At Dinero we chose to use Net Promoter Score® because we had heard a lot about it and knew that many of our partners were using it. We focus a lot on customer service and we had been looking for a way to measure how we were doing. Our support team previously asked our customers how satisfied they were with the support they received, and getting positive feedback was a good goal for our customer service team to work towards. We reached a score of 98% satisfied customers, which we were of course very pleased with. However, this number did not reflect the general state of affairs within the company. This was why we needed an overall benchmark for the company to measure how satisfied our customers are. As we had previously heard about Net Promoter Score®, it felt like the natural thing to go with.
We contacted customers who weren’t satisfied and had a chat with them to find out what it was that had made them dissatisfied. Doing this is important to us and it is a way for us to catch disgruntled customers to whom we have somehow not provided the best service. Furthermore, we look at all the comments we get through Net Promoter Score®. This gives us a good overall idea of how we are doing. We also use Net Promoter Score® internally. We have installed a 75´´ screen so everyone in the company can see it and this has provoked many interesting conversations. As we already think we are doing well, the screen has mainly led to conversations focused on how well we are doing. It is one thing that the customers write on Facebook about how satisfied they are, but on the screen we see it in black and white. This has spawned a huge amount of pride amongst our colleagues and myself and it is definitely something we boast about. Additionally, we have used our score for marketing purposes on Facebook, for example. We have uploaded photos of our NPS® saying that we are perhaps better than people think. I actually think we are very good at using our score.
We do have a really good score, but 18% of our customers are passively satisfied customers. You could say that generally these customers are people who want products that we will never offer.
You cannot be everything for everyone
We focus a lot on creating products that are aimed at our target customer, but unfortunately some customers who don’t belong in this group slip through the net. People might sign up and start using our tools, which potentially aren’t aimed at them. It is similar to owning a bike shop that only sells racing bikes and a customer comes in and buys a racing bike for cycling in the forest. The problem could have been solved if he had asked in the bike shop, but he didn’t. If you then afterwards ask the customer if he is satisfied, he will probably say that the bike is great but it doesn’t meet his needs. This is a difficult problem for us to solve and something we are still working on. It is difficult to be everything for everyone. There are some things we simply can’t support as it would make our product too complex for our audience. I actually think that we would have almost no passive customers, if all had contacted our customer service team before opening an account with us. If they had done so, I would have asked the potentially passive customers to go for a different solution to ours. A programme like Economics is for almost everyone, whereas Dinero is more aimed at micro companies with a maximum of 5 people. The NPS® comments we have received have pretty much been a reflection of the comments we have seen on Facebook. We are very active on Facebook, which other companies might not be.
Service is marketing
We quickly got a very high score of 70-80 when we started using NPS®. We have had a very conscious strategy from the start. Of course we didn’t know what our score would be but we knew in advance that it would be at the high end. If you ask lots of companies, they will say that they are customer-focused, which sounds good and many companies truly believe that they are. However, in reality not very many companies are customer-focused. In Dinero, we have actively chosen to say that if our marketing budget is 200,000 DKK a month, I would choose to spend half of that on marketing and the other half on customer service. This means that we spend half of our monthly marketing budget on making our customers even happier. If you just have your regular customer service call centre, which is open and manned with people to pick up the phones, then you won’t get very far. If you want a high score, you obviously need a good product, but you also need to be willing to go the extra mile it takes. In my case that meant instructing our support team to help the customers no matter what. I don’t want them to get angry with our customers – they just need to pour love all over the customers and make sure that they are happy. If it is obvious that some of the customers shouldn’t be our customers because the product isn’t aimed at them, then our supporter needs to find a competing company and refer them to that company. I don’t want them to go into an argument with a customer as there is no point in that. If a customer has bought a twelve-month subscription, and after 8 months decides that it is not for them, they should get all their money back. Give them more than they expect! If someone doesn’t want to be our customer anymore, we need to spend just as much energy helping them leave as we did to win them.
The main goal is that customers who have been in contact with us should be left with a “WOW” feeling. We have both free and paying users, with one of the benefits of the latter being that they receive accountancy assistance. However, our customer service team have been instructed to help free users as well, if they have the time to do so. This will give the customer a “WOW” feeling as they know they aren’t entitled to accountancy assistance but are receiving it anyway. We go that extra mile to help. I think that is the number one key to success.
An old slogan says: “It isn’t the best products that win but the best marketing.” All of us marketing people were of course very happy about this as we knew how much influence we had. This slogan was true back then – but it isn’t now. Companies who still live by this slogan will die because customers these days use social media. If you want to buy something today, you will look to social media for recommendations. If you go on Facebook now and ask a group of entrepreneurs which accountancy programme they would recommend, 80% of them would say Dinero. Think about the effect that has on the company – that 80% of our target customers are actively recommending us. This is our strategy and this is how we market ourselves. The crux of it is that we want to be actively recommended by all of our customers.
You should use the budget you have earmarked for customer service and then add half of the marketing budget to your customer service budget. If you aren’t sure whether you should have 5 or 6 people on call in your customer service department – well, then you should have 6 or maybe even 7! Measure everything! Our average waiting time is 50 seconds for our chat support. We know that customers become dissatisfied if they have to wait more than two minutes, so rather than deciding that the maximum wait should be one minute, we decided it should be 50 seconds to be on the safe side. Furthermore, we also have support meetings every two weeks where we go through different cases and NPS® scores and check if we are reaching the goals we have set.
One last thing I want to mention is that any kind of help function or support video is a sign of having a product that simply isn’t good enough. That’s a bit of a cheeky statement to make, but many companies have a product and when a problem arises they solve it by making a video or FAQ text on their website that explains to the customer how to do things. I have to say that this is something we also have at Dinero because we haven’t finished developing. There are still things we can improve on, but every time you make a video explaining VAT, for example, it is a sign that you haven’t done a good enough job with your product. This is why we are very aware that all types of text on our help pages is a “band aid” we are putting on a job badly done.
I don’t think that many companies realise how much customer service means for their business. Everyone wants to make more money and if people realised how much money they could make by focusing on customer service, they would be doing it. I see not focusing on customer service as a sign of ignorance. However, I do, for example, believe that things get tricky when you look at areas like retail. Offering good customer service is by no means a given. Working in a service trade or a call centre is not a high-status job in many countries. This makes recruiting good people very difficult. You need to hire people who are bright and never have anyone working full-time as people quickly get fed up.
I myself have been very inspired by companies like Zappos and Amazon. Their customer service is smooth in every way – for example, when a product breaks. As a customer, you feel safe with them. If you buy something on the Internet, you often need to contact the customer service team before you can return a product – meaning that the return process can be long and tedious. As a result, there are things I simply can’t be bothered to buy on the Internet. Whereas when you shop with Amazon, you know it won’t be a hassle. Their customer service is excellent, which means I am more willing to buy things from them. It is of course expensive to offer a customer service like the one they do, but it is more expensive to have lots of customers who are scared to buy from you. I tell all the people in our support team that they should give even the most unreasonable customers their money back if that is what the customer wants. You should never argue with your customers.
Furthermore, it is important that you empower your customer service employees so that they don’t need to clear everything with a number of managers before they can make a decision. It is all about training your staff well. I have told them to always just use their common sense. Their most important job is to make sure that the customer doesn’t badmouth us to anyone. They need to ensure that the customer is happy and won’t spread negative things about us. If this means being on the phone with the customer for a whole hour, then that is what they have to do. It is up to them really. They have a wide remit for what they can do in order to keep the customer happy. If you treat people like adults, then they behave like adults.
It is a wakeup call for Danish companies that Amazon and other companies are slowly starting to breathe down the necks of the Danish companies. You can look at a company like Uber, who offer a much better user experience than conventional taxi companies. If you made an NPS® for them, Uber would win. The same goes for all businesses really. Another example is Airbnb. All of a sudden you are competing with players all over the world and this is going to become more widespread. Dinero isn’t just competing with other Danish companies; we are competing with the rest of the world – and the other companies might be able to offer a cheaper product than we can. This is why I want as much loyalty from my customers as possible, so that should the market change unexpectedly then this loyalty from my customers will give me the necessary time to change gear and adapt. Bill Gates was once asked which of the big companies were his largest competitors. His answer was none of them – but rather the two guys who were setting up a company from their garage. That was the same year that Google started. You never know who your next competitor is going to be. The only thing that is certain is that it isn’t the ones you think it will be. This means that you need to be ready to act fast. If you have loyalty and a high NPS® of 80, then your customers won’t disappear just because something new comes along. Whereas if your score is as low as 40, your customers will be gone before you know it.
We are very pleased with our collaboration with Relationwise. The system has been easy to set up and everything has gone smoothly. The good thing about Relationwise is that the tool is so simple. The score is easy to understand and can easily be compared with other companies. Furthermore, the feedback from the users is very straightforward. It is incredibly easy to use. I do think it is important that you actively decide how you will use the feedback. It shouldn’t just be a number that isn’t used actively. You need to make a strategy for how you will use it internally in order to motivate and reach goals. Moreover, you can use it actively in your marketing. As a manager you can use it as a tool to both control and motivate when things are not going well, but also when things are going well. It would affect me and my colleagues remarkably if our score was to fall. We would then sit down and take a serious look at things and try to work out what was going on. You can use the system to work out whether there is a “hole” in the system that I as the CEO haven’t spotted, but you can also use it to find out when you need to celebrate your own success. The point is you need to use your score actively!
Martin Thorborg (born 1970) is a Danish serial-entrepreneur who became known for being the co-founder of the IT company Jubii. Martin is also known for his books and TV appearances, as well as his popular YouTube channel, which has over 2.1 million views, on which he gives advice for entrepreneurs and companies. He is married to Camilla and they have two children.