What we learned using email to personalize NPS customer feedback

April 4, 2018

Customer happiness is extremely important to us at MailerLite. Everything we do to improve our product is driven by our customers’ needs and feedback. In order to stay customer focused, we check in with our customers to ensure we are on the right track.

Last week we sent out our annual survey. Every spring we ask our paying, active customers if they would recommend MailerLite to their friends. This is how we measure our Net Promoter Score (NPS) and get new feedback about the product.

During the survey, I received some emails like the one below from people who are interested in conducting their own surveys and curious how we set up ours. I wrote this blog post to share how we survey our customers and what we have learned through the process.

A customer was curiuos about our surveys

What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) and why do we measure it?

At MailerLite, we’re big believers in the power of keeping it simple. The NPS survey suits us perfectly because it’s quick and easy for our customers, yet it yields powerful insights into their overall satisfaction.

We recognize that our customers are busy juggling work and life. Instead of sending them a 20-minute survey, the NPS only takes 20 seconds to complete!

NPS asks a simple question, ‘How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?’ The respondent ranks their likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10 — 1 being highly unlikely and 10 being extremely likely.

The results for NPS are generally broken down into 3 groups:

  • Promoters: customers that rate your company 9-10
  • Passives: customers that rate your company 8-7
  • Detractors: customers that rate your company 6 and less

Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are Detractors from the percentage who are Promoters.

NPS Infographic

Source: thepathforward.io

Fred Reichheld, the one who introduced NPS, demonstrated a strong relationship between this simple metric and a company’s growth compared to its competitors.

Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack, says:

“NPS is a leading indicator of future growth. The larger the number of advocates for the product, the lower the customer acquisition costs for the company, and the more effective your customer success team will be.”

How can a 20-second survey predict growth and lower customer acquisition costs? A strong score simply means that you have more people willing to refer others to your company, which is a key catalyst for organic (free) growth.

More importantly for us, our goal is to deliver an amazing product experience for every customer. The NPS gives us a temperature read on how we are doing.

What do we do with the results?

The NPS range is -100 to +100. If you have a much higher number of detractors than promoters, you can receive a negative score below 0, which is not ideal. While anything above 0 is considered positive, customer-focused companies set their sights on a 50+ score.

According to Zendesk data, best-in-class companies achieve a score of 70+, while the typical B2B software company achieves only 29. This year our NPS is 66% (69% in 2017, 51% in 2016, 35% in 2015.) We believe we can do even better as we listen to our customers and make the right improvements.

But NPS is only a number. Sure, it’s extremely important to know if your customers are happy or not, but it doesn’t give any specific insights into why’. We wanted to give our customers a chance to elaborate on their score, but at the same time, we didn’t want to burden them with a long survey.

As a result, we used an email automation trigger to send a follow-up email, which allowed each customer to answer additional questions on their own time. This is also a smart way to extend your customer survey and segment your questions based on the scores.

Here’s how we used email to ask NPS follow-up questions

I created an automation that was triggered by a link click on the NPS survey. Depending on the score, customers were sent targeted emails with unique NPS follow-up questions based on their score.

Customers who clicked a 9 or 10 automatically received this email from our Co-founder, Ignas:

Email sent to our customers

For those people who rated MailerLite 7 or 8, they received this email:

Email sent to our customers

And everyone who gave us a 6 or less received this email from Karina, one of our customer support managers:

Email sent to our customers

Sending targeted emails based on score allowed us to customize the follow-up questions to engage promoters, passives and detractors in different ways. We also made sure that customers could reply directly from the email to make it easy and more personal.

If promoters are willing to recommend MailerLite to others, we seized the opportunity to ask them to write a review while it was top of mind. Positive online reviews make a big impact on your business growth. So we asked our loyal customers to review us on Capterra and included a link to make it easy for them to get there.

If the number was lower than 9, we asked them to help us improve by providing more explanation into ‘why’ they were not completely satisfied. We got a lot of important feedback and had many insightful conversations with customers.

Main takeaways:

  • If you want to know if people like your product, service or company, you should ask them. People like to know that their opinions matter and genuinely want to help. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback and always respond to them.
  • Automatic emails can be personal and people DO reply to them. It took 2 days for the Co-founder of MailerLite, Ignas, to answer everyone’s emails. Since we don’t have many opportunities for personal contact with our customers, these emails were the perfect way to connect, listen and build stronger relationships.
  • One yearly customer survey is not enough. The customer experience constantly changes and evolves throughout the year. We decided to add the survey to our automated welcome email sequence. It will be sent 3 weeks after a customer makes a payment. This will provide recent and relevant feedback, allowing us to learn and react faster.

P.S. Want to send an NPS survey to your customers? You can get started quickly by using our pre-built survey template. You can find the template by logging into your MailerLite account and selecting: Create Campaign > Select Regular Campaign > Select the Template gallery > Pick Survey Template.

There’s how to can combine the survey with link triggered automation:

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  • Which NPS service you used ?

    • I just used a survey that is in MailerLite’ Template Gallery and then combine it with our automation

  • I loved this.Just did Hubspot’s Inbound certification yesterday so this is a great tool to implement my existing datababse.Merci

  • Eric J. Gates

    I can’t find the Content type option you mention. All that appears is: Regular Campaign, A/B Split Campaign, Auto Resend, RSS Campaign.

    • Create a regular campaign, then choose the content type from the email Template Gallery.

  • Brian Stalley

    This looks a neat idea. I found the template (Eric I think its a regular one marked survey) but can’t see where the automations have been set up, presumably I need to access these and configure them to suit?

    • Eric J. Gates

      I don’t have a regular one marked Survey either. When I did a search i HELP for ‘survey template’ I got an explanation featuring a screen image which is nothing like the one that comes up on MailerLite currently.

    • Brian, every rate from 1 to 10 has it’s own link (click on the rates and you gonna see them). Copy the link and create a link triggered automation. It means that everyone that press the link will get the automation email.

      • Brian Stalley

        Thanks Ilma, I presume I can use the “Thank You” links that are already in the template, and just set up my own follow-up email.

        • Yes, everything is already in the template. You just to copy the links and create emails.

  • I think the ones who rate it lower just don’t understand. It goes over their heads. They want simple and don’t want to learn. PLEASE don’t give it to them. You product is a leader because we can do so much with it. There are enough overpriced, dummy mailers as it is.

  • Brandon Kristopher Turner

    If any fellow Mailerlite customers are having trouble doing this or do not have the time or know-how, I just setup these workflows from start-to-finish for our business. It took me under an hour and my company can do it for you, if you wish.

    Just send me a message: brandon@proceduresheets.com.

  • Do we set up 10 automations? (1 for each potential response) Or is there a way to start an automation based on more than one trigger? (ie. one automation for 7 or 8, and one for 9 or 10)

  • Thomaz

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Big value! Please, how did you measure the results after a period of time given to clients?

    • Thomaz, what specific results are you talk about? NPS or the results of the automation?

      • Thomaz

        Hi Ilma. I am thinking about the NPS results.