Friday, October 14, 2011

Son of Net Promoter Score

So sue me.  I’ve got Net Promoter Score on the brain.  I mentioned in passing how marketers could use Net Promoter as a sort of early warning system.  However, explaining Net Promoter is kind of like handing a dog a saxophone.  Nice, but what’s he supposed to do with it?

Let me give you a concrete example of how it works.

Early on in a new customer relationship, marketers can use Net Promoter to identify customers’ satisfaction and use that information to drive additional purchase and to prevent attrition.

Since Net Promoter really measures customer experience, let’s start where customer experience really matters most: at the beginning of a customer relationship.  It doesn’t matter whether you sell cars, cell phone plans or cooking gear; first impressions count for a lot.  Get the customer experience right at the beginning and you’ll have that much less to apologize for as the relationship cycle heads to re-purchase.  

Moreover, customers pay much more attention to a brand when they first become customers.  From my email days, I can tell you that open rates for email (# of people who opened an email divided by # of the people who received an email) start high--often as high as 50%--and drop off from there.  Smart marketers make the best of this opportunity.

After the consumer has had time to experience the product, a time period that naturally varies based on what it is (maybe 30 days for a car, but as few as seven days for a cell phone), the marketer should send an email with the Net Promoter question (“would you recommend us to a friend, relative or colleague?”)  You have remembered to get email addresses from now customers, haven’t you?

In addition to measuring overall satisfaction, the marketer can segment customers into segments by satisfaction level--promoters, neutrals and detractors.  Each group has different needs.  Respond accordingly:
  1. Promoters: treat them as your auxiliary sales force.  Encourage them to tell their friends via email, social media and other channels by giving them discounts or other offers to pass along.
  2. Neutrals: the good news is, they don’t hate you.  The bad news is...yet.  Use the opportunity to follow up with subtle offers to improve their experience, such as a discount on future purchases or perhaps tips and tricks on how to get the most of their purchases.
  3. Detractors: yikes.  What these customers need is an all-out effort to show that you do indeed care about their business, and not in the “your business is important to us, please hold for the next 30 minutes” kind of way.  Follow up with offers to help via email, direct mail or even phone.  Give them an easy way to reach customer support or even advanced customer support.  Send flowers.  As the great Dennis Farina said in Midnight Run, “Do some [bleeping] thing.”

Net Promoter will not, on its own, tell you much of anything.  But marketers can use it to help them fix problems before they start.

Now, does anyone have a mouthpiece for a tenor sax that can fit a St. Bernard?

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