This blog is by Miia Toivola from the Networks business of Nokia.
Asking customers whether they would recommend their mobile operator to friends and colleagues has become increasingly popular among operators, through both SMS sampling and end-user surveys. The use of loyalty scores may have started as a management initiative for the organization to become customer focused, or customer care wanting to measure customer satisfaction after helpdesk calls. Today, however, the use of loyalty measures infiltrates the operator’s entire organization, ensuring the customer’s voice is truly heard in order to improve service – and hopefully loyalty and profitability.
Sounds good, right? Well, in practice it’s not always easy to understand what customers are trying to say. The tricky part for operators is to figure out which factors impact loyalty scores the most in order to improve the customer experience where it matters. Here’s what we’ve learned lately in conversations with operators:
1. Loyalty scores are here to stay
While loyalty scores such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) are often first implemented by management and marketing functions in an attempt to gain visibility to customer satisfaction, over the years they have expanded into company-wide tools for measuring employee success in becoming more customer focused. Low NPS scores serve as a signal for management attention. NPS is also a commonly used measure for paying out bonuses. In fact, one European operator told us that half of its personnel selected its achievements to be measured based on the operator’s overall NPS score.
Not surprising really, as NPS makes it easy to prioritize subscriber satisfaction. And interestingly, it has also become a comparable benchmark between operators and even across different service industries. When we asked employees why they chose this measure, the answer was that it is simple and easy to understand.
One European operator shared that it is evidencing a clear linkage between improved NPS and an improved bottom line. This correlation is exactly what makes NPS such a strong and stable loyalty measure.
Bottom line: No operator has ever reported trying and failing with NPS. Loyalty scores are clearly here to stay.
2. Do employees lack visibility to the factors behind NPS and the means to improve the score?
With loyalty scores like NPS growing in popularity, and bonuses often tied to it, it’s no longer enough to just reveal the magic number on a quarterly – or even weekly – basis. Employees want to know how it is calculated and how to affect it.
In an operations team of one European operator, everyone receives the updated NPS score on a regular basis in addition to various survey results. However, the results are often not granular enough to be of value. For example, learning about an anonymous group of unsatisfied subscribers experiencing poor voice quality is not actionable insight. There’s not enough information to analyze what exactly went wrong, when, where and why.
Bottom line: No operator has reported having full visibility to the factors which drive NPS, including network and services experience.
3. A loyalty score like NPS is not that useful without insight into the network and service experience impacting it
Operators are in the business of delivering mobile services. Globally, over 40% of subscribers say operators MUST offer excellent network and service quality, even if it costs more (source 2014 Acquisition and Retention Study Report from Nokia). One European operator reports that for the customer segments experiencing bad network or service quality, their NPS can drop well below 0 into negative numbers. If a score of -40 is equated to a temperature, it will take quite an effort to warm up those subscribers and bring them back to the sunny promoter zone. In contrast, for those customer segments that have enjoyed good network or service quality, positive scores tend to fuel good word of mouth, making it easier to recruit more subscribers like them.
Operators tend to measure NPS at various touch points, including customer care, retail shops, enterprise services or network services. It seems customers are happy when visiting retail shops and when they receive good customer service at a helpdesk, even if they tend to be far less satisfied with the network (dropped calls or non-working data applications, for example).
Bottom line: No operator has told us that its strategy is to compete purely on price and let customers churn if they feel the network isn’t good enough.
To help operators get the maximum benefit out of loyalty scores like NPS, we launched a CEM for Loyalty Scores solution at Mobile World Congress 2014. The solution offers visibility to the factors impacting operator loyalty scores – and empowers the operator personnel to improve them.
Would you like to take part in our “Win with customer experience” webinar on June 12th? If so, you can register here.
Learn more about our offering for Customer Experience Management here.
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