Collecting customer feedback: too difficult or too easy?

For some companies collecting feedback is easy.

Maybe even too easy: I’ve come across a big corporation, which collects feedback, stores it somewhere and does nothing with it. There are no resources to read it through.

While server space is cheap, and this might feel like an easy way to make customers believe you listen to them, don’t do like this. You are just wasting your customers’ time and fooling yourself at the same time.

This company I came across is not happy with how things are, analyzing text feedback just happens to be too difficult and expensive with their current methods and resourcing. Collecting feedback is too easy for them.

For some companies collecting feedback is hard.

They are often B2B2C companies with no direct link to their end-customer. Many of these companies spend tens or hundreds of thousands of Euros on consumer research, doing annual or biannual surveys leading to very few insights. And when it is done seldom, there is a huge internal pressure to do it properly.

This often leads to overly long surveys which customers hate. In many cases, the results are still disappointing. The data and analytics arrive too late to have any proper value. The management feels they “knew this already” as it can take the research agency as long as 3 months to find the target group to interview, do the study and report the results.

Luckily there are more and more success stories in this field as well: companies who manage to ask the right question in the right place at the right time, not to burden customers with the surveys too much and who have a consistent method for analyzing the data, extracting the insights and acting on feedback.

So that being said...

How to collect customer feedback?

To start with, you should understand the purpose and targets of collecting the feedback. Asking customer feedback is the very first step on the way to building a successful relationship between the customers and the brand. 

Actionable feedback should be one key source of insight behind your business development strategy. Who, if not your customers, know better how to improve your service?

Collecting customer feedback will help you to identify customers who’re at risk of leaving and stop reoccurring problems.

Also, happy customers are the best brand advocates you might ever have. And, as you might guess, the unhappy customers are the worst. According to the statistics, one happy customer will share their positive customer experience with 9 people. Unfortunately, the unhappy customers are even more likely to share their experiences: on average an unhappy customer tells about their bad experience to 16 people.

 
 

Before you start collecting customer feedback, make sure you know exactly:

  • what part of customer experience you want to improve,
  • how are you going to use the data,
  • which channel works when communicating with your customers.
  • All the three aspects are important for implementing a successful customer experience feedback collection strategy.

Resist the temptation

Your immediate reaction might be to create a survey and ask what your customers think about every single aspect of your service. Don’t. The statistics gathered by Quicktap Survey show that the more questions you have, the less time customers spend on every question.

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What to keep in mind when planning the survey? The more questions you ask – the less meaningful data you receive.

Long surveys have another downside as well: the more data you receive - the less likely you’re to go through all the data.  As mentioned in the beginning: asking for feedback and just storing that somewhere is not going to help you nor your customer. 

Keep it short. Our favorite metric system is Net Promoter Score that consists of only two questions: a recommendation score and an open why-question. The free text feedback is a great source for insights while the numbers can be used in metrics follow up and target setting. You have probably already seen the standard NPS form many times.

 
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The NPS is short, simple and easy to implement and use. From Apple to Airbnb, from Slack to Microsoft, multiple global leaders are already using the metric to their advantage.

Where to ask for feedback?

Customer feedback survey placements largely depend on your customers. What kind of business do you have? What is your main channel of communication with your customers? Taking that into consideration, most common approaches include:

  • E-mail surveys
  • In-app surveys
  • Forms on web pages 
  • SMS surveys
  • But there are many more

Choose a channel which is the most natural one from your customers' point of view. If they are using your app, use an in-app survey. If they have recently made a purchase in your online shop, send them an email asking for feedback about the purchase. 

What is important to understand is that once a customer leaves feedback, it’s your turn to act.

Have a follow-up plan

We have seen small and large companies that collect customer feedback for the sake of... collecting customer feedback. Whenever you are asking for feedback, be ready to take action. Make decisions based on the feedback in a systematic manner. To be able to do this, we believe that the feedback should be analyzed in a manner that leads to actionable insights. (A list of customer comments is not actionable.) Read here how AI can help in making customer feedback more actionable

The golden rule of customer experience is to follow up with your customers.

Ideally, you would respond to every single customer in a unique way, but in order to save your time, automate the process by creating a template for each category of customers, depending on their scores and type of feedback. Building personal relationships with your customers will both raise the response rates in the future and the scores themselves.

Let’s start with negative feedback

Thinking that you can never keep an angry customer is a very frequent mistake among businesses. An angry customer, who leaves feedback, is often open for dialogue. They give you a chance to apologize and take the issue into account.

According to Bain & Company, companies that managed to increase their customer retention rates by as little as 5%, could experience revenue growth by from 25% up to 95%. Accurately solve every negative case adding a personal touch and showing how you much care about each of your customers. If you manage to solve the issue successfully, your unhappy customer, experiencing excellent customer service, might turn into a loyal one. 

Don’t forget about the happy customers!

Another mistake, done by many businesses, is that companies do not take any action with satisfied customers. Needless to say, happy customers often have ideas for service/product improvement, but they also are the biggest advocates of your company. Show them your love!

Even if you don’t reach out to every single happy customer as you might want to do with unsatisfied ones, there are different ways to improve the customer experience for both parties. Grow your happy customers into strong advocates of your brand. Do simple things – just sending a thank you note can work well.

Don’t collect customer feedback to keep it inside of your company. Create customer insights, take action, and, importantly, show your customers how you deal with the feedback they deliver.

Collecting feedback should nowadays be easy for almost anyone. Acting based on the feedback is the more difficult part. Luckily modern technology, and services such as Lumoa's, can help in dealing with that challenge as well. 

Celebrating One Year in Business

On 14 November 2016, exactly one year ago,  Lumoame Oy was registered in Helsinki. This year has been an amazing journey for us and we wanted to share this important moment with you.   

No surprise, the main discussion topic at #LumoaAnniversary was Customer Experience. We celebrated our first year with our supporters, friends, and customers. Customers have been at the center of all our operations since the very beginning.  

Johanna Vesterinen giving a presentation on how to deliver great customer experiences.

Johanna Vesterinen giving a presentation on how to deliver great customer experiences.

 One of our speakers, Johanna VesterinenXperiencefocus, noticed that many companies collect customer feedback, but fewer and fewer keep going through the CX funnel itself and reach the end. That brings us to the question:  

What’s the purpose of customer feedback?  

Customer feedback allows us to go deeper into customer experience and understand what drives your revenues up and down.   

Currently, lots of the companies implemented the process of collecting customer feedback. Often, these companies also are using massive questionnaires asking about each aspect of CX. Sadly enough, the more questions you ask - the more data you receive - the less likely you’re to go through the data.  

Johanna stated: "typical areas of development are feedback collection system in need of updating, issues with analysis and sharing data and/or immature measurement, meaning unidentified metrics or goals”.  

Tommi Vilkamo talking about the current state of AI in the Finnish companies.

Tommi Vilkamo talking about the current state of AI in the Finnish companies.

The increasing role of machine learning in all business fields, including customer experience, was the presentation topic of Tommi VilkamoeCraft. Tommi told us that even though some people are afraid of machines taking over, most of us are excited to start using artificial intelligence technologies.   

In fact, the machine learning will possibly substitute routine, high-volume and high-speed tasks and humans will focus more on strategic, creative and unique tasks. This way, the cooperation between humans and machines, results in the highest productivity.  

According to Tommi, machine learning is going mainstream and 85% of companies already see it as a potential key source of competitive advantage. However, the opportunity is still open as only 5% of companies has managed to adopt it in scale.  

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We are excited about the next year. More product development. More meetings and conferences. More customer experience. More Lumoa.   

A few more pictures

Pictures taken by Verena Rentrop

Making customer feedback actionable - how can AI help?

In many companies, customer experience is measured, but the results are not actionable. The most widely used customer experience metric NPS (Net Promoter Score) actually gives all the necessary ingredients for the actionability – when customers are asked not only the score but also why they gave that score, they provide very useful information about the drivers of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The problem, therefore, is not the lack of data, but the fact that the data is not analyzed and utilized as it should. 

It is very typical that a customer experience metric is followed on leadership team level only as a number. As long as the metric goes up, everybody is happy. But as soon as it starts to decline, there is panic in the air. No-one seems to know what should really be done to improve the metric.

There are a lot of anecdotes floating around, strong opinions and some blaming as well: marketing is confident that the product is to blame while the product team sees marketing as the culprit. Task forces are being initiated to investigate the reasons behind negative development. Market research is being commissioned and market research agencies start doing both quantitative and qualitative studies to get to the bottom of the issue.  

All of this takes both time and money. Luckily, with the help of modern technologies, that should no longer be needed. And artificial intelligence has a role to play in this. 

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The most important AI technologies relevant for analyzing customer feedback fall in the area of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. Both groups of technologies can be utilized to make analytics more actionable.

When it comes to text feedback, they are beneficial even on the basic level of descriptive and diagnostic analytics, but the benefit becomes more obvious when we aim at predictive analytics. Machine learning is can be utilized to make predictions based on the historical data as long as there is a large amount of it. It can help us to understand how likely is a person with certain characteristic to churn, what could they buy next or what would be the ways to improve their loyalty. 

Some routine decisions can be automated as well: the machine can respond to the most typical complaints and suggest solutions to problems that many people have. However, human judgment is and will be needed in strategic decisions and in seeing the results of analytics in the full context. 

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Today, the most optimal analytics solution is typically a combination of machine and human intelligence. While the machine learning brings in speed, cost-effectiveness and ability to process massive text volumes in a split second, the humans are needed to interpret and make judgments. 

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Lumoa’s analytics solution is built on top of this philosophy. We combine machine learning and other AI technologies with human-built rules that are specified for each industry and sometimes also tweaked to match the business of our biggest customers. This way the results are always relevant for the businesses we work with, but the modern technologies help us in increasing the efficiency and reducing cost level. 

We recently talked about this topic in a breakfast seminar hosted by Sininen Meteoriitti. If you are interested in reading more about the topic, you can download our slides here: 

 

 

The Metric Anxiety – and how to get rid of it

We talk every day with companies of different sizes operating in different industries. Most of them measure customer experience with some widely used metric – most commonly Net Promoter Score. But there are still some companies who don’t measure customer experience at all. These companies can be of any size. Many of them are B2B companies but some of them are B2C companies. Some of them are leaders in their industry and confident that they can stay that way. Some of them are laggards and fully aware that customer experience is one of their major weaknesses. So, they are very different. And still, somehow, they are very similar to one another. Many of these companies are suffering from a disease I have diagnosed as the metric anxiety

Do you suffer from metric anxiety?

Metric anxiety is an easy disease to diagnose. If the only thing preventing you from measuring something like customer experience is the fact that you cannot decide on the metric to use, you most probably suffer from metric anxiety. 

Some of the companies suffering from this disease waste time on development and strategy projects where the potential metrics are being assessed and compared. They use their own resources or consultants to create fancy proposals and compare pros and cons. The more they invest in making the right choice, the more the choice starts to feel like a matter of life and death. 

There are also some companies, whose issue is not the lack of customer experience metric. Instead, they are facing problems because they use so many metrics to measure one thing, that no-one outside of the CX team understands what is being measured and how.

They believe it makes sense because they have chosen a perfect metric for each separate part of the business. From their point of view, it doesn’t make sense to measure customer experience in the support touch point using the same metric as customer experience in the sales touch point because the touch points are so different. And when they then are asked, whether customer experience is measured at the company level and brought to leadership scorecards, their response is: ”No. It is too complex. Our businesses are so diverse.”

If you are in one of these companies, hear me out: Of course, your businesses are diverse. Most large companies have different businesses and diverse touch points. Still, the benefits of choosing one simple metric to follow on leadership team level and utilize across the company, easily overrule the fact that the most optimal metrics for different customer touch points could be different.   

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Is it the disease – or just one of the symptoms?

Of course, most often the metric anxiety is not the real disease. It’s just a symptom of something much more serious. The leaders of large corporations know that decisions need to be made also in the light of imperfect information. They don’t suffer from metric anxiety. They don’t easily fall into the trap of analysis paralysis.

Instead, they suffer from the lack of focus and have only limited interest in customer experience. And when there is no urgency from the top management perspective, the strategy team, quality team, customer experience team (or whoever is responsible for the metric development) paralyzes and starts complicating things. The company suffers from lack of customer centricity. And the employees responsible for metrics keep themselves busy by over-analyzing, over-investigating things. 

Been there, done that!

If one is tasked to develop a scorecard or suggest a specific new metric for the company, it’s very easy to start over-engineering things. I’ve personally done the same mistake. I used to build a scorecard for our business unit in a large company I worked for. This was ten years ago so I was a young and ambitious strategy manager and I wanted to create a perfect proposal. A proposal with a great balance between different types of metrics. A proposal where every metric would be the best metric for that particular purpose and easy to defend against any criticism.

I listened to the stakeholders, utilized every bit of expertise we had within the company and ended up with a great proposal. All the metrics proposed made sense. Except for the customer relationship metric, which didn’t. If you are curious to know, what customer relationship metric I proposed, I can confess: it was Customer Lifetime Value. Why didn’t it make sense? It certainly makes sense for many companies. Many large telcos, for instance, use it successfully. And for many SaaS companies, CLV (or a simplified version of it) is an extremely important metric. 

But for my employer, it didn’t make sense: we didn’t have the data required, we didn’t have the culture. We didn’t have a history of thinking about the value of customer relationships. It was seen as a good and comprehensive metric but it could not be taken into use without a long new development project eating valuable time and resources. And that project (I was no longer part of it) took another year. The end result? It wasn’t a success.

If you want to avoid the metric anxiety, keep in mind the following

1. Complexity is not a virtue

The more perfect and comprehensive metric you want to have, the more complex it easily gets. Complexity is not a virtue – simplicity is. A stupid metric choice is obviously a stupid thing to do as well because as they say, you get what you measure. But if your employees don’t even understand what your metric has eaten, it won’t drive the action in the right way. A simple metric which people can understand is often the best choice. 

2. Any metric is easy to criticize

Choose any metric and you can easily find a lot of criticism against it. The more popular the metric, the easier it is to find such critique with simple googling. In most organizations, there are skeptics who do a bit of this googling and after that shoot any suggestion down. Keep in mind that perfecting the metric will not improve your business. And wasting time on perfecting it can be extremely counterproductive. No company is successful because of the beautiful metrics they have. But some companies manage to kill themselves with analysis paralysis. 

3. Just pick a metric and stick to it

This is our advice: Choose a metric and stick to it. In the area of customer experience, choosing a metric with both number and text makes sense. (You can read more about that here). But when you have done your choice, start measuring and move on. You have just taken the first small step on a long journey. When you have the data and measurement in place, you need to start improving your business based on the results. That is a much more important part on your journey to great customer experience. 

How to influence customer experience through social media

 Customer experience consists of countless details, but at the end, it all comes to what a customer thinks of your brand. Sometimes, you think your brand and customer experience are the same thing. In reality, if a customer perceives your brand in a different manner compared to you, that would be your true customer experience. 

You could use millions of different methods to improve customer experience - from service design to detailed research and questionnaires. One way is right in front of you.

Brands are often missing that “social media” is a social platform. Although social media is often used for advertising and brand awareness, do you remember that the best advertisement is a happy customer? Social interaction and engagement is what makes your brand personal and builds connection to the audience.

Very often, your customers are already using social media to discuss your brand. To be precise, in the US alone 67% of consumers have used social media for customer service. Your task is to be available for your customers and (remember, the golden rule!) follow up. Did they ask you a question? Answer. Did they leave a positive note? Thank. Was it a negative comment? Solve it!

Don’t be a stranger

If your customers like to share about your products/services, then that’s a place for you to be! Engage with the customer feedback, both negative and positive. Follow up positive comments of your customers with a thank you-note, show that you are close to them and care about them. 

To provide an example, Kathryn Rannikko found a new product of Jaffa and Fazer and tweeted about it. Fazer did right what it had to do - the company thanked Kathryn for the feedback. 

Lesson learned: always acknowledge or respond to the positive feedback. That is how you build trust and relationships with your customers.

Respond to everyone

Be available to your customers on social media and answer their requests. Let your social media function as a customer support channel. Find all the channels your customers are using for servicing and be there.

A key to success is persistence. Show your customers that every single comment matters and they will boost your engagement rates, asking for help, expressing their opinion and participating in the discussions. Isn’t it how the loyal brand communities are born? 

Canva shows a great example of how to improve customer experience through social media. Natalia O’Neill had issues when working with the software and reached Canva on twitter.

Canva replied on time and connected Natalia to the support team right away, resolving an issue in less than 30 minutes.

Lesson learned: customers might use different channels to contact you, your job is to be there when it happens and follow up.

Worried about customer complaints?

It might be, that once you receive negative comments, your immediate reaction would be to delete them. Don’t! Unless the comment is offensive or out-of-all-possible-rules, keep it. If you delete the complaints, customers might think you are hiding something and stop trusting you. 

Instead, contact the customer, ask what is the matter and do your best to solve the problem. When the issue is resolved, you might contact the customer and kindly ask to remove the comment by themselves. If it is not possible, leave a comment below the complaint that the issue is solved.

During a four-hour flight, TV connected to Esaí Vélez’s seat was showing nothing but a grey screen. He tweeted about it shortly after the flight. 

JetBlue was fast to respond, clarifying the matter with the disappointed customer. Shortly after the company suggested a refund. 

Results? Esaí Vélez is still a loyal customer of JetBlue Airways.

Lesson learned: a customer, who complains is often open for dialogue. Use your chance wisely to convert the unsatisfied customer to the happiest one.

Let your customer service team have fun

Chose a tone of your social media language, that reflects your target audience, and keep to it. A lot of brands use informal language and friendly style when it comes to social media. Let your customer service team have fun, think outside-of-the-box and enjoy interacting with your customers.

Skyscanner has performed a fantastic example of great customer support on social media. James Lloyd used Skyscanner to find a flight from New Zealand to the UK. The service suggested a route with …  a 47-year layover. So, James contacted Skyscanner on Facebook.  

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Skyscanner found a personal approach to the customer and in a humorous way answered the question. The answer went viral and soon after was picked up by the global media and worked as an excellent (yet unexpected) PR campaign for the brand.   

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Lesson learned: the social media is the voice of your brand. Always use a personal approach and don’t be afraid to experiment. At the end, it might go viral!

 

Want to know more about Customer Experience? Get our special guide.

How to increase response rates of your NPS surveys?

So, you have decided to implement NPS into your customer experience management. What are your next steps?  You are probably thinking to send the survey right away and just wait for the results.

It’s not that easy.

Now, consumers are overloaded with surveys and content from businesses more than ever.  The typical customer survey response rate is often below 2%. How can you make sure that your response rates are actually higher than that?

Beware of timing

Timing is crucial. Often companies send out NPS surveys right after a customer has ordered a product. And... they get results on how good their online store is designed, not how good the product is. In order to evaluate feedback on your product properly, send NPS survey after 1-2 weeks since the product has been delivered. Although there are no standards, the usual timing for NPS initial survey is 30 days after the start of use of a software or an app. Otherwise, timing largely depends on your business model, onboarding setup, engagement and relationship with your customers.

Make it a habit

Ideally, you would be sending NPS surveys on a daily basis, checking up with both new and loyal customers. Although timing for the first initial survey depends on what kind of business you have, later the surveys could be sent every 90 days or would depend on your customer lifecycle. The reasoning behind sending the surveys quarterly is that on average a detractor needs at least 90 days to leave for good and you need to follow up if you want to prevent this from happening. Plus, you’re not intrusive with everyday surveys and leave space for your customer to think about his experience.

Use a multi-channel approach

It might be confusing to figure out the most effective channel to ask for feedback. Should you send out e-mails? Or make a pop-up notification inside your software?

The truth is that reaching out your customers by e-mail might lower the response rate, but stands out for more qualitative responses, and vice versa when it comes to the in-app surveys. However, an in-app survey would help you to find detractors better and will give you a chance to follow up and improve the experience of a user. After all, the customer comes first -  keep your relationship with them in mind when deciding which channels would be the best. Most often the best channel for feedback is the one your customer is used to when being in contact with you: in-app if they use your app, SMS if you ask feedback about the phone customer service etc.  

What about copywriting?

Find a creative approach to market your surveys and get higher response rates. You could ask or hand it over to your marketing team. After all, the success of your surveys sometimes lies in such small details as head titles and subject lines of e-mails, as these are the first words to capture attention and are the only words a user sees on the mobile device. Still, don't get too creative when wording the NPS question itself. Net Promoter Score is always asked in a standard way. 

No additional questions

Adding more questions to NPS could cut response rate in half. Consumers will tell you what drives their behavior and what is truly important. Make it easy to share opinions. Remember, that with each added click or question, your chances of someone finishing a survey drop by 50%.

If the additional questions are a “must”, do it outside your NPS survey. Target specific customer segments who might be impacted by the topic.

Be careful with incentives

As much as it might be tempting to offer an incentive to receive more responses, consider it carefully. Incentives can cause some bias in the results because some consumers would not think about the responses but just click through in order to get the prize. However, it is more important to get some feedback with a small bias than getting no feedback or very little feedback with no bias. So if you have a hard time convincing your customers to provide you feedback in a timely manner, a small prize can help. Luckily incentives are not normally needed in NPS surveys. This is because NPS surveys are short and easy to answer. Companies doing long customer research surveys are more typically forced to use prizes to get their response rates to a reasonable level.  

And finally...

The Golden rule #1: Make it personal & follow-up

If you use e-mail channel for your surveys, make it look personal. Starting with e-mail design, insert a name of the person you are going to ask. Then, send an e-mail from an individual instead of “no-reply” e-mail. The chance that you’ll get an e-mail reply is still low, but it makes a psychological difference.

After you have received a reply, do a follow-up. Ideally, you would respond to every single customer manually, but in order to save your time, you could write automatic replies for each category of customers, depending on their scores and feedback. Building personal relationships with your customers will both raise the response rates in the future and the scores themselves,

Want to learn more about implementing NPS surveys? Download our free quick guide

What Net Promoter Score (NPS) should you aim at?

As you probably know, one of the two parts of the NPS is a number. You can count the score by a simple formula:

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Thus, the NPS may vary from -100 to 100, leaving -100 least desirable and 100 most preferred. Once you know how to calculate “The one number you need to know” it’s logical to aim at the score of 100, isn’t it?

It’s not that simple.

The score of 100 means that 100% of your customers are promoters, which is an unrealistic approach. As the famous saying goes: you can’t please everyone. We advise focusing on those customers that are closer to you. Pay attention to the promoters who are at the same time active ambassadors of your company. Knowing how to communicate and strengthen your main competitive advantages is crucial for marketing and positive customer experience.

Does it mean, that you should forget about detractors?

Yes and no. Even though it is literally impossible to achieve perfection and convert every detractor to an active promoter, you could work on those detractors that are just a few steps away from converting into a passive or a promoter.

So, if you can’t reach the score of 100 - what’s the goal?

Your ideal score should pass three levels.

First, your NPS should be above 0. The score, above 0 is already an achievement, as your company has more promoters than detractors.

Second, check that your current NPS is higher than the previous one. The beauty of the Net Promoter System is that you can compare the scores, see the progress throughout time and evaluate your efforts towards the NPS.

And thirdly, the NPS to aim for should be above average in your industry - that is how you could keep high standards and results. For example according to the research of the Temkin Group in 2016, the average NPS of software companies in the US is 41, and “dream-to-achieve” score is 55.

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However turn your head to the banking industry and the image is different. For the US banks the average score counts for 32 and the NPS goal is 62.

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The practical examples of the industry-related scores show that you should pay close attention to the business environment where your company operates.

Another good sign is that your NPS is higher than your competitors’ scores. Benchmarking would be very useful.

After all, is there a correlation between NPS and company growth?

The answer is… yes! According to a study published by London School of Economics titled “Advocacy Drives Growth”,  an average NPS increase of 7% correlates on average with a 1% growth in revenue. Great reason to think about how to increase your NPS!

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However, influencing your current NPS is hardly possible without a bigger picture.

When analyzing the scores, remember that NPS is more than just a score and missing the open response part leaves a company without deep insights on what drives your customer experience up or down. Analyzing NPS as a whole will bring you to understanding what your customers love and hate about the company, what do they see as competitive advantages and which direction you should move forward.

Want to learn more about the basics of NPS? Download our NPS quick guide for beginners!

 

 

Text feedback in multiple languages: 5 ways to fail (and our solution)

Along our journey, we have discussed with a large number of companies with global customer bases. These companies have customers in many continents and therefore receive (or should receive) customer feedback in several languages. For many of them, this provides a challenge: they don’t have the personnel to read or understand the feedback in a language the headquarters doesn’t speak. It is interesting to learn how they deal with this challenge. These are some of the solutions we have met.

1. Feedback is asked only in the home market

This might sound hard to believe, but we have come across major global US companies, who – because of their lack of language skills – only ask customer feedback in the US (and, perhaps, internationally in the UK). This provides them with heavily skewed results. 

2. Only the feedback in familiar languages is utilized

One company we talked to had a global policy of asking NPS feedback from all its customers. All feedback also contributed to the global NPS score of the company. But as there was no-one in the team to understand some major languages, part of the feedback was simply left unread.

3. No text feedback is used

Numbers are (nearly) universal. If you ask feedback with only questions where the consumer can give you numeric grades, you should be able to deal with feedback from anywhere. Too bad the numeric only feedback is seldom very insightful. And if you want to dig out what the customer really thinks with number responses only, you need to ask a lot of questions. 

4. Text feedback is only utilized in local offices

Some companies do ask text feedback also in local languages but aggregate only the numbers to the corporate level. The text is handled in the local sales offices. This provides means for the local team to do some often-tactical improvement actions, but the global leadership is left in the dark, and company-wide strategic improvement actions are never going to be done.

5. Only Sample of the feedback is translated

This is a widely used method as well. Even though feedback is provided by thousands of customers, some companies decide to translate only a sample of the feedback. The translation can then be managed by a professional translation agency. If the sample is big enough and done well, the overall result can be statistically reliable. The challenge with this approach is that it is still expensive, often slow, and the sample size is hardly big enough to provide more detailed insights for operational decisions. E.g. the sample can be large enough to reveal to the leadership that there is something wrong with the product reliability. But if your product manager wants to study the issue deeper, he won’t find enough insightful comments by just reading through the sample.   

As you can see, there are many ways to deal with the challenge of feedback in multiple languages, but they all have their weaknesses. 

How do we solve this challenge?

Our solution at Lumoa is to get all the translation done with automated translation engine. Both Microsoft's and Google's automated translation services are quickly improving quality wise and they provide a cost effective way to get a large amount of text feedback translated without any delay.

The immediate worry our clients have is always the same: what about the quality? Everyone has experienced automated translation to produce some funny results - especially when translating from small and difficult languages (such as my native language Finnish).

It is true that automated translation will not be replacing professional translation services anytime soon. But we are not translating a book here, not even content for marketing materials! We just want to capture what the person talks about and the strength of the sentiment (how strongly positively or negatively the topic is talked about). And for that purpose, the automated translation works well enough. It enables you and your company’s leadership to understand what people say. And it enables aggregating and categorizing the feedback into topics across languages. In our analytics, it enables also assessing, how impactful the categories are. This is enough to support fact based decision making and start making improvements based on the customer feedback.

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In customer feedback analytics the end-result matters most: if the translations are good enough to empower the right improvement actions, don’t worry about the quality too much. What your customer cares about is the improvement: the fact that they are being heard and the issues are being fixed. They don’t care if something they wrote sounded a bit funny in your regular monthly management team report. It is also great that this method allows us to take into account text feedback in dozens of languages. We don’t need to choose to focus the voice-of-the-customer efforts only in a few large markets but can listen to all of the customers. Whether you listen to your customers should not depend on the language they happen to write in. All customers matter.

7 Most Common Net Promoter Score (NPS) mistakes and how to avoid them

Many big and small companies use Net Promoter Score to rate customer experience, but many of them also do it wrong. Although NPS has only 2 simple questions, it doesn’t end with a simple survey. Best implemented, NPS starts with employee training and ends with follow-up actions taken by the company. Avoiding the mistakes stated below will help you to ensure the future success of your company and increase ROI while tracking NPS.

1.    Chasing the score

Once you have gathered the information, calculating the Net Promoter Score is easy. The problem is that NPS is never about the score itself. You might track the trend, but what will you do if it drops or goes up? Knowing why your promoters love you or why detractors are unhappy is equally important if not more, than the trends. Taking control over NPS by focusing on the follow-up responses will give you the most results out of NPS.

2.   Asking too soon

Many companies send out NPS surveys right after the purchase, which could likely result in rating your website or visual designs, but not the brand loyalty or customer satisfaction. Let your customer use the product and form an opinion about it. Perfect timing depends on the nature of the product or service, however, in general, you should send NPS survey 10 days after the customer purchase/use/delivery or 30 days after downloading the app.

3.   Not tracking the change

NPS score is vulnerable to change and for you, it is beneficial to keep track on what drives NPS up or down. It is important not to flood the same customers with the surveys. Instead, ask a small portion of your customers, then repeat the survey in some period of time by sending the NPS questionnaire to the other group of customers.

4.   Focusing too much on detractors

Understanding detractors is important, but knowing why your loyal customers love you will drive your business to the top. You should spend at least as much time analyzing the reasoning behind promoters, as your detractors, as promoters are the people who spread word-of-mouth advertising and literally will bring your business to the top. Learn how to analyze and communicate the strengths of your business, your competitive advantages that will attract more customers with the insights from NPS surveys.

5.   No follow up

Show that you care about your customer by making a follow-up plan for the every response that you gather. Ideally, this could be personalized message according to the score or the problem that your customer faced. Try to solve the problem and ensure your customer that you are going in the right direction. Following up your customer influence a lot on your brand, as the customer, who was heard, wants to give more feedback in the future and continue the relationship with your company. The success of your NPS tracking largely depends on securing that with surveys and follow-up the required actions to satisfy your customer are taken.

6.   Not training your employees

In order to take action, your employees must be aware of the NPS system and how to implement it into the work routine. Educated employees, that deal with following up your customers, will produce higher results. Training created by Bain & Company including a system of feedback and coaching is not a high-cost investment and will immediately result in higher morale and productivity.

7.   Keeping results within the survey team

Some companies keep the NPS results … within the NPS team. The truth is that all the departments of the company influence customer experience. NPS should be visible and not be left out from the meetings. Read more on the role of NPS results in the workflow of each and every department: 

Note: Net Promoter, Net Promoter System and Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Why every company needs proper customer experience management?

Most companies (89% according to Gartner 2015) believe that they will primarily compete on customer experience going forward. Still, very few companies are able to systematically manage their customers’ experience. For a reason or another, they consider the customer experience to be out of their control.

Companies are obviously different, and they have very different reasons why they are not able to take things into control in this field. Some of the most often occurring reasons include:

  • Some companies just don’t have the technical skills and know-how of the modern tools to deal with customer data properly.
  • Some companies lack the leadership commitment. They do things but not on a level with high enough impact. 
  • Some companies decide to prioritize other things. They might be not profitable and the cost cutting is the only way to survive. Unfortunately, the less they focus on customers, the less likely a turnaround will be.
  • Some companies have an established process in place. Theoretically, they do all the right things. But they don’t do those things right. They read the feedback and respond to customers. They might spend tons on money on increasing customer understanding. But there is very little action based on that. Or they do all the right things but the process is too slow to have any real positive impact on their customer experience.

The reasons for ineffective processes are unique in every company. But they lead to very similar consequences: the company has higher churn, higher costs and it loses sales opportunities as a result.    

To any company out there, listen: it is super important to start managing your customer experience in a systematic manner. The process in itself is quite simple. We often use the following illustration to describe the steps.

The process includes the target setting, feedback gathering and analytics, action planning and the required improvement action. Finally, it also includes closing the loop with the customers. The critical thing to ensure is that all of this is done properly.  And by properly, I mean that you do the basic process in a fast, focused and actionable manner.

And why is that? Below are some of the typical ways an ineffective customer experience management process hurts your business:

Increased churn

If you are slow in generating insights (e.g. you analyze and read the feedback manually once per month for reporting purposes or you have an external service provider doing that for you once per quarter), you are always late to respond to any issues your customers have. By the time you have your feedback analyzed and actions planned, your unhappy customers have already churned.

Lost sales

If your insight creation and action planning process takes too much time, you miss upsell and cross-sell opportunities. You are not able to reach out to the customer at the time they would be most likely to buy more of your products. Additionally, you are not able to capitalize on your happy customers’ likelihood to recommend you.  

Lower ROI of improvement activities

Prioritizing improvement actions is difficult without the proper understanding of the importance of customer experience drivers. If your analytics process doesn’t bring you focused insights that help you to immediately make decisions and plan actions, you are highly likely to spread your resources too thinly, focus on the wrong things or focus on too many things at the same time. If you make improvements with a shotgun approach, the ROI of the investment you make will be low.

Higher costs

Finally, if you use ineffective tools and manual processing of data, your costs will be too high and you waste money. Having your analysts do very basic excel analysis is also wasting money if they could be spending their time more on more advanced analytics and driving improvement actions instead.  

Be smart when designing your customer experience management process. And be smart when choosing the tools to use. Many things can be automated in an easy manner and artificial intelligence can help in generating insights into your decision-making process. You should be focusing on improving the customer experience and running your business - not on fiddling with data and trying to make sense out of it. 

Read how Lumoa's customer experience analytics  can help companies in focusing on the most important improvement actions: