Net Promoter Scores, or NPS, are a popular and powerful method for getting a pulse on a company’s customers. By asking how strongly a customer would recommend a business to another, the Net Promoter Score quickly identifies potential advocates and detractors. Of course, just gathering NPS surveys isn’t enough. The following are NPS survey best practices to help you get the most out of this useful analytic.

  1. Seek Constant Input

    Many companies make the mistake of assuming NPS surveys are a one-and-done experience. They contact NPS survey companies, reach out to their customers in a single massive batch, and then attempt to process a large number of responses all at once, only to be dismayed when none of the promised benefits of the net promoter score software materialize.

    The real power of NPS only materializes when there is an ongoing stream of feedback from customers. Rather than target everyone simultaneously, find ways to routinely reach out to key customers. For example, some businesses choose to send surveys to one percent of their customers each day, resulting in quarterly contacts with each client and a manageable flow of incoming data. Others focus on key events, sending a survey 10 days after a purchase, and then again six months and 12 months after that.

  2. Route Responses to the People Who Can Make Changes

    While a net promoter score may be a single number, it can actually represent a great deal about how a customer perceives your business, especially if written out comments are included with the response. In order for this information to translate into useful change within a company, however, it’s imperative that the information be communicated to the right people. Sometimes what’s needed is a simple low-level fix. Sometimes a broad issue related to company culture or policy may need to be addressed. Either way, it’s critical to have a mechanism in place that ensures feedback makes it to appropriate groups rather than stalling out in customer service.

  3. Share the Information with Everyone

    While the top priority should be to get NPS information into the hands of people best able to address any issues mentioned in the responses, there is also value in sharing score data with everyone in an organization. Finding opportunities to celebrate successes and address shortcomings across multiple departments helps everyone feel invested in the company and can be a powerful motivator to improve results overall.

  4. Close the Loop

    Making the effort to “close the loop” with each customer who responds to a survey is the best way to get the most out of your net promoter score tools. Replying to survey participants gives your company a chance to reinforce relationships, express appreciation, and address concerns. In the case of self-identified promoters, the response is also an appropriate time to not only thank the customer for their response, but to leverage their enthusiasm by offering ways they can share their positive experience with others.

    For those who categorized as detractors, responding with empathy, including follow-up questions, sharing details about improvements, and even offering discounts are all ways to help repair a potentially negative relationship.

  5. Don’t Forget About Non-responders

    In your excitement over incoming NPS data, don’t forget to consider the hidden customers–those who haven’t completed an NPS survey. NPS scores are only truly useful if there is a high response from your most valued segment of customers. Take time to evaluate who is (and who isn’t) responding and look for ways to adjust the timing and targeting of surveys to hone in on your most important client groups.

    Done properly, NPS surveys can be a vital component of any company’s analytic toolbox. By implementing these basic principles, you’ll be in position to reap the greatest benefit from your NPS tools and be on your way to stronger customer relationships and increased retention and referrals.