Thousands of businesses have implemented a Net Promoter® Score (NPS®), or similar survey program to gauge client satisfaction at their firm — but that doesn’t mean they’ve all executed on it right. Whether they failed to identify a point person to take ownership over the program or they simply failed to set expectations across their team, there are a number of common missteps that can throw your customer feedback program off its course and hinder you from maximizing your ROI.

Need a refresher on NPS? Click here >>

With over a decade facilitating client satisfaction surveys for professional service firms, we’ve identified some of the common NPS program mistakes we’ve seen our clients struggle with (and tips for avoiding them!).

1. Waiting for unanimous consensus.

There will always be a few outliers on the team who are hesitant, with excuses like: “It’s not right for my clients,” “I never answer those surveys” or “We will just do it face-to-face.” The truth is no matter what these skeptics say, online surveys are highly effective. In fact, 69% of B2B clients say they’re more likely to provide feedback through an online survey than face-to-face. Another 59% say they’ll be more honest online, too.

2. Procrastinating.

There’s no perfect time for implementing an NPS program – there will always be competing priorities. But at the same time, your client experience will always matter — and it will always impact your client retention rates, your referrals and your revenues (i.e., your entire bottom line!). Make an effort to get your client survey initiative on the roadmap and you’ll see the impact throughout.

3. Failing to appoint an internal champion.

A well-executed NPS program is a team effort, but there has to be a point person — someone championing the program and keeping it on track. This is a key component to any successful customer feedback initiative.

4. Making your survey too long.

NPS surveys should only include a handful of questions (people are busy). The longer and more daunting your survey is, the less likely your client will fill it out – and that means fewer opportunities to understand the client experience. Determine what areas of importance are most important to your firm and how you can leverage those for improvement with prospective buyers.

5. Settling for a low response rate.

While it’s true that most B2B surveys only have a 15% response rate, ClearlyRated NPS surveys have a 34% response rate on average, so higher rates can (and should) be achieved. Personalize your emails, send them from a strong, spam-free server, make sure they’re mobile-optimized and send follow-ups. Follow these best practices and you should see an increased response rate. Click here to learn ‘4 Strategies to Maximize Your Client Survey Response Rate.’

6. Failing to take action on feedback.

You need an action plan for how you follow up on the results from your NPS survey. Detractors take the highest priority, as they give you a lifeline to fix potentially revenue-shattering problems. With your Passives, you have the opportunity to work towards improvements and act on feedback for how to improve the experience. Finally, look towards Promoters as your firm’s engine for growth. Ask them to help tell your story of service excellence (through referrals, testimonials, and online ratings) and work towards replicating their experience across your entire client base.

7. Not communicating enough internally.

Your NPS results should be circulated internally after every client survey to help reiterate the importance of your client satisfaction efforts. To be successful here, the entire organization needs visibility into the client experience in order to be held accountable for their roles in it — whether the outcomes were good or bad. Recognize wins and have an action plan in place for service losses.

8. Surveying too infrequently.

At the very least, you should survey your clients once per year. With that said, we’ve found that shorter, more frequent surveys perform better — particularly with clients of professional service firms. If it’s within the scope of reason, we recommend building a survey initiative that asks for client feedback at the end of every engagement, so you can better gauge performance as well as tie feedback to more specific moments in the client experience.

9. Failing to leverage loyal customers.

Leveraging your Promoters is crucial. According to our surveys, 91% of buyers who are referred to a firm will still engage in additional research on them – and that’s where strong reviews, ratings, and testimonials can play a major role in influencing their decision to work with you.

10. Being selective with who you survey.

You want 100% visibility into your customer experience and cherry-picking your survey participants isn’t going to help you get there. Always survey a sample that reflects your broader customer base and don’t exclude certain clients because they might provide negative feedback. Remember: Detractors are your lifeline. Use them to emerge victorious.

Next steps

  • Learn more about NPS survey best practices. If you’re interested in learning more about NPS and a few “best practices” that will help your firm get the most out of your survey initiatives, check out our blog post ‘Secrets to Winning with NPS‘.
  • Ready to get started with NPS? Contact the ClearlyRated team for insights, best practices, and a tour of our survey platform (designed specifically to support professional service firms).

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.