How to Become a Company Your Customers Will Recommend
Everyone knows customers are more likely to tell more people when they are dissatisfied with a company than when they are satisfied. Message boards and community forums are full of disgruntled consumers all too happy to bash a company to anyone willing to listen. Social media has made it easier than ever for customers to voice their opinions to the masses, often convincing curious prospects they should go elsewhere. Companies are under increasing pressure to appease dissatisfied customers as quickly as possible to avoid the potential public backlash.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index® (ACSI), the telecom industry is towards the bottom of the list when it comes to satisfied customers. That’s why we’re pretty excited about our continually increasing Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS is a simple system that asks a company’s customers how likely they are to recommend the company to a friend or colleague. Customers respond with a number from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most likely. Based on responses, customers can be categorized into one of three groups: Promoters (9-10 rating), Passives (7-8 rating) or Detractors (0-6 rating). Then the percentage of Detractors is subtracted from the percentage of Promoters to obtain the NPS. It’s the purest method to understand how your company is perceived by the people who end up being the biggest promoters, or detractors, for your business.
While many companies use the NPS system, not all publish their results, particularly if the score is low. The average U.S. company has an NPS of 15, with telecom and cable industries having the lowest ratings of as low as negative 4. ShoreTel’s current NPS is 45*, based on the most recent annual score.
ShoreTel is one of the few VoIP companies to publish its NPS every year. We implemented the model in 2008 to center our company on our customers and provide accountability.
A Truly Customer-Focused Company Values Customer Feedback
We love seeing these high numbers and go to great lengths to understand how our customers feel about our products and services. We survey our existing customers every year and new clients are surveyed within 60 days after receiving their first invoice. By regularly communicating with our clients, we keep our NPS current and accurate. Should we see a downward trend, we know we have some work to do to get the number back up.
The NPS isn’t just a number to us – it’s a reflection of how we’re doing as a company in the eyes of our customers. We’re not satisfied with just being an “okay” VoIP provider; we want our customers to believe we are the best VoIP provider and recommend us to others. Where does your VoIP provider rank?
(*Third party NPS survey conducted by Harte-Hanks in August 2013).