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Ilma · 14 min read · Tips and resources · April 13, 2021

What we learned using email to personalize NPS customer feedback

“It’s all about the numbers!” I studied auditing and worked in the financial industry for 5 years. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that numbers and metrics can be subjective—including customer feedback scores.

What really matters is that you are crystal clear on what you want to measure and how you’ll measure it. At MailerLite, we know exactly what we need to look at when we want to measure our customer’s satisfaction.

The most important metric for us is Net Promoter Score (NPS) because it correlates strongly with the growth of our business. Loyal and happy customers stay long-term and recommend us to others, and that’s exactly how we’re able to obtain good leads and grow.

At the end of 2020, we sent out our annual NPS survey to active users, to find out how we’re getting on.

Not only did people leave feedback, but some were also curious to learn how to embed an NPS survey themselves. 

Check out this message we got from last year's survey! 

customer feedback screenshot tell us what you think mailerlite

Read on to learn what NPS is and how you can create an NPS survey feedback email of your own.

At MailerLite, we’re big believers in the power of keeping it simple. The NPS survey suits us perfectly because it’s quick and easy for our customers, yet it yields powerful insights into their overall satisfaction.

We know that our customers are busy juggling work and life. Instead of sending them a 20-minute survey, the NPS survey only takes 20 seconds to complete!

It asks a simple NPS question: ‘How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?’ The respondent ranks their likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being highly unlikely and 10 being extremely likely.

The results for NPS are generally broken down into 3 groups:

  • Promoters: customers that rate your company with 9-10

  • Passives: customers that rate your company with 8-7

  • Detractors: customers that rate your company with a 6 and less

Your NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents that are detractors from the percentage of respondents that are promoters.

NPS graphic mailerlite promoters detractors 0 to 10 scale

Fred Reichheld, the person who introduced the NPS, demonstrated a strong relationship between this simple metric and a company’s growth compared to its competitors.

Bill Macaitis, former CMO of Slack, saw the value of implementing customer-centric marketing strategies, and he stated the following:

“NPS is a leading indicator of future growth. The larger the number of advocates for the product, the lower the customer acquisition costs for the company, and the more effective your customer success team will be.”

How can a 20-second survey predict growth and lower customer acquisition costs? A strong score simply means that you have more people willing to refer others to your company, which is a key catalyst for organic (free) growth.

For us the NPS gives us a good measure for organic growth, but more importantly: it lets us know if our customers are satisfied and we’re doing the right thing. Our goal is to deliver an amazing product experience for every customer.

The NPS range is -100 to +100. If you have a much higher number of detractors than promoters, you can receive a negative score below 0, which is not ideal. While anything above 0 is considered positive, customer-focused companies set their sights on a 50+ score.

If you’re looking for some NPS benchmarks, according to Zendesk’s data, best-in-class companies achieve a score of 70+, while the typical B2B software company achieves only 29. As for the interpretation of your score, don’t forget that numbers on a scale can mean different things for people.

Here’s what one of our customers said in last year’s survey:

I rated you an 8, because that is on a scale from 1-10 how I feel about MailerLite's product as a whole. An 8 is really great in my books and in the Northern-European culture I live in.

You also shouldn’t forget to repeat the survey, as the trend over time shows you more than just one plain number.

This is the survey which we sent out in 2020:

MailerLite 2020 NPS email survey

We asked one simple question: How likely are you to recommend MailerLite to a friend?

In 2020, our NPS score was 55%, which is well above the industry benchmark of 30%!

Though it’s extremely important to know if your customers are happy or not, the NPS doesn’t give any specific insights into their ‘why’. We wanted to give our customers a chance to elaborate on their scores.

This is why we followed up with automated emails after the survey:

  • For not so happy/ neutral customers 😐 : We sent an email asking for more information about why they gave us this rating

  • For happy customers 🤩 : We asked them to leave an online review for the chance to win a t-shirt, a sticker pack, or an iPad

These answers could then be used to improve our roadmap and content for potential customers. 

Read on to see how we implemented these automated emails based on each individual score result.

For starters, it’s a good idea to save your results. While creating a survey in the editor, go to Rules and select Update a custom field. This way you’ll save information about your subscribers and we’ll be able to segment them in the future and see if their results are changing:

How to set up your NPS survey mailerlite editor

Depending on the score, customers were sent targeted emails with content that matched their needs. We also made sure that customers could directly reply to the email to make it more personal and easy for them to get in touch with us.

After gathering the NPS results, we created different email automations according to their scores, with 4 different workflows in total:

NPS workflows

For not so happy/ neutral customers 😐

People who ranked between 1-8 were categorized as ‘not so happy/neutral’.

Unhappy/ neutral workflow mailerlite automation workflow nps survey

They received the following email from Remis, our Customer Support Manager. We wanted to hear their explanation as to ‘why’ they were not completely satisfied. This resulted in a lot of important feedback and many insightful conversations with customers.

Follow up email from customer support manager mailerlite

For happy customers 🤩

For people that were very likely to recommend MailerLite to others, we seized the opportunity to ask them to write a review while we were top of mind.

Positive online reviews have a big impact on your business growth. Customers who clicked a 9 or 10 automatically received an email with a request to write a review about MailerLite.

For this year's NPS email survey, we used different segments for the happy customers who rated us with a 9-10.

Since we have customers that integrated MailerLite with WooCommerce and Shopify, we wanted them to post their reviews on these specific review websites, rather than the alternative general review website link we sent to everyone else.

The easiest way to do this was to create different segments based on filters. We then send 3 different happy-customer-emails to the 3 different segments:

  • General customers

  • Customers integrating MailerLite with WooCommerce

  • Customers integrating MailerLite with Shopify

Take a look at this screenshot to see what one of these workflows looked like.

Happy customers workflow nps survey mailerlite automation

Here is the email which we sent out, asking for a review. We used the subject line ‘Thank you for your great feedback’.

As an incentive, we entered them into a prize draw for the chance to win one of our t-shirts, an iPad, or some sticker packs. A great way to get a high response rate!

Follow-up email for happy customers mailerlite example nps survey

P.S. Check out this Net Promoter Score survey example for more inspiration!

We had some great feedback from our customers, such as this testimonial from one of our winners who got an iPad!

"I never participate in online give-aways or competitions. All you ever seem to “win" with that kind of thing is an endless stream of sales emails. When MailerLite asked me for a review, however, they already had my email address (they’re pretty good at email marketing – go figure) and I genuinely enjoy their product, so I went ahead and sent my review over just to show my support.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted some weeks later, having completely forgotten about the give-away, and a MailerLite rep told me I’d won an iPad. So it does happen, huh?!

I’m very happy for my new tablet (thank you again!) but the review stands on its own, regardless. Mailerlite is, hands down, the best email service for my business. Thanks for helping my business!"

Other happy customers shared selfies with their new MailerLite stickers and t-shirts.

Customers with MailerLite merchandise happy stickers on laptop

Feeling fired up to start an NPS customer survey of your own? That’s great! Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. Keep it short and concise

We’re all on a tight schedule, these days! The more focused and straightforward the survey, the more likely that people will respond. Use simple words to phrase each question, and limit the number of questions (a general rule of thumb is anywhere between 3-5).

2. Use incentives

Completing customer satisfaction surveys requires a little extra thought and time, so make it worthwhile. Add an incentive, like free company merchandise, free delivery or a voucher to show how much you appreciate them and build customer loyalty.

3. Send reminders

If some people still haven’t participated, you can send a follow up email to augment your survey results as much as possible. Just don’t overdo it—one reminder email is plenty.

4. A/B test the email beforehand

A/B testing is where you test two versions of your email on a small sample of subscribers, before the ‘winning version’ (aka the one with the most open rates) will be sent out to the rest of your subscribers. This can increase your chances of sending out the best possible newsletter, and getting the highest possible open and response rates. Think especially about your subject line—what will entice people to open and engage with your NPS survey?

5. Make it easy to give feedback

If you want to know if people like your product, service or company, you should ask them. People like to know that their opinions matter and genuinely want to help. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback and always respond to them when they share their thoughts. Two-way communication is key.

6. Segment people according to their responses

Segmentation allows you to send a much more targeted follow-up after the survey. This will give them the chance to explain why they gave their particular survey responses, delivering a more personalized customer journey.

7. Keep an eye on the NPS trends

You’ll notice that some people will rate everything by 10, while others might have just had a recent good/bad customer experience with you, but they like your brand overall. Keep repeating the survey from time to time, and watch the trends that emerge.

8. Remember, happy customers = happy business!

Happy, loyal customers can help you grow your business if you say exactly what you expect them to do. In our case, our happy customers’ survey responses helped increase our rating on G2Crowd from 4.1 to 4.7. Now everyone is happy!

You can get started quickly by using our pre-built survey template. You can find the email template like this:

  1. Log in to your MailerLite account

  2. Select Create campaign

  3. Select Regular campaign

  4. Select Template gallery

  5. Pick Survey template

Or add the survey to your own email by implementing the survey block from the drag & drop editor.

Here’s how to do that:

If you haven’t already tried an NPS survey, then now is the time! And if you’re already up and running, keep those best practices in mind to get the most out of your email surveys.

NPS data can help you to track the customer journey, identify what’s going well, and implement changes to be even better in the future. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2019. We have now updated the article with new results, methods and examples from our 2020 survey.

Ilma Nausedaite

I’m Ilma, COO at MailerLite. I love seeing our customers succeed. When they win, we win (like being named one of the top 5 fastest growing SaaS companies). Email is my passion, although I took a rather unusual path. Before MailerLite, I worked in finance and art, which turned out to be the perfect mix for marketing.