By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
We’re all aware that the customer experience has become a key focus area for today’s leading field service organizations. Even companies that five years ago would have said how critical it was to improve first-time fix rates only because of the cost of a truck roll have shifted their thinking (and talking) to being far more concerned with how that repeat trip impacts their customers. This is because, at the root of it all, if you can’t make your customers happy, you can’t be successful. Period.
As this point has been discovered by the majority of field service organizations, the use of NPS has become widespread among service organizations. According to netpromoter.com, “Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer experience and predicts business growth. The metric provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs the world round.” NPS asks customers the question, “On a one to 10 scale, how likely is it that you would recommend [company]?” Respondents are grouped into promoters (score 9-10) who will keep buying from the company and refer others; passives (score 7-8) who are satisfied but not overly enthusiastic and vulnerable to competitive offerings; and detractors (score 0-6) who are unhappy and can damage your brand and/or impede growth through negative word of mouth. Subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters yields the NPS, which can range from a low of -100 to a high of 100.
NPS: Score vs. System
Kimberly Cooks, VP of service delivery and customer care at Comcast Business, spoke at Field Service USA about NPS, and I really enjoyed her perspective. To summarize the gist of her session, she talked about how she views NPS not as a score, but as a system for improvement. And that the difference between the score and a system is action. Knowing your NPS score won’t improve your business; putting a system in place to take action on that data will.
This was such a simple statement — but I think therein lies the secret of NPS having a true impact on your business. Knowledge is power, but only when you choose to use it as such. NPS is a valuable tool for any organization, but the systematic measures put in place to take action on NPS data are what will truly transform a business.
How do you take action? You start with the NPS. When you receive any score at the passive level or below, you should be reaching out to customers to better understand their experiences and how to improve them. Detractors should be prioritized, because not only are they most likely to harm your brand, but when people are upset or dissatisfied, they will likely be free with their feedback. Getting this feedback is doubly beneficial — it is incredibly useful for you as a business to understand where you’ve fallen short; it also simultaneously shows the customer you care and are willing to listen. Active listening alone can go a long way toward repairing a broken relationship.
Collecting this feedback requires a skilled team that understands the company’s mission and is comfortable dealing with angry customers, and gathering the feedback is only step one. You need buy-in from the top down that this feedback will be examined and action will be taken to make improvements where necessary. Improving the customer experience can’t be a passive mission; it’s something that requires dedicated intent and relentless forward motion.