top of page

How to Turn an Angry Customer into a "Coachable Moment"

Using Net Promoter Score® to measure customer loyalty can provide you with great insights – some positive and some negative. Either scenario is an opportunity to act.

When you ask your customers “On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” you generally expect responses in the 5-10 range. But the true “Coachable Moment” happens when you get that big, fat “0."

This happened to one of our clients. Through our Best of Print and Digital® program, we provide Net Promoter Score® surveys to printing companies, giving them an objective measurement of how their customers feel about them overall – true visibility to their customer loyalty scores. In a recent survey, one client received a response that we call “A Coachable Moment”:

1. How likely are you to recommend us?


2. What is your reason for giving this answer?

“The service was horrible, [you]couldn't perform basic customer service. And [you] ended up out sourcing my job when [you] had specific instructions not to do that”

3. What is our Relationship Status:

“[You are] one of many providers”

4. Are there things we can do to improve?

“There is nothing you can do to repair it”

Yikes! This is ONE UPSET CUSTOMER! So, the question is: What would you do next? At Butler Street, we believe that all information is valuable, whether it is positive or negative. In fact, by simply asking the question, this client has now uncovered insight about this customer’s perceptions, which gives us the opportunity to ACT and change the environment.

We recommend a simple approach for all Net Promoter Score® responses:

  • Detractors – (these are the customers who rank you from 0-6). When discover that you have a Detractor, you meet with them, apologize, and ask what you can do to right the wrongs you have committed.

  • Passives – (these customers will rate you a 7 or 8). With Passives, you meet with them, thank them for taking the survey, and ask them what it would take to be a 9 or 10.

  • Promoters – these are your most loyal customers, so, this is simple – you meet with them and ask them for a recommendation! (Something they have already told you they would do)

So, let’s go back to our example. This was a relatively small customer. Almost an afterthought. But the response was a shock – which spurred our client to action. By following the approach described above, our client turned a negative review into a huge new opportunity! Here’s the sales rep’s feedback about what happened when our client followed the process:

“This was good advice. We just got [Customer] on the phone and had a great conversation with him. This guy buys about $1.8M in products we can produce – but we only sell them about $ 5,000 per year. It turns out he used to work with [Bill] at [XYZCo] so we are going to get them together and give it another shot. I hate to see the NPS score go down with his response but we would never have known how upset he was without the feedback. [and would never have known how big this customer could be!]"

This is the power of understanding customer loyalty – and a great testimonial about what can happen if you choose to act on the data. Our client had a “small customer” that scored poorly on the survey. But rather than writing the customer off and moving on, the sales team decided to approach the frustrated client and ask the simple question: “what can we do to make this better?”

By doing this, the customer feels like they were heard, they shared additional information, and the team uncovered a huge new sales opportunity.

Taking the step to measure customer loyalty can be uncomfortable. It will probably result in some “Coachable Moments” for you and your team. But in the end – your customers will respond, your business will grow, and you will improve your relationships with the most important assets you have – your customers.

3 ways to grow your business with net promoter score

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

bottom of page