Driving Customer NPS with Employee NPS


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This article was originally published as a guest column on the ICMI blog. You can view the original article here.

Raise your hand if you’re a sucker for a good quote. If you could see me you’d see that I actually have both hands raised— well now I don’t because I’m typing. I’ve been guilty once or twice of skimming my Twitter feed in search of quotes that make me feel good. One of my favorites from Shep Hyken says, “Treat your employees the way you want your customers treated – maybe even better!”

Employee Engagement

In an effort to put this quote into practice, here are some things I’ve done over the years:

  • Hand out more Starbucks gift cards and other tokens of appreciation.
  • Hold more regular one-on-one meetings.
  • Conduct multiple iterations of employee engagement surveys.
  • Do all sorts of fun, culture-building activities.
  • Practice great internal customer service with the team.

These sorts of activities can certainly help improve employee engagement, but what are some of our goals when we talk about employee engagement?

Goals of Employee Engagement

If you’re anything like me, some of your goals for pushing employee engagement might include any combination of the following:

  • Reduced attrition.
  • Higher quality of customer service.
  • A happier place to work.
  • A well-caffeinated staff.
  • Higher performance review scores.
  • Career advancement opportunities.

Those are some great goals, but how do we measure the effectiveness of these efforts and show the business value? Another classic quote comes from Peter Drucker where he says, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Are these efforts achieving that?

Before I answer this question, I want to review, and maybe for some of you, introduce a couple metrics to consider.

Net Promoter Score

Many companies have adopted Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a measure of customer loyalty. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the measure asks customers to rate how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or colleague. Anyone that rates a 0-6 is a detractor and the 9-10s are promoters. Like any survey, the goal is to gather the feedback and figure out ways to improve the experience so that detractors become promoters.

Employee Net Promoter Score

I alluded to employee engagement surveys earlier in this post and along those same lines, want to introduce you to Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS). Similar to NPS, ENPS asks employees to rate how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or colleague. According to Bain and Company,

“Employee promoters power strong business performance because they provide better experiences for customers, approach the job with energy-which enhances productivity-and come up with creative and innovative ideas for product, process and service improvements.”

The Benefits of ENPS

Here are a couple reasons why ENPS makes sense:

Recruiting— In our contact centers, recruiters work nonstop to find enough staff to meet demand. Employees who are promoters of the company are more likely to share job openings with their network which is instrumental to our recruitment efforts. Having a terrific reputation in our communities is a must, which really places the onus on making sure our employees are engaged.

Customer Service— Customer service professionals who are engaged and enthusiastic about their jobs are a whole lot more likely to provide better customer service. As an outsourcer, we add an extra layer to that where we want our employees to not only be promoters of FCR, but also the client they are handling contacts for.

Tying NPS and ENPS Together

We’re still in the very beginning of this process at FCR, so our strategy is fairly simple. We now ask the ENPS question on our regular employee engagement survey and the NPS question on our client survey. It’s too soon to call it a trend but on our first go around, the scores were very close to one another with plenty of takeaways on how we can improve both the employee and client experience. In the cases where our clients also track NPS with their customers, we compare those results as well and partner with them on improving their customer experience.

In the article by Bain and Company, they show a terrific image called “The Promoter Flywheel.” It depicts a cycle where happy, engaged employees are creative and enthusiastic. These types of employees actively innovate and fix the problems that hamper the customer experience. This leads to loyal customers.

In the case of both NPS and ENPS, our major objective is to learn why our detractors are unhappy, take specific action to improve those issues, and close the loop by letting them know that it’s fixed. Thinking in terms of a contact center environment, this means identifying those issues customers are complaining about.  You know the ones where morale sinks as agents complain to one another with no hope in sight? When you identify and fix those problems, all of a sudden employees know someone is listening and their opinion and creativity are valued. And of course customers stop calling about those nagging issues and spend more time being loyal customers.

So if I may modify Shep Hyken’s quote slightly:

Listen to your employees the way you would listen to your customers and they will serve your customers even better.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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