POSTED : May 1, 2015

Net Promoter Score (NPS) programs can be powerful tools for B2B firms to drive customer loyalty, growth, and profitability. Research shows improved NPS performance for B2B firms correlates strongly with sales growth, improved client retention, higher profitability, and improved employee engagement.1

Even with evidence to support the value, many B2B executives still balk at implementing NPS programs due to doubts about the applicability of NPS outside of B2C or based on seeing other B2B firms struggle with implementing successful NPS programs. While B2B firms face a more complicated effort to implement NPS, the end-value to B2B businesses is as powerful – if not more – than for most B2C firms.

Success with Net Promoter requires that B2B firms take time to plan and implement NPS programs that are designed with a customer-centric understanding of their specific industry, business model, and customer-base. This is vital for NPS to work in B2B, given the complexity of most B2B sales and service interactions, long sale-cycles, multi-tiered customer relationships, frequently complex customer data, and difficulties with targeting Voice of the Customer feedback.

Here are a few best practices for a successful NPS program:

Define the Goals – First and foremost, leadership needs to agree on what they want to understand about customer relationships via a NPS program. NPS programs can provide insights into customer loyalty and retention in three different ways – measure customer relationships, measure customer journeys or specific interactions + touch-points, or for competitive benchmarking. Each requires different methods, targeting, and analysis to be successfully implemented and managed. B2B and B2C firms typically start by measuring relationship level NPS with existing customers then move to measuring specific experiences, touch-points, or journeys. Benchmarking is often done via externally conducted NPS rankings, which can be hard to validate for accuracy. If it is important to the business, competitive NPS studies can be successfully structured to provide competitive and market insights, but they require extra attention to design and ensure data collection methods get it right.

Define the Customer – Firms need to clearly define the relationship matrix within their various segments. B2B NPS programs need to know who to ask for feedback as well as be able to identify who provided feedback based on their role in the relationship. Are they a frontline user, key influencer or decision maker? It is vital to gather feedback from each level and be able to view NPS segmented by these roles. Understanding the relative size, complexity and value of B2B customers will help in determining the right approach to gather customer feedback.

Understand the Journey – Finally, B2B firms need to create a holistic view of the customer journey. By mapping out the full breadth of the journey, B2B CX teams can identify the key moments of truth and understand where they should be targeting to gather meaningful feedback. Mapping these journeys allow for targeting the collection of feedback at key moments of truth and timed with the stages in customer lifecycle.

Have questions on how to implement your NPS program? PK’s Strategy and Design team can help!

1 Temkin, CEB and Bain

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