One of our B2B clients recently asked me whether the frequency of contacting customers impacts NPS. To be honest, I had not thought about this until I was asked. I could intuitively tell that contacting customers frequently and resolving their concerns even before the NPS survey is executed would certainly tip customers towards giving a positive feedback. However, I did not have any empirical data to prove the same. So, I did some research and came across the very same query answered on the Net Promoter System blog. Interestingly, while the post is from 2011, it is still so relevant!
The blog argues that contact with the sales or customer service team may influence the NPS feedback. It also deals with the question of whether the frequency of customer contact should be accounted for when calculating NPS.
I reckon this is a question that several businesses might be seeking an answer to. Therefore, I would like to answer it from my perspective.
Do customers like being contacted?
As part of the DevOps function at Omoto, we work with an outsourced cloud services company that manages our cloud infrastructure. When I started working with them, they laid out a plan of how they would set-up and support the growing infrastructure requirement for Omoto. It all sounded great and we started working towards it. During the first few projects, I had a good experience working with them. Over the course of time, I got busier with other activities and assigned one of my team members to coordinate with the services company.
As time passed, I hardly heard from them and our collaborations started falling apart. I was dissatified with how this relationship was being managed. Initially, I would always call my sales contact at this company and complain about the situation. He would ensure someone got back in touch with me and he always delivered on his promise. This relieved me and, just for the sake of saving myself the effort and time to look for another service provider, I continued working with the same provider.
After a few more months, the sales contact also moved on to other clients. I too did not want to bother him with service issues. Being less than satisfied with the set-up with this cloud services company, I started looking out for alternatives while giving them feedback about how badly they were managing the relationship.
I am sure this sounds all too familiar if you have hired an outsourced services partner. What happened next actually changed the course of my decision.
One fine day, I received a call from a Customer Success Manager from my service provider. As far as I remembered, they never had that position at all! But man, was I glad to receive that call! The manager was extremely professional and initiated the conversation by apologizing for the silent line for the past few months. From then on, I have heard from this person regularly. I also appreciate the fact that he updates me on the progress of all the projects.
Of course, the company realized that they were not doing a good job at their customer relationship management. What is appreciable is that they appointed someone to handle that permanently. This incident taught me that in a B2B context, it certainly helps to keep in touch with your customers. Most customers defect because their issues are not being addressed and not because someone else pitched them a better product! If you can manage to stay in touch with your customers, listen to them, and resolve their concerns, your relationship with them is bound to get stronger. Undoubtedly, this would lead to an increase in the NPS.
Should you consider the frequency of customer contact as a factor in calculating NPS?
I believe it is important to stay connected to your customers, and NPS is one of the ways to do so. It is clear that not making regular contacts with your customers would mean that you lose sight of their concerns. Naturally, such customers turn out to be detractors in your NPS survey. Ultimately, NPS acts as a reflection of the customer experience you are delivering. If by increasing the frequency of customer contact, you are improving the customer experience, you must pursue that course. But don’t use the lack of customer contact as a factor to adjust the score itself. The score is the outcome of your actions, so use it as a measure of how effectively you are performing your actions.
Finally, as mentioned in the blog, very frequent customer contacts might also prove counterproductive. Check that your organization strikes a balance and keeps in touch with customers to strengthen the relationship, not to improve the NPS. If you are delivering a great experience and adding value to your client’s life every time you contact him/her, your NPS will take care of itself.