Etherington's main tool was a simple questionnaire, probing with other questions (besides the ultimate one) underlying reasons for particular responses; follow-up phone conversations delved deeper.
Today, the process has been institutionalized at Tektronix. The ultimate question is asked of certain visitors to the company's Web site, after technical support tasks are completed and following sales closings. NPS numbers are reviewed monthly within Tektronix's four global regions, and deeper studies are conducted each quarter. A simple nod to automation is in the form of dashboards, which track the NPS results.
“Everything green is great, and things that are red we jump on with phone calls and counter measures,” Etherington said. “Actually, the discipline and accountability are primary, the tool is secondary. I'm happy with spreadsheets and duct tape—anything that can give us answers.”
Since NPS results didn't quite square with internal expectations, Etherington said, there was some skepticism and defensiveness, in particular from salespeople who sometimes viewed low NPS results as direct criticisms of their own job performance.
“But that wasn't where we wanted to go,” he said. “We wanted to make sure this never was meant to be punitive, but rather as indicators for future growth.”
Now that its largely manual measurement phase is complete, the company has begun work with customer experience management firm Satmetrix to implement a more automated process to track exactly where performance can be improved and detail the complexities of its customers' propensity to provide more sales in every area of their own operations.
“We have shown above-market growth over the past two years in those customers that have higher Net Promoter Scores,” Etherington said. “And we're working to get more of the average scores to move right, to find where the problems lie. As for the very lowest, those customers just may not be good fits for us.” M