If you are adopting Net Promoter as part of your survey/metrics approach, there's a rich part of the findings that many who are implementing this approach don't consider: learning from your detractors.

As you get your Net Promoter methodology stabilized, the most important action for your company is how you actively use the information to (a) hold your "Promoters" close; (b) understand what makes people ambivalent about you (the "Passives"); and (c) really understand and feel the pain of your "Detractors."

Here, I focus on Detractors and how to mine the gold by listening hard to their feedback to improve your organization and relationship with your customers. I'll make this simple and break it down into five key action items:

Action No. 1: Know your Detractors by segment

The importance of driving the "customer mission" as a strategic imperative of the business is to throw a bright glaring light on the profitability levels of customers who are your detractors and advocates.

Do the hard work to not just understand your Detractor score or metric but to know that metric for the profitability segments of your business. Are your most profitable customers delivering (hopefully) high scores as Promoters or low scores as Detractors? Do you see fluctuations in your Detractors among your segments? As you see your scores over time, can you identify flare-ups in your Detractor scores that are particular to segments of your business?

If you can understand how your mix of customers who are Detractors impacts your profitability, this will be one more tool in your arsenal to drive the reprioritization of resources and focus within your company.

Action No. 2: Know the reasons why customers are your detractors

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image of Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss is the founder of CustomerBLISS (www.customerbliss.com), a consulting and coaching company, and the author of Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action.