Getting from insight to action typically involves several important steps:

  • Make sure you have robust closed-loop processes, ensuring that detractors are contacted quickly and their issues resolved on the spot, where possible
  • Provide your customer-facing employees training, guidelines and shared values so they can solve customer problems or come up with innovative ways to “wow” customers on their own
  • Engage customer-facing teams in problem-solving and best practice sharing
  • Mine customer comments and root cause analysis to find systemic issues that need to be addressed
  • Use controlled tests to develop and refine innovative ways to create more promoters or avoid creating detractors

As an example, American Express freed its call center employees to exercise judgment so they could focus on enhancing relationships with customers, rather than focusing on just “churning out” transactions. By installing robust closed-loop feedback and learning processes, training customer care professionals, and creating clearer guidelines within which they could operate, American Express armed them to take the initiative on behalf of customers, creating more promoters every day.

Of course, this wasn’t just about rules and procedures. The team also found they needed to change hiring criteria, training and performance metrics. They removed average handling time goals for calls, instead teaching the customer care professionals to recognize how quickly the customer wanted to move. They increased emphasis on first-contact resolution by getting to the heart of the matter more quickly. Importantly, they addressed policies that stood in the way of creating promoters. Supporting all of this, they changed their training emphasis from 70 percent technical skills and 30 percent soft skills to 70 percent soft skills and 30 percent technical.

Do you know which interactions with your business delight your customers—and which antagonize them? Mapping the interactions that customers have with your business is a key part of the Net Promoter System.℠ Read more about interaction prioritization.

Change behavior and service delivery

Engaging the customer-facing employees the way American Express did often requires helping them feel more personally engaged with customers. One of the best ways to ensure that customer feedback packs an emotional punch is to let employees hear the actual voice of the customer, not just a manager’s interpretation or a statistical summary. Hearing the customer’s voice lets the employee absorb the tone and feel the emotional impact; that helps motivates learning and changes in behavior, with little additional coaching required.

A few tips for using customer feedback to change behaviors:

  • Make sure feedback is delivered so soon after an interaction that the people most responsible for it can remember what they did
  • Direct the feedback to the person whose behavior needs to change
  • Ensure that employees focus on the customer’s comments and what can be learned from them, rather than on the scores themselves
  • Encourage leaders and supervisors to use feedback as a coaching tool, instead of a purely evaluative tool, to help employees meet their own and the organization’s goals
  • Design training programs to reinforce the value of relationship-building and the role that customer feedback can play in helping achieve that

Product/service design

Net Promoter® client feedback can be an invaluable asset to improve current products and services or design new offerings, as long as it is captured in a timely manner that supports prompt revisions and adjustments. Set up feedback channels that direct the voice of the customer to the product team and engineers as quickly as possible. They can sometimes find themselves disconnected from the customer experience, and giving them a constant flow of customer feedback helps them internalize it and understand it more completely. To facilitate continuous improvement, customer feedback needs to become a part of standard business processes and rhythms (in this case, part of the standard product development and launch process flow).

For example, almost immediately after launch, Logitech found that its much-heralded MX 5000 keyboard—its first to incorporate Bluetooth functionality—was falling short of its target NPS®. Analysis of detractor comments revealed the three most serious problems: the Bluetooth connectivity wasn’t sufficiently reliable, the LCD screen was hard to read, and recharging was difficult. Because the customer feedback came in so quickly—nearly six months earlier than it would have if Logitech had not been using the Net Promoter System—the engineering team had the data in time to incorporate changes in the next product cycle. By focusing the engineering redesign on these three issues, the company was able to boost Net Promoter scores by 27 points on the next model.

In this short video, Rob Markey explains how customer feedback from the Net Promoter System can support continuous improvement throughout the organization.