A Christmas Message to Our Customers

We’re coming to the end of another year and all in all, it’s been a good one for us here at Deep-Insight.

We are an Irish company – and proud of it – but our client base is international. Over the past 12 months, we have carried out customer and employee assessments in the UK, Netherlands, Poland and Australia as well as in our home market. That said, one thing that I have noticed in 2015 is a marked increase in activity from local companies. The Irish recovery is definitely under way.

NEW FACES

 

Jamie Jaggernauth

We’ve had a particularly busy year at Deep-Insight and as a consequence, there are a few new faces in the Cork office these days.

We’re delighted to welcome Jamie Jaggernauth, who is our latest addition to the Deep-Insight team.

Jamie hails from Trinidad and has worked in a variety of research roles in the Caribbean, UK and Ireland before joining Deep-Insight.

NEW CLIENTS

We also added a few new names to our client list during 2015, ranging from large well-established firms like the health insurer VitalityHealth in the UK to newer digital organisations like DoneDeal, which is Ireland’s biggest classifieds site (and which is part of the Norwegian-headquartered Schibsted Media Group).

In fact, DoneDeal celebrated its 10th birthday this year so a big happy birthday to John, Cathal, Kristian, Simon and the rest of the DoneDeal crew!

DEEP-INSIGHT’S OWN CUSTOMER ASSESSMENT

Earlier this month, we asked you what you thought of your relationship with us.

Now, I must admit I awaited these result with some trepidation. We think we deliver an excellent service to our clients but it’s always slightly scary waiting to hear what people ACTUALLY say about us and the benefits of working with Deep-Insight. It’s scary because we do take your feedback personally and it’s always a little nerve-wracking waiting for the results ton come through.

Last year, we had a Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) score of 5.2 and a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 17%. I was a little disappointed with those scores last year as they were down from the scores we received on our previous assessment and I felt that we could – and should – have done better.

A NPS of 17% is above average (more on average and good Net Promoter Scores here) but frankly it’s not that much above average. We had significantly higher scores in the past and we don’t see ourselves as a “slightly better than average” company. We used to be regarded by our clients as ‘Unique’ but in 2014 we dropped out of that zone. It’s a bit like a restaurant losing its Michelin Star – I was extremely keen to see if we could get back into the top bracket again this year.

So how did we do? How did you rate us?

2015 CLIENT FEEDBACK

 

This year, you gave us a Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) score of 5.7 and a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +37%.

I was a little stunned when the results came through as our NPS and CRQ scores had shot up dramatically. As many of you will be used to hearing me say at this stage, it’s quite a challenge to get your CRQ score to jump by more than 0.2 or your NPS to increase more than 10%. We had worked hard on a number of fronts over the past 12 months but the size of the improvement in scores still came as a surprise. So thank you for that vote of confidence in Deep-Insight – it really does mean a lot to us.

UniquenessThe other thing I’m particularly pleased with is the fact that we are back into the ‘Unique’ zone – that’s the light green box in the top right hand corner of the graphic. To be seen as unique, a company has to be able to provide a solution that truly solves its customers’ problems, as well as providing an excellent experience for that client. That’s something that only 10% of B2B companies achieve so it’s nice to be able to claim that accolade again.

There’s still plenty for us to work on. We’re currently analysing each and every verbatim to figure out exactly how to improve our service even further. We will be sharing these results with you as early as we can in the New Year.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2016

So there it is. 2015 is nearly over but we have some exciting things planned for next year.

Over the past few months, Rose Murphy has been talking to most of you about what you like and dislike about our current product offering. The feedback you have given to Rose, as well as the various suggestions you have made in this recent client assessment, will help us improve what we do and how we do it.

But for the moment, allow me to say a big thank you to each and every one of you for supporting us throughout 2015.

On a personal note, I’d also like to say a big thanks to the following (in no particular order other than alphabetical): Brian, Frank, Grainne, Jamie, Mark, Mary, Peter, Pim, Rose, Yvonne as well as to the rest of the wider Deep-Insight team who have helped to deliver a fantastic service to you – our clients – over the past 12 months.

Have a very peaceful Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year,

John

What is a ‘Good’ Employee Net Promoter Score?

What is a ‘Good’ Employee Net Promoter Score?

Last year, I wrote a blog post entitled What is a ‘Good’ B2B Net Promoter Score?. For some reason it turned out to be surprisingly popular. The blog still gets dozens of hits every week. I’m guessing that was because there’s a lot of nonsense posted on the Internet about companies achieving Net Promoter Score (NPS) results of +62 or even +78, or about people being hugely disappointed because they only achieved a score of +25.

Meanwhile, some of our own clients at Deep-Insight would get upset when I tell them their customer NPS was only marginally positive or – even worse – negative. The two simple messages in that blog post were:

“Be careful about how you interpret NPS figures”

and

“A customer Net Promoter Score of approximately +10 is the average for European B2B firms.”

 

eNPS versus NPS

In that blog, I was discussing NPS as a measure of customer advocacy. More and more, it is also becoming the de facto standard for measuring employee advocacy and employee engagement. So this blog will address the question: “What is a ‘Good’ Employee Net Promoter Score?”

Before I let you know what that magic number is, it’s worth digressing slightly to explain the basics of how NPS is calculated. If you’re already a net promoter aficionado, skip the box below.

HOW IS THE NET PROMOTER SCORE CALCULATED?

For the uninitiated, a company’s Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is based on the answers its employees give to a single question:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?”

Employees who score 9 or 10 are called ‘Promoters’. Those who score 7 or 8 are ‘Passives’ while any employee who gives a score of 6 or below is a ‘Detractor’. The actual eNPS calculation is:

Net Promoter Score = the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors

Theoretically, companies can have a Net Promoter Score ranging from -100 to +100.

 

So think about it. The only Promoters you have in your company are those employees who are prepared to give you a score of 9 or 10 out of 10. In the average American company (remember that the whole Net Promoter concept originated in the USA) that makes sense. Americans tend to score very positively when they are satisfied, so having a high cut-off point is appropriate. However, if you’ve grown up and live and work in a European country, you approach the Net Promoter question from a very different cultural perspective.

It’s a Cultural Thing

Many – nay, most – Europeans regard 8/10 as a very good score. Some will argue that 9s or 10s are only handed out in exceptional circumstances. This is culturally ingrained into us Europeans through our schooling system and particularly through our university grading system.

Making the Grade
In European universities, a First Class Honours degree requires a score of 70% (7 out of 10). Scores of 75% are remarkable, while scores of 80% (8 out of 10) and higher are almost unheard of. These cultural differences have to be taken into account when interpreting whether a particular Employee Net Promoter Score is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

The Magic Number

So what is a ‘Good’ Employee Net Promoter Score? We have been measuring NPS and eNPS since 2006. We do this mainly for European and Australian companies. The average Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) across all of our clients during that time has been a paltry -10. Yes, that really is a negative sign before the 10.

MINUS TEN!

Put it another way: achieving a positive Employee Net Promoter Score is a solid achievement for most European firms. Rarely do we see eNPS results in excess of +20.

So there you have it. If your company has just received a negative eNPS in the latest employee survey, don’t feel too bad. You’re in good company!
To find out more about Deep-Insight’s employee assessments, click here.
Does NPS Work for B2B Companies

* Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks and Net Promoter SystemSM and Net Promoter ScoreSM are trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems and Fred Reichheld

5 Things To Remember To Get Your Completion Rates Up

One of the questions we get asked a lot is: “What sort of completion rates do you guys normally get on an assessment?”

Well, the answer is that it depends on what sort of assessment you’re talking about – we provide feedback on relationships with customers, channel partners and suppliers, and the completion rates differ from one type of assessment to the next:

-For employee assessments, our typical completion rate is in excess of 90%.

-For corporate customer and channel partner assessments, it’s typically 35-40%.

-For supplier assessments, the average completion rate are somewhere in the middle: 60-70%.

The next question we get asked is “Is it really that high?”

Well, we mainly get asked that question in connection with customer assessments, as some of our clients think 35-40% sounds impressive. This is particularly the case when people compare our figures to the ones you might get on a typical consumer surveys, where sometimes as few as 2% of consumers will bother to complete a questionnaire (Petchenik & Watermolen, 2011).

Remember that we are talking about existing, often long-standing, business-to-business (B2B) relationships – that’s what we do at Deep-Insight. We’re not a consumer research company. In fact, we’re not even a market research company, although we often are compared to firms like TNS or Gallup. We’re different. We look at – and assess – the quality of the relationships that large companies have with their biggest B2B clients. And if you think about it, why would good customers NOT want to provide feedback on their relationship with you, particularly if their account manager has convinced them that it’s an important part of their ongoing customer feedback process, and that their input is genuinely used to help improve the service given not just to them but to all clients?

The 5 pieces of advice I give to our clients are:

1. Spend Time Getting A Good Contact List Ready.

Most of our clients tell us they can pull together a list of key client contacts in a week. Two at the most. Our experience tells us that it takes at least 4-6 weeks to come up with a really good clean list of customer contacts who have a strong view of their relationship with our client. If the list isn’t compiled properly, we end up polling the views of people who really don’t have a strong view on the company, and who won’t be interested in responding.

2. Pre-Sell The Assessment To Customers.

One of our clients has been achieving customer completion rates in excess of 70% on a consistent basis for the past number of years. It does this because the CEO – together with the account managers – has managed to convince his key accounts that the 10-15 minutes they invest in providing feedback WILL result in a better service. “Tell me what’s wrong, and I promise we’ll do our best to fix it.”

3. Make Sure to Contact Customers While The Assessment Is Live.

We normally hold our assessments open for two weeks and we know from experience that if account managers have been properly briefed to mention the assessment in every conversation they have with a client during those two weeks, the completion rates will improve dramatically.

4. Manage The Campaign Smartly.

This is not rocket science, but you would be amazed at the number of companies that want to run assessments over school holiday periods, or during particular times of the year that may coincide with the most most busy time of the year for their customers. Plan your launch dates in advance, and think about the timing for issuing reminders. We usually recommend launching a customer assessment on a Tuesday morning, with the final reminder going out on the Tuesday two weeks later. That means that even if somebody is out of the office for two weeks, they’ll still have an opportunity to provide feedback.

5. Don’t Panic At The End of Week 1.

We normally see a flurry of activity during the first six or eight hours of a B2B campaign and typically the completion rate after Day 1 is about 8%. At the end of the first week (before we send out a first reminder) it’s often the case that the response rate hasn’t broken through the 10% barrier. This is not unusual. Completion rates will increase and a message in the final reminder that “This assessment is closing today” usually elicits a final flurry of responses!

As I said, a lot of this isn’t rocket science but it does require a bit of advance planning. If you do put the effort in up-front, you’ll see it rewarded in significantly higher completion rates.

What is a Good B2B Net Promoter Score?

U P D A T E : We now have an updated analysis of what a GOOD B2B Net Promoter Score looks like. It’s based on data from 2015 to 2022.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
So what is a GOOD B2B Net Promoter Score?

It’s a question we get asked a lot. Sometimes the question comes in slightly different formats. For example:

“What Net Promoter Score target should we set for the company?

“+25 seems a bit low, so maybe +50?”

“Or should we push the boat out and aim for +70?”

Well, it depends on a number of different factors. As we mentioned in an earlier blog, it can even depend on factors such as whether your customers are American or European. Seriously, that makes a big difference.

Customer at the Heart

What Factors Impact Your Net Promoter Score?

It’s crucial to understand how these various factors impact your overall Net Promoter Score. Your NPS result can be very sensitive to small changes in individual customer scores. Be aware of these factors when deciding on a realistic NPS figure to aim for. Most Europeans consider a score of 8 out of 10 to be a pretty positive endorsement of any B2B product or service provider. However, in the NPS world, a person who scores you 8 is a ‘Passive’ and therefore gets ignored when calculating the Net Promoter Score (see box below).

HOW IS THE NET PROMOTER SCORE CALCULATED?

For the uninitiated, a company’s Net Promoter Score is based on the answers its customers give to a single question:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?”

Customers who score 9 or 10 are called ‘Promoters’. Those who score 7 or 8 are ‘Passives’ while any customer who gives you a score of 6 or below is a ‘Detractor’.

The actual NPS calculation is:

Net Promoter Score = Percentage of Promoters MINUS the Percentage of Detractors

Theoretically, companies can have a Net Promoter Score ranging from -100 to +100.

Here’s the thing. If you can persuade a few of your better customers to give you 9 instead of 8, then suddenly you’ve boosted your Promoter numbers significantly. We know more than a handful of account managers who carefully explain to their clients that a score of 8 out of 10 is of no value to them. If clients appreciate the service they are getting they really need to score 9 or 10.

Sure, there’s always a little ‘gaming’ that goes on in client feedback programmes, particularly when performance-related bonuses are dependent on the scores. However, we find it intriguing to see the level of ‘client education’ that account managers engage in when the quarterly or annual NPS survey gets sent out!

Five Key Factors

We said at the outset that the Net Promoter Score you achieve is dependent on a number of factors. Here are the five key factors:

1. Which geographical region do your customers come from?

We’ve covered this point in an earlier discussion with Professor Anne-Wil Harzing. American companies generally get higher NPS results than Europeans – typically 10 points higher and often much more.

2. Do you conduct NPS surveys by telephone or face-to-face or by email?

In the UK and Ireland, we don’t like giving bad news – certainly not in a face-to-face (F2F) discussion. Even if we’re talking over the phone, we tend to modify our answers to soften the blow if the feedback is negative. Result: scores are often inflated. In our experience, online assessments give more honest results but can result in scores 10 points (or more) lower than in telephone or F2F surveys. This gap can be smaller in countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Australia where conversations tend to be more robust. It’s a cultural thing.

3. Is the survey confidential?

Back to the point about culture – it’s easier to give honest feedback if you can do so confidentially. This is particularly the case if the customer experience has been negative or if you have a harsh message to deliver. Surveys that are not confidential tend to paint a much rosier picture than those that are confidential.

4. Is there a governance structure in place?

At Deep-Insight, we advocate a census approach when it comes to customer feedback. Every B2B customer above a certain size MUST be included in the assessment. No ifs or buts. Yet we are often amazed by the number of companies that allow exceptions. For example: “We’re at a sensitive stage of our relationship with Client X so we’re not going to include them”. In many cases, it’s more blatant. Clients are excluded because everybody knows they will give poor feedback. A proper governance structure is required to ensure ‘gaming’ is kept to a minimum. This gives the survey process credibility.

5. Is the survey carried out by an independent third party, or is it an in-house survey?

In-house surveys can be cost-effective but suffer from a number of drawbacks. The main drawback is that they generally result in inflated scores. For starters, in-house surveys are rarely confidential and are more prone to ‘gaming’ than surveys run by an independent third party. We have seen cases where in-house surveys have been replaced by external providers and the NPS scores have dropped by a whopping 30 points or more. Seriously, the differences are that significant.

So what is a GOOD NPS score for B2B companies?

Now, let’s get back to the question of what constitutes a good B2B Net Promoter Score. Here’s our take on it.

Despite the claims that one hears at conferences and on the Internet that “we achieved +62 in our last NPS survey”, such scores are rarely if ever achieved. We’ve collected NPS data for B2B clients across 86 different countries since 2006. Our experience is that in a properly-governed independent confidential assessment, a Net Promoter Score of +50 or more is extremely rare. Think about it. To get 50, you need a profile like the one below, where a significant majority of responses are 9 or 10. In Europe, that simply doesn’t happen.

B2B Net Promoter Score
Our experience of B2B assessments is that A NET PROMOTER SCORE OF +30 IS EXCELLENT and generally means you are seen as ‘Unique’ by your customers.

A NET PROMOTER SCORE OF ABOUT +10 IS PAR FOR THE COURSE. Consider +10 to be an average NPS score for a B2B company in the UK or northern Europe.

Note that negative Net Promoter Scores are not unusual. Approximately one third of Deep-Insight’s B2B clients have negative scores. One in 10 has a score of -30 or even lower.

Benchmarking

One final comment about benchmarking. Deep-Insight’s customer base is predominantly northern European or Australian. However, many of our clients operate in eastern or southern Europe – and in Asia or North America. We need to be careful about how we benchmark different divisions within the same company that are in different regions.

In our opinion, the best benchmark – for a company, business unit or division – is last year’s score. If your NPS is higher this year than it was last year, then you’re moving in the right direction. And if your NPS was positive last year, and is even more positive this year, happy days!

* Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks and Net Promoter SystemSM and Net Promoter ScoreSM are trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems and Fred Reichheld