Employees at veteran Net Promoter® companies understand the importance of delivering a great customer experience and take the lead in figuring out how to do so.
Employees need to see the fundamental connection between the work they do every day and its impact on customers. They must experience firsthand the deep satisfaction of earning their customers’ heartfelt gratitude and loyalty. If they don’t, then their jobs are just jobs—they may do as they’re told, but they won’t bring much energy, enthusiasm or creativity to the workplace.
Companies that create an environment focused on loyalty develop strong processes in three areas.
Finding the right person is almost always better than just filling a gap in the ranks. Wait until you’re happy with applicants before you hire them.
Equally important is to hire for interpersonal skills and an orientation toward service rather than technical skills. It’s much easier to train people to work a computer system than it is to train them to be empathetic toward others. Anyone can read a policy manual; not everyone knows how to read a customer’s body language or facial expressions. In the common shorthand, you want people with a high emotional quotient (EQ), not just a high intelligence quotient (IQ).
How do you find these people? Start by identifying the best performers within your own organization—those who naturally have exemplary customer service and relationship skills. Your Net Promoter feedback is one obvious source for this information. Once you’ve identified the employees you’d like more of, learn more about them.
Formal training is the traditional method of introducing new concepts to employees. The training articulates the new objectives: We want to be customer centric. We value every customer. We want to earn their loyalty, commitment and enthusiasm. It spells out the expectations, the guidelines and the tools employees will need to be successful.
But formal training alone is limited in its impact. Because it’s often removed from the day-to-day concerns of the job, many trainees forget what they heard in the classroom. The real learning comes when people receive feedback. They take action, observe the outcome and draw a conclusion about how effective they were. Then they try again, altering their approach as necessary.
An early link between Net Promoter ScoresSM and compensation has almost always proved to be a mistake. Even if you avoid the common pitfalls of Net Promoter-based incentives—overemphasis on the score, gaming and a natural suspicion of any incentive-linked metric—you still send the wrong message to employees.
Your best employees—the ones you want to keep, who create the most value and whom you most want to encourage—will put in extra discretionary effort because the system is giving them a chance to exercise their judgment, to master a task and to be part of a productive team. They are people who value the opportunity to enrich someone’s life. Their motivation is intrinsic, not extrinsic. They don’t do it for the money.
However, the right rewards and recognition can be a powerful tool in building employee advocacy. The Net Promoter System's inner loop provides a systematic way for managers to regularly praise employees who go above and beyond for customers. When that recognition translates into new responsibilities, inspiring projects and promotions, a company lets all employees know how much it values service.