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Should I Measure NPS Specifically In My Support Community?

4 minute read

February 10, 2021

“How likely is it that you would recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?” Have you ever seen this question? It’s usually accompanied by a slider or a way to choose a score from 1 to 10. This is called a Net Promoter Score. Be kind to those brands, if you love them.

If you reply with a 9+, you are counted as an “promoter”. If you select a number under 6  you are considered a “detractor”. Scores of 7 or 8, are not counted as they are known as “passives”. To get the NPS score, it’s a simple formula where you subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Positive scores are seen as good, and if you get scores above 50, that’s exceptional!

So why am I telling you about NPS? I was recently asked about “my suggestions” concerning asking NPS questions in a support community. There are certainly many good reasons to measure NPS. However, there are some serious drawbacks of using NPS within an isolated context of a community experience. It could also likely lead to potentially skewed scores. So what is someone to do? And how should it be approached?

Should I incorporate the NPS survey into our community?

In my experience, and working with our customers, there are a couple of  ways they approach NPS with their community. One way, and most commonly, it’s all handled by your marketing team. They run their NPS surveys as they would, independent of actions in the community - and more globally across all digital efforts. Afterwards, they usually correlate the NPS results to those who are your community members. In several cases, we have seen customers see a direct impact in their NPS; take, for instance, Quicken, who measured a 10 percent increase in their NPS due to community. Of course, this is not looking at the direct community interactions at the time, but rather, how the community’s most engaged members felt about the brand.

Hence, I would suggest a second way to measure things. It also involves you not only measuring NPS, which has the problem of not being a clear indicator of satisfaction related to your community channel. I would instead look to capture a Customer Effort Score (CES) instead. 

Why should you measure effort and satisfaction instead? 

CES seems to offer something a bit better for community measurement. The objective of Customer Effort Scores is to measure the effort made by a consumer to carry out an action or a process you want to know about -n our case, the interaction with the community. A low CES score implies that a visit to the community would have been smooth in achieving their objective, whereas a high score would indicate that there was a problem.

When connecting both CES and NPS, research is on our side. The 2020 TSIA Support Services Benchmark determined that CES had a direct correlative (and positive impact) on your NPS. The beauty of CES is that it focuses not on the feeling the visitor has on the brand, but on the customer's community experience at the time of the visit.

This is why it’s crucial to ensure the trigger for the survey comes at the end of the community session. You may have noticed this on other websites you visit, usually as a pop-up with the question: “Do you agree to take a survey at the end of your visit?” 

There is also another benefit of adding additional questions, especially for support communities, including to uncover the data concerning if (and how) your visitors were able to solve their problems. It’s not only about asking about effort - you can include some questions about satisfaction. The Acer Community Team does an amazing job with their survey. Here is a screenshot of their short survey - that community members will receive at random.

Acer_Community_User_Survey(Click to enlarge)

It’s simple, quick and powerful in gathering insights that NPS will miss. Not only does it help with ROI calculations (i.e. visits that didn’t require a support ticket), but it also measures the effectiveness of the community in addressing the visitors needs. Finally, the survey data can help make decisions to improve the community, such as in discoverability (i.e. category structure), or address issues that could arise quickly if left unchecked ( i.e. missing or incomplete info). In turn, asking the community these questions gives an opportunity to make an impact for the company by directly improving customer satisfaction.

What Tools Do You Recommend?

There are many tools to do these measurements. Qualtrics, Alchemer, Survey Monkey and HotJar are a couple you can look at. Certainly Qualtrics is the market leader in the customer experience space (full disclosure, we power their community) and you can see how they handle measuring all kinds of things. You will begin to appreciate that while it’s part science, it is also an art form. Their community is also a great space to learn more about the topics of NPS, CES and other surveys if you have gone down the rabbit hole.

Happy measuring!

Community

Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla Forums. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

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