Remember that song from childhood that goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old / one is silver and the other gold?” While driving down the road to do some field training at a junk removal and donation pick-up job the other day, I wrote a new verse about The Junk Trunk’s marketing and customer service efforts. Ready?
Acquire new customers, but sustain the old
Both are likely to lead to business growth!
Not quite as catchy as the version from Scouts, but I like how it highlights the dual prongs of The Junk Trunk strategy: we love helping new friends and converting leads to new customers, but we also know the value of retaining a customer and know that we wouldn’t be here if not for our customers’ loyalty over the years.
Nathan Schweid started this business the way many small businesses get up and running: he reached out to his community—those who already knew him well enough to give him a chance—to offer his services and fulfill a need he saw. Operating out of a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck, he was running on a shoestring budget and razor thin margins; however, Nathan crucially knew that customer retention comes far cheaper than customer acquisition, so he set out to go above and beyond to satisfy those customers.
Intuitively, Nathan knew the importance of centering customers in his business growth plans, a model that Hubspot calls the flywheel. More on that another day; today we’re focused on listening to your customers, closing the customer feedback loop, and one of our favorite measurement and listening tools, the Net Promoter Score.
What is a Net Promoter Score?
Developed in the early 2000s by business guru and Bain & Company consultant Fred Reichheld, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is “a widely used market research metric that typically takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company. . . to a friend or colleague” (1). Net Promoter Score (NPS) works well across many industries and company sizes, from Fortune 500 to local small businesses and tech behemoths to junk removal companies, as a system that centers the customer across an entire organization.
Using the question of likelihood to make a recommendation, NPS “immediately categorizes all customers into one of three groups—promoters, passives, and detractors” based on their response on a scale from 1–10 (2). Those who give marks of 9 or 10 are promoters: a company’s most devoted fans. Responses of 7 or 8 are neutral and classified as passives, and scores from 0 to 6 are detractors.
Intuitively, it makes sense that we as humans want our community to share in our good experiences and avoid negative ones, and in fact research has shown that 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people (3), whereas a dissatisfied customer typically tells 9 to 15 other people about their experience (4). Thus, if customer satisfaction is something you’d like to improve—and it ought to be!—you have got to listen to your customers closely and regularly before your promoters forget about you or your detractors ruin your good name.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) and The Junk Trunk
At The Junk Trunk, word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) and soliciting public reviews and testimonials on sites like Google, NextDoor, or Yelp are ingrained in our DNA. We were built on WOMM, we’re rapidly growing and expanding by WOMM, and we are committed to WOMM. After each job we complete, we encourage customers to fill out a feedback survey (PS: if you have feedback for us and have not completed the survey, we would be so grateful if you would take a moment to do so here!) composed of the core NPS query plus some optional qualitative prompts to dig deeper. In real time we review responses and intervene with dissatisfied customers, in addition to automating the calculation of our real-time NPS score using a simple formula:
NPS = Total % of Promoters – Total % of Detractors
We recommitted to listening to our customers differently this past year, and in January we began sharing this survey, soliciting responses, and tracking our company’s NPS. We are overjoyed to boast that The Junk Trunk’s Net Promoter Score as of today is an incredible 97.87%.
Conventional wisdom is that an NPS that is positive (i.e. higher than zero) is felt to be good, and an NPS of +50 is excellent. If we may extrapolate, then, nearly 98 is outright incredible. To our knowledge there is no third-party entity compiling and verifying NPS values for competing companies, so we have to rely on self-reported numbers to benchmark ourselves against our peers. We love friendly competition, and we really love winning, so just for fun here are a few of our competitors’ scores:
What do our customers love about The Junk Trunk that makes them want to recommend our services ? For some, the primary benefit is the ease of being able to call or schedule an appointment online for speedy same day junk removal. Others love that we can help them donate their unwanted furniture and home goods, including all labor and removal from their homes or offices. Some love that we can save them time and hassle of junk disposal that their regular trash company won’t take, and there’s another group that loves the personal touch we bring to our professional services as a small local business. One customer summed up particularly succinctly the value we provide: “the convenience to have someone show up quickly and make my junk disappear.”
Why do you love The Junk Trunk, and how can we continue to improve? If you have thoughts, we’d love to hear them — please take a moment to complete our customer satisfaction survey. Let us know how we can help you to put your junk in our trunk!
4) White House Office of Consumer Affairs
5) Junk King Press Release
6) 1-800 GOT JUNK NPS included in Canadian Business
7) College Hunks Hauling Junk Website
8) WM NPS courtesy of Comparably.com