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How to Learn the "Wrongs" You Need to "Right"

If a customer rates you a “6” or below on a Net Promoter Score® survey, they are considered a Detractor. Detractors are likely speaking negatively about your company. They may be actively looking to leave, but the good news is that they haven’t yet, and now you know.

It is a best practice to follow-up with any Detractors (those that rate the company a 6 or below) promptly (recommended within 24 hours). Butler Street sends electronic notifications for detractors as the responses come in, prior to the final reporting so immediate action can be taken.

It is generally better to call versus email, especially if the comments that are provided are severe. In those cases, it may be appropriate to schedule a meeting to learn more and develop an action plan.

Recommended Action Steps

  1. Thank them for taking the survey and for their feedback

  2. Treat any complaint like a gold brick – do not be defensive

  3. Respond directly to any open question or challenge

  4. Learn the “wrongs” you need to “right” (Sincerely apologize and find out what your organization can do to make things right. Do not just ask, “Why did you give us a 3?”)

  5. Develop an action plan to solve

  6. Thank them again for helping to make you a better company

  7. Take action and close the loop

Sample Detractor Phone Conversation

NPS Rating: 3

Customer survey comment: “Terrible series of experiences”

Salesperson: “Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to our survey. Your opinion is extremely valuable to me and I would very much like to get a better understanding and to learn the wrongs we need to right. Can you tell me a little more about the experiences you have had with us?

Customer: “Well, the last … was awful. And we still haven’t received the … that was requested.”

Salesperson: “I am very, very sorry that we did not meet your expectations. Are you willing to share what happened with the last …?”

Customer: “It was…..”

Salesperson: “I see and I can understand how that would be frustrating. I will get the information over to you today. You mentioned ‘a series of experiences’. It what other ways have we fallen short?

Customer: “That’s really it. I appreciate you getting this handled.”

Salesperson: “Great, I will get back with you later today. Thank you for helping us to be a better company.”

Sample Detractor Email

NPS Rating: 6

Customer survey comment: “Billing continues to be a problem”

Hi Joe,

Thank you very much for taking our survey. Your opinion is very valuable to me and I appreciate you sharing your insights. You mentioned that you have had some challenges with the billing. Would you have a moment to speak today so that we are able to improve … in the future?


If you learn more about why they are not happy, you have an opportunity to fix things before they leave. Finally, make sure you do what you say you’re going to do!

Refer to last week's article "Getting your Net Promoter Score isn't the end goal" for common pitfalls to avoid when surveying customers. Butler Street's Best of Print and Digital® program helps learn the wrongs that need to be made right and by following best practices like these, it will ensure that you get the most out of the actionable insights from your customers. Contact us for more information!

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