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Start by measuring and improving client satisfaction.

Last year when I wrote the article about client acquisition goals, I mentioned the importance of assessing client satisfaction before you push for more client referrals. In this article, I’ll discuss a tactic you can use to benchmark the “health” of your client relationships so you can quickly react to potential issues and improve loyalty over time.

On a scale of 0-10…

Have you ever received an email survey after a purchase or customer service interaction that included this question?

On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague?

You click the button under the corresponding number, from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). This is often followed by the question “Why?” along with a text box for details.

This concept, called Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, was created by Fred Reichheld and Bain & Company. You can use the same approach to determine how likely your clients are to refer your firm to a friend or peer. Your firm’s Net Promoter Score is based on the percentage of responses falling within three categories:

  • Promoters – score of 9-10. These are loyal clients who are most likely to refer your firm to others.
  • Passives – score of 7-8. These clients are satisfied, but not necessarily loyal to your firm.
  • Detractors – score of 0-6. These clients are least satisfied, and more likely to spread negative feedback.

The execution is pretty simple. Email the NPS question (and the “Why?” follow-up question) to your clients using SurveyMonkey or another inexpensive email survey tool. You can do this at regular intervals (as in once per year), or at predetermined stages during a client’s experience (like at case close) with your firm. Mentioning in the introduction that there are only two questions should help improve the response rate. For the latter approach, aggregate results over a period of time, such as a month or quarter.

Most commonly available survey tools now automatically calculate NPS scores. If your survey tool doesn’t do this, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. For example, if you have 70% promoters, 20% passives, and 10% detractors, your score is 60. Scores can vary from -100 to +100, and a score of 50 or above is generally considered excellent.

It’s just a number

Your initial score is the benchmark of customer loyalty at one point in time – a data point. Don’t take it personally, as you will always have promoters and detractors. What’s most important is how you react to the constructive feedback and improve your score over time.

Responses to the “Why?” question may help you target a few areas for improvement that will turn detractors into promoters. Spend equal time focusing on expanding the activities that drive promoters, which you’ll find are often different from the activities that turn around detractors.

More promoters = more referrals

As you are able to measure and improve client satisfaction, you can feel more confident reminding clients of the importance of their referrals to your business. There will be more loyal clients saying more nice things about you – the best (and most inexpensive) type of marketing available. Want help implementing NPS or a client satisfaction survey? Please contact us.

Note: NPS and Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.

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