Customer Service Tips for Improving Net Promoter Score

customer service staff on the phones

Happy customers are good,  but overjoyed customers — the ones who run out onto the street (or Twitter) and sing your praises — are better.

Companies strive to provide a level of experience and service that leaves every customer feeling this passionate about their product or service. And there are many ways to measure customer happiness and engagement.

The standard used by most companies is the Net Promoter Score, or NPS.

This scale is meant to measure how likely a customer is to refer your service to a friend — whether they are simply a buyer or an advocate who will help you grow. Customers respond generally on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning they are most likely to suggest it to someone else.

The tricky thing about NPS is that only the top two ratings — 9 and 10 — are considered to be the mark of a true “promoter.” Even a score of 8, which seems fairly strong, falls into the category of “passives” — people who are generally happy but likely not raving about how great your service is.

Anything below a 6 means that the customer is likely underwhelmed, or at the very least, they’re not excited about the product, service, or experience they have received. They’re considered “detractors” because their less-than-great experience can lead to them steering others away from your company, creating negative value.

But NPS is not just an abstract measure in happiness: study after study has found that NPS is linked directly to a company’s overall success and growth.

Ultimately, your NPS becomes a bellwether for the health of your entire customer experience. Not only does it speak to the quality of your product or service but also to every other interaction they have with your company.

This means it is imperative for customer support teams to focus on NPS as a measure of success and work to improve it. In order to do so, you should focus not just on the numbers but also on the underlying aspects of your customer support experience that lead to those scores.

There are a number of steps you can take to improve the quality of that experience, which can translate into a higher NPS — and happier customers.

Be available in more places

Symbols of different types of communication channels

One of the worst ways for a customer’s interaction to begin with support staff is for them to not be able to contact someone in the way they expect. Studies show that customers’ needs for support vary by industry and depending on the kind of request they have.

Some customers want to tweet for support, others want to email, and some want to call.

Although it may seem like overkill, the best way to approach support is to provide an omnichannel experience — or as close to one as possible — by facilitating all of these methods of communication. This puts the customer in control and immediately starts every encounter with a customer feeling like they are talking to a company that cares about their needs and wants.

This kind of omnichannel support system, where staff can answer inquiries from Facebook, Twitter, phone, email, or live on the website simultaneously, is a major benefit and can provide a next-level service experience that many customers have come to expect in the digital age.

Involve other departments

Sometimes, the best support people aren’t support people at all.

In cases when it makes sense, your team may want to utilize people from marketing, sales, or product teams to help answer questions or provide context.

Not only can this sometimes facilitate faster communication with the customer, but it also shows that the customer is valued and their issues are important and taken seriously by the entire staff. This can be a huge boost for your customer’s confidence and loyalty.

To accomplish this, you’ll want to create a workflow where specific tickets or requests can be handled by a team member within a certain department. In other words, don’t ambush your tech team with customer inquiries, but make sure there is an established pipeline for them to lend their hand.

Reduce ticket times

The next best thing to getting great support is getting quick support.

Long average ticket times can really kill a customer’s entire experience, making them feel ignored or unimportant. If customers are made to wait a long time for a solution to an otherwise simple problem, it can quickly escalate into a major problem and may turn the entire relationship sour.

Your team can use collaboration tools to ease the flow of communication and solve each problem more quickly, meaning each customer spends less time waiting for a response and solution. Droplr works well for this, because you can capture screenshots and video with just a few clicks and then instantly ship them over to a customer.

Likewise, it works well for internal communication because it allows everyone on the team to quickly communicate about a problem and determine the best solution.

customer correspondance

Set higher standards

If support staff feel their main job is to simply address the problem at hand, they may be stopping well short of providing a really great customer experience that can move “detractors” and “passives” toward being “promoters.”

Make it clear that the support staff’s job is not just to answer questions or solve obvious problems but also to ensure that the customer loves the product or service. This may mean going above and beyond — asking the customer questions other than just those that pertain to their immediate request.

If you’re able to establish a culture within the team that says that “satisfied” isn’t enough — that it’s part of the support team’s mission to push each customer to be a 9 or a 10 NPS — then the way that people approach their job will change for the better.

Create a feedback loop

Ultimately, your support team is the front line for the entire organization. They see and hear first-hand how customers feel, what troubles they have, and where they are getting stuck or confused.

But these issues can only be solved if they’re relayed back to the rest of the team, the ones who build or market or sell the product. Your team needs to be ground zero for a customer feedback loop.

Using a tool like Droplr, your team can capture messages from customers, website bugs, and other pieces that show the issues real users are facing, and then save them to a shared board under a tag like #customerproblem. This gives the rest of the team a direct line to the problems that exist so they can be sorted, prioritized, and fixed.

Customer support is ultimately just one of the factors that goes into your customer’s net promoter score, but it can be a major one. Especially if your product is complex or used by large teams that need help with a number of different aspects, providing a high level of customer support is paramount for achieving high NPS outcomes.

Because customer support plays such a critical role in the overall experience, it’s imperative for the team to focus on meeting the needs of the customer and going beyond that to leave them with a sense of delight and loyalty to the company.

Every promoter is a hard-won advocate that will go on to add tremendous value for your company in the marketplace.

It’s not always easy to transform your experience for the better, but it’s definitely a smart investment.

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