Already adopted by thousands of companies around the world, including an estimated two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) program serves as a tool that helps companies better understand how their clients perceive them and what changes they need to make to best meet client’s needs. In 2017, Milrose embarked on implementing the NPS program with the goal of better understanding, measuring, and improving the client experience.
What is NPS?
So, what is NPS? Essentially, NPS is a systemic way to measure customer experience via direct objective feedback through surveys, conversations, and scoring methods. This simple, very powerful tool allows companies to gain valuable insight into the client experience firsthand and continuously improve on the customer experience by making changes based on the direct feedback. The process is collaborative and extends relationships to allow clients and service firms the ability to share and learn about each other’s organizations and partner to create and execute on solutions that best meet combined needs and capabilities, and through the process cultivating mutually beneficial long-term relationships.
How it all Started
Milrose realized that the success that propelled the company to industry leadership in its first thirty years was directly related to the ability to best understand client needs and customize solutions to meet those needs. In 2016, after years of significant growth, Milrose adopted the NPS system as a means of scaling and automating client feedback capabilities. Mindy Zayas, Director of Client Services and an 18-year Milrose veteran, was promoted to champion the development and leadership of a new Client Services Department and the NPS program. After significant training and completion of necessary NICE Satmetrix CEM programs, Mindy began to phase in the NPS program by laying out a detailed roadmap. The plan involved a significant investment to create scalable and comprehensive client feedback methods and align appropriate response systems and resources needed to escalate and appropriately address all client identified issues and feedback.
Our Trust Building Process
Currently, Milrose relies on NPS communication methods at the post-project stage. The feedback provided is appropriately directed to an owner, which among others include partners, account managers and production managers. The process is governed by Milrose’s Executive Committee who ensures appropriate action plans are executed. This new effort has proven incredibly helpful in quickly assessing root causes for issues, instituting appropriate cures, and aligning us to focus on our guiding principle of building trust with our customers. In the event a positive client feedback focuses on a specific project or individual, it is shared across the company via our WAVE Chatter system for all to recognize and applaud the employee(s) for their efforts. Additionally, we analyze the positive feedback to find opportunities to establish best practices, compensate high performers, learn and provide effective training, and continually work to enhance the client experience.
Since launching the NPS program, Milrose has gathered over 1,000 client responses. Each quarter, Milrose’s managers meet to analyze the collected feedback. Our largest takeaway has been the importance of practicing excellent communication. The three main areas we’ve identified and implemented organizational and procedural changes around include:
1. Proactive Communication
2. Response Time & Effective Follow-Up
3. Customer-Focused Service
One organizational change we have implemented since starting the NPS process came out of feedback we received from an engineering firm regarding our project teams seeking project related information too early and then not following up again until too late. We responded by developing and implementing a new method of initiating projects and setting project plans unique to each project. By completing our “New Project Assignment Checklists”, we are having more productive project kickoff meetings/calls with our clients and their team. During these initial engagements, we verify scope, review target dates, and discuss timeframes based on project scope and other critical items that allow us to properly update our project management system. Having client-validated system information has enabled us to improve timing with the issuance of our Request for Information (RFI) and other follow-ups and updates. By focusing on addressing our client’s largest pain points and delivering on what they value most, we hope to continue to improve our lasting partnerships supported through direct feedback and continuous improvement.
Our efforts thus far have resulted in a dramatically improved client NPS score inclusive of an increase of “promoters” (score of 9 or 10) and decrease of “detractors” (score of 6 or below). Our 2018 score increased by 136% from the prior year. While our NPS score ratings are higher than the industry average, Mindy is quick to point out “at the end of the day, the NPS score is not the most important variable. It’s a starting point that allows us to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of what lies behind the number and how we can best serve our clients.”
The NPS initiative has been an eye-opening experience that has allowed us to have deep conversations with our clients as well as our own employees. Internal discussions about our client feedback led Mindy to form the Milrose Customer Experience (CX) Committee, a team of Customer Experience Advocates selected from various departments throughout the company. The CX Committee has assisted Mindy in developing a new series of customer service training courses based on our three identified improvement areas. The training courses are offered to employees through Milrose’s internal education program, Milrose University.
As a company, we are excited to continue using the NPS methodology to identify where we have room for improvement and hone in on what we do best so we can deliver our industry-leading superior level of service to our current and new clients. We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has participated in our client feedback surveys. Your feedback has been invaluable and will help us to provide you with the best service possible.
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