We’re debating at Atlassian what’s the most important metric. Our Chief Metric God and CEO Scott Farquhar thinks Net Promoter score might be it. He has threatened to take a few months off to think about it. While we mere weak-minded mortals spend far less time on metrics, Serious Metric People such as Scotty devote lifetimes of thinking to what to measure and why.
Atlassian’s culture is fun, but it’s also about metrics. So, we decided to start measuring our Net Promoter score. Experts such as Fred Reichheld, a fellow with consultancy Bain & Company claim that companies with high Net Promoter scores far out-perform in growth and have far lower costs of sales. It’s seems intuitive given Net Promoter is all about word of mouth, a subject dear to my heart.
What is a Net Promoter score? Customers are asked “How likely would you be to recommend our product(s) to other people” on a scale of 0 [Never] to 10 [Definitely]? Then you divide the responses:
- Scores of 9 or 10 are promoters; divide the total number by the total surveyed to get a percentage or score.
- Scores of 7 or 8 are not promoters; ignore these responses.
- Scores of 6 or less are detractors; divide the total number by the total surveyed to get a percentage or score.
- Subtract your detractor score from your promoter score to get Net Promoter Score.
How We Stacked Up
We surveyed 500 customers, chosen at random, and our Net Promoter score was: 52%. Although this puts us in great company with the likes of…
… we’re now obsessed with the comments we got back on what we need to fix. Imagine the kind of customer loyalty Harley Davidson has! How does one achieve that?
How We Surveyed Customers
We learned something simply about how to survey. We made it clear we only required answering one question to participate in the survey. The other three questions were entirely optional:
- “If you wish to elaborate on your response, do so here…”
- “Is it OK for us to contact you?”
- “If so, what’s your contact information?”
I felt it important that we reduce the survey to the smallest possible, even to the point of editing out superfluous words so each sentence was concise. I hate surveys that say “This will take 10 minutes” instead of “This survey has 10 questions”. I absolutely hate surveys where I never know when the end is coming. Always state how many questions!
Other Lessons from the Net Promoter Survey
The survey had a 40% response rate, and 20% of the customers said it was OK to contact them. Given how busy people are, we were pretty happy with these statistics, but while these stats compare well in marketing circles, that’s not our goal. Our goal now is understanding what we have to do to get better.
What Are We Doing About it?
First priority is personally calling every single detractor [who agreed to be contacted]. I am again obsessed on this process: one person needs to conduct these calls so the information is properly assimilated and understood. Passing support problems to support and product problems to development loses this vital analysis.
Second we are thanking everyone who participated and is willing to contacted.
Third, we are working out a process for contacting the promoters and the “middle” scores. As this is our first time, we have much to learn, and most important, apply what we hear.