It’s time to rethink targeting Net Promoter Score at the Frontline

It’s time to rethink targeting Net Promoter Score® at the Frontline.

In the old days, suspected witches were tested by throwing them into the water.

If they sank, they were innocent. If they floated then they were indeed witches.

And if they were deemed to be witches…well you know how that went.

Today, some Frontliners go through an equally questionable test with regard to their service on a call or chat.

Let me explain.

I toured a big Contact Center that targeted Net Promoter Score at the Frontline

I was touring a big Contact Centre that conducted a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey at the end of each call.

As soon as the survey was completed by the Customer, that score – along with the Agent name – was beamed across large wall monitors placed around the Centre.

There was even a large lounge area with monitors so that Agents could watch the screens and see the scores for themselves and others scroll by.

But NPS is not really useful as an individual performance metric.

And much of what can go into a Customer NPS score – or overall CSAT score – lies outside the control of the Agent.

NPS is best and most used as a measure of overall brand value.

When it comes to your Frontline, it’s more effective to identify and set goals around the drivers of ‘good’ NPS scores.  What drivers positively impact the NPS and what drivers (or behaviours) to avoid.

Drivers that Frontline folks can support and realistically achieve in the work they do.

That takes some research of course.  But doesn’t that research pay off for everyone?

Sure – measure NPS or CSAT and take the actions you need to take. That’s a given.

But targeting Net Promoter Score scores for Frontliners isn’t much more sound than throwing suspected witches into the water to see if they float.

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The big German bank

We’re in the process of finalizing the set-up of OmniTouch International in Germany.  Exciting times.

So a few days ago we went to the bank here in Wiesbaden Germany to open our official company account.  And here I should mention it is one of the top 2 German banks.

And our experience turned out to be a classic case of targeting Net Promoter Score at the Frontline.

There was the Corporate Banking Officer and a university student doing a work-study assignment attending to us.  The service was fine, the setting was fine and in 45 minutes it was all sorted.

At the end the Officer asked – “Is it ok if someone calls you to rate the service I provided to you today?”

He has to ask for this permission before a call is made.

We said yes.

Then he said, “You will be asked to rate us on a scale of 1* – 10  and in our bank a 9 or 10 means you are satisfied.”  *(Not a typo on the “1” but the NPS scale actually begins at 0).

He continued, “So may I know what score you will give?”

To which my partner Marcus answered, “7”.

The room got quiet.  Then Marcus explained.

“If you had pre filled up the forms for us you would have saved us 20 minutes time and I would have given a 9 for this interaction.  But we understand the forms part is a process issue and not you – you were great.

The ‘7’ is my honest assessment of this interaction based on the 1 (sic) – 10 scale.”  It’s not an assessment of you personally.

It was so awkward but instructive to watch this dialogue.  To see the anguish.

I piped in, “I have to ask guys.  Do you find this rating question that you have to ask very stressful?”

They both nodded emphatically.

Because to be fair to them – the question isn’t fair to them.

In closing

I think what surprised me the most was that we were told that 9 or 10 represented ‘satisfaction’.

But that’s not at all how the NPS scale works.

And I don’t think the banking staff misrepresented NPS to us.

I have a feeling that NPS was misrepresented to them – and they were simply sharing what they had been told and what they are measured on.

I’m looking forward to seeing if we receive the follow-up survey call and I’ll report back if/when that happens!

Send me a message

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