Net Promoter ScoreYour business's Net Promoter Score is a critical measure of success.

Lean managers should place extra value on this metric, which gauges an organization's performance in identifying customer value points and eliminating waste.

Product quality is paramount, but customer service experiences also significantly affect your Net Promoter Score.

If your business's score is suffering due to negative and neutral service experiences, these five simple strategies may make a big difference.

Turn Customer Service Failures into Opportunities to Exceed Expectations

Customers often report poor experiences because they are willing to give you a second chance.

Establish a policy of surprising and delighting your unhappy customers in order to convert them into Promoters.

Customers feel good about themselves when they believe they have helped a company improve. Solve their problems, surprise them with a free item or extra discount, and thank them sincerely for their help.

Respond to Online Criticism

Sometimes a business's Net Promoter Score suffers because of an online Detractor who has heavily publicized an unhappy experience, often without offering the business an opportunity to correct its mistake.

When negative criticism is widely read online, some potential Promoters will become Passives or Detractors.

Most customer review websites permit companies to respond. Challenge inaccurate claims in a kind and informative way, while offering meaningful assistance in addressing the Detractor's legitimate complaints.

Ask, "What Would Make You Recommend Our Products and Services to a Friend?"

Many customers are happy to share their opinions and insights if they perceive your interest is genuine.

You may have Passives in your existing customer base who would eagerly become Promoters if they knew that they would receive something as simple as a thank you note and a coupon for referring new customers.

Others might be ready to recommend your products or services, but holding off because of a rumor or some other concern you can address.

Failing to ask this question is tantamount to turning down new business.

Openly Discuss the Value of Referrals and Recommendations

Your happiest customers may not yet have considered recommending your business to their friends.

Before conducting a Net Promoter Score survey, make sure you are telling your loyal, delighted customers that you value referrals.

Consider including this messaging packaged with products, or in triggered and transactional emails to customers who order online.

Observe Your Own Company's Customer Service Performance

You may supervise your company's operations, but have you ever ordered its products online? Have you requested warranty service from your organization?

You may be surprised by how much you can learn by simply interacting with your company as an ordinary customer.

This is, of course, easiest if you are trying to improve the Net Promoter Score of an eCommerce site. Nonetheless, a clever manager can find a way to observe customer service in any situation. If you have never experienced your own company's customer service from the customer's perspective, you are missing out on valuable insights.

How do you find simple improvements can help your score?