channels for Your Business

Omni-Channel Customer Feedback

You know your business inside and out. You know that listening to customers and responding to their needs is the key to staying competitive. Still, you might be struggling with where and when to survey your customers. A pop-up survey in your web app? Send them an email? What about a text message on their mobile phone? Figuring out the most effective channel to ask for feedback can be confusing.

The good news is that you have more options than ever before.  We’d like to help by giving an overview of where companies are engaging their customers, and how multiple channels can work together. Then, you’ll be better equipped to develop a plan that best meets your company’s unique needs.

Why take advantage of multiple feedback channels

Start with a customer-focused approach: when, where and how do your customers want to give you feedback? This inquiry can quickly lead to a multi-channel approach.

Fight survey fatigue

An improved survey experience helps you maintain high response rates. Not every customer wants to fill out an in-app survey, not every customer opens email in their inbox. However, a lot of people do want to give feedback, and appreciate the opportunity to do so. So your goal is to get more and more sophisticated about the “where and when” over time.

Reach more stakeholders, in the right context

When you leverage more than one survey channel you can expand the pool of users you’re hearing from. You may have an email relationship with some customers, and in-product engagement with others. A multichannel approach also lets you choose the right channel for a given interaction, and to customize your Voice of the Customer program for your business model.

Which Customer Feedback Survey Channel is “Best”?

Is one survey channel more brand-oriented or more transaction-oriented?  Which is the best? This is a very common question. We think the most important factor here is when you survey, rather than which channel.

Here’s why. If you send an NPS survey right after purchase, you can expect that response to be more influenced by that last transaction. However, keep in mind, an NPS survey triggered by a transaction is still colored by the brand experience.

To help you think this through, here is some information about the different channels:

Email: Lower response rates, but higher rates of qualitative feedback. Think about it: How often do you take the time to open emails from businesses, let alone respond? However, those customers who do take the time to answer a customer feedback survey via email are more likely to be invested in your brand and take the time to write comments that provide more detail to the “why” behind their score.

In-app (Web or Mobile): Higher response rates, lower rates of qualitative feedback. In-app surveys can deliver contextual feedback, and we find that customers will answer the question they are asked. They are absolutely willing to provide higher level feedback when prompted in a web or mobile app. This is why customer experience management platforms offer feedback tagging, sentiment analysis, and other means of gleaning insight from the fire hose of data that many companies receive via in-app surveys. Nonetheless, fewer in-app respondents will take the time to give qualitative feedback.

The high response rate that in-app NPS surveys deliver can be a positive trade off, especially for SaaS businesses focused on reducing churn. You may prefer to get a gut impression that you can follow up on rather than radio silence from a passive or unhappy user that ignores an email survey.

SMS:  With transactions, deliveries, and services, sometimes texting is the most effective and immediate way for you to interact with customers. It also allows you to grab customers in the place they tend to spend more and more of their time – on their mobile phones.

So, really, it’s not about which is better. The question is, “Which channel or channels are the best fit for my business and my customers?”

Scenarios Where Using More than One Customer Feedback Channel Makes Sense

1. Targeting Distinct Stakeholder Groups with Different Survey Channels.

Consider the enterprise sales model as one that can benefit from both in-app and email surveys. Here we are talking about a SaaS company or other business with a very strong digital presence. In this example, your company is using the Net Promoter Score system to measure customer loyalty.

If your brand is an online product, we’ve seen huge success when you choose in-app surveys as your primary channel. This is because end users of a SaaS product relate to your company through your digital platform. They probably don’t open your marketing emails because they aren’t looking to be sold to. They just want to do their thing in your product everyday. For them, it makes sense to give NPS feedback in-app, and they are mostly likely to respond there.

Now consider some executive stakeholders or buyers of your platform. They don’t spend as much time in your product (if any), but you definitely want to know their opinion. For this group, delivering an NPS survey via email is likely the way to go, and email gives you a higher chance of getting qualitative feedback in their response.  

So, in this case, it’s the combination of in-app and email surveys that gets you the info you need. 

2. Reaching Customers Throughout their Journey

E-commerce is an interesting use case here. The e-commerce business often has a couple of different customer survey touchpoints: online and offline. Every customer needs to place an order–typically on a website or mobile app. It can be valuable to learn how a customer feels after the ordering process, and that survey can often happen in the web application.

Once the product is delivered, the customer may register delight or dissatisfaction. For e-commerce businesses, it really makes sense to capture that sentiment via email or SMS because, honestly, if the customer had a bad experience, they’re probably not going to come back to your site to give you feedback.

The power of those two surveys together—one in-app and one via email—can give you an insightful story of the customer journey, and it can only happen by tapping into multiple feedback channels.

3. Surveying Customers Across All Lines of Business

As companies evolve and develop new forms of business for growth, customers of those different products might require distinct feedback channels. A good example is a technology company that hasn’t fully migrated to the cloud and still has legacy software offerings. These types of businesses in transition have a software user base “on premise,” where the only option is to do an email survey. Newer, cloud-based offerings from the same company can opt instead for in-app surveys.

Here is another example. A media company might get in-app survey feedback from subscribers or readers who visit their website. However, the same company may find that email surveys are a better channel to reach customers that receive subscription services via home delivery.

4. Improving Response Rates among Low Engagement Customers

Supplementing one channel with another may help you get a higher response rate.  For example, if you start your feedback program with in-app surveys and you find that certain customers just aren’t using your application that frequently, or aren’t receptive to an in-app survey, then you have the flexibility to try another channel. See what those customers prefer to respond to–try an email survey, try SMS, or try surveying in a mobile app if you have one. That way, every customer’s voice is being heard on their terms.

5. Evolve to Reach Your Customers Where They Are

There are times when companies communicate with customers primarily through SMS. Think about your mobile provider, bank, airline, or ride share service. You expect to hear from them through that channel and count on the immediacy that texting provides. This is when it makes good sense to survey through SMS in addition to other channels, particularly for transaction-related feedback.

You’ve Got Choices

There are times when “it just depends.”  Multi-channel customer feedback gives you the flexibility to survey customers based on the way they prefer to communication with your business. It lets you engage a broader segment of users across multiple touch points and lines of business. You can get the big picture, each step in your customer’s journey.

And, it lets you meet your customers on their terms. Don’t risk filling your customer’s devices with unwanted messages. The sensitivity that multi-channel feedback offers can help you avoid survey fatigue. That means higher quality feedback to help you grow your company.

Start measuring Net Promoter Score in multiple channels with InMoment

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.

Start measuring Net Promoter Score for free with InMoment

The Real Pros & Cons of Net Promoter Score

I’m biased – I like the Net Promoter Score system, and I’m going to tell you why (in a minute). But, I also think we need an unbiased perspective on NPS, one that airs the dirty laundry, so to speak. Net Promoter Score is both a customer loyalty metric and a system for improving loyalty over time. NPS isn’t a perfect metric. It’s also not a complete system. But, most of the people talking about NPS are the ones touting it, which means you’ll rarely find a genuine report of its pros and cons.

Well, that’s exactly what I’m doing here.

In the interests of transparency, I have to say that Wootric, an NPS SaaS platform, suggested I write this piece and requested that I don’t pull any punches. No punches have been pulled.  This is my take.

Net Promoter Score: Pros 

It’s fiercely honest feedback, identifies promoters, and boards love it

As I said, I like Net Promoter Score. In a world of marketing gray areas, biased Yelp reviews, and silent customers reticent to criticize, the NPS question itself is phrased to get the most honest possible response:

“On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this product?”

NPS Survey

Or, as I like to think of it “On a scale of 0-10, would you tell your best friend they should get this product?”

Because that’s what it’s really asking – are you willing to stake your name and reputation by recommending this product?

You’re not asking whether they like the product. That’s subjective, and they’ll just say “yes” to be nice anyway. You are asking whether they would subject their nearest and dearest to this product. And that brings out a whole other side of human character: Selflessness.

I might use a chipped teacup without thinking twice about it, but if I have a friend over, they get the teacup that’s in pristine condition. When it comes to our friends, we want nothing but the best.

Which is why, when you need a completely honest, unbiased report on how your audience perceives your company, an NPS survey is the single best way to get those answers.

Of course, the obvious reason to use NPS is to identify your promoters so you can encourage and amplify their loud, enthusiastic voices that are the real ambassadors of your brand. The less obvious reason is that it’s one of those board-level metrics everyone can easily understand and rally around.

It’s easy on your customers

But here’s the thing about NPS: It’s one question and an open-ended follow-up. The follow-up “Care to tell us why?” question lets customers elaborate on their score.

NPS Survey FeedbackThey get to cut to the chase and tell you what is important to them in their own words.  As surveys go, this is a great user experience. That’s why response rates are so much higher than the old school “This will only take 5 minutes of your time…” multi-question surveys. And, you get rich qualitative feedback out of it. So, really, the beauty of NPS is in its simplicity. Both for your customers and for you.  It does one thing, and does it very well.

The trouble starts when you expect it to do too much…

The Cons: What are disadvantages of Net Promoter Score?

It’s not a miracle solution

“Anytime anyone presents NPS as the “be all and end all,” they’re wrong.” – Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer, Wootric

Thanks to being ubiquitous — after all, Net Promoter Score is a metric measured by most of the Fortune 100 — many people expect NPS to do more than is realistic. This is often why “Net Promoter Score doesn’t work.” 

NPS works best within the context of a robust customer feedback & listening program.

For example, Melinda Gonzalez implemented salesforce.com’s first ever NPS program, and her process included:

  • Using the entire customer journey as a framework against which to measure customer experience.
  • Designing a feedback collection strategy with audience segmentation, market segmentation, and customer maturity.
  • Taking action on feedback  – because feedback is only as useful as its follow-through.
  • Responding to customers, so they know their feedback is valued.
  • Measuring improvement targets and adjusting as needed.

I might also add incorporating a brand advocacy program to encourage and leverage promoters, as well as tracking other established metrics like the CSAT that lets customers give feedback on their interaction with your support representatives.

But whatever your recipe for creating and counting happy customers, you’ll need to do more than just send out a single survey.

When companies start paying bonuses on NPS

At Sprint, 20% of employee bonuses are tied to Net Promoter Score. On the surface, that doesn’t seem like the worst idea ever. But think of it this way: Is your goal to improve a score, or to improve your customers’ experiences? They are not one and the same. Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, also uses NPS, but has focused its call centers to give customers more efficient, more helpful service (and follow-up calls and personalized emails). After implementing these efforts, Telstra saw a 3 point rise in their NPS score, and reduced customer churn.

Harvard Business Review’s Rob Markey puts the issue succinctly: “With incentive compensation, you get exactly – and only – what you pay for. Once compensation depends on improving a particular score, people tend to focus on the metric rather than on what it tells you about what customers want or need.”

Another, related pitfall is that employees who receive compensation based on NPS scores tend to coach customers on how to respond, asking for top scores.

In short, use NPS as a compass to guide you to creating better customer service. Don’t treat the number as the end goal, or you’ll find people gaming the system.

When customers answer The Question, but don’t see follow-through

Aside from the best practice of acknowledging any survey response, whether they be good or bad, what customers really need to see is the company acting on their feedback. With NPS, you’re learning what customers struggle with – but without a process in place to use that feedback to inform your product roadmap, customer success efforts, customer service, etc., that feedback too often comes to nothing.

And your customers can tell.

It’s precisely because NPS is so “easy” that it gets abused in this way. But when you don’t take action based on results, NPS won’t magically move the needle for you. The key is to listen, and then proactively deliver what customers need to achieve their desired outcomes. This requires a Net Promoter cycle.

When you put Baby in a corner (ie. NPS isn’t just a one-department thing)

Don’t put Baby in the corner – if it’s one thing we learned from Patrick Swayze, it’s this. And, like Baby, NPS can’t do what it does best when confined. For example, it’s very useful for customer success, especially with identifying promoters and alerting customer service to potential problems, but it’s not just a customer success thing. NPS does its best work as a company-wide metric that has implications and value for just about every customer-facing department.

  • Product Development uses NPS feedback to prioritize dev resources.
  • Marketing uses NPS to find and ask happy clients to join their advocacy programs (or get valuable metrics to use for case studies).
  • Customer Service/Support uses NPS as a signal for when clients need outreach and support.
  • Sales uses NPS to identify accounts primed for upsells and referrals (NPS is a strong business intelligence tool).

Contending with a firehose of feedback

We’ve all gotten the survey that gives us one box to check, and offers no way for us to explain what has gone horribly wrong with the product, service or company. It’s so frustrating. If you could only explain it, maybe they could fix it, but the fact that they don’t give you a way to communicate just shows they clearly don’t care.

The beauty of an NPS survey is that it does include an open-ended response section, however, another problem can occur.

The open-ended response section of the NPS survey can become a repository for everything from venting, to how-to questions. This can create chaos for the poor chap trying to analyze NPS feedback, and even if the queries are passed on to appropriate customer service representatives, it’s not a system that scales easily. And if you fail to close the loop with these customers, they’ll be even more frustrated.

The beauty of NPS is that it has one job – don’t make it pull triple-duty as the primary communication outlet.

If people are asking questions via NPS survey, it might indicate that they don’t feel able to elsewhere. Do you have a strong FAQ or Knowledge Base available? Is it easy to contact Support?

Hearing from more customers is a good problem to have, but it can be a challenge. But even if you have multiple channels for communication, you’ll still need a good way to categorize the qualitative data you do get via the survey.  In fact, that is why NPS companies like Wootric offer sentiment and keyword analysis of the qualitative data that their customers receive.  Start by creating categories and tagging responses so you can see where most of the issues are.

So, let’s sum it up…

What are Net Promoter Score Pros and Cons?

Pros:

  • Quantifies customer loyalty
  • Rich qualitative feedback
  • Identifies brand advocates
  • Higher response rates than multi-question surveys

Cons:

  • Not comprehensive. Complement NPS with other metrics, like CSAT
  • Tying compensation to NPS may skew results
  • Requires analysis of qualitative feedback

What limitations have you experienced with NPS?  How have you used NPS to create real positive change? Tell me in the comments below or share your thoughts @NikkiElizDemere on Twitter.

NikkiElizabethDemereNichole Elizabeth DeMeré is a SaaS consultant & Customer Success evangelist. She is the founder of Authentic Curation, and serves as a moderator at @ProductHunt@GrowthHackers.

Start measuring Net Promoter Score for free with InMoment

Why Every Sales Rep Should Care About Their Company’s Net Promoter Score

We all have that friend in our network crushing it at that hot startup. The comp plan is amazing, 8 of 10 reps are already at quota, the incentive triggers are kicking in. The product rocks, marketing delivers leads from everywhere and the VP of Sales can be overheard bragging about his reps commission checks.  If you have that story in your network there is one thing for sure; that company’s net promoter score (NPS) is way above average, and the trend line probably looks similar to Amazon’s stock price.

Dwight Office How do I know this? When product, marketing, sales and customer success are aligned it is the foundation for a company to sustain high growth.  This model for success often results in a high NPS.

So why should you care about your company’s NPS?  Most reps probably don’t know much about this metric. It’s probably as foreign as the rate you pay the 401k service provider to invest your money, but in the same way it can control your fate more than you know.

Jack I really don't care

What is NPS?

Net Promoter Score is the customer loyalty metric used by over 70% of Fortune 500 companies for its ability to predict retention and growth. It starts by asking customers a single question…

NPS Survey

 ……followed by an opportunity for open-ended feedback:

NPS Survey Feedback

Customers are classified into three groups based on their answers:

  • Promoters (9-10)are loyal customers and a great source of referrals
  • Passive (7-8)  customers are satisfied with the service but are susceptible to competitors.
  • Detractors (0-6) are unhappy customers and may churn.

The score is calculated this way:

NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors

4 Ways NPS impacts Sales

1. Retention/Renewal  

If you are in a farmer/hunter role you rely on some level of renewal to hit quota.  With NPS, both the score and qualitative (customer comments) can provide you the ultimate looking glass self.  Ask Geoffrey James from Inc. Magazine about self-awareness being a top 5 trait in a great sales rep. In other words, how you perceive your capabilities, and how you get along with your peers.  Ultimately, you need to be aware of how your clients perceive your brand and products.  NPS data allows you to peek into the customer’s mind about their experience & journey with your company. You can integrate these perceptions & insights into your own narrative within the sales pitch.

2. Comp Plan

Your CRO is a lot more concerned when customer churn is high.  Which in turns means his VP and your sales manager are breathing down your neck and asking for the forecast every 5 minutes.  I’ve been in sales orgs where previous success inflates the upcoming comp plan and sets unrealistic expectations.  There could be a feature or product that is over-promising & under-delivering which creates a lagging effect as sales and customer success deal with the fall out, yet bookings are still strong on paper and have not yet caught up.

A misaligned comp plan that doesn’t represent current customer sentiment and propensity to buy is kind of like a watching a bad movie sequel.  At the time it seems like a good idea, the first movie was amazing- but as you see the upcoming trailer you know something is different. You call up your friends and see the movie anyway to try and recapture the original experience. Afterwards you feel short-changed and wonder why you didn’t speak up & suggest a different movie or activity all together.

Once a comp plan is in motion, it’s hard to stop. If customers are not buying or renewing because the price is too high or the feature that was promised is not delivering, this is your chance to speak up.  Speaking with the voice of the customer by leveraging NPS data and citing real customer concerns will give you credibility.  You only have a few times a year during the all hands or sales kick-off when the comp plan is rolled out to speak up, why not use your own customer data to present any concerns? 

3. Upsell

A score of 9 or 10 means your clients would recommend you to a friend or colleague.  At the very least that means they will do a review for you on G2 Crowd or the app store.  If they really like you they might actually recommend you within their network. Make a list of the promoters and set up an action plan. It could be an executive call back program; where you work with your manager to reach out to all the Enterprise Client promoters and ask for 15 minutes meetings with each over the next quarter. Design a plan to give them something in return for asking for the referral. This could be access to the product roadmap, discounts etc. For large enterprise clients have your CRO or CEO call them.  What client doesn’t want to feel valued by an executive?

4. Career Path

As mentioned in the open, a rising NPS score can lift your sales career. Knowing what your score is today and historically over the last 12 months is invaluable to your success. If your company’s score dropped 12 points, try to determine why.   If the score is declining or already low, something is misaligned. If you are looking at negative employee reviews on GlassDoor and wondering what happened to your company, it’s already too late. NPS can be the leading indicator of what may happen in the future to your company and role.

Be the Hero: Find your NPS Data  

Superman Hero

Set up time with your VP of Customer Success or Customer Insights person. If you work for a larger organization ask your manager to help coordinate a meeting. This person is probably running an email campaign for NPS and will have a file of the data.  They can walk you through the current score, historical data and help you find the customer comments. Finally, ask them what the reporting cadence is.  If they are running it quarterly or bi-annually, it’s not enough. NPS data should be gathered as close to real-time as possible so you have a constant pulse of customer perceptions.  You really might be amazed at what you can learn from your own customers feedback. 

Get IN(credible) with NPS

Another use of NPS is to strengthen your pitch deck. Add a page to the deck that touts your score or your upward trend. Be sure to include some customer verbatims from the qualitative feedback– that kind of authenticity is persuasive. 

Every company says “we put customers first. ” When you include some aspect of your NPS story in your pitch, you prove it.

Start measuring Net Promoter Score for free with InMoment

How to Use Slack and Net Promoter Score Data to Create a Customer-Focused Culture

You are probably using Slack, the wildly successful communication app that’s replaced email in just about every company from AirBnB to AutoDesk. The Slack boom is part of the trend of replacing email with in-app communication, whenever possible. It is the business equivalent of texting, and–let’s face it–even your parents prefer texting to email these days.

That in-app trend has extended to how companies gather customer feedback, including Net Promoter Score.  (What company doesn’t need a high level, data-focused view of how the customer base rates their offering, plus detailed comments on why those numbers were given? That’s exactly what NPS provides.) Platforms like Wootric that deliver the Net Promoter Score survey inside web and mobile apps garner high survey response rates (25% – 60%) — another reflection of the customer’s preference for in-app interactions over email.

Now, with Wootric’s integration, gathering Net Promoter Score data and sending it into Slack channel couldn’t be easier — and the benefits are compelling.

UPDATES: You can send CSAT and CES (Customer Effort Score) survey responses into Slack, not just NPS. You can also send customer properties with the response.

NPS and Slack are both natural unifiers

There’s so much more to Net Promoter Score then receiving data about customer sentiment. The real value comes from routing valuable feedback about your product or service to the right teams and individual contributors at your company. Or as Wootric co-founder Jessica Pfeifer puts it, “helping to knit the broader team together around a common goal: customer happiness. As a single benchmark metric that everyone can rally around, NPS is such a natural unifier.”

In this post we will show you how and why to integrate Wootric with Slack, an application that naturally unifies teams. The two together make a powerful combo to convert your NPS data into real-time conversations, and take actions that can rescue customer relationships, and turn others into brand advocates.

Ways to build customer centricity with Wootric NPS & Slack

  • Sharing all NPS data company-wide  

This is best for a small company or team, and it is how we use our own integration. At Wootric, we are extremely customer-focused. Every response is meaningful to our entire team which is still small, relatively speaking.

Responses give everyone a sense of how our work is valued by our customers.  Here is a real example of something directly from our #nps results Slack channel where marketing, sales, design and engineering all shared in the excitement of one customer’s feedback:

The result in this case was twofold. Our team was once again “knit together” around customer happiness, and I got a great quote to share with potential customers.

Of course, our customers raise issues via NPS too, and having that in Slack is just as valuable. Rather than customer success going to engineering and explaining a situation, the entire team can glance at the Slack channel and see the comment straight from the customer’s mouth. The relevant stakeholders then pull together and figure out a solution asap.  General feedback and feature requests directly influence our product roadmap.

  • Filtering NPS data for action by team

For a company with a small team, it’s manageable for everyone to see and respond to all NPS survey feedback. For big companies using Slack, that can be harder to scale. Your NPS champion may still be digesting it all, but you can divide up large streams of feedback to respond efficiently in other ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Send promoter responses to Sales so they can follow-up for referrals and upsells, and to Marketing since they can make the most of comments from promoters by turning them into testimonials.  
  • Send detractor comments to Customer Support/Success so they can close the loop with customers that are disgruntled.

Your particular needs may vary depending on who is responsible for what in your company. The Slack integration can be customized with a few clicks in the Wootric dashboard.

Why Slack Loves NPS

Not only does our team use and love Slack, but we discovered that the Slack team can’t live without NPS. According to Slack CMO Bill Macaitis, NPS helps “every single person at the company influence the perception and experience the brand delivers.” Bill believes that it’s not enough to satisfy customers. Your goal should be to identify the people that really love the product and turn them into evangelists.

Want more out of your 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.

Let’s be honest, information from the front lines does not always travel clearly up the ladder. People at the top need to know details about the customer experience, and NPS helps with that. Bill says that every CEO should be able to answer this question: “What are the top 3 reasons why people recommend and do not recommend your brand?” When NPS feedback is shared in real-time via Slack, company leaders will not be the last to know and can keep a pulse on the most important customer issues.  

The Many Benefits of Slacking NPS

Converting information into action is vital for any company’s growth. There are many advantages to using the NPS/Slack funnel to accomplish this:

  • NPS data in Slack keeps you honest.  Saastr’s Jason Lemkin says this is the top reason why he loves NPS.  Sharing NPS data via Slack in real-time demonstrates transparency. It means more team members are staying close to the customer– and keeping it real.
  • Collaboration happens organically. There is an interesting psychological component to communication that makes Slack uniquely suited to facilitate action. When we receive a detailed email, we may not respond right away. (How many of us star it for follow up later?) When we are @mentioned in slack, there is a natural conversational flow. Stakeholders can be brought in and agreement reached for next steps.
  • Close the loop with customers in real-time–and eliminate redundancies. At one of our customer companies, team members tag responses they will personally follow-up with by adding an emoji to the response. This company is surveying logged-in customers (as opposed to website visitors), so the customer’s email address appears in the Slack channel along with the survey result.  With one click, that team member that indicates “I got this one!” can reach out to the customer to thank them for their response and follow-up for more info.

Dialing It Up To 11

The better you understand the capabilities of a tool, the more facility you have to use if effectively and efficiently. Here are a handful of tips to optimize your team’s use of Net Promoter data in Slack (and read this article for more tips on using Slack):

  • Add stars to anything you need to reply to or take action on. Slack is helping to replace email, which is designed to create a record of all communication. But when you communicate in chat rooms, things can sometimes get lost. Action items and mere information can also easily become co-mingled. Click the star button in the top right corner of your Slack window to view all of your starred messages ordered by time. Although it’s easy to star messages to save them for later, it’s not particularly obvious that specific direct message and channel streams can be starred. With this handy tool, you can place them in a favorites-style list at the top of the sidebar.
  • Create new channels. The more organized you are in Slack, the more efficiently you can use it. Break initiatives down by specific need or by customer. For example, direct promoter feedback to an Advocacy Marketing channel. You can then discuss ideas for software and content to optimize your customer referral campaigns.
  • Integrate with Trello to collaborate on tasks. Why stop at just one integration? Slack integrates with Trello so you can easily shift from agreeing on how to move forward with an issue, to taking the steps to get it done.
  • Create meeting invites & share documents. The most common action items following a customer discussion in Slack are setting meeting and creating assets. So is it any surprise that Slack integrates with Google Calendar and Drive?

    Did you just receive feedback from several detractors about a specific feature? 
    Schedule a meeting to discuss updates to the product roadmap. Did you just receive stellar feedback from a promoter?  Drop those NPS comments into a shared “Testimonials” document.

Technically Speaking

According to Venture Capitalist and co-founder of Point Nine Capital, Christoph Janz, the future of SaaS lies in the hands of API integrations between complementary best-in-class applications.

The Wootric/Slack integration was designed with this in mind – to empower companies that measure NPS to quickly, easily, and transparently spread what they hear from customers. We have made it simple and customizable to bring customer feedback directly to whichever Slack channels you choose:

  • Set up rules to send feedback to specific channels, like all feedback to your #product channel, or testimonials from promoters to your #marketing channel.
  • Filter the types of responses that you want to send and from whom. For example, you can share only responses with qualitative feedback.
  • Filter whether that information comes from promoters, passives, detractors or from everyone.

A customer-focused culture always begins with awareness around how your customers feel about you. How you obtain that information, broadcast it, and convert it to action, now necessarily depends on software. Integrate your NPS feedback and data with Slack. It could mean the difference between a failing company that sporadically responds to its customers, or a successful one that is passionate about customer happiness.  

Measure Net Promoter Score and share it in Slack for free with InMoment

Customer Success Managers: Prove Your Worth and Get a Raise with Leading Indicators

Do you know your worth to your company? Do your bosses know? What if you had metrics that showed, in black and white, just how much value you bring to the table? What if you brought those metrics into your next performance review – you know, the one in which you ask for a raise?

Forget the “what ifs.” Let’s make this into an “if/then” scenario.

If you bring in real numbers that prove the value you bring to your company into your next review, THEN you’ll get that raise or promotion you’ve been hoping for. Numbers don’t lie. The only trick is in tracking them.

How to Get Numbers that Prove You’re Worth Every Penny of that Promotion

Measuring ROI isn’t a new concept for customer success – metrics are an integral part of the job description. Since customer success is a relatively new field, success managers are typically eager to demonstrate the value of their department to the company, which means the metrics you need most (for when you’re sitting across the table from your boss) are ones you’re probably already tracking.

So let’s talk about the best metrics to tap into.

These metrics are the common ways to measure the core work of customer success as a whole, and your worth in particular.

Activities

Your first step is simple, but it might take you a while to come up with the list. You need to quantify all of the things you do. All of the activities, the health checks, the number of companies onboarded. It’s important to know how much you actually do, even though activities can be difficult to measure in terms of impact.

Now let’s look at the classic measure of the efficacy of customer success:

Retention

This, together with New Business, is a critical number for subscription-based companies since it relates directly to profitability and growth. The problem for you is that retention is a lagging indicator. It can take a year for a company you’re nurturing to decide whether to renew their contract.

What if you want a raise the next quarter?

This is why you need leading indicators.

Leading indicators give you a sense of your ROI day-to-day and effectively predict critical, but lagging, indicators like retention and growth. Because they’re continually tracked, they can also help you position yourself for a promotion or raise sooner.

The 3 Leading Indicators You Need

1. Net Promoter Score

The most important leading indicator for customer success is Net Promoter Score. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the quick survey that asks one very important question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this product?” Anyone who scores above an 8 is a “promoter;” those who score between 7 and 8 are “passives;” and scores lower than 7 are “detractors.”

Many companies gear up for bi-annual NPS surveys to gauge customer happiness. It’s a big production of organizing email lists, taking in responses and responding appropriately. Doing it this way is a time-consuming process that makes NPS a lagging indicator when it doesn’t need to be.

With tools like InMoment that allow success teams to conduct real-time NPS surveys every day, NPS becomes a powerful leading indicator. Customer happiness leads directly to retention. And, conducting NPS surveys on a convenient SaaS platform is a much more efficient use of time.

Two-Step-in-app-NPS-Survey

NPS is also a valuable metric for another reason – management understands it. It’s a metric that isn’t limited to one department; it’s tracked at the boardroom level. If you can say “The NPS for my account group is up by 5 points in the last six months,” it gets everyone’s attention, which isn’t always the case with more department-specific metrics.

2. Onboarding Success Rate

Your second most important leading metric is onboarding success rate.

The onboarding period is the most critical time for new customers, especially for SaaS products. It’s during this 30-90 day period that customers either find success with your product and stay, or use it once and disappear. This is also the most crucial time for up-sells. Studies have shown that customers are most receptive to upsell suggestions within this same period. Essentially, if customers derive value during onboarding, you can count on a long and profitable relationship.

Here’s how measuring onboarding success works:

Similar to after-onboarding customer success, you have to first define what behaviors correlate to onboarding failures and successes for your product. Companies like GrooveHQ send new customers a series of onboarding prompts, and they’ve noticed that free users who complete those prompts within 24 hours are almost 80% more likely to convert to paid customers than those who don’t.

Once you’ve identified your onboarding success metrics, start tracking, and put benchmarks in place.

And, finally, show your improved metrics. Even better, take the next step: correlate successful onboarding with Lifetime Value to estimate the dollars-and-cents ROI of your efforts over the long-term.

3. Customer Health

Like NPS, Customer Health is also a leading metric for retention. Unlike NPS, measuring Customer Health can be complicated because you have to decide what “health” means in the context of your business.

Whatever key performance indicators you choose, your customer health scores should be predictive of renewal and churn rates. But how they do that is up to you.

Ways to measure include:

  • Overall use of your product
  • Depth of usage (percent of product used)
  • Breadth of usage (number of people using it)
  • Customer life span
  • Customer Lifetime Value (renewals, upsells)
  • Additional training opportunities taken by client
  • Frequency of customer support tickets
  • Performance on success metrics (are they achieving their goals?)

As customer success manager, what you do has so much value. You just need the right metrics to prove it. If you’re armed with all three of these leading indicators, you’re in a strong position to ask for that raise, that promotion, even additional resources on your timetable.

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

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