Empowering users by adding value with a new customer-happiness measurement

“Always Improving” is the Name of the Game

With SaaS platforms, sometimes there isn’t a problem that needs to be addressed, but an opportunity that should be explored. Because even when you’re offering what seems to be the “best” collection of features and services, there’s always room for improvement—to offer customers more value and stay competitive in the market.

Enter the opportunity: A way for users to “identify” their customers

To discover the most appropriate opportunities to explore, it’s important to first understand the 4-step process we follow at Ambassador:

  1. Identify — Determine the ambassadors to enroll and segment, including customers, affiliates, influencers, partners, employees, and other advocates.
  2. Enroll — Enroll customers, affiliates, influencers, employees, and partners in targeted and personalized referral campaigns.
  3. Track— Manage ambassadors, monitor KPIs, and optimize referral program to boost brand awareness and drive revenue.
  4. Reward— Incentivize referrals by offering and testing different incentives for different campaign segments, and automating the reward process using cash, points, credits, or gift cards.

The first step in the process is the most important because identifying the right ambassadors impacts the revenue our customers are able to generate, especially over the long term.

It’s in understanding the importance of identification that we realized incorporating the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was the perfect opportunity to provide our customers with even greater value.

One score to rule them all: Why NPS was a great fit

NPS is the most recognized measure of customer happiness and satisfaction and is based on answers to the question "On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to refer a friend?"

With NPS, we would enable our customers to survey their users and identify those willing to promote their products (“promoters”), which could further help them identify great ambassadors. In addition, our customers would be able to identify individuals that could potentially diminish their brand (“detractors”) or switch to a competitor (“passives”), then make plans for transforming them into promoters.

Furthermore, it became clear that the Net Promoter System would be able to work hand in hand with referral programs to gather unprecedented insights and ultimately drive more referrals.

With this goal in mind, and senior leadership in agreement that NPS was the next logical step for our offering, we started integrating this capability into our platform.

NPS Design: Researching, Executing, Iterating (and All That Jazz)

Digging straight in, I (and a few others) designed our new NPS experience by taking a strategic approach, executing with customer insights, and iterating multiple times.

Research

First up: Research. I looked for inspiration and conducted research on existing solutions. There was an abundance of standalone NPS products in the marketplace

After immersing myself in the market, I then scheduled a few interviews with VIP customers who had previously expressed interest in NPS. I wanted to gain insights on how they would use the product if it were available to them. Primarily, I wanted to know

  • how frequently they would survey;
  • who they would survey;
  • when they would survey, and
  • through which channels (email, SMS, in app, push notification, etc.).

I also wanted to know whether they’d be interested in turning promoters into ambassadors.

A few of the customers I interviewed were also using standalone NPS products, so I questioned them about how they were currently using those products and whether they currently tied NPS into our Ambassador program.

Execution

Equipped with a solid set of market benchmarks and insights from my customer interviews, I began sketching and wireframing an initial mockup of the NPS experience.

As part of the experience, we needed to address the following key areas:

  • Tying in NPS surveys with our existing referral campaign model
  • Creating multi-channel surveys
  • Establishing priority schemes for sending to specific channels
  • Identifying the correct people to notify depending on the survey-result type

I went through a few rounds of sketches and ended up wireframing the sketches that myself and a few other customer success folks thought best represented the solution we were looking for.

A few sketches from the initial rounds

Iteration

User testing was next. With a project this large, I needed feedback to make sure I was in line with what customers wanted and what they would use.

The testing would provide user data I could analyze and use to improve the designs. And iterating this process would bring us closer and closer to delivering an intuitive UX.

To get a sense of my approach, here’s a summary of the first round:

  • Built a prototype using Sketch and InVision, with the wireframes as guidelines.
  • Created a script and task list for our user-testing sessions.
  • Recruited participants.
  • Conducted prototype tests with a few engineers and customer success team members first to make sure everything worked as expected.
  • Analyzed user-testing data with my teammates to highlight top issues and successes.
  • Created a user-testing report. I documented all key findings, the task success rate, and next steps, then used that to define NPS success and walk everyone through what we learned and achieved.
A few screens from the first prototype

After testing, I had new feedback to return to the drawing board with.

However, there were also aspects that didn’t quite “click” with customers:

  • The saving of steps and how that relates to running/pausing the survey
  • Dripping NPS surveys
  • Channel prioritization (the order of channels to use if a user does not respond with the first one)

The challenge here was clarifying these areas of confusion without complicating the user flow. So, I undertook another round of sketches to see which offered the best design.

The new NPS flow

In this iteration, I removed several items, including the save button. Steps would now be auto saved, which meant the way surveys were ran/paused also changed.

A few screens from the final prototype

And I added a few items as well:

  • A multitude of filters based on the way customers wanted to filter
  • A run/pause survey button in the top-right header
  • A workflow step that would solve many of the drip concerns

Another round of user testing! Essentially, I repeated the process from the first round, only with quicker interviews. Naturally, further iteration followed.

At this point, engineers began getting more involved in the planning based on our current prototype. Before long, it was finally time to prepare to ship.

The final dashboard (click for full view) and a configuration step

A Progressive Launch

The launch of NPS was done progressively. We decided to test it with a small portion of users to start.

Since this was a completely new feature, we chose to roll it out to the users who showed the most interest during sales calls or during ongoing customer success conversations. This enabled us to continue iterating while also receiving valuable feedback from real users regarding the new experience—without impacting the majority of our user base.

NPS survey configuration in action

Results and takeaways

Results and capabilities of the NPS integration:

  • We covered all use cases without unnecessary burden on the user or back end.
  • We created rules for end users’ behavior and timeline (e.g., user didn’t open email, send SMS, it’s been 3 days, etc.).
  • We enabled routing of responses to specific people or channels, such as an email, a person, a slack channel, etc.
  • Customers had a dashboard to track how NPS was performing (filter by location, date, etc.).
  • Customers could configure surveys and segment users based on any number of data-driven points.

Takeaways:

  • User testing was key. Had we shipped what our initial intuition told us, we would have launched a product our users didn’t really connect with. As designers, we must remember: We are not the user!
  • Collaboration is everything. I could not have tackled this mammoth project alone. I’m thankful for the engineers, customer success folks, and awesome customers involved that helped make this project a success.
Published January 2017