Alain Mowad

How to Improve your Net Promoter Score and Reduce Customer Effort in a Rapidly Changing World

Share this article

Customer expectations are rapidly evolving. Contact center strategies, unfortunately, are not. The result is a continuous widening gap between what customers expect from the companies they deal with, and what those companies actually think those expectations are.

The Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2013 indicates the increasing importance of the millennials demographic and how changing expectations brought on by mobile computing platforms and the phenomenon of channel switches are evidence of this gap. Research conducted by  CEB claims more consumers are looking to web self-service first to resolve their issue, resorting to calling only when they can’t resolve their issue online. The increased customer effort required as a result negatively impacts customer loyalty and negates any potential benefits achieved by delighting the customer during a specific interaction.

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is still considered to be the most effective way to market any product or service. This is where the Net Promoter Score (NPS) becomes important. The NPS provides a strong indicator of customer loyalty and whether that customer will recommend the company and its products (a promoter) or either not recommend or negatively recommend that brand (a detractor).

NPS Scale

Despite concerns that the NPS question may be confusing for some, and perhaps not provide as clear a picture of customer loyalty to a company and its products or services, it remains nonetheless a widely used and accepted metric in most industries.

Moreover, there is a correlation between Customer Effort Score (CES) and the NPS. Customers who expend less effort in their relationship with a company are more inclined to remain loyal and to promote them to their contacts. Removing barriers that make interactions between a customer and the company then becomes a key strategy to reducing the CES and increasing the NPS.

To eliminate these barriers, organizations have to take a fresh look at how they are interacting with their customers. Delighting the customer on each and every interaction, which has been the common wisdom shared and measured by contact center vendors for decades, has not been effective in reducing customer effort because it focuses on the individual interactions, not the customer journey. Fundamentally, then, the first call resolution metric widely adopted by contact centers and promoted by contact center vendors is flawed. A customer may get a specific issue resolved on a call or via email, for example, but that issue or a related issue may come up again a few days later. From the customer’s perspective, their issue was not resolved.

Understanding how a customer interacts with an organization and uses its products and services provides an ongoing indicator of overall customer effort and provides clues as to ways organizations can better respond to customer needs while evolving their product and service offerings. Tracking customer touch points with the company through web, email, chat, phone, set top box and social media, and connecting those interactions with big data and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions provides context to the customer’s evolving journey with the company’s brand.

Most importantly, rich context allows companies to derive key points in the customer journey and can provide valuable recommendations and insights into ways to continue improving that journey.

Want to learn more? Watch Alain’s webinar on-demand: Reducing Customer Effort and Increasing Your Net Promoter Score.