By Peter Tranberg Møller, COO in NPS.Today
In a series of short articles my colleagues in NPS.Today and I will be sharing knowledge, experience and inspiration on how to create an operational loyalty programme that works in practise.
All content, suggestions, inspiration etcetera is based on our work and experiences from all our customers in the NPS.Today.
In the articles we use the NPS methodology (Net Promoter Score), which is the simplest and most effective method for an operational loyalty program. However, we will not be sacred in our approach to the methodology, as we often meet organisations that want the benefits that the NPS methodology offers, but who also want to ask more specific questions than just the question “how likely is that you would recommend… “, which is the original form of the methodology.
We often meet organizations that explain that they are already using NPS as part of an existing customer survey or annual questionnaire. There is nothing wrong with that, but what we at NPS.Today focus on is how a loyalty program provides much greater value when implemented with a simple and effective methodology like NPS across the entire customer relationship.
Basically, an operational customer loyalty programme is all about these three disciplines:
The program becomes truly effective and generates the maximum value when it becomes a natural part of the daily work of the employees across the organisation and the entire customer journey. Starting from the search phase, to the sales/purchase phase, delivery/use phase to the service, re-purchase and upsell phase.
This first article will deal with the topic “What is operational NPS” and “What is the difference between relation surveys and transaction/touchpoint surveys”. We will also discuss whether NPS-based surveys can, or should, replace traditional surveys.
In the following articles in the series you can read about:
- How to measure best with NPS in an operational loyalty program?
- How do you ignite operational customer loyalty?
- How to ensure follow-up and action in an operational loyalty program?
- How to convert feedback in to optimizing the customer experience?
What is an operational loyalty program?
We have no fixed definition of that. However, basically, when a customer loyalty program becomes a clearly defined process, it becomes an ongoing program, rather than an annual project. This way it becomes an integrated part of the customer-facing work processes.
An example of a first small step towards a more operational customer loyalty program could be turning a annual or semi-annual customer survey, which is typically sent to all customers, in to a continuous survey. This could be done by dividing the customer base into smaller groups and then ask fewer customers at a time throughout the year.
There are many advantages and benefits to be gained from a more operational loyalty program, where the feedback from customers come in smaller portions. This means that the program becomes dynamic and more relevant. The customer barometer is not only moving once a year and the interest in the program, and thus for customer focus, increases throughout the organisation.
Another significant gain from an operational customer loyalty program is the follow-up process. If a survey is only conducted rarely the task of following up on customer feedback becomes a lot of work. This will most likely interfere with the daily work, and therefore replying to customers will probably be unnecessarily delayed.
Getting responses from customers in smaller chunks throughout the year will become a natural part of the employees ‘ everyday work, and customers will feel the follow-up process both faster and more relevant.
In the ideal operational program, the relationship measurement (the overall NPS score) is thus spread out over the year. The timing can be random or, even better, timed in relation to the customer’s “life cycle”. It could be X-number of months after a customer has become a customer, X-number of days since the lastest purchase, X-number of days before a renewal, etc. We will later go into how that type of surveys can be automated.
What is the difference between relation surveys and transaction/touchpoint surveys?
In relation to the timed relation survey, the question arises of the difference between the relation surveys and the transaction/touchpoint surveys.
If a customer is asked about loyalty and feedback immediately after a transaction/touchpoint, the NPS rating and the related comment from the customer are likely to be greatly influenced by that current experience.
This data can build an overview of customers’ experiences in specific transactions/touchpoints. Finally, these data and surveys should not be confused with the overall relation survey and NPS, as this is a picture of the customer’s entire relation to the company and not an individual experience.
For these reasons the relation NPS and the transaction/touchpoint NPS should be completely separated. For most of our customers the transaction/touchpoint NPS has actually completely eliminated the use of traditional surveys with many, and for the customer less relevant, questions.
Get a lot more with a lot less
We are in dialogue with customers almost every single day who would like to use the NPS-method, but who feel the need to ask additional and more specific questions. The reason often being that they have done so in the past, and since they have then added NPS. They fear that when using the pure NPS-method, they will lack answers to specific questions.
In general, it is a bad solution to mix general surveys together with a simple and effective loyalty program. Firstly, and most importantly, this makes it extremely difficult to make the program truly operational, as the organization will drown.
Secondly, the relation with the customer will be burdened with long surveys and it makes it more difficult to also ask in different touchpoints throughout the customer journey. With an NPS-based survey the customer is ready to respond more often and give his unreserved and objective opinion in the additional comment.
This is where almost all customers find that they get more feedback with the simpler survey, because the customer only needs to spend a short time to give his answer. The survey is now from the outside-and-in and not vice versa.
Your customer experience rader
With an NPS-based loyalty program it is possible to harvest input from your customers in both the relation and in the transaction/touchpoints. Good and bad experiences can be identified across the customer life cycle.
We see this as your customer experience radar which keeps an eye on the experiences across the customer journey and tells you where you can take action.
Is your customer experience radar only on a few times a year? Imagine that the military or others used their radar in the same way!
This was the first article in our series about operational customer loyalty in practice.
We’ll be back soon with more on how to ignite an effective NPS-based customer loyalty program.
If you want more information now, feel free to take hold of me or my colleagues.