In this session of Preflight UK’s Office Hours, James Stuart, CSM at hackajob spoke to Anita Toth, creator of Customer Insights 360, a B2B customer insight collection system, and Steve Bernstein, Co-founder and Principal Consultant, Waypoint Group on NPS for B2B customers.
Anita works with Chief Customer Officers and Customer Success leaders in B2B SaaS companies to help them retain customers and grow their retention revenues. With 20+ years of experience in academic research, Anita created Customer Insights 360 to help leaders find deep customer insights that reduce churn, increase retention, and grow NRR while providing a consistent customer experience. She also co-leads the Community Insights committee at Gain Grow Retain.
Steve founded Waypoint to tilt NPS to the complexities of B2B. He is also the author of Failure Sucks! (More for Your Customers, Than for You): A B2B Guide to Customer Success. Steve has over 20 years of experience in customer experience and has also developed new solutions for Satmetrix, creator of the Net Promoter System.
Waypoint’s TopBox is a B2B customer engagement solution that helps B2B companies accelerate revenue growth and positive word-of-mouth from their existing customers by amplifying and acting on customer insights to fuel stronger relationships.
The discussion focused on:
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
You can watch the full recording here
NPS was designed for B2C customers, and B2B has a significantly longer and more complex buying cycle. It typically involves multiple and diverse stakeholders such as financial decision-makers, project managers, and end-users. This means that the:
In other words, NPS shouldn’t be a milestone or an item on a checklist; it should be a strategy that aims to tell a story.
In the B2B context, it makes more sense to use the NPS to understand if everyone in the account is receiving value with your product/service and using it as a way to course-correct.
The critical aspects of an effective NPS strategy include:
Much like a check-in with a patient, an NPS system is a diagnostic exercise that shows the signs/symptoms of customer accounts. It needs to be followed up with root cause identification and remediation. Here are some key points to consider for each stage.
The following three questions in your NPS questionnaire can help elicit helpful responses for diagnosis:
Every NPS instance is an opportunity for you to identify four different types of accounts:
You need to recognize all four of them for the NPS exercise to be representative of customer sentiment and, therefore, valuable. When you fail to consider unresponsive customers as a category, you could effectively recognize a score/sentiment based on only a fraction of your customers.
NPS response rates are strong signals of churn. Critical feedback is a cry for help and, therefore, an excellent opportunity for course correction. Similarly, silent accounts are far more likely to churn. Speak to detractors to identify bottlenecks and pain points and reach out to passives to gauge what is happening.
People like to feel heard and to know that they matter. Closing the loop and telling customers how you used the NPS is the biggest lever you can pull in your customer feedback approach.
This follow-up can be one-on-one, one-to-account, or one-to-many. For each account, make sure to aggregate feedback and create a success plan for the account. Use Quarterly Business Reviews to have an open dialogue on NPD findings or conduct further interviews.
Most companies resort to quarterly on annual email blasts for their NPS. This doesn’t work for two reasons:
In addition to timing the NPS touchpoint correctly, customer-facing teams also need to know what to ask at which stage of the lifecycle.
For instance, at the end of onboarding, instead of asking the default NPS question (‘how likely would you be to recommend our product/service?’), ask, ‘How did we do on onboarding?’, ‘Did our onboarding process get you what you needed/where you needed to be/make you confident to use our product independently?’
When you use only a final score for the NPS system, you risk not getting an accurate picture of your customers’ sentiments across accounts. Instead, it might be sensible to focus on a more valuable and representative metric, such as the percentage of promoters.
Consider that you have three accounts of 1000 people each. Of these, let’s consider that only 300 people responded to your NPS survey. This means that only 300/3000, i.e., 10% of your customers are promoters in the true sense of the word.
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