Rally the Frontline for Net Promoter® Success

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Savvy businesses are realizing that their frontline employees hold the key to organizational transformation. This is especially true for customer-centric initiatives like Net Promoter Score™.

Improving customer loyalty is a key objective for many organizations, and many have established Customer Experience Management (CEM) programs like Net Promoter to inject customer feedback into their operations. While many are successful, others lose momentum because they fail to engage frontline employees in the process.

Although gaining alignment from senior executives is a key step that shouldn't be overlooked, this is not enough. Typically, business leaders will convene their senior executives in a conference room, present their case for change, design a vision for success, and then wait for this transformation to trickle down throughout the organization, all the way to the frontlines.

While gaining the support of senior management is an essential process in any organization, this is just the beginning. Savvy businesses are realizing that their frontline employees hold the key to organizational transformation since they are the ones who will be presenting these changes to customers. This is especially true for customer-centric initiatives, like Net Promoter Score™ (NPS®), which are unlikely to be successful without a sustained effort to engage employees.

As Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, notes in his customer experience trends for this year, organizations are starting to see the important connection between employee engagement and customer experience. As Temkin explains, highly engaged employees are almost six times more committed to helping their companies succeed. Yet, according to a Gallup study released in October 2011, almost three-quarters of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, a phenomenon that might have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Temkin believes that many firms will be focusing on their employees this year, increasingly developing programs to create internal ambassadors.

While for several organizations bringing NPS to the frontline is a novel approach, TeleTech is not only a promoter of this strategy but an organization that actively rallies customer-facing employees behind NPS. Making frontline workers who engage with customers on a daily basis aware of the importance of creating promoters, has helped us raise NPS scores by a sustained average of between 7 and 10 percent. There are four essential elements to ensure that frontline workers are both aware of the importance of high NPS and also actively working to achieve these scores:

  1. Assessment: We start by assessing the current customer experience and Net Promoter processes within a contact center or retail environment. We recommend the appropriate best practices to ensure that the NPS program can be successful.
  2. Live and Online Learning: Next, we develop a training curriculum to ensure that all employees know how the NPS program works. We supplement this training with a unique eLearning platform, Satmetrix University. This collaboration with Satmetrix, the co-developer of the Net Promoter methodology, allows us to provide Net Promoter training for both customer-facing employees and management support personnel. The platform was completed last year and clients in both the wireless and financial services industries have already enjoyed strong gains in NPS.
  3. Coaching: Many organizations are recognizing the importance of customer feedback, but not everyone understands the need for frontline workers to be privy to these insights. Our coaching system allows us to bring NPS insights down to the employee level. This system allows managers to benchmark their teams according to customer feedback and also share real customer comments with the aim of improving performance. Thus, employees are hearing directly from customers.
  4. Recognize and Engage: Everyone appreciates when their hard work and successes are recognized. TeleTech has introduced a gamification element to training, awarding virtual rewards and kudos to employees for positive performance. Further, high performers can share insights on our internal social platforms with the rest of the workgroup, allowing employees to learn from each other.

Achieving high NPS is not a one-time achievement and organizations need to retain their positive scores. This means that any steps they take to rally their troops need to be ongoing to maintain momentum.

Net Promoter and NPS are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.

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EXPERT OPINION