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How To Improve Customer Experience With Net Promoter Score

David Tudehope is co-founder and CEO of Macquarie Telecom Group in Sydney, Australia, providing telecommunications, phones, data, data connections, data centres and cloud services. 

He co-founded the company with his brother, Aiden, back in 1992 and throughout their existence, they’ve tried to strike the balance between being entrepreneurial and running a public company with risk management and governance. 

But there’s always going to be a tension between those two things, because they don’t want to lose the essence of what makes them special – their entrepreneurial spirit, but at the same time, they have to be a public company. 

The last time we spoke with David, their market cap, and this was a few years ago, was $350m Australian dollars. Today, their market cap is $1.13 billion Australian dollars. They’ve had a fantastic year. 

“We’ve had a year where we really had to focus on what’s important, on our core customer experience, which talks to our company purpose. At a time like this, people will value great customer experience, even more than the normal.”

In this really insightful episode, we talk with David about what underpins their business success. Because for them, it’s their Net Promoter Score. We also talk about what David’s purpose is, a purpose that he’s remained true to from creation in 1992 through to today. And that purpose is to provide outstanding customer experience.

On today’s podcast:

  • Building on customer experience
  • Having a purpose
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Storytelling
  • The World Communications Award
  • Hiring for great customer experience

Most people have a purpose that they try to retrofit to their business, but David Tudehope’s purpose has remained true from when he co-founded Macquarie Telecom Group back in 1992. 

And that purpose is to make a difference in markets that are underserved and overcharged. 

“We’ve had that since we began 28 years ago, it really becomes a compass in which we make good decisions. Because we know that whatever we do, the essence of what we stand for is great customer experience.”

Underserved and overcharged

David started his business at a time when the telecoms industry were severely underserving their customers and overcharging them for the privilege. The industry was so bad it was famous for having twice the number of complaints as the banking industry. 

David knew his company had to be different. And Net Promoter Score was a turning point in their business. He recognised that with NPS, for the first time ever, you were able to measure your customer experience subjectively, and then compare that score not just to other companies in your industry, but in other companies, in other industries, around the world. 

Net Promoter Score

Discovering NPS allowed them to measure what they stood for. And because they believe wholeheartedly in transparency, they are more transparent than most when it comes to sharing their NPS. 

“We report on the Net Promoter Score internally, on a real time basis, we put it on screens, we put it on the website, in fact, on an average basis, we divide it up by the product by geography.”

They ensure everyone is working towards increasing the NPS because it’s everyone’s score, as much as it is the company’s score, or their own score. 

“And when you get that level of ownership, at individual level, at a product level and geography level, you really do get some magic because people feel they can see the impact of their actions in the customer experience and a score comes back to them.”

The biggest struggle

The biggest struggle with getting everyone on board with focusing on NPS is that largely outside of contact centres, it just isn’t a big deal. Culturally, it’s a concept that most people aren’t familiar with. The idea of being measured on something they do every day, just doesn’t seem normal. 

“There were areas like finance, for example, which were very reluctant to be measured on net promoter score. And it took a little while to realise that a very important part of what finance does, answer the billing inquiries, and where the way they resolve those billing inquiries, has a huge impact on the customer experience.”

Not to mention the speed of response is critical. The faster you can give a reply to a query, the higher the NPS. 

“And if we don’t have an answer, getting back to the customer, just an update that we’re working on it, and when we do expect a response, makes all the difference.”

Outstanding customer experience

One way to teach people who don’t regularly deal with customers, how to deliver outstanding customer experience, is through storytelling. Storytelling is a way of bringing an idea to life. 

So what is outstanding customer experience? 

“It’s not so much what you do. But it’s the way you do it. The vast majority of the time, it’s people who just do it, they do ordinary things, extraordinarily well. They really look for opportunities to delight the customer rather than just do what’s expected or requested.”

It’s this attention to detail and determination to provide the best customer experience that saw Macquarie Telecom Group win the World Communications Award in 2020. 

“We won the award this year for the best customer experience in the world. It’s the first time an Australian company has won that award. And I’m also very pleased to have been named CEO of the Year for the same awards.”

What have they done to deserve such an accolade? 

“It’s been 28 years since we started, but probably 10 years since we really immersed ourselves in the net promoter score measurement of our company purpose. And part of our success is just really focusing on outstanding execution, and trying to find ways to innovate in customer experience as well as innovate technically.”

Hire for success

And you have to hire great people to keep delivering customer service. Hiring is something Macquarie Telecom Group have really honed in on. They know the attributes of people who deliver great customer experience and they hire for those. 

“Those people have grown right through our organisation, we find that they are very committed to our company purpose, they really do adapt very well. And they’ve definitely brought that DNA with them.”

When Macquarie Telecom Group started on the NPS journey, they were at plus 14. Today, their NPS stands at plus 72. To go from the best of a bad bunch in the telecom sector to a world class telecom provider is incredible. 

And key to their success has been their focus to change to deliver outstanding customer experience. 

So for anyone stuck in the middle right now, who feels as if they’ve plateaued with their NPS, David says hang in there, they’ve been in that place too. It’s right there, when you’re in the 30s, that you need to be transparent. It worked for Macquarie Telecom Group, it could work for you too. 

“One of the common things that I see is that people are very uncomfortable with transparency. The idea of sharing their NPS on a real time basis with lots of drill down in many organisations, just culturally is very difficult.”

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