Very large companies worry about something called their net-promoter score. It's something that even very small business need to think about, too. What is it? A net-promoter score is a tool for tracking customer feeling, and it focuses on only one question – how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
Companies like General Electric have elaborate customer surveys to measure their net-promoter score. But it's even more important for small businesses. The truth is, the smaller the business, the more it depends on word of mouth promotion. You can't spend as much as a large business can spend in advertising. So, you need to know if your customers or clients are likely to recommend you to a friend. You need to have a pretty fair sense of your small business's net-promoter score.
People who do business with you will fall into one of three categories after the sale or service. Each buyer will become one of these categories:
- A promoter
- A detractor
- A passive.
Here is a surprise for you – a small business can get as many recommendations from detractors as it can from promoters! Why is this? Simply put, promoters have a positive energy toward you, detractors a negative energy. Both of these energies are lively and active, and therefore more open to change. You have a fantastic opportunity to change detractors into promoters – in fact, they can become the strongest promoters you have! The customers who are not likely to change are the passives.
So, to increase your net-promoter score, you have two goals:
- Identify the customers who are promoters.
- Identify the customers who are detractors, and make them into promoters.
How can you do this?
- Let each customer or client know that it's important that you met their need, and that they feel so positive about their experience that they will recommend you to a friend.
- Make it a habit to give each person the chance to speak their pleasure or their concerns.
- Use your intuition – if someone seems to be holding back, open the conversation.
Here's a sample script. “It's important to me that my clients feel like they would recommend me to someone else. I'm sensing that you may not be completely satisfied, and would hesitate to mention me to a friend. Is this correct?” Then, stand back, take a deep breath, smile, and regard the person with attention and care. Listen carefully and fully, and thank the person for making you aware of the issue. If it's possible, fix it, or offer to fix it the next time at your expense.
You sincerely DO want clients to feel satisfied with the time and money they spend with you. And as they feel that sincerity and observe your energy toward them, their energy toward you will shift. You will make a promoter out of a detractor nearly each and every time! Before you know it, you have learned how to make your business better. And, unlike GE, you have increased your net-promoter score without spending much money at all!