How to Improve Your Net Promoter Score By Addressing Customer Effort

Strategic Solutions Series.

How to Improve Your Net Promoter Score By Addressing Customer Effort

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 14, 2015

Net Promoter Score, one of the most closely watched and enduring measures of customer satisfaction, provides a strong indicator of customer loyalty by assessing customer willingness to recommend a company and its products to others. But there’s another important metric businesses should consider as well: Customer Effort Score.

Customer Effort Score reflects how much work people have to expend to get what they seek from those with which they do business. This measure is important both in its own right and because of its correlation with NPS. That’s because customers who have to put less effort into their relationship with a company are more inclined to remain loyal to a company and to promote that company to their co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors.

“Removing barriers that make interactions between a customer and the company then becomes a key strategy to reducing the CES (News - Alert) and increasing the NPS,” Alain Mowad, director of product management at Virtual Hold Technology, recently blogged.

In fact, Virtual Hold Technology (News - Alert) offers solutions that help organizations improve customer experience by reducing customer effort. Specifically, Virtual Hold Technology delivers callback solutions. These solutions enable contact center callers the ability to get a call back at a later time rather than sit in queue. As a result, contact centers can more efficiently handle requests, and callers don’t have to wait on hold.

If you think expecting callers to wait on hold is no big deal, think again.

Five to 10 years ago, most people were comfortable with waiting on hold or in line for their turn, Mowad noted during a recent webinar. However, as he also noted: “Today if the wait is longer than 5 minutes, it’s a problem.”

Indeed. The 2013 Contact Center Satisfaction Index indicates customer satisfaction was generally on the incline between 2007 and 2010 and again between 2010 and 2012, but that it saw a dramatic drop off between 2012 and 2013. Why? Because, Mowad suggested, most companies haven’t yet adjusted to the fact that customers have changed in a fundamental way.

In this day and age of smartphones and the Internet of Things, people have quickly become accustomed to getting fast results, said Mowad. At the same time, the percentage of people who have grown up as so-called digital natives (meaning they’ve never known life without connected devices) is only expanding.

The Internet and the devices connected to it mean we the people can easily get information, goods, and services, and the ability to interface with others, pretty much whenever and wherever we want. Companies like Airbnb and Uber that provide quick and easy access to rental lodging and vehicles via online channels are just two examples of this quickly expanding “right now” economy, as Menlo Ventures (News - Alert) has termed it.

While there are still a few of us around who don’t expect instant gratification, we’re an endangered species. According to The Hartman Group, 27 percent of the population today is made up by millenials, and this group is poised to outnumber baby boomers by 2030.

The arrival of the always-connected consumer, the right now economy, and the millennial generation, which has grown up as digital natives have also given rise to a new conversation in business circles about the importance of customer experience. But traditional thinking about how to improve the customer experience is fundamentally flawed, Mowad said. Delighting customers via first call resolution is great, he said, but it’s also important to look at the entire customer lifecycle both before, during, and after individual transactions.

“Tracking customer touch points with the company through web, email, chat, phone, set top box and social media, and connecting those interactions with big data and CRM solutions provides context to the customer’s evolving journey with the company’s brand,” he added. “Most importantly, rich context allows companies to derive key points in the customer journey and can provide valuable recommendations and insights into ways to continue improving that journey.”

Callback solutions and more holistic customer care approaches, Mowad indicated, can help businesses improve their Net Promoter Scores by eliminating the number of detractors, and potentially moving detractors and passives into the promoter category. That’s important given negative experiences tend to be shared at a higher rate than do positive experience. It’s also noteworthy because word of mouth is a company’s most important marketing asset. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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