Net Promoter Score Software Buyers Guide

August 2019

Choosing the best Net Promoter Score (NPS) software for your business is no easy task. We talk to hundreds of businesses about their requirements for customer or employee feedback systems and explain the top ten types of feature that form the decision-making process of most customers as they look to choose the best Net Promoter Score software for their needs.

Successful businesses use customer feedback to improve their products and the customer experience. Used by millions of businesses around the world, one of the most established ways of gathering and analyzing feedback is the Net Promoter Score methodology.

However, choosing the best Net Promoter Score (NPS) software for your business needs is no easy task, so take your time to consider what you want from the setup and how other organisations use NPS. Will your business grind to a halt if you choose the wrong NPS software for your needs, or implement it badly? Probably not - and that’s a good thing. 

Equally, software that doesn’t make a difference, or can’t be used properly, is a waste of your budget. And let’s be honest - you’ve got things to do, targets to hit, customers to wow...and you want anything you spend to be working towards these goals 100%. 

The good news is that if you plan right and find customer satisfaction software that works for you, meeting these goals will become more manageable. You’ll be able to track any issues that customers are currently having, iron out any pain points and, once your NPS score starts trending upwards, use it as a powerful marketing tool to attract new business. 

In short, good customer feedback software pays for itself, many times over - so it’s important you make the right choice. That’s why we’ve put together this buyers’ guide so you know which features are essential, and why.  

Gather your requirements

There are two sides to getting the most out of an NPS software purchase. 

The first is user training, which tends to come later in the process. Be sure to set aside time and money aside to get your user base up-to-scratch on how to use your new software once you know which vendor you’re going to move forward with. 

The other half of the equation lies in the software selection process, which you (since you’re reading this) are interested in. More specifically, it’s important to make sure early in the selection process, when you’re deciding what you need your NPS software to do, that you gather your requirements. 

The best advice we can give here is to be thorough. 

The features you need will ultimately depend on your company’s needs, so identifying these and liaising with key stakeholders (or ‘asking people what their departments need’, in non office speak) is crucial. 

We’ve personally spoken to hundreds of companies and talked them through their requirements, so we have a pretty good idea of what works, what is achievable, and what you really should focus on. And to start, there are some key NPS features which definitely should be on your list. Use these as a starting point from which to expand.  

Ready? Without further ado, we present:

The ten essential NPS software features you should look for

1. Survey customisation

No-one knows your customer base like you do, so it’s important to tailor the surveys you send out to their preferences, needs and expectations. 

Email NPS surveys:

First off, and as a basic requirement, you should make sure that the platform allows you to add your own branding to the emails you send out. Don’t see this as polish - see this as essential in ensuring that your customers trust the survey and it fits in with your design and branding. A survey that is branded with (for example) Survey Monkey branding rather than your own looks cheap and unprofessional, and customers will trust it less. This will have a serious impact on your response rate. 

The second level of customisation is the ability to use a range of templates; this will save you time and ensure that the key elements are all in place (such as unsubscribe links) to help you quickly create a range of different emails for your different customer groups or for your employee base.

Thirdly, at a more detailed level, if you already have a design for your email newsletters or website, then look for NPS software that lets you copy and paste in your HTML to create your email survey. Most companies have email newsletters or branding so your NPS surveys should be the same. This ties into branding - your customers will respond better if it’s in your own tone of voice - but also allows you to adapt the survey to the behaviour of your audience. 

Web NPS surveys:

When using web-based surveys, make sure that you can change the text, font, colors and, ideally, the CSS (web stylesheet) so the web survey will fit in with the design and style of your website.

Support for multiple languages:

Make sure that the platform you choose supports either multiple languages or the ability to edit all of the text to fit your geographic requirements. This applies to email surveys, web surveys and SMS surveys.

2. Audience segmentation

Being able to segment your audience has many benefits. Firstly, it allows you to break responses down via demographic type and see how you’re performing in each one (more on that below).

Secondly, it ensures that any surveys you create are sent to an appropriate cross-section of your customer base by age, location, product,or point in the customer lifecycle. This helps you get a completely representative view of how your business is doing, and to target particular segments with surveys if needed.  

Thirdly, you can use segmentation to see how different teams are working with the customer base by segmenting the customers by internal sales representative or relationship manager. For example, if you see great results from the customers of one sales executive, how can you share their best practice with others?

Whilst you can set segmentation up within the software, your new purchase should let you import them straight from a spreadsheet or your CRM - because you’re busy, and we’re sure you have better things to be doing than setting up everything manually all over again!

To ensure you can quickly and clearly see the results of how different segments perform and the trends across different groups, make sure that the platform supports both filtering of responses (so you can see all the text responses from, for example, one particular segment), or you can view graphs of the NPS results by segment.

3. Multiple Survey Channels and Campaigns

With GDPR now in full effect, and CCPA due on 1-january 2020, this point is absolutely essential.

You might have some customers who have opted in for email and SMS updates, but not post. They might have opted in for push notifications, but nothing else. They might just want email. 

Obviously, there’s a wider good practice point here about sending surveys to your audience in the form they engage with most, but it goes further than that. If you only opt for email survey support, you create a giant, legal fence between you and your customers that didn’t opt into email updates. This skews your data, and stops you addressing the needs of entire chunks of your customer demographics. 

Test channels and campaigns:

It’s always sensible to test different channels with groups of customers – for example, you might assume that your B2B customer group will respond better to email surveys, but if you test a small group with SMS surveys and compare results, you might see that this channel performs better. (Our experience is that SMS gets a better response rate than email, but also a much higher unsubscribe rate.)

Support for multiple channels and campaigns at once: 

People are more likely to engage if you ask them about a specific thing that they bought, rather than with your company in general. “How did you find opening an account with us?” is automatically more engaging and targeted than “How did you find your experience with BankXYZ?”

Another benefit is that you’ll be able to see how customers respond across different products. Taking the example of a bank, it’s important to know whether your detractors are mostly mortgage customers, credit card holders or those who have a current account so you can take appropriate, targeted action to improve products or services that lag. 

Multiple campaigns is also an absolute must-have if your company trades across more than one brand, because creating generic, one-size-fits-all surveys will not give you the results you’re hoping for. 

(As a side-note, make sure that your platform allows you to setup different users for each campaign – and can limit their view of your data; you don’t necessarily want a user in your London office viewing the results of the campaigns from your New York office.)

4. Survey schedule

If you want to get the most of what NPS can do, make sure you look at the flexibility of setting up schedules. 

Customer feedback campaigns should be as embedded into product launches as much as the testing phase, or the big exciting marketing campaign you’ve planned. 

Survey scheduling helps you do this (and is also just super convenient). Your customer satisfaction software should allow you to send a follow-up survey automatically at a given point after a purchase. This helps customer feedback become an intrinsic part of the purchase timeline, rather than an afterthought that only happens when someone calls up to complain. 

There are three basic schedules you can look to implement:

Repeating survey schedules:

These are regular repeating surveys sent to the same group of customers every month or quarter. This is the most common scheduled survey.

Drip survey schedules:

These spread out sending surveys across a period of time. For example, if you have 3000x surveys to send every month, you could setup a drip campaign that will send out 100x surveys every day for a month. These are great to see which day gets the best response. (Make sure your software allows you to select different time periods, eg spread out the surveys over one week or six weeks; and lets you select sending on working days or every day of the week.)

Event-driven schedules:

These are surveys sent after an action or event has occurred. Typically, this action might be closing a support ticket or concluding a sale. This normally works by integrating your software with a helpdesk system or ecommerce or CRM system.

Regardless of which schedule you decide to implement, make sure that the software lets you send out another survey to anyone who has not responded first time around.

5. Link to your systems: look for a range of integrations

It’s becoming ever more essential that your business software stack integrates easily with each other. NPS software is no exception. 

At a very basic level, you should look for integration with the following software: 

  • CRM (e.g Salesforce): makes sure your contacts are always up-to-date and automatically syncs when someone updates them.
  • Customer satisfaction software (e.g Zendesk): helps turn your detractors into promoters by allowing you to deal with their issues quickly. Help this happen by integrating with Zendesk, so that your customer service team can deal with the issue immediately.
  • Social media and review websites (e.g Twitter, TrustPilot): encourage your promoters to share their positive thoughts on social media and review sites with just the click of a button.
  • Team software (e.g Slack or Trello): imports complaints that will take time to resolve so you can keep track of progress and give customers updates when possible

If there’s an integration to then you know you can link to 1000s of different software systems so that everything runs exactly how you’d like it to.

APIs are important:

As well as a range of preset integrations, look for APIs to ensure future flexibility and automation. An API will allow you or your tech team to link your systems to the NPS software either to trigger a survey or to receive responses back. The normal APIs are webhooks (which are good for sending a survey after an action or event, such as a purchase) or REST API (often for bulk transfers of data).

6. Data import

Related to the above point, make sure that it’s easy to import your existing data into your new NPS solution. This could be from your CRM, or from Excel spreadsheets (or your existing NPS software).

This is a small but important point, which will save you hours of frustration and tedious overtime further down the line - so when you’re watching demos from potential vendors, so make sure you ask how their software manages this stage of the process. 

Of course, make sure that the platform lets you export the data as well – partly to help you if you ever switch to a new platform, but also to allow you to use the data with other analysis tools.

7. Survey analytics

The ability to analyse, and to make improvements based on that analysis, is central to the success of how effective your NPS survey setup will be.

First of all, you should look for software which allows you to track plenty of in-depth metrics on how your customers interact with your surveys. This is square one - if there are issues preventing your customers receiving your surveys, nothing else really matters. 

In particular, you should look for:

  • Delivery rate: what percentage of your surveys were received successfully by your customers’ devices?
  • Response rate: what percentage of people opened and responded to your survey? 

You should also look for all of the above by individual channel. This allows you to spot channel-specific discrepancies and move to fix them - if no-one’s responding to your SMS surveys, for example, you could try them with a mobile-friendly email survey. 

Response analytics

The other side of the coin here are analytics of the responses you receive from customers. This should go beyond simple ‘promoter/detractor’ metrics into something a bit more advanced, covering:
? NPS trend: is your NPS score tracking positive or negative over time?
? Filter by: drill down into groups of customers based on age, subscription type, location or any other key segment.
? Auto tagging for text: numbers only go so far. Auto text tagging lets you autoamtically read responses for sentiment or key words and tag themes by theme, so you can get a more in-depth understanding of what’s going on. 

8. Flexibility in user numbers

NPS software packages typically come with a set number of users for the monthly price you pay. 

Whilst this isn’t a software feature per se, you should look for vendors who are flexible and don’t lock you into a package for a set number of months. If your new software is generating interest across the business, or you expand and need more people to have access, you need to have the ability to max out on that.

Ask your vendor whether you can upgrade immediately. Can you switch your plan up or down  in case you have a big survey to send or are hitting a quiet period of the year? 

And if you’re looking for a customised enterprise package, ask how long it would take for extra user licences to be added to your agreement - or even if you could go unlimited.

9. Export customer feedback to website

NPS isn’t just about customer service - it’s also a very powerful marketing tool. People buy from people with good reviews, so if customers love your product, shout about it. 

Make the most of the power of social referral by linking your surveys with your social media and review networks (such as Trustpilot). Good ‘export customer feedback’ features should either be low or (ideally) no code - you won’t need to redesign your website or hire in specialist developers. 

10. Do it in real time

NPS isn’t just a survey. It’s also an opportunity to interact directly with your customers and fix any problems they’ve had with your company or products, as quickly as possible.

When you get a poor survey response, it’s important to engage with the customer immediately. Even some of your biggest detractors will have a change of heart if you deal with their issues quickly and effectively. To do this, look for a survey that allows you to route responses to the right department in real time. This might be email or via a Slack channel or through your CRM.

This allows you to, at the very least, acknowledge their grievances immediately and either respond to them or (if the complaint is significant and will take time to resolve) to update them on your progress in resolving it. 

How much should I be paying for these NPS software features?

Good question - and one that deserves an entire article in itself. Luckily we have one of those and you can check it out here.

The short answer is that for all the basic features, you’re looking at up to $99 per month for a fixed number of users, with some (very) stripped back free packages available too. This obviously increases as you add functionality - if you’re looking for something top end (think: all the features listed above plus all mod cons) this could rise to around $500 per month. 

We don’t need to warn you about the risks of spending too much, but remember not to be overcautious either. It’s tempting to think that getting a super basic package and expanding once you know people use it - the catch being that people won’t use it if it doesn’t have the features they want straight off the bat. Don’t promise more features tomorrow - deliver them as soon as you buy the software to guarantee immediate buy-in. 

You’ll figure out exactly which features these should be by carrying out a solid requirements gathering exercise - but we hope the basic list above has been a useful starting point. 

Our team are always on hand to answer any questions you have about SightMill.
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