Your customer knows what good service looks like. Like it, or loathe it, Amazon sells to more than 80% of the UK population every year. 

This means your customer is also an Amazon shopper, and probably an Apple shopper too. They compare your business against these titans, as well as their energy company, their bank, and the hotel they stay at in Cornwall each summer. Customers don’t think in category siloes and customer experience teams shouldn’t either.   

Our data shows that customer experience is now the greatest driver of brand growth. But, if benchmarking within your category is no longer enough, what is the most effective and accurate way of measuring how you are doing against other sectors? And what can you learn from those doing it well?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular metric to compare your business against high-expectation brands like Amazon – certainly the most preferred among our clients. But don’t become fixated on your score alone, because making incremental gains is not going to deliver significant growth. In fact, we know that you need to put a considerable distance between you and your competitors’ NPS to drive growth. That doesn’t mean NPS is not useful, but it should be one tool in a much bigger CX arsenal.  

Delve deeper to deliver value

Good or bad, continually interrogate your NPS. We recently worked with a telecoms client and its NPS performance was much stronger than the averages for utility companies. Job done? Not quite. 

Looking beyond those figures, we found that there was greater positivity towards the telecoms client when customers interacted with it through digital channels. The next question for the business was, how could it harness that positive feedback, use it to secure an advantage over its telecoms competitors and fuel growth?

Aim for the top of the NPS leader board, but also consider why other brands are there. We know that customers respond well to the ease and simplicity that giants like Amazon and Apple offer and relentlessly deliver. These are excellent principles for all businesses to aim for, particularly as customer interactions become more complex.  Take Topshop – the demise of this once great high-street giant has been much debated, but ultimately it couldn’t keep up with its millennial shopper as she moved from physical stores, across multiple social media channels to ordering online. One of the greatest challenges for traditional brands is doing what Amazon and Apple make look so easy – delivering a consistent and seamless service across all these platforms. All too often these transitions can create friction for customers and damage their overall perception of the experience and the brand.  

In some respects, the challenge of managing different customer interactions has become even harder this year. More reluctant online customers have been forced onto digital platforms and have sometimes found they don’t replicate in-person experiences. Layering qualitative feedback over data is crucial in identifying those pressure points in a customer’s journey.  

Nationwide is an excellent example of a business getting it right – tracking its NPS, but also listening to feedback at every stage of the past 12 months and using that insight to adapt its digital service. The team listened to why users were struggling to complete transactions, and then improved its app navigation and support services.  Similarly, when a client experienced a huge surge in calls to its helpline this year, its response times and experience scores took a hit. Feedback identified that customers were struggling to find the information they needed on the website and some additional signposting on the site eased the call pressure and lifted the overall customer experience.

There is a lot that can be learned from the highest-ranking NPS brands and you should use your score to make sure you are keeping pace with the customer experience, but don’t consider it gospel. Look at it within the wider context and weigh it against your own datasets for a more in-depth understanding. Crucially, if you are going to invest the time and resource in benchmarking against other sectors, make sure you listen to what comes back and then action those insights to drive change within your organisation. Hear it, and then do something about it.

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