Max Al Farakh Blog

Lessons Learned After running an NPS Campaign

Jan 17 2015 :: by Max

So, we've just finished running a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey for Jitbit Helpdesk. NPS is a hot new thing in the startup world. Well, it's not entirely new – traditional marketers have been using it for 20 years, but, since startupers tend to despise traditional marketers and ignore everything they did for the last 50 years, we've learned about NPS just recently.

Basically, NPS is a survey where customers tell you if your product is any good. You ask them a single question: "How likely is it that you would recommend Jitbit Helpdesk to a friend or colleague?" They respond on a 0-to–10 point rating scale and are categorized as follows: promoters (10–9), passives (8–7) and detractors (0–6). Your NPS is % Promoters – % Detractors. Everything above zero is supposed to be good.

Pressing the "Send Survey" button scared the crap out of me. I know that we have a decent product. I'm proud of the work we're doing. But do our customers actually like it? What if we are not that good at what we do? Should I have become a ballet dancer instead like my mom always wanted me to? Tons of similar questions were going through my mind when I pressed the button praying that we get a positive NPS.

Three days later our score settled at 42 (this is very very good). I'm writing this article for the following reasons:

  • To publish our numbers, since I couldn't find much data to compare ourselves to
  • To share what we've learned
  • To brag about our awesome score and to thank our customers once again

Other's numbers

I got the idea to run an NPS survey from this article on Groove blog. They ran two surveys (here is the article about the second one) and compared the results between them. Groove is actually our direct competitor, so their score is an excellent data point to compare ourselves to.

Going from a Net Promoter Score of 11 to 16 is a big, big win.

(I told you I was going to brag, didn't I?)

That was actually the only published score for a b2b web app I could find. Thanks a lot to Groove for publishing it.

Apple predictably has one of the highest NPSs ever: 70% for iPhone, 76% for Macbooks. Since I am an Apple fan boy, I took it as an absolute maximum one should devote their live to achieving. Of course their scores are hardly relevant to our industry, but it's nice to know the score for something objectively awesome.

This is practically all the data I could find.

Our numbers

NPS survey results

So, yeah, turned out that most customers love us very much. It came as a shock and I still think that there must've been some mistake. I honestly expected that the stripe would be mostly yellow. The results blew my mind. Thanks again to our customers, we love you too! Except for the guy who scored us "0" and wrote "you suck!" (still pissed at you). Here are the numbers:

  • NPS: 42%
  • Promoters: 50%
  • Passives: 42%
  • Detractors: 8%
  • Response rate: 29%

But the survey doesn't stop there. I've also sent a follow-up email to every customer.

Promoters

Promoters are the customers who responded with a 10 or a 9. Their feedback is the answer to the most important questions there is: Why people use (pay for) your product? I tried to find this out for a long time and this survey proved to be the most effective way to do that.

Here is a typical promoter response:

Great ticket support system for those not needing a million whistles and bells. Easy setup and not bloated like most. 100% up time and super tech support!

And here is summary of all promoter and passives responses of what exactly do they love the most:

NPS responses trends

The basic idea is that you keep doing what they love, since now you know what it is for sure. In our case we need to make the app even easier to use, keep providing great support and we probably should not touch our prices.

I followed-up with each of them via email and learned a lot more. I'm not going to bore you with the details – they are too specific to our app.

Passives

These are the people who responded with a 7 or an 8. This group is important. They like the product, but they miss something. Our job is to convert passives to promoters.

Here is a typical passive response:

Good app, but should be able to automate notification when new tickets remain unassigned for a specified period of time!

Or this:

Great interface, fast performance. Only issue I ever notice is that email notifications regarding a ticket being "closed" are inconsistent.

Passives' responses generally are a lot more specific. We got tons of feature requests and bug reports from them. But the real magic starts when you follow up with this question:

Thanks for the response. Is there anything we can do for you to make it a 10?

This is where I got the most useful responses. I found out that:

  • Our mobile apps need a lot more work
  • Users need way more reporting capabilities
  • We need to think about a redesign to modernize our look
  • Many people want their helpdesk to update in realtime without the need to refresh a page

Detractors

These are the people who responded with scores from 0 to 6. As you saw there was not a lot of these, but still. I would divide this group further into two subgroups: 5–6 scores and 0–4 scores.

I guess 5 or 6 is not a bad score in people minds. It's not a bad score in my mind either, I honestly have no idea why they are called "detractors". They seem to be no different from Passives. Customers from this subgroup were friendly and provided constructive criticism like this:

You discontinued text messaging and the app doesn't do push notifications. Until this is fixed, I cant go any higher.

People who responded with scores from 0 to 4 provided no feedback and didn't answer any of my follow-ups. Secretly I think that they do not count and our NPS is actually 48.

Should you run your own Net Promoter Score survey?

Yes. We've tried tons of different surveys, Qualaroo, question widgets, email campaigns, etc. NPS is the most effective thing we've done in a long time. For some reason, when you ask "would you recommend it to a friend?", you also get answers to:

  • What exactly do you like in our product?
  • What do you hate?
  • What can make you love it more?

The answers to those questions are priceless. Also, NPS survey has one of the highest response rate (29%) of any other campaigns we've ever done.

How to run your own NPS survey

Pretty simple. We've used Promoter.io and that's what I recommend everyone to use. This tool does only one job and it does it amazingly well. Their support was proactive and friendly. Worth every penny. I saw that there are some other tools, but I haven't tried them, because they looked ugly.

There are three stages to running an NPS campaign:

  1. Sending out your survey
  2. Following-up with each customer individually
  3. Analyzing the results

Do not skip the second stage. This is where you get the most useful stuff.

That's all I had to share. If you are going to run an NPS survey, please share your result in comments (even if it's bad) along with the description of your product. I will add them to the article. Thanks for reading.

'Lessons Learned After running an NPS Campaign' was written by Max by Max. co-counder