6 things that Net Promoter Score won’t tell you (but conversation analytics will).


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Net Promoter Score is a useful metric. It will indicate whether you have a problem but it won’t tell you what the problem is. That’s where the conversation analytics comes in.

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who. (…)”

Rudyard Kipling, Six honest men

So, what do you know? You know that Net Promoter Score is important. You know that companies with higher NPS claim to experience faster revenue growth. You know your magic number, whether it be -8 or +96. You have that hard metric that, much like a compass, gives you a clear indication of your enterprise’s direction. What more do you know? Well, not much. NPS is a necessary health check, a basic exercise to establish the overall state of the company. It is universally recognised and respected. However, it has one substantial flaw – it delivers no insights.

Without additional questions, it is impossible to establish what customers are recommending – the company, product, service, agent or yet another aspect of the enterprise. This information is crucial to cultivating company growth and the Net Promoter Score itself. To improve NPS, it is essential to find the customer journey friction points. This is where Conversation Analytics comes in.

Conversation Analytics (see our Beginner’s Guide to Conversation Analytics) puts the actual voice in Voice of the Customer programs. It’s a research process designed to find the evidence behind the NPS ratings. Conversation Analytics captures and analyses all of the phone conversations with customers. It can quickly pinpoint the areas that are raising red flags –be it a topic, an agent, or a region. Its secret weapon is emotion rating. Conversation Analytics captures the dialogue, the context, the sentiment and the emotion, thus giving the complete representation of customers’ views.

“If you have the tools to show what your customer is actually experiencing and feeling, you can create a transparency that drives productive collaboration. If not, you are likely resorting to guessing about how to address what is good, bad or necessary along the customer journey.”

Christine Boyle-Ciccone and Summer Shelton of Wyndham Worldwide

Conversation Analytics, much like Rudyard Kipling’s six men, can provide your company with honest answers to some fundamental questions:

1. What do they say?

Voice of the Customer programs tend to have more value when based on the actual voice of the customer. On average, barely 2% of all centre recordings are ever listened to (typically with the purpose of scoring the agent). It’s during these conversations that clients are directly voicing their wishes, concerns, expectations and opinions. Conversation Analytics listens to all 100% of “conversations” and processes them so that they can be organised and interpreted. (Read: How to do data analytics. A 101 crash course for CEOs who slept in.). The findings present a pure, complete view of the customer experience from the client’s point of view. Furthermore, Conversation Analytic is also a compliance tool. At the moment, what agents are saying is largely unknown, due to limitations of the manual Quality Assurance process.

2. Who is it?

The age of personalization is upon us (Read: Top 10 Predictions for the Call Centre of the Future). As Dr Jodie Monger, the president of Customer Relationship Metrics put it in her recent article, “Existing customers realize that they are just one of a million, but they still want to feel that they are one IN a million to you.” In the coming years, there will be more emphasis placed on building the relationship between a customer and an agent. This simple, yet effective loyalty driver will be enabled by Conversation Analytics’ capacity to swiftly rank agent-customer matches.

“True loyalty doesn’t come because of an app. It doesn’t come because you have a punch card where, after ten punches, you get a free sandwich. It is about the relationship. Take away those “perks” and would the customer still be loyal?”

Shep Hyken

3. Why are they calling?

Customers will call for multiple reasons, but let’s face it, most of them will pick up the phone because something went wrong. Conversation Analytics listens to all the “conversations”. Its algorithms search for keywords, relationships and emotion correlations to establish the most sensitive friction points in the tissue of the company. It takes out the guesswork of the customer experience puzzle and replaces it with clear information, the evidence behind the NPS ratings.

4. When do they get angry?

Recognising angry calls is one of the tasks of Conversation Analytics. Because of the sheer scope of Conversation Analytics, it can easily identify the callers whose emotional state suggest they are close to waving goodbye to you and your services. Identifying these calls is the first step to reducing customer attrition. Addressing the issues raised by disgruntled customers is currently the ‘make it or break it’ for the companies competing for the marketplace.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Bill Gates

5. How do they feel?

We said it before, and we are not afraid to repeat ourselves. According to Gartner’s Megan Burns, “…emotion, how an experience makes the customer feel, has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than ease or effectiveness”. In an era when product and price become less influential, the experience will be a crucial differentiator. Recognising and addressing client’s emotions will be one of the main challenges that brands will face in the near future.

“You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied”

Jerry Fritz, customer experience speaker and author

6. Where can you improve?

Finally, the key point of the exercise – finding the location of the high points and the obstacles on your customer’s journey. After all Net Promoter Score is a reflection of just that. Conversation Analytics is a magnifying glass that uncovers evidence hiding behind the metrics. The majority of companies are recording the conversations with their customers and now they are starting to realise their potential. Genuine listening is the key to informed, data-based decision making, directly addressing issues raised by customers.

CEOs are often told that modern customers expect a ‘delightful service’. The truth is that at the moment they crave just a solid, functioning one. The journey to excellence starts by delivering that; a pot-hole free experience. The aforementioned ‘delight’ is what comes next. Conversation Analytics is what paves the way for the delight, by granting brands an opportunity to apply their efforts and resources precisely where they are needed.

Andrew Lamrock
Andrew Lamrock is the Director of Enterprise Intelligence at Call Journey, and was also the National Manager of Sales Programs at Telstra and CEO of Medibank Melbourne Ice.


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