Getting Customers to Answer the Ultimate Question

Have you ever asked your customers how likely they would be to recommend your product or service to friends, family or even strangers?

If you haven’t, there are two major reasons you should. The first is that this one question quickly illuminates your customers’ overall satifaction with your service from usability to billing to customer support. It can be especially telling if people are willing to go out on a limb for you and this can give you a good understanding of how your company as a whole is delivering ongoing value to your customers.

Second, the answer to this question allows you to segment your customers so you can identify potential brand advocates, those vulnerable to poaching by competitors and possible detractors. Depending on where each customer falls, you can followup to either prevent them from bouncing to another service or reach out to them to be a brand advocate. With customer referrals and recommendations now being so important in online buying decisions, brand advocates and their positive reviews and referrals can be invaluable for growing your ecommerce business. Conversely, if you have a lot of ambivilant customers or detractors, it can thwart your efforts to keep customers and acquire new ones, especially if they leave negative reviews.

Many companies are now taking a very regimented approach to keep track of how well they are providing value to customers. Many are now asking their customers if they are willing to recommend their service and are then compiling the results in one number — the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

What is a Net Promoter Score

To calculate your Net Promoter Score, you first measure your number of promoters, then minus the number of your detractors, divide by the number of survey responses and multiply by 100. Compared to some of the formulae you may have worked with in calculus or trigonometry, the NPS is fairly simple math!


The Value of Your Net Promoter Score

The Harvard Business Review has been calling the Net Promoter Score the “one number you want to grow” for over a decade and there’s no question that better measures the satisfaction of your customers. Obviously, you want to maximize your number of promoters and minimize your detractors to keep your customer and revenue base growing. The added advantage is that you can then clearly see which customers are most likely to not buy your product again and which could be brand advocates.

For those that did rank their experience below 8, reach out to them to see how you can improve. Winning back a customer who was not satisfied with your service by demonstrating your concern for their needs can turn a detractor into a passionate promoter. At the end of the day, striving for a higher NPS is important not because of the number itself but because of what’s behind the number: more promoters than detractors who will give more positive reviews than negative. This can set your ecommerce business up for success and more revenue going forward.

Originally published at on June 1, 2015.

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