NPS for agencies: How to capture client and employee satisfaction

Agencies can often fall into the trap of thinking that clients are happy if they increase their marketing investment. 

Similarly, we assume that employees are happy if we’re focusing on culture and trying to do the right thing.

But are those things really true?

Our agency uses two simple metrics to gather objective data – Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

Even if you’ve never heard of NPS, you’ve probably received an email or text that asks a simple question: “Would you recommend us to a friend, family member, or colleague?” 

That single question helps companies measure client satisfaction and can help your agency understand if clients are delighted or simply comfortable.

Those who give you a 9 or 10 are considered “promoters” and are your biggest advocates. They not only tend to stick with you, but they are also likely to evangelize for you internally and externally.

Anyone who gives you a score of 6 or lower is a detractor. That means that they not only aren’t fans of yours, but they generally aren’t willing to defend their relationship with you or your firm either. Scores of 7 or 8 are considered passive and are not counted toward your NPS.

The Net Promoter calculation requires adding up the survey responses and subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The delta is your Net Promoter Score. 

For example, let’s say:

  • 65% of respondents are promoters.
  • 25% are detractors.
  • 10% are passives

In this case, your NPS would be 65-25=40.

An NPS score above 70 is world-class, and the benchmark for digital marketing agencies is 68.

The reason that the benchmark is so high for digital marketing agencies is that dissatisfied clients tend to take their business elsewhere if they aren’t happy.

Net Promoter Scores can help you understand how the overall health of your agency is likely to trend and may help you predict (or stop) upcoming client churn.

I’d recommend capturing the score on a quarterly or semi-annual basis since perceptions can change – not only based on results but external factors and feelings.

We use a tool called AskNicely that allows us to ask follow-up questions after receiving the score, and also lets us trigger different workflows based on responses.

We can understand if clients are delighted by technical knowledge, communication, or a different factor. Similarly, we can understand any causes of dissatisfaction.

In addition, we can slice data based on the person working with the client to understand if there’s risk based on one of our employees or by the line of service (e.g., SEO, PPC, strategy).

The additional feedback complements the score itself and allows us to dig into the “why” behind a rating, and course correct anywhere needed.

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As all agency leaders know, the market for digital marketing talent is exceptionally hot, especially with so many remote roles. This remote shift has made the barrier to switching jobs extremely low, so managers must have a pulse on employee satisfaction.

The eNPS question is very similar to the one for NPS, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our organization as a place to work to others?”

Although you likely have some raving fans, eNPS tends to have more “passive” or neutral scores than a traditional NPS score for your service offering. Employees likely won’t feel bad about giving you an 8, a score that ultimately gets discarded since it’s considered a neutral sentiment.

An eNPS score of 40 or greater is considered excellent. Employees tend to hold companies to a very high standard – often higher than clients.

Similar to NPS, it’s important to trend this score either quarterly or semi-annually for various reasons:

  • Happy employees generally lead to happy clients and you want to spot any dissatisfaction.
  • Expectations increase over time. Ensure that your agency is holding steady or improving.
  • Client rosters and contacts change and can impact how the employee feels.
  • Scores can be impacted negatively or positively by temporary factors such as project launches or other extremely busy periods.

In addition to tracking the eNPS score itself, I also recommend that smaller firms look at the average of the scores. For example, perhaps your agency has a lot of 9 and 10s, but there are just a couple of people giving you detractors, your overall satisfaction may be strong. 

Sample size can have a big impact on smaller firms, especially if you don’t get a 100% response rate.

Why should your agency care?

Client and employee churn is part of running an agency, but by capturing these two objective metrics, you can try to get ahead of it.

Reach out quickly to clients that give you anything outside of a 9 or 10, and even those who drop from a 10 to a 9. Ask them for candid feedback about what you can do to turn them into promoters and improve the business relationship.

To get the most accurate feedback from employees, you’ll need to gather the data anonymously. This makes gathering actionable insights a bit more difficult.

However, if you receive a lower than optimal score, you can follow up eNPS with another anonymous survey asking employees what their favorite and least favorite parts of working for your agency are.

Getting started

Since NPS and eNPS are based on one question, it’s easy to start. For a free solution, you can try SurveyMonkey or Typeform. 

However, several solution providers specialize in capturing satisfaction feedback such as Delighted, AskNicely, Survey Sparrow and Retently. These SaaS companies can help you extract more details than a simple form.

For more advanced analysis, you’ll want to find a solution that connects to your other data sources (such as your CRM), but it ultimately has to meet the pricing and features required for a business of your size.

Get started today and understand if your agency is on the right track.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Antonella Pisani

Antonella Pisani is CEO and founder at Eyeful Media, where she leads a team of passionate & talented marketers. Over the course of her career, she’s held senior digital marketing & eCommerce leadership positions with Fossil, JCPenney, Guitar Center, and Proflowers but began her career as a web designer in 1996. Antonella is based in Dallas, and her trusty sidekick, Riley (a rescue pup who also serves as the company’s Chief Security Officer), is often sleeping by her desk. She’s been to 37 countries and loves to travel any chance she gets.

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