Yes, the title of this blog is provocative, intentionally so. How does Customer Experience and Price really impact your NPS®? Yes, price does matter, but less than you might think given our extensive research and the analysis from others. At The Daniel Group we often hear comments from clients that the only thing that matters to customers is “the lowest price.” There is a portion of B2B customers for which price is the predominant buying driver. However, according to a 2015 Forrester study, price is the primary driver for only about 8% of B2B customers, and good service trumps low price by a long shot.
Our Approach to Understanding the Impact of Price
Several years ago, at The Daniel Group, we improved many of our surveys by adding follow-up questions. For example, after the overall satisfaction scale question (1-10), we first asked, “What went well?” and then “What could have been better?” Verbatim responses are captured and tagged. The tagging allows us to quickly group responses (drivers) and analyze what customers liked and disliked. We can also see how specific drivers affect a customer’s NPS® (Net Promoter Score, likelihood to recommend).
What We Have Learned About the Importance of Pricing?
In considering one market segment, industrial equipment, we see similar patterns in other market segments. Over this two-plus-year period, customers responding to surveys (parts, service, rentals, and sales) had an overall NPS of 86.2. Those customers who mentioned price as something that could have been better had an NPS of 61.9 or a reduced NPS of 24.3 points.
This impact seems high, but it needs to be put in context. Following are the NPS hits if customers mentioned certain other things that could have been better:
- Communication — 36.4 point decrease
- Ease of Doing Business — 52.2 point decrease
- Service Completed When Promised — 46.2 point decrease
Pricing was mentioned far more frequently than any of the other drivers, but it had much less impact on NPS. Reading some of the verbatim comments suggests that while customers may not like the price, they are willing to pay if other things go well.
What Else Matters? — What went well?
Our research shows three key things to focus on to boost your NPS and create happier customers. Using the same dataset, only looking at the “What went well?” responses, we found the following:
- Ease of Doing Business — 7.3 point increase
- Communication — 6.3 point increase
- Knowledge and Professionalism of Staff — 4.6 point increase
What to make of these findings on Customer Experience and Price?
There are several important things to highlight from this research:
Pricing matters, but it is less important than other factors in the context of a B2B relationship. Consistent with the findings of the Forrester research highlighted earlier, customers are looking to satisfy additional needs, in addition to a competitive/reasonable price.
If you are getting complaints about your pricing, look at your company’s service. In the absence of good service, pricing can become the most important factor to customers, a situation that does not bode well for long-term profitability.
If you want to take pricing off the table for customers, make it very easy to business with your company, be the best communicators, and build a caring and professional staff. Based on our experience, pricing is likely to be of much less importance to customers, and they are very unlikely to leave.
Let me know about your experience with pricing issues with your customers. I am glad to share more about what we are learning.
CEO & Founder
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