Blog Startup Journey

Lessons Learned Sending a Net Promoter Survey to 4,000 Users

wrote this on

We’ve done thousands of surveys, tests and interviews to learn from our customers. Here’s what happened when we decided to measure our Net Promoter Score…

Over the past year, we’ve done a lot to collect qualitative data from our customers.

We’ve had thousands of conversations that helped us inform the redesign of our marketing site.

We ask every single new customer a simple question that has given us incredibly valuable feedback on their problems and motivations for signing up.

And when customers leave us, we use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

But one of our biggest challenges has always been quantifying that qualitative feedback.

For example, we’ve got thousands of Qualaroo responses. Juicy, open-ended answers that give us insight into the minds of our prospects.

Tons of Feedback Tons of Feedback

And that insight is massively valuable.

But we haven’t been very good at turning that feedback into quantifiable data that we can use to benchmark ourselves and measure the success of the steps we take to improve.

That’s why we decided to try a Net Promoter Score survey.

Net Promoter Score: A Brief Overview

In short, NPS measures customer loyalty and sentiment about your business by asking two simple questions:

Net Promoter Score Survey Net Promoter Score Survey

Results from the first question tell us how many of our customers are promoters (those who respond with a 9 or 10), passives (7 or 8) and detractors (0 to 6) of Groove.

Results from the second question tell us why.

Many businesses use NPS to determine which customers to target for referral campaigns. And we certainly plan on doing that, as referrals are a huge focus for us at the moment.

But what sold us on the idea of doing NPS was that we’d finally have a quantitative benchmark for how our customers feel; one that goes a bit deeper than just looking at revenue or retention.

Takeaway: The Net Promoter Score survey is a popular way for brands to measure customer loyalty. We knew that a lot of companies use NPS and decided to take the plunge, but we weren’t quite sure what to expect…

Deploying Our NPS Survey

After looking at a number of options, we decided to go with Promoter.io, a web app that automates much of the NPS-deployment process.

We’re not getting anything from Promoter.io for mentioning them, and you can probably get great results from using most survey tools, or even a free DIY solution like Google Forms. But we were very happy to have a turnkey app that did the hard work for us.

We sent a survey to 4,000 Groove users. Within hours, the responses started coming in. It quickly became pretty clear that the data we were getting our hands on was going to be very valuable.

Takeaway: As always, choosing the right tool for the job isn’t nearly as important as actually doing the job. There are a number of options at your disposal. Pick one quickly and act.

Qualitative Feedback

Now, we’ve collected a ton of qualitative feedback before we did NPS, and that wasn’t really the hole we were trying to plug.

But as we’ve learned, you can never get too much insight into what customers are thinking, and it was exciting to get some of our older findings confirmed, and others brought into question.

From promoters, we learned what our biggest fans love about Groove.

“Promoter” Feedback “Promoter” Feedback

From passives, we learned what we need to do to take some of our users from liking Groove to loving it.

“Passive” Feedback “Passive” Feedback

And from detractors, we learned about what we really needed to do better.

“Detractor” Feedback “Detractor” Feedback

And on a smaller scale, some of the detractor feedback has shown us what types of customers we’re not a great fit for.

Sorting the data, we’ve also learned some great lessons about what our customers, as a whole, value most about Groove.

What Customers Love Most What Customers Love Most

Takeaway: The qualitative feedback we got from our NPS survey was really valuable to us, and we already make an effort to have thousands of conversations each month with our customers. If you don’t already do that, then the feedback you get from NPS could very well change your business.

Quantitative Results

When all was said, done and tallied, we netted out with a score of 11.

While there are “guidelines” of differing opinions all over the web, on it’s own, that number is pretty meaningless to us.

But as a benchmark metric for gauging the sentiment of our customers, it’s absolutely critical and precisely the reason that we did the survey.

It makes our path to success clearer, and our strategy much more measurable.

Takeaway: There are a lot of ways to measure how “good” your Net Promoter Score is, but that’s not what we’re focused on right now. The most valuable part of this effort, for us, was a benchmark that we can now test ourselves against over the coming weeks, months and years.

What We’ve Done, and What We’re Doing

Our first move was to email every customer who logged a response, thanking them for their time and feedback. In some cases, we shared their enthusiasm. In others, we promised to do better (and meant it).

In hindsight, this increased the value of our survey quite a bit: around 20% of the emails that we sent got responses with even more feedback.

The Value of Follow-Up The Value of Follow-Up

We put every bug report and feature request that the responses contained through our prioritization workflow, and hope to tackle many of them in the coming days.

The responses are only about a week old, so we haven’t done a whole lot… yet.

But there’s much to come.

Now that we have a quantifiable goal to aspire to, our roadmap is much clearer. Next time, we want our NPS to hit 20.

We plan on repeating our NPS survey quarterly, and our efforts in between will be focused on turning our passive users into promoters.

How to Apply This to Your Business

The Net Promoter Score survey, based on our early experiences, looks like it will be tremendously valuable for us in the long run.

But every business is different, and the point here isn’t necessarily that you need to run an NPS survey, too.

The point is that, like many startups, we try to optimize a lot of things: conversions, traffic, retention, engagement.

But most of us don’t pay too much attention to optimizing customer feedback.

This exercise has given us a great way to optimize the way that we listen to our customers, and to set quantitative benchmarks to make sure that we’re acting on what we learn.

So whether you use Promoter.io, forms, surveys, email, Skype, telephone, or any other channel: please take this post as a reminder to go out, ask a lot of questions, and listen very hard.

It’s not the sexiest part of optimization, but if your experience is like ours, it’ll be more valuable for your business than any single conversion hack could ever be.

1,784 Shares
← Older Post Newer Post →

From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

2016 Annual Revenue
  • $0
  • $2.5M
  • $5M
  • $7.5M
  • $10M

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

You might also like: