Every company wants to understand its customers in order to develop its business and drive growth. Since 2003, NPS or “net promoter score”, has been a key metric to measure growth and loyalty. While gathering feedback from customers used to prove quite difficult, in this data-rich era the problem can often be too much data. When there’s tons of feedback and data to analyse, companies need to find new ways to organise research and use tools, such as the NPS, the right way.

Jarno Nousiainen, Holvi’s User Research Lead, shares how Holvi uses NPS and automated customer feedback analysis to get actionable results and reveals his best tips to help you do the same.

Is the NPS still a relevant metric?

Since its introduction by Rehichheld in 2003, the net promoter score (NPS) has become one of the most important customer satisfaction metrics and has been adapted by many companies to improve their customer understanding and loyalty programs. Even though the interest towards the 11-point scale question of “How likely are you to recommend” is not wavering, there is also healthy criticism questioning its value.

On the positive side, as a single number it’s easy to follow, it’s simple to ask and answer, there are benchmarks and executives love it. Then again, the score doesn’t guarantee loyalty and the number itself doesn’t tell you why you are getting such scores. It’s easy to forget customers who fall in the middle, and it’s not a metric that causes or guarantees growth.

To get real actionable value out of your NPS surveys, you need to ask your respondents why they gave you the scores they did. This way, you can analyse the sentiment and gain a more in-depth understanding of positive, neutral and negative answers. It takes some manual work, but this way you have more than just a random number in your hands.

Too much manual work clogs research

Here at Holvi, we want to have a deep understanding of our customers’ wishes and pains – and preferably in real time. And Jarno has a long history of doing just that. Originally joining Holvi as a customer support specialist, he believes that it all starts with a solid understanding of people.

Previously, Holvi’s customer feedback and NPS collection was largely based on manual work. Jarno used to go through, translate and categorise all customer feedback that Holvi received.

Six months ago, Jarno identified a problem: the company and the number of Holvi customers were growing almost too quickly. Along with the rapid growth of Holvi’s customer base, the amount of feedback was also increasing.

At the same time, Holvi was also exploring new markets, which meant that customers were being served in more languages (and, similarly, that feedback was received in more languages). Customer research was no longer a one-man job.

Ultimately, the beloved NPS was not providing any real or actionable insights. It was just a number that left Holvi wondering: why?

Automated customer feedback software up and running in six days

The help came from Lumoa, an automated customer feedback software.

Lumoa has developed a customer feedback analytics system tailored for Holvi that allows us to make customer feedback actionable. More than just collecting feedback, the software allows us to understand what drives our NPS up or down through automated sentiment analysis.

A common concern for customer feedback software buyers is how much time it can take to implement a new service solution into an already established system. While we too had our concerns, within six days of using Lumoa to analyse and improve our customer experience management, our team had access to a tool with company-tailored analytics.  

”We were concerned that uploading the data and fine tuning the analytics for our particular case would take a long time. However, we had a working system in less than a week and we were able to refine the results so they would suit our needs with very little involvement”, says Jarno.

From time-consuming manual analysis to real-time understanding

Today, automation is the core of Holvi’s customer feedback collection and analysis. Product managers can see in real time which areas of our service and offering gets positive or negative comments, and gain a better understanding of what the feedback means. This way, we can easily make the data actionable.

“Now everybody in the company understands what our customers wish and can make a link between customer feedback and what to do about it. We are able to proactively solve customer problems instead of spending days working to understand the data”, says Jarno.

In Holvi, things tend to move forward fast. The project has already switched owners and now Stephen Smith, Customer Success Manager, coordinates the feedback collection and analysis and concludes the actionable points based on the findings.

And the work doesn’t stop there. Both the promoters (happy customers) and the detractors (not-so-happy customers) are addressed. Promoters receive an invitation to join Holvi’s ambassador program while detractors are contacted via email to acknowledge and address their dissatisfaction.

“It’s important to reach out to the unhappy customers as well. That way we can ask for further feedback whilst reminding them that we are here for them”, explains Stephen.

Making sure customers know they’ve been heard

As we turn customer feedback into actions, we want to ensure that our customers know that their feedback matters and that they are up to date on what’s coming up in product development.

To that end, Holvi has launched a Product Portal to promote openness and make sure customers know we are using their valuable feedback to improve our product.

“We have started a process whereby our intersectional teams sift through the customers’ feedback and comments each month and come up with actionable feedback. The teams will then work on these actions and we will report back to customers to let them know their voices have been heard”, says Stephen.

Jarno’s 4 tips to collect customer feedback and maintain good relationships with your customers

Regardless of the size of your business, you need to understand your customers. But especially for small businesses, it can be time-consuming to first get feedback and then analyse it.

To sum up his learnings, here are 4 tips to help businesses of all sizes collect and analyse customer feedback.

1. Remember to always ask “why”.

Without the why there’s little depth to the feedback you receive. Dig in a bit deeper by asking, for example, “Care to tell us why?” or “Your feedback will help us to improve. / Good to know! Would you tell us why you feel that way?”

2. Learn what your methods can and cannot do.

Spend extra time in understanding what the method (NPS or other) you’re using actually can and cannot tell you. Any tool used in the wrong way can lead to less optimal results.

3. Build relationships.

Foster conversations and relationships instead of just sending out "customer satisfaction surveys”. Continue the discussion further and actively engage your customers.

4. Listen, listen, listen.

...instead of leading or assuming. When asking about your offering, do it in an open-ended way and avoid naming or suggesting answers. Let the customers tell you how they see and experience your offering.


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