It’s that time of year — when folks start looking back at what they’ve accomplished and start looking forward to what’s possible in 2016.
At The Starr Conspiracy, we don’t wait until the end of the year to evaluate progress or make course corrections. We implemented a system for gathering client feedback every month — called the Net Promoter Score, or NPS — to monitor successes and challenges in real time.
NPS is a simple two-question survey that enables organizations to monitor and nurture their customers' experiences throughout the entire customer journey. It's a pulse-like reading of client relationships. It measures the changing absorbance of the wavelengths or the different stages of the relationship.
As the year winds down, it just happens that our NPS has hit an all-time high of 83.33, about 37 percent higher than our year-to-date monthly average of 60.79. The average score for marketing/creative agencies is about 16, according to 2015 data by Inavero Inc. So, clearly we’re doing something right.
But we didn’t just get lucky, and there was a time when we suffered from the typical agency-client relationship pitfalls. It just so happens that we measure more often than just once a year. And we listen to our clients’ feedback and do our best to address systemic issues in a more timely fashion to better serve our clients.
We used to start the survey as soon as a client was onboarded, but we found that this wasn't enough time to identify the pulse. We now work for a client for two months before sending the first survey. The NPS questions are:
- How likely are you to recommend The Starr Conspiracy to a friend or colleague (using a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being not likely and 10 being very likely)?
- What is the primary reason for the score you just gave us?
It’s the why that matters the most. An open, honest dialogue with clients helps us understand their needs and challenges quicker. The NPS feedback keeps us aligned and delivering great work that their brands need to gain market share, increase sales, or establish brand awareness.
And it isn’t just management reading the feedback. Our entire agency is updated with client responses in real time. That allows full transparency into the relationship across every department. How awful would it be if a doctor were taking a patient into surgery and didn't know the patient's heart rate was up? It's no different if a creative designer were about to jump on a call with a client to present something without knowing the client’s mood.
We’re fully aware and completely accountable. And clients love that.
We see how our clients rate us (9s and 10s are considered promoters). And if their scores aren’t in the promoter range, we ask what we can do to improve their experience and provide them with the best engagement possible.
Sure, we’re basking a bit in the glow of our record-high NPS and the hard work that goes into earning those marks. But we’re particularly proud to have clients give us a 10 along with a comment like the following:
"As this year quickly draws to a close, I reflect on the projects/problems we have presented to The Starr Conspiracy and the solutions that were developed in response. The ‘one’ constant in all of my time working with TSC is the expertise, quality, and dedication the entire team brings to the table.
Whether it be ‘common’ B2B requests, or projects more specifically tailored to our company in particular, TSC has consistently delivered a fresh perspective, a unique skill set, and a direct and comprehensive understanding of [our] industry. These intangible qualities not only set TSC apart from other agencies, but they truly instill a unique level of trust that can only be found in working with true professionals.
And with everything The Starr Conspiracy has done (and continues to do) for our organization and our brand ... I don’t see that number changing anytime soon."
Here’s to closing out 2015 with immense pride in our agency’s work for great clients and the difference we’re making for those brands. And here’s to our quest to reach even higher in 2016.