NPS driving best practice customer service from Rackspace

May 2019

Here at SightMill, our servers and infrastructure is managed by Rackspace: one of the best-in-class providers for security and reliability, which means our servers run to ISO/IEC 27001 security management. 

Security was a must-have when we chose a technology provider to manage our servers, however, one of the other key reasons we chose Rackspace is its focus on a customer-centric approach, using Net Promoter Score at the heart of its strategy. For us, it made perfect sense for an NPS software provider like SightMill to partner with an NPS-focussed company like Rackspace!

We can always learn from the best-practice methods of implementing customer-centric strategies, and in this blog we’ll walk through the various plans and ideas that Rackspace uses to measure and improve customer satisfaction using Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Rackspace: The backstory

Rackspace was founded back in 1998, and it quickly grew from a small startup to a huge conglomeration that employs almost 6,000 people across four continents. 

Today, the company generates US$1.8 billion in annual revenue from 300,000+ customers across 120 countries, and it’s undoubtedly established itself as a leading cloud provider in the market. Rackspace currently has offices in Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Israel, The Netherlands, India, and Hong Kong, and data centers across the world. The company went public in 2008, and it was purchased and taken private by Apollo Global Management LLC in 2016.

Rackspace’s NPS score

Rackspace’s NPS score generally hovers around the 45 to 60 mark (here’s how to calculate NPS scores). This is one of the highest NPS scores in the tech industry, and goes a long way in helping Rackspace differentiate itself from its competitors. 

Putting customers first with NPS

Rackspace is well-known for its own brand of customer-centric culture, which the company calls Fanatical Support.

At the end of the day, building long-lasting relationships with our customers is Rackspace’s most important objective. As Mark Roenigk, Chief Operating Officer of Rackspace puts it, satisfied customers will tell their colleagues about Rackspace, becoming promoters for the brand and an “external sales force” for the company. Mark goes on to note that Fanatical Support is “essential” to Rackspace’s success, and that this unique culture lies at the core of their company.

How does this relate to NPS? Well, Rackspace relies heavily on NPS surveys to ensure that it lives up to its goal of delivering Fanatical Support. Interestingly, the company has been sending out NPS surveys and asking its customers whether they’d recommend Rackspace since 2003. (That’s when the original Harvard Business Review report on NPS was published). 

That said, the company realized early on that just asking the question and calculating a score isn’t sufficient. To maximize the value that they got out of NPS, Rackspace started tracking customer responses to detect positive or negative shifts in their satisfaction. This also allowed them to reach out to a customer directly if need be. 

Reviewing and responding to customer feedback

Apart from tracking NPS scores and identifying shifts in customer satisfaction, Rackspace also goes one step further, and actively responds to customer feedback. And while most companies might assign this task to a customer satisfaction team or a support team, over at Rackspace, it’s CEO Lanham Napier who looks into customer feedback.

According to Mark Roenigk, Lanham Napier actually reads open-ended responses from customers everyday, and he even personally replies to some of these responses. Why does Napier take time out of his busy schedule to do this? The CEO believes that the path to greatness comes through earning “9”s and “10”s from their customers; he’s often quoted as saying: “Greatness is achieved when customers say we are great.”

How Rackspace achieves its high NPS scores

If you’re wondering how Rackspace manages to achieve its high NPS scores, General Manager Angus Dorney shares that it has a strict hiring process that helps it find and keep the right people. According to Dorney, Rackspace is a culture-driven company, and adhering to a stringent hiring process helps the company enforce their customer-first approach.

More specifically, Dorney says that Rackspace evaluates candidates primarily based on their values, although they look at skills and capabilities as well. On top of that, he also states that Rackspace hires only one person for every 17 interviews it conducts. 

The bottom line? To deliver great customer service (and achieve a high NPS score), you’ve got to assemble a team of rockstar employees who care and will go the extra mile for your customers. To do this, make sure you fine-tune your hiring process, and prioritize culture and values fit above skills or capabilities. 

Here at SightMill, we've been using Rackspace since we launched. And no, this isn't a sponsored article... we're just big fans of any company that uses a metric we believe in to make their business better!