How to use the NPS calculation in your call centre

Apr 4

How to use the NPS calculation in your call centre

According to a Nielsen poll, 80% of people seek referrals before making a purchase, so word of mouth (online reviews or person to person conversations) are the bread and butter of a successful business. While there are a number of ways to collate customer feedback, the Net Promotor Score – or NPS calculation – is the silver bullet you’re looking for.

Except not really. As much as we all love the thought of unicorns and calorie-free ice cream they don’t exist, and neither do silver bullets, sadly. The simplicity of the NPS calculation means it has its flaws, like its inability to tell you exactly what is working or needs to be fixed. But because it is a fairly universally accepted measure of customer loyalty it may help you set a benchmark so it is worth exploring how to get it working for you.


The formula behind the NPS calculation

A NPS calculation is simple. Ask your customers one question: ‘How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?’, asking them to answer on a scale of 1 to 10. They are considered an advocate if they score 9 or 10, passive 7 or 8, and a detractor 0-6.

Subtract the proportion of people who don’t like you very much from the people who love you silly, and you have your Net Promoter Score.

NPS calculation


The beauty of the NPS is in its simplicity. One number, comparable across departments, industries, countries and cultures. Whilst it can be useful as a target for your call centre agents to work to, it’s more useful as a measure of customer loyalty, which we know impacts business performance.

As a call centre manager, you need to pull the levers you can to hit your targets, and the call centre is one big lever when it comes to influencing the NPS calculation, which is factored into most business plans.

Conversations with customers are happening all day every day, around the clock. Opinions, good and bad, are being formed with every interaction. The call centre really is the place to start moving your NPS to where the business has decided it needs it to be.


Don’t forget the why behind the NPS

Tracking your NPS score over time gives you a good idea generally of how you’re looking in your customers’ eyes, but unless you know why customers are scoring you the way they are, there’s not much you can do to change things. Make sure you’re asking the customers ‘why did you provide that score?’, every time. Don’t make it compulsory – if they have to spend more than a few seconds answering questions you might lose them completely. But if even half your customers give you a little insight into why they score the way they do, this should give you enough of an insight to understand key customer service themes and the things that need to be changed, stat.


Use NPS as a motivator

If your agents know that each and every customer will be rating them after each interaction, this may ignite a bit of fire in their bellies knowing that when every customer hangs up the phone, they should be feeling good about the business. If they don’t, steps need to be taken immediately to bring them back around – and that’s all the responsibility of the agent.

If a customer is cranky when they hang up, likely they will give a low rating on the satisfaction score. If your agent does the work to resolve the issue, quickly, they can neutralise that low score when the now much happier customer rates them again.

It’s not about using NPS as a stick to hit them over the knuckles when they get a low rating, as low ratings will happen, and it’s not always in their control. But if your agents know they are key influencers of a score that matters to your business, this sense of purpose just might drive them to do better every day.

Be careful though when factoring NPS calculation into bonuses and salaries as sometimes low scores are given because of things out of your agents’ control, like poor call routing.


Your NPS calculation in isolation doesn’t mean much

Collecting NPS scores will give you a truckload of glorious data, to analyse and draw insights from. These insights can be plugged into your business planning to help you move in the right direction. But meaningful insight-gathering into your service experience takes time, as rich insights require a lot of data. So make sure you have the right system in place to get an instant read on your performance, so you can provide feedback and course-correct in real time. Looking at your NPS calculation over time in conjunction with more immediate call centre reporting means you should have good visibility on where you’re headed- and hopefully it’s somewhere glorious.

While the NPS calculation is handy, as it’s a simple metric – and simple is good when it comes to translation across departments to make sure everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet. It’s not perfect, but NPS is a universally accepted measure of customer loyalty which can help you get a read on customer sentiment.

If you also have a solid cloud-based call centre system in place to give you a closer, more immediate view of your team and customers, then you are in a good position to directly influence the NPS and motivate your agents to have a real impact on the broader business.