Happy clients are some of your best assets in real estate. Referrals are key to growing your business, and only happy clients will give them. But client happiness can also be challenging to measure. This is where Net Promoter Score℠ or NPS® comes in. NPS is a handy tool for definitively measuring customer satisfaction, identifying happy clients, and leveraging relationships with happy clients. We wrote the Realtor’s guide to NPS to help you make the most of this tool.
What is NPS?
First off, what is NPS? NPS is a tool to measure and average out customer sentiment using a numbered scale. It was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, Inc., and Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and is now used by thousands of businesses worldwide, including many individual Realtors and large real estate businesses.
NPS uses the question “how likely is it that you would recommend our company?” and measures responses on a scale of zero (not likely at all) to ten (very likely). The total NPS is derived from Promoters (those who answered with a 9 or 10) and Detractors (those who answered between zero and six) using the following equation:
Net Promoter Score = % of Promoters – % of Detractors
% of Promoters = # of Promoters / Total Respondents
% of Detractors = # of Detractors / Total Respondents
Your NPS score may be anywhere between -100 and 100. NPS score can actually be a negative number if you have more detractors than promoters.
Get the tools you need to wow clients, gather praise, and generate leads. Download the Realtor’s Referral Marketing Playbook
When to Send an NPS Survey
Using NPS software tools, you can see your overall NPS score as well as individual responses. This allows you to easily identify your happy and unhappy customers. With this in mind, there are a few situations when an NPS survey is especially helpful:
- Before requesting testimonials: many software tools allow you to customize the response your clients will receive after they fill out an NPS survey. You can customize this response to only ask your promoters to submit a testimonial.
- At year-end: the end of the year is a good time to measure your overall client satisfaction, and strategize improvements.
- Making improvements: If your NPS score isn’t where you’d like it to be, your detractors might have insights that can help. When clients respond with a number between 0 and 6, send a follow-up survey asking about how to make improvements. Since these clients aren’t exactly pleased, they might need incentives, such as a gift card giveaway, to give their input.
- Assessing strategies: if you previously made a strategy for improving your clients’ experience, an NPS score can help you see how well it worked.
How to Use NPS Surveys to Get Testimonials
Most NPS software tools will allow you to customize responses based on the answer your client gave in the survey. This is especially helpful in steering happy customers towards a testimonial or referral. You can also use custom responses to gather important feedback from unhappy customers, so you know how to improve.
When your client responds to an NPS survey with a 9 or a 10, consider a follow-up message like the following. You might follow up shortly after your client submits the survey, or program a response to appear right when your client submits their answer.
Thanks for your feedback! I’m so glad you had a great experience. I’d love to hear more about it, and to share your experience with others. Would you consider giving a testimonial? It takes less than five minutes and helps me out a lot. Use this link to submit a written or video testimonial [insert link here].
How to Get Your NPS Score: A Guide for Realtors
The first step in the Realtor’s guide to NPS is to get your NPS score. To do this, you’ll need to submit an NPS survey to your previous clients and customers. Use the question “how likely is it that you would recommend me/my business to friends and family?” and provide a numeric scale answer between 0 and 10. You might use emojis or text description (“not likely at all” to “very likely”) to help. A single, simple follow-up question like “why did you give that score?” or “what stands out to you about our business?” can help you derive more insights.
Creating and Sending an NPS Survey
You can design an NPS survey yourself and send it to your previous clients, or you can use NPS software tools to help. These tools make it easy to design an effective NPS survey in a few clicks, and send it to your mailing lists. Email is the most popular way to send these surveys, though you might also consider snail mail, text messages, or even social media messages, depending on your clients’ preferred communication method.
Measuring NPS Accurately
NPS can be a very helpful tool in gauging your customers’ satisfaction, but there are some caveats. It’s important to measure NPS accurately. For example, if you have fewer than 30 responses, outliers can throw off your results significantly.
Be aware of who you’re asking and how. If you’re only sending surveys to clients who completed a home purchase or sale with you, you might not be getting the full scope. Though it can be difficult to hear criticism from unhappy clients, try to reach out to previous clients who didn’t complete a purchase. Some may have simply walked away because they weren’t ready for home ownership or sale, or they may have had unrealistic expectations. However, some clients may have important insights about something that went wrong during the real estate sale or purchase process.
Calculating Your NPS Score: What Does It Mean?
Once you have your responses and you’ve calculated your NPS score, what should you do with it? What does it mean? How can you use it?
NPS By Industry
NPS is a somewhat relative measure of customer satisfaction. By their nature, some industries will have lower or higher NPS scores. For example, the insurance industry has a fairly low average NPS benchmarks. This might be because insurance is built for problems and disasters, such as car accidents and health problems. However, online shopping and e-commerce retailers tend to have high NPS benchmarks. This could be because, unless there’s a serious problem, online shopping is generally less stressful and more fun, so customers are more likely to give higher scores.
Company size can also make a difference. Industries dominated by a handful of very large companies, such as airlines and internet services providers, consistently have very low NPS scores. This means it’s important to compare your NPS to other real estate businesses of relative size.
What Does Your NPS Score Mean?
Though NPS is somewhat relative, there are a few concrete conclusions you can derive from your score.
Negative scores mean you have more unhappy clients than happy ones. This isn’t sustainable for business, and you should work to improve your NPS score—and your clients’ experiences—immediately.
A low positive score means that your number of happy and unhappy clients is nearly equal. This is where a follow-up question like “why did you give that score?” can be helpful. Take a look at these responses and see what customers are saying. What are they unhappy about? Is this fixable?
A high number of passive responses (those who answered with a 7 or 8) can also show where your process can be improved, even if your NPS score is positive. This means your customers aren’t unhappy, but they’re not likely to remember or recommend you, either. Look at the responses to your follow-up question and see where you can improve.
A high positive score, generally 30 or higher, means that your clients are not just happy, but they’re impressed with your work. Take a look at the responses to follow-up questions to see what you’re doing that is wowing your clients, so you know what works.
How to Use Your NPS Score
Your NPS score is an indicator. Gathering your NPS score is only the first step in a greater customer experience improvement process. Once you have this number, you’ll know what to do next, and you’ll have a benchmark for continuous improvement.
If your NPS score is close to zero or it’s negative, you know that it’s time to take a hard look at your process and see where you can make improvements. If you didn’t include a follow-up question in your survey, or you didn’t get much of a response, try sending another, more in-depth survey after some time passes. Use the right feedback questions to see where you can improve.
Keep track of your NPS score and compare it year over year, or whatever interval is helpful for you. This quantitative metric makes it easy to see how you’ve improved over time and whether or not your strategies for improving your customer service and experience are working.
Get the tools you need to wow clients, gather praise, and generate leads. Download the Realtor’s Referral Marketing Playbook
How to Improve Your NPS Score
Once you have an accurate, reliable method for submitting NPS score surveys and calculating your score, the next step is making improvements. There are many ways to improve your clients’ experience and improve your NPS score. Which is best for you will depend on what your clients are looking for, and how they feel now.
The first step to improve your NPS score is gathering information. As previously mentioned, customized responses can be helpful here. If your client responds to your NPS survey with a number between 0 and 6, they’re considered a detractor, and they probably didn’t have a great experience. Your detractors’ input is valuable; they can tell you what went wrong. Since your detractors aren’t happy, it can be more difficult to get them to respond. A short, simple follow-up question and email like the following can help. Incentives, such as gift card giveaways, can also help you gather responses.
Hi [client’s first name],
Thank you for participating in my recent client satisfaction survey. I’m sorry that your experience wasn’t the best. I try to make every home-selling and home-buying journey top-notch, and I’d love to know more about your experience, so I can improve.
What would you change or improve about your experience? [link to survey]
I really appreciate your input. When you give your response, you’ll be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card!
Thanks again for your help.
Stay in Touch
Automating messages can help you stay in touch with customers and save time, but sometimes a personalized message is best. These messages don’t have to be long. The right personalized message at the right time can help to give your communication purpose, instead of overwhelming your client with emails. Use the right message at the right touchpoint to show your client that you are attentive, ready to answer their questions, and focused on their home-buying or home-selling journey.
All of your messages, both automated and personalized, should have a purpose. A personalized message should have a particular impact, and it can be especially helpful in the following situations:
- Welcoming a new client and establishing a warm relationship
- Highlighting particular new listings to show that you are focused on their needs
- Reviewing an important phone call or meeting, so they have all the information they need
- Reconnecting or refocusing if an offer falls through, to ensure you are both on the same page
- Following up after a successful sale or purchase, to maintain a good relationship
- Asking for a referral or testimonial after a successful close
Make a Strategy for Improvement
Once you send an NPS survey, gather responses, and provide a follow-up survey, you should have a collection of suggestions on how to improve. At this point, it’s helpful to create a strategy for improvement, including steps you’ll need to take and ways that you can assess your success. Arbitrary goals like “communicate more” or “understand clients’ expectations better” won’t be helpful longterm.
- Identify areas of improvement
- Create a list of actionable steps for improvement
- Determine how you can measure success
For example, if your clients cited a lack of communication as a problem, the first step might be to assess your current communication process. How often do you meet with or talk to your clients? Is it clear to your clients when you are (and aren’t) available for questions or meetings? Do you have an organized process for scheduling meetings, phone calls, or sending messages? This assessment should help to show where your communications can be improved.
With your current communication system and style laid out, consider what you’ll need to improve. Would it help to add a communication method, such as text messaging? Do you need to switch to a more functional scheduling tool? Can you use automated messages to fill in communication gaps? What tools would you need to make these improvements, and how can you implement them most effectively? Creating a series of small steps will make it easier to implement new solutions.
Finally, you’ll need a method to assess whether your strategy has worked or not. An additional NPS survey can help with this. Once you’ve implemented your strategy and made improvements, use an NPS survey to gauge your clients’ satisfaction again. If your score has significantly improved, it’s a good sign that your strategy worked.
Now that you know how to use NPS to identify happy clients, improve relationships . Keep in mind that this number is only a benchmark and an indicator; you’ll need follow-up questions and an action plan to make your experience with customers better.