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The Value of Asking Just One Simple Question

Workers standing at desk in GSM Industrial offices

By asking customers just one question, GSM Industrial gleans a lot of information about customer satisfaction, as well as ways we can continue to improve the customer experience.

For about 2 years, GSM has been using Net Promoter Score (NPS), a simple but powerful tool, to measure client satisfaction with one single question. The results of this customer loyalty metric can be used in a multitude of ways to improve the customer experience, reduce churn, and increase the number of delighted customers who become brand advocates for GSM.

(Learn more about this customer satisfaction measurement tool here ).

As orders close, we send a survey asking customers one simple question, “On a scale of 0–10, how likely are you to recommend GSM Industrial to a colleague or industry contact?” Customers provide their answer to this question on an 11-point rating scale, ranging from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Depending on the score that is given to the Net Promoter question, three categories of people are distinguished:

  • Promoters = respondents giving a 9 or 10 score
  • Passives = respondents giving a 7 or 8 score
  • Detractors = respondents giving a 0 to 6 score

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the number of detractors from the number of promoters and dividing by the total number of respondents. Net Promoter Scores are expressed as an absolute number lying between -100 and +100.

By calculating the results, GSM learns what customers think about their experience, as well as the services and work that we perform.

The process of measuring and tracking NPS started with my realization that customer satisfaction is key to getting referrals, new customers, and securing old ones, so I directed the implementation of NPS to help measure customer satisfaction in a simple way – with one single question – to get an indication of the growth potential for the company. Customers who are likely to recommend GSM to others are considered promoters and indicate positive growth potential for GSM.

We go a step further with the NPS question by incentivizing customers being surveyed to elaborate on the reason(s) they gave us the score they did by providing an open-ended opportunity to provide additional feedback. The additional feedback or rationale behind the score given provides valuable information and allows our team to not only learn more about the customer journey experience, but to also track our internal efforts to deliver an outstanding customer experience, every time.

GSM has enjoyed a very good score (currently 81) since implementing NPS. For context, while there are several variations of how to analyze your score, given the NPS range of -100 to +100, and based on global NPS standards, any score above 0 is good.

  • Generally, if your NPS is below 0, that is an indicator that your company needs to start understanding and improving your customer satisfaction levels.
  • An NPS score above 50 is considered excellent. A score in this range indicates your company places a high priority on customer satisfaction and has a lot more satisfied customers than dissatisfied ones.
  • A score above 70 is considered world-class and means the majority of your customer base is very loyal.
  • An NPS rating of 70 or more places you on the list of top customer-centric companies in your industry, and likely indicates that your company generates a lot of positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Given this scale of NPS scores, it is important to note, however, that scores can vary by several factors, including the type of industry, geographic region, and even by characteristics of your customers.

Like with most tools similar to NPS, the score is just part of the picture. It’s how and what you do with the information you learn from the score that really makes a difference. NPS results can be used to improve interactions and communications with customers and prospects; create and develop new processes, products, or services; reduce potential churn or loss of customers; and more.

At GSM, the scores and feedback are monitored and reviewed closely for helping to improve processes and the customer experience and satisfaction. For any detractors, score of 6 or below, I personally reach out to the customer to gain an understanding of the issues and how GSM can improve.

To me, measuring and monitoring the Net Promoter Score is important because in order to grow your business, you need satisfied customers or promoters who talk about your company, team members, products, and services enthusiastically and send referrals your way. The way we measure our promoters is by checking how many people scored us a 9 and 10 in an NPS survey. And while NPS is a useful number for evaluating and benchmarking our business, its real value is in the answers to the follow-up question explaining the rationale behind the score that was given and in the conversations that occur with customers.

At GSM, we value client relationships and strive to deliver the best customer experience. While we are proud of our Net Promoter Score and grateful for the loyal customers we work with, we appreciate hearing from you – on what we are doing well, where we have room to improve, and how we can earn your trust and confidence to make you a GSM Industrial promoter!

Brian Dombach, President