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Does NPS Equal Customer Happiness? Our Customer Care Team Weighs In


Since the early 2000s, NPS has quietly revolutionized the world of business. 

A business’s NPS is a single number that offers a way for organizations to measure customer experience and predict growth. So how does it work?

Calculating an NPS is simple. Customers are asked a single question: to rate, using a 0–100 or 0–10 scale, “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?” Respondents are then grouped into three sets:

  • Promoters (scores 9–10): These are the customers every organization wants to cultivate; enthusiastic, loyal, and likely to bring in new business.
  • Passives (scores 7–8): Satisfied, but vulnerable, these customers aren’t actively unhappy, but they might be tempted away by a competitor. 
  • Detractors (scores 0–6): Something’s very wrong. These unhappy customers may damage growth and your brand name by sharing negative sentiments.

Subtract your detractors from your promoters and voila, you have an NPS score between -10 (all detractors) and +10 (all promoters). And that’s it—you can put your calculator away! 

It sounds simple because it is. But with two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 using this number to make business decisions, you can be sure there’s power in that simplicity. 

Our Team Lead for Frontline Support, Shawn Carter, sums up the power of NPS: “NPS is a strong indicator of customer happiness because it’s not just a reflection of a one-off interaction or a moment in time—it’s a comprehensive indicator of how we’re bringing true value to our customers’ lives. It’s really a reflection of the full customer experience, ranging from onboarding to how a customer perceives our product.”

Why Is Customer Happiness Important? 

Happy customers are long-term customers who will share positive experiences with their friends. In doing so, they nurture and grow your business. These engaged and loyal customers are gold dust! Without them, big businesses grind to a halt and small businesses struggle to scale. 

To start optimizing for an incredible customer experience that drives up happiness, you need to think big. We’re huge admirers of the approach Airbnb coined called the 11-Star Customer Experience. The premise is that to create an experience people will shout about, you have to go above and beyond. For Airbnb, this meant imagining an 11-star vacation for their customers. 

So, if five-star is exceptional, what’s 11-star? For some it’s a trip to the moon, others a personal Hollywood tour with their favorite actor. In short, near-impossible. But then you say, “OK, well what about a seven- or eight-star experience?” The goal is to find that sweet spot where you’ve got an achievable but memorable experience. With over 150 million users, this framework seems to have worked well for Airbnb and is used by businesses worldwide, with Aircall being one of them.

“When we onboard a new customer, we’re not just promising that our product will solve their business problems on a basic level—we’re also promising we’ll be with them all the way to truly deliver that 11-star customer service,” Shawn says.

How Does Customer Happiness Influence NPS?

Using NPS, businesses get what they like best: proven and actionable data. The audience segmentation helps to not only take a temperature check of a single moment in time, but it also helps to forecast business outcomes. 

In this sense, while influenced by short-term happiness, NPS is more future-oriented than a binary happy/unhappy measure of customer satisfaction. 

Further, unlike an NPS score, happiness can be intangible. As Shawn says, “It can be tough to gauge customer happiness since it often comes down to someone going out of their way to thank us, call out a team member, or provide thoughtful feedback.” 

Instead, NPS provides a clear data point, and, through its simplicity, NPS surveys get higher response rates than other surveys. 

However, that doesn’t mean that NPS should be the only metric you’re using to assess customer satisfaction. It’s also worth considering mechanisms like:

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) surveys

These are useful for investigating a specific, short-term snapshot of happiness related to a product, action, or service your business has released. They usually incorporate one or more questions that measure a customer’s response to that specific business element, from “Very Satisfied” to “Very Unsatisfied”.

CES (Customer Effort Score) surveys

These tend to follow customer support or service interactions and ask customers to rate what it’s like to do business with you, for example by asking, How easy was it to resolve your issue today?, with responses going from “Very difficult” to “Very Easy”. 

While NPS is a powerful indicator of business outcomes, depending on your goals, it might be worth taking a look at other tools in the shed. And making the most of them doesn’t have to be laborious. Using a cloud-based calling platform for customer interactions (combined with integrations) means you can fire off a follow-up NPS, CSAT, or CES in just a couple of clicks. 

How NPS and Customer Happiness Complement Each Other

Every business is much more than a single number. To create a great customer experience, you need to get creative (for starters, think about that 11-star customer experience). 

However, while customer surveys of different kinds won’t do the creative heavy-lifting, together, they paint a picture that enables you to refine and optimize your product or service. 

To provide an even deeper perspective, we asked our integration partner, Klaus.

“The customer perspective is crucial to improve your product, processes, and people. It’s your job to combine these emotional metrics, with your own data-driven internal metrics (Internal Quality Score for interactions, RICE scores for development prioritisation, and many more). By honoring both feelings and knowledge, you’re able to make changes that improve both the customer experience and honor your team’s expertise,” says Valentina Thörner, Klaus’s Head of Remote & Quality.

Your NPS score offers you granular, long-term insight into how your customers are likely to behave and what that means for the business. CSAT or CES surveys might showcase how specific interactions or products are being received. 

Finally, your customer team, armed with cloud-based calling and a CRM phone integration can add color by capturing feedback, notes, next steps, and more from everyday interactions. 

You need to evaluate all those elements together. In doing so, you can create not just a satisfactory but a truly memorable experience.

Looking for more ways to redefine the customer experience at your business? Take a look at our top tips on how to personalize your sales approach.

Special thanks to our friends at Aircall for their insights on this topic.
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