How to Turn Your Passives into Promoters

May 31, 2016 Nicole Klemp

Passives into Promoters

Most organizations understand the importance of customer feedback. That’s why many use tools like Net Promoter Score (NPS) to identify whether their customers are promoters, passives, or detractors of the brand. Just from their names alone, we know that essentially detractors are bad and promoters are good. But what about the passives — that group of customers who seem to be indifferent about your business? They didn’t necessarily have a bad experience with your brand, but they also didn’t have one that wowed them enough to want to tell their friends about it. While Customer Experience teams might find it pretty difficult to turn detractors into promoters, passives are there just waiting to be turned around with a delightful experience.

What is NPS?

You can’t turn passives into promoters without identifying them first, so let’s take a step back and talk about what NPS is, and how it can help you thoroughly examine and build the relationship you have with your customers. Companies like Medallia — who specialize in operational Customer Experience management — give you the tools to create and send customer surveys, analyze the feedback, and gain actionable insights as a result. By asking the right questions at the right time, you get more valuable customer data. With NPS, customers are sent a survey with this question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [Company X] to a friend or colleague?” They are then given a standard scale that ranges from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Customers who respond with a 9 or 10 are considered promoters, those that select 7 or 8 are passives, and any who respond with a 6 or lower are considered detractors.

Make your passives love you

Think of a passive customer as that girl (or guy) you want to ask to the prom, but aren’t really sure how she feels about you. She talks to you in class, but you’re afraid you might just be in the “friend zone.” There are several other classmates that want to ask her to the prom too (your competition), so you really need to find a way to sweep her off her feet. The same applies to your customers; you need to wow them with an engaging and personalized experience to keep them from going to a competitor. If you haven’t already (or recently) mapped the customer journey, that’s a great place to start. By mapping out specific customer interactions, your Customer Experience teams can better understand customer needs, and can cater your processes to better serve them.

Get to the “why” of customer sentiment

By analyzing NPS scores, you can determine how customers feel about your company. But the next step is figuring out why they feel that way. That’s why the standard NPS question should always be followed by a broad, open-ended question. This open-ended format allows your Customer Experience teams to interpret responses and get a better understanding of individual customer interactions. It can also help you identify issues that you may not even be aware of.  

Analyzing the data from hundreds or thousands of customer surveys can seem daunting, and most organizations simply don’t have the people or technology to do it. That’s why customer experience management solutions — like those from Medallia — are so valuable. One thing that sets Medallia apart is their text-based root-cause analysis, which helps unpack the sentiments relayed in text-based responses from customer surveys. Once survey feedback has been analyzed, Medallia provides you with comprehensive data and user-specific recommendations, so your Customer Experience teams can focus on creating a plan of action.

Build your CX strategy around delighting customers

Every business is unique, and different customers have different expectations. But Forrester Research found that there are some key similarities that companies with high levels of “Customer Experience maturity” share:

  • They offer products that better meet customer needs.
  • They have stronger alignment between website features and customer goals.
  • They continually expand their mobile capabilities.
  • They invest more in their workers — particularly customer-facing employees.
  • They have improved efficiency in key moments of truth.
  • The respond quickly to customers on social media.
  • They offer tailored experiences for loyalty program members.

When you’re working on your Customer Experience strategy, make sure that you’re thinking about the little moments you can create to really wow customers. Those personalized touches along the customer journey are what can take customers from passives to promoters. And just remember: if you don’t treat your customer like the only girl in the room, she’s going to show up to prom with that jerk Derrick from the lacrosse team.


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