Why the Net Promotor Score (NPS) is the wrong KPI for Customer Service
It's tough to manage a customer service department. Your team is always fire-fighting, it’s difficult to keep morale high and it might be easy to think that your efforts go unnoticed by management. When executives don’t see the value of great customer service you’re seen as a cost, not as an opportunity. However, 90% of Americans see customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
You might be tracking your team’s performance with numerous metrics. However, if you’re struggling to prove the value of your team, there’s at least one metric you want to step away from. It’s the Net Promotor Score - NPS. It’s a classic, but the score makes it absolutely impossible to prove the value of your team.
Why you shouldn't measure Customer Service NPS:
1. The question is too broad.
"On a scale from 1-10, to what extent would you recommend our company to a friend or family?" That’s the NPS question, a classic. There’s an infinite amount of elements that influence the answer of the customer. However, most of them have nothing to do with how your team is performing. The price, product, or the shopping experience are out of your hands completely and that will easily influence the score.
2. The score is irrelevant.
From our own experience, we've noticed that 75% of companies don't know why the score drops or increases. When you don't have open feedback complimenting the score, it's hard to determine who’s accountable for the change, let alone taking action. The number alone just isn’t enough.
3. Customer service = problem-solving.
This reason has to do with the nature of the job. Customers only reach out to customer service when they have a problem. Something else, out of the control of customer service, went wrong. If you want to focus on your team's performance, you need a metric and a follow-up question that's able to filter out the original annoyance of why a customer got in touch in the first place.
How can you measure customer service performance instead?
Proving the value of your customer service team starts with relevant questions and asking for open feedback. The Customer Effort Score (CES) and the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) narrow down the focus. You can ask how satisfied they were with the assistance of the agent or how easy it was to solve their problem. This pushes the customer into giving relevant feedback about your department. There’s less of a focus on the negative experience that made them reach out, so you benefit from going for a targeted approach. The feedback will mostly include what you’re doing well or what you need to work on as a team, so it couldn’t be more specific and useful.
The impact of relevant customer service feedback
Getting a score - combined with open customer feedback (the reason why) about their interactions with your customer service team provides you with valuable insights over time.
1. Increase your team’s accountability
Targeted questions narrow down the accountability to what you can control and improve. If people still give you a low score but complain about the product, then you know it's not on you.
2. Increase employee engagement
Keeping customer agents motivated can be a challenge as they are always problem-solving. However, positive open feedback directly from the customer is a morale boost like no other.
From customer service to internal customer ambassadors
When we remove the fluffiness from the Net Promotor Score (NPS) to measure customer service accurately and reliably, it paves the way to demonstrate the value of the department. And more so, having clear feedback on how well they are performing adds to your internal credibility. Backed by customer feedback, customer-facing teams show what they are accountable for and can give input to back-office teams on what needs to be improved.
Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered U.S. Trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.
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