NPS Blog

How text messages helped a phone retailer turn up his Net Promoter feedback

Mobile phone stores have become almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks—there seems to be one (or more) on every corner. In fact, while the signs on these stores often have the name of the major wireless carrier they represent (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and the like), only a few of them are actually owned by the carriers themselves. Many are franchised.

These stores face stiff competition for customers and face narrower and narrower operating margins. To stay alive, they need to make the experience of buying and setting up a new phone so great that the customers come back for all their ancillary needs—and bring their friends. And stores need returning guests to buy additional high-ticket items like tablets or home security gear. Mobile phone stores increasingly depend on loyalty economics to drive their businesses.

As a result, every customer interaction in one of these stores is vital. It’s a chance to wow a customer with a great experience, or to frustrate them with long waiting times, pushy salespeople or poorly trained technicians. Yet store owners generally struggle to get enough customer feedback to know how their customers’ purchasing experience feels to them, or what needs to be improved. Of course, local store employees inevitably give their best when they know they’re being observed. But how do store managers and owners give them the coaching they need if they simply don’t have the facts about what impact these employees are having on their customers?

Jimmy Salamanca of U.S. CellularJimmy Salamanca understands this challenge. He owns and runs a six-store chain that is licensed under the U.S. Cellular brand. When he wanted to improve service across all six locations, he began using the Net Promoter System. “I want to hear what every single guest who walks through our door has to say,” Jimmy says. “I don’t want 1 out of 10 to have a great experience; I want 10 out of 10.”

Jimmy recently shared his journey on the Net Promoter System Podcast. When he started out, he was receiving Net Promoter reports from a third-party provider every 90 days. Only 5% of his customers were responding to the feedback requests. He found it difficult to make any real use of this aggregated, anonymous and delayed feedback.

Misa Chien of FosuboTo get better real-time insight into employee interactions with customers, he began using Fosubo (now called Praiseworthy), a tool formerly called that elicits NPS feedback from customers via text messages. This is how it works: The day after customers make a purchase at one of Jimmy’s stores, they receive a text message that includes a picture of the associate who helped them and a brief survey about their experience. The survey can ask targeted questions—such as “Were you offered a tablet?”—and find out how likely a customer would be to recommend the store.

About 60% to 70% of Jimmy’s customers reply to these text messages. And since customers provide feedback about specific employees and stores, he can address training gaps and add staff where needed. Jimmy often personally follows up with guests who report bad experiences.

The higher volume of personalized feedback has a powerful secondary effect, too: It’s changing the culture. Employees can see their own results almost as soon as they come in, as well as where they rank next to their peers. That’s created a healthy sense of competition among associates and increased compliance with corporate directives. “It’s a very straightforward way to keep employees accountable,” notes Misa Chien, founder and CEO of Fosubo (now Praiseworthy), who also joined us on the podcast.

This approach to gathering real-time Net Promoter feedback is even more powerful because it can double as an employee recognition program. “Over 95% of the feedback for our clients is positive,” Misa says. “So for the most part, companies really use the tool as a positive reinforcement tool for the front line to let them see what an awesome job they’re doing.”

You can listen to our conversation on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to browse more Net Promoter System podcasts.

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