Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma7 min readTips and resourcesApril 4, 2018

What we learned using email to personalize NPS customer feedback

What we learned using email to personalize NPS customer feedback

Customer happiness is extremely important to us at MailerLite. Everything we do to improve our product is driven by our customers’ needs and feedback. In order to stay customer focused, we check in with our customers to ensure we are on the right track.

Last week we sent out our annual survey. Every spring we ask our paying, active customers if they would recommend MailerLite to their friends. This is how we measure our Net Promoter Score (NPS) and get new feedback about the product.

During the survey, I received some emails like the one below from people who are interested in conducting their own surveys and curious how we set up ours. I wrote this blog post to share how we survey our customers and what we have learned through the process.

What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) and why do we measure it?

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 recognize 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 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 9-10
  • Passives: customers that rate your company 8-7
  • Detractors: customers that rate your company 6 and less

Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are Detractors from the percentage who are Promoters.

Net Promoter Score formula - calculation graph

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

“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.”

Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack

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.

More importantly for us, our goal is to deliver an amazing product experience for every customer. The NPS gives us a temperature read on how we are doing.

What do we do with the results?

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.

According to Zendesk data, best-in-class companies achieve a score of 70+, while the typical B2B software company achieves only 29. This year our NPS is 66% (69% in 2017, 51% in 2016, 35% in 2015.) We believe we can do even better as we listen to our customers and make the right improvements.

But NPS is only a number. Sure, it’s extremely important to know if your customers are happy or not, but it doesn’t give any specific insights into ‘why’. We wanted to give our customers a chance to elaborate on their score, but at the same time, we didn’t want to burden them with a long survey.

As a result, we used an email automation trigger to send a follow-up email, which allowed each customer to answer additional questions in their own time. This is also a smart way to extend your customer survey and segment your questions based on the scores.

Here’s how we used email to ask NPS follow-up questions

I created an automation that was triggered by a link click on the NPS survey. Depending on the score, customers were sent targeted emails with unique NPS follow-up questions based on their score.

Customers who clicked a 9 or 10 automatically received this email from our Co-founder, Ignas:

sending customer survey by email

For those people who rated MailerLite 7 or 8, they received this email:

sending customer survey by email

And everyone who gave us a 6 or less received this email from Karina, one of our customer success managers:

sending customer survey by email - thank you email

Sending targeted emails based on score allowed us to customize the follow-up questions to engage promoters, passives and detractors in different ways. We also made sure that customers could reply directly from the email to make it easy and more personal.

If promoters are willing to recommend MailerLite to others, we seized the opportunity to ask them to write a review while it was top of mind. Positive online reviews make a big impact on your business growth. So we asked our loyal customers to review us on Capterra and included a link to make it easy for them to get there.

If the number was lower than 9, we asked them to help us improve by providing more explanation into ‘why’ they were not completely satisfied. We got a lot of important feedback and had many insightful conversations with customers.

Main takeaways:

  • 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.
  • Automatic emails can be personal and people DO reply to them. It took 2 days for the Co-founder of MailerLite, Ignas, to answer everyone’s emails. Since we don’t have many opportunities for personal contact with our customers, these emails were the perfect way to connect, listen and build stronger relationships.
  • One yearly customer survey is not enough. The customer experience constantly changes and evolves throughout the year. We decided to add the survey to our automated welcome email sequence. It will be sent 3 weeks after a customer makes a payment. This will provide recent and relevant feedback, allowing us to learn and react faster.

P.S. Want to send an NPS survey to your customers? You can get started quickly by using our pre-built survey template. You can find the template by logging into your MailerLite account and selecting: Create Campaign > Select Regular Campaign > Select the Template gallery > Pick Survey Template.

Here’s how you can combine the survey with link triggered automation:

customer survey by email - email automation - MailerLite

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.