Remaining competitive in any industry is no easy task, but customer experience (CX) provides an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. In fact, Deloitte found as early as 2013 that companies believe CX to be a key competitive differentiator. A recent PWC report found that 73% of consumers agree—but only 49% say companies today actually provide a good experience.
With both companies and consumers in agreement about the importance of customer experience, why do so few companies follow through? Much of this is likely because companies associate success with sales, while customers are motivated by other factors. As we’ve found in our recent Net Promoter Score (NPS) study, quality customer satisfaction scores impact conversion and cancellation rates as well as brand reputation. As important as it is to refine your sales techniques, providing an elevated customer experience is just as worthy of an investment.
The first step in improving customer satisfaction is to capture data like customers’ purchasing behaviors, needs, and pain points. With these insights, companies can help their sales teams better understand customers’ needs and provide a more enjoyable experience.
NPS Study Methodology
With this in mind, we conducted a study to evaluate the impact of quality customer satisfaction scores on sales, cancellations, and brand reputation. For our deep dive into NPS data, we looked at thousands of responses over six months as we sold services and products for a large telecommunications company.
In this study, we looked at both promoter and detractor scores regarding sales agent interactions, along with the impact those scores had on conversion, product/service fulfillment, average handle time, and units and revenue per sale.
NPS Study Key Findings
Our study revealed a few fascinating findings that show just how important it is to offer a meaningful customer experience.
- For every point you increase the respondent score, your conversion rate goes up on average 3.9 percentage points. The better customer service you offer and the better your brand perception, the more likely you are to convert.
- Promoters have the highest conversion rates. Higher respondent scores correlate with higher conversion, and the difference between a detractor and a promoter is stark. For example, the difference between a score of 6 and 9 is a 21% conversion rate increase. But don’t focus just on turning detractors into promoters; turn promoters into better promoters: a raise from a score of 9 to 10 results in a 5% conversion rate increase.
- Cancellation rates go down as NPS goes up. We found that promoter scores saw a 6% reduction in cancel rates compared to detractors. Cancellations are significant in many industries, indicating that high NPS can help with fulfillment and revenue creation.
- Higher NPS correlates with higher average handle time (AHT). As average handle time went up, NPS also increased—though it’s important for brands to calculate the break-even point between AHT, conversion rate, and margin.
- Sales don’t make promoters. Ultimately, even when you don’t make a sale, you can still create a promoter for your brand, increasing your NPS and your potential for future sales and revenue creation.
- The relationship developed between the sales agent and customer has a positive impact on conversion. Callers who purchased were asked what role the agent played in their purchase decision. Almost 90% of the time, purchasers said that the “agent cared about me,” and 87% of the time, customers indicated that the “agent was trustworthy.”
What This Means for You
Our NPS study shows that if you can offer an elevated customer experience, demonstrated through high Net Promoter Scores, you can increase conversion and fulfillment rates. High NPS and quality customer experiences drive revenue, both directly and indirectly. You can create promoters and brand ambassadors—increasing lifetime value and the possibility of future sales—even when you don’t make a sale on a specific call.
Prioritize More Efficient AHT
A 2012 Forrester study found that 45% of consumers will walk away from a transaction if a company doesn’t address their needs efficiently. Getting customers to the right person quickly is crucial for your bottom line and your NPS. For this reason, most companies strive for shorter AHT. However, our findings reveal that a higher AHT may, in fact, lead to a higher NPS. When there are countless companies from which to choose, customers can demand the best in service. The more knowledgeable, friendly, and caring a sales agent seems, the more likely a customer is to trust them and purchase from them.
Creating a promoter takes time, and every second added to AHT translates to higher agent costs. Spending the time, and money, to turn a caller into a promoter is a worthy investment and should be made a priority by brands. Since high handle times are almost always viewed negatively, your organization may have to evolve the way it looks at key performance indicators like AHT.
Implement Dynamic Call Routing
Clearlink’s dynamic call routing system uses historical and location-based customer information and online behavior data to determine the ideal way to route customers. This includes everything from the sales agent they’re connected with to the type of platform they come in through.
It’s imperative that customers be sent to the sales agent who can best solve their needs, so our routing system helps eliminate repetition and delays in the buying process. This way, customers are more likely to have a seamless and personalized experience and feel that their questions and issues are being solved.
Focus on Experience over Sales
If you’re focused on the sale, it’s easy to forget the customer. What’s crucial to remember here is that providing an enhanced customer experience isn’t just about increasing sales. As our NPS learnings reveal, even when you don’t sell, you can still create a promoter for your brand. NPS doesn’t gauge a customer’s purchase; rather, it’s the measure of customers’ sentiment about a brand and how likely they are to recommend the brand to others.
Rather than focusing solely on sales, focus on earning quality customer satisfaction scores that can improve your brand perception and result in more conversions. Remember, making a sale is just one part of your customer relationship. A one-time buyer may make a purchase, but a promoter will have a higher lifetime value and be more likely to recommend you to others. This authentic word of mouth builds your company’s credibility and clout.
Empathize with your customers in terms of the energy they’ve invested in the sales process and speed it up as much as possible, without losing a personal touch. Implementing processes for identifying a customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey and predicting their intent so you can route them to the sales agent who can best address their needs will increase customer satisfaction and reduce average handle time, saving you money and building your reputation.
As you evaluate your customer experience and sales strategies, identify opportunities for making the buyer’s journey more efficient and predictive. Determine data you have or can start gathering to better understand the needs of each customer that contacts your call center. Consider how you might personalize a customer’s experience when they call in by utilizing that data and integrating sales and marketing.
As you evaluate your customer experience and sales strategies, identify opportunities for making the buyer’s journey more efficient and predictive.
Whether the customer makes a purchase or not, offering a positive customer experience helps you create more brand promoters, which will, in turn, lead to higher conversion rates. The more you can optimize an intelligent customer experience, the more satisfied your customers will be.
By prioritizing NPS, you can reap the rewards of more brand promoters and higher conversion rates, all while giving your customers the best possible experience.
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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.