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Blog - Call Center Outsourcing

NPS – A Tool in Your Metrics Toolbox


A lot of time is spent in contact centers gathering and reporting metrics. What really makes a difference is how that information is applied. In other words, are you using metrics for improvement or just reporting?

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of metrics available to help take the pulse of your contact center operation.  And just like a pulse, the numbers only tell part of the story. It is the details that go into the number, what caused the changes, and what steps you need to take to create a positive impact going forward.

Because there are so many metrics gathered on a regular basis, attempting to regularly report all of them would require volumes of information that requires review. That is why a metric like Net Promoter System (NPS) is so attractive. It’s simple, easy to use and easy to report. However, is it all that is required?

A Review of NPS

The NPS score is obtained by asking your customers a simple survey question:  “How likely are you to recommend this [company or service] to a friend?” They answer from 0 to 10, with 0 being “Not at all” and 10 being “Very Likely”.  The responses are then divided as follows:

  • 0-6 are “Detractors”
  • 7 and 8 are “Passives”
  • 9 or 10 are “Promoters”

To get your NPS score, take the percentage of responses that are Promoters and subtract the percentage that are Detractors. Simple.

There are two ways to increase your NPS: increase the number of promoters, or decrease the number of detractors.  Naturally you want to work on both, but take a look at the numbers behind the metric and focus on the change that will have the greatest impact.

In a previous post on NPS, we provided an example of two companies, each with an NPS of 20.  Company X had 20% Promoters, 80% Passives and no Detractors, while Company Y had 60% Promoters, no Passives and 40% Detractors.

Company X is doing a good job, but has some improvements to make.  They are already hitting all the basics, and just need that extra little bit to push them over the top.  The best route for Company X is to focus their training efforts on equipping the agents to go that extra mile for the customer and transform a good interaction to a great one.

Company Y, on the other hand, is missing the mark on almost half of their calls.  If they follow the same training regimen as Company X, it will have little to no effect on their results.  Company Y needs to refocus on the basics and work on increasing their caller satisfaction across the board.  Once that is done, they can start to worry about the little things that make a customer experience great.

You Must Know Why

This tells us exactly what we need to know about NPS – and any other metric. It’s not the information you receive from the data. It’s how you extrapolate the data and then choose to implement the findings. As you can see from the example above, the number only gives you a portion of the story. The problem with NPS is it does not tell you why.

To truly manage a premier contact center, your team must understand why metrics trend in a certain direction. The real meat comes from digging into the data, understanding what caused a trend, up or down, and then making appropriate adjustments. If a metric is trending in a positive direction, you want to know why so you can repeat that process. If a metric is trending in a negative direction, you must know why in order to fix it. And frankly NPS with its single score system does not give you enough information to delve into the why.

Metrics, NPS or otherwise, are tools to use to improve contact center performance. It is the compilation of all the data that gives you a true picture of what is going on, good or bad. By utilizing NPS as one of the tools and combining it with other metrics, you have a good shot at getting to the why – why this trend is up, why that trend is down. If you rely on any single metric, you’ll never get to the important information – you’ll never get to the why.

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