Last week, I talked to a CMO of a B2B company who proudly told me that his customers had awarded his company with a staggering Net Promoter Score of +60. I congratulated him and asked him about the response rate. “It wasn’t bad, 33%”. We are indeed living in times where we are happy if we have a 30% response rate, certainly when comparing with the 1 or 2% response rates that are sometimes seen in transactional satisfaction surveys. However, in a relational customer satisfaction survey, and certainly in a B2B context, we should not be happy with a 30% response rate. 80% should be the norm.
Once a survey response rate dips below 80 percent or so, the non-response bias will begin to affect the results. The lower the response rate, the greater the non-response bias. The reason for this is obvious: the group of people who choose to answer a survey is not necessarily representative of the customer population as a whole.
NPS or Csat measures the strength of customer relations. Not being willing to spend time on a survey may be a symptom of lukewarm or even poor customer relations. Moreover, many forget that a customer satisfaction survey is also a “touchpoint” with the customer. The way the survey is designed, the data collection method, the interview duration, the incentive etc…: the end result should be a tasteful dish that motivates customers to participate to the survey. A low response rate tells you something about the quality of your research design. For example, in a relational B2B NPS survey, telephone interviews often result in (much) higher response rates than online surveys.
For all these reasons, I dare you: in your next customer satisfaction survey, do you dare to commit yourself to multiply your (positive) NPS with the response rate? In my example at the start of this article, the NPS of +60 would become +20, after multiplying it with the mediocre 33% response rate. With a splendid response of 80%, assuming that we still would see a NPS of +60, the NPS would still have been 60 x 0,8 = +48.
The conclusion: response rates can be a reflection of customer bonding. Do you dare to reflect that in your NPS calculation?
Want to learn more about NPS and it’s drivers? Read this article next! Or are you more interested in how NPS might not be the holy grail of customer satisfaction? Then this might be interesting to read!