How to analyse your Net Promoter feedback

To get the best insights from Net Promoter surveys, you have to read and analyse your customers’ responses to the open-ended “What is the primary reason for the score you just gave us?” question. We call this “verbatim feedback” or just “verbatims”.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can go about this analysis.

To turn your verbatims into actionable insights, you have to categorise the feedback so you can see what themes are being mentioned most by your customers. In that way you’ll learn what you are doing well that your customers love, and what you’re not doing well that exasperates them.

The most effective way of categorising verbatims is to do it manually in Excel.

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Customer feedback – are your IT support teams making the most of it?

IT support teams who adopt Net Promoter practices are seeing huge increases in customer satisfaction. For example, 78% of our CIOPulse clients have seen a significant improvement in internal customer satisfaction, with over a third of those enjoying an increase of over 30%.

But in the same way that a thermometer in your ear doesn’t help you get better when you’re sick, a Net Promoter Score won’t help you improve either. One of the most powerful components of Net Promoter is not the metric, but the verbatim feedback gathered as you close customer tickets. Your customers’ answers to the “What did we do well? What could we do better?” question are absolute gold.

If you’re serious about improving internal customer satisfaction, you really should be collecting and making the most of customer feedback. Let me show you how and why…

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How does your IT customer survey capability stack up?

Ken Blanchard, leadership expert and author of ‘The One Minute Manager’ once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. Champion IT support teams actively use customer feedback for coaching and continual service improvement. As a result, they enjoy:

  • Increased staff engagement (research shows that staff who get regular feedback are more engaged, particularly in Gen Ys).
  • More capable support staff (they use feedback to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, and make it an integral part of coaching and performance management).
  • More streamlined, customer-friendly processes (they use feedback to identify and prioritise process and tool improvements based on what’s important to the customer).

This all leads to better service. And when you deliver better service, you lower your support costs , enhance your reputation as a service provider and have happier customers.

But how do you go about collecting good quality, continual feedback from your internal customers?

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Net Promoter Score – It’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it

When Fred Reichheld first wrote about Net Promoter surveys and calculating a Net Promoter Score way back in 2003, he called it “The one number you need to grow”. He was referring to his research that showed that organisations with a bigger Net Promoter Score grew quicker than those with a smaller one.

Ever since then, his critics have criticised NPS as just a number. Comments such as this are common:

“It lacks actionable insights.”

“I have a Net Promoter Score of +35. So what? What can I do about that?”

“It doesn’t specify why people are Detractors.”

If Net Promoter was just about the score, then it would be pretty useless. But it’s not the score that matters.

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How to use CIOPulse to measure IT support quality

Have you heard of the Watermelon Effect? It’s a rather common problem where service level status reports for IT support show that everything is green but the customer is still unhappy. Green (statuses) on the outside, red (angry customer) on the inside.

The Watermelon Effect - Support SLAs are all green, but your customer is still red and angry

Data from Forrester shows how prevalent this mismatch of perceptions is – there are about twice as many IT teams that think they provide great IT support than there are internal customers who feel they are getting it.

One of the causes of this problem is that Service Level Agreements are flawed. Typically, support service levels are measured on the basis of target response and resolution timeframes. But purely time-based measures are an ineffective indicator of the quality of IT support.

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Why CIOPulse won Service Management ‘Innovation of the Year’

According to Forrester research, there are nearly twice as many IT teams who think they provide great service than as there are organisations who feel they receive great service from their IT teams.

Forrest business vs IT perception of IT performance

On the plus side, this has given rise to classics like ‘The IT Crowd’ (“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”) and ‘Silicon Valley’ (“We’re making the world a better place through constructing elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and extensibility”).

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5 great reasons why IT teams should use Net Promoter

In case you’re not familiar with Net Promoter®, let’s start with a 1 minute introduction…

Net Promoter® is an open-source methodology used by 65% of the world’s top 200 companies to grow their businesses by increasing customer loyalty. At its heart is a metric called the Net Promoter Score (NPS®) that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services.

An NPS is calculated by asking customers a question along the lines of, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”. Based on their rating, a customer is categorised as a Detractor (when they give a rating of 6 or below), a Passive (7 or 8) or a Promoter (9 or 10).  The NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. This results in a score ranging from -100 (all your customers think you’re rubbish) to +100 (all your customers think you’re the bee’s knees).

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