Net Promoter Score for Product Managers

Net Promoter Score® is an important metric for more than just retaining customers and increasing referrals. As a product manager, NPS® plays a valuable part in helping you improve your product, prioritize new features and bring confidence to your decisions.

The reason for this is simple: customers, when disappointed with your product, are more honest than any enthusiast ever could be. The feedback your business receives through NPS offers clear, often brutal insight into your product’s weaknesses and shortcomings.

Put this feedback to work and you can create a better product, fueling retention and increasing the strength of your product’s word-of-mouth marketing.

Below, we’ve listed five NPS principles for product managers interested in discovering areas for improvement, putting more confidence into product-related decisions and ensuring your major priorities match those of your target customers.

Discover and prioritize areas in which improvement is possible

One of the biggest benefits of an NPS campaign is that it gives you a clear and honest feedback about the areas in which your product needs improvement.

While the Net Promoter Score itself gives you an overview of how users feel about your product, it’s the feedback you receive with every score that lets you take targeted action towards creating a better product.

Every month (or every quarter, if you’re a smaller business with fewer customers) you should go through your NPS feedback and categorize negative responses based on nature and subject of the user’s complaint or comment.

Sort the feedback into different categories, from UI to features, pricing, and other frustrations your customers mention. Within each category, you can create subcategories for certain features to improve on, such as a “navigation” subcategory within the UI category.

As feedback comes in over time, review what your customers have to say and score each point for improvement based on the frequency of complaints and suggestions. This lets you prioritize new improvements not by speculation, but based on the needs of your real users.

JIRA Software and HipChat developer Atlassian uses NPS Atlassianto prioritize features and improvements in its products. Since this strategy gets more effective as your customer base grows, it’s useful for both small developers and large businesses.

NPS for product managers
Jira NPS scores for each category

There’s no greater asset for a product manager than real customer feedback, especially when it comes with concrete recommendations for how to improve your product. Review and categorize your NPS feedback frequently and you’ll never be short of actionable tasks for your developers.

Pay close attention to feedback from your most valuable customers

It’s important not to act on all feedback you receive from customers, as adding one feature after another can result in a final product that’s bloated and difficult to use. That’s why it’s so essential to count the amount of feedback in each category and prioritize using this data.

However, there’s an additional dimension you should keep in mind when categorizing feedback from NPS: the value of each customer.

As well as grouping feedback into categories based on its subject matter, it’s important to group feedback based on its source. Using your existing customer profiles, assign each response to a specific group so that you can compare the priorities and needs of each type of customer.

By doing this, you might discover that the complaints and suggestions of your enterprise users are very different from those of your small business customers.

In fact, you might discover that the features one group complains about are the same things a different group likes most about your product.

Grouping customers and their feedback into categories lets you prioritize areas for improvement based on how they’ll affect your most valuable users. Can you afford to fix a problem your small business users are frustrated about if it’s actually a valuable feature for enterprise customers?

Changing your product is ultimately a trade-off, especially when doing so affects some users at the expense of others. By categorizing the sources of your feedback, you can avoid changing your product to the detriment of the customers that fuel your business’s revenue and growth.

Use NPS to put confidence behind product decisions

Making a product-related decision without any customer data is like spinning the roulette wheel — there’s a chance you’ll be successful, but there’s also a chance that your decision will lead to a negative outcome.

As a product manager, NPS feedback lets you put confidence behind your product decisions by demonstrating that they reflect the needs of real customers. Instead of gambling on a feature or improvement working, you’re making a change that’s already been requested.

This can be particularly valuable if you need to propose and explain a change or feature to other stakeholders. NPS feedback not only gives you confidence in your decision — it gives investors and employees greater confidence that the decision will produce long-term benefits.

Let detractors and passives know their feedback means something

Many businesses view detractors and passives as lost customers — people that are either in the process of giving up on your product, or who’ve already given up for good.

In realityboth detractors and passives represent opportunities for you to win back customers after putting their feedback to use.

After you make changes to your product based on customer feedback, make sure you follow up with the people that form the relevant customer segment. Inform them that you used their ideas to improve your product, and that you would value their feedback on the latest iteration.

This process has several benefits for your product team. Not only can you win back customers that were previously neutral or negative about your product, but you can also receive more feedback from the people that drove you to make the changes in the first place.

These detractors and passives can serve as beta testers and study participants for redesigns, new releases and additional features you plan to add to your product.

While you’ll never win back every unhappy customer, many people with negative feedback can be won over when you show them that they’re valued. Follow up with detractors and passives and you’ll find yourself retaining more customers and winning over promoters in the process.

Realign your priorities with the needs of your customers

If you’ve only just started using NPS, you’ll find that the feedback you receive from customers might not match your internal beliefs about what makes your product great. In fact, what your customers value could be completely different from what your team values.

This makes NPS a fantastic tool for realigning your team’s priorities to focus more on what your customers truly need. If you ever feel out of touch with your customers’ view on your product, a NPS survey is a great tool for regaining focus and establishing new development priorities.

Track customer sentiment with Retently

Retently makes it easy to use Net Promoter Score to gather, analyze and act on feedback from your customers. Start measuring customer satisfaction now.

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