Add Net Promoter Scores to Your Tax Client Feedback Plan

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If your marketing plan doesn’t include a strategy to generate regular feedback from your clients, now is the time to develop and implement it. Client surveys are among the easiest ways to gauge your professional performance. It’s as simple as asking, yet many tax preparers fail to seize these opportunities. And, when they do, they often don’t ask the right questions.

Enter Net Promoter Score (NPS), a loyalty metric that lets companies measure client satisfaction. The NPS asks one question: How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague? Respondents answer the question on a numeric scale ranging from rate 0 to 10, with 10 being the most likely to recommend.

Note: at the end of this article is a downloadable PDF with instructions on how to set up your own Net Promoter survey.

The Critical NPS Question

Steve Blundell, a CPA and customer advocate for Intuit®, has run these surveys for several large corporations. He also uses them internally at Intuit. “‘Would you recommend?’ is a much stronger question than, ‘Are you satisfied?’” he says.

Shawn McMorrough, lead research manager at Intuit’s ProTax Group, says you should track your average NPS over time. To calculate your company’s NPS, take the percentage of respondents who are promoters and subtract the percentage who are detractors. McMorrough provides the following example of the matrix used:


“We always use an open-ended follow-up question,” says McMorrough. “We ask them what their reason is for giving that answer. If they like the service, they might answer something like, ‘It’s easy to use.’ If they don’t like it, they might say, ‘It’s too expensive’ or ‘They leave me on hold too long when I call.’”

The results of such questions can be enlightening, he says. “What we have found is that clients want advice more than they want help. They want to know how to make more money or how to plan for retirement.”

In addition, determining your NPS isn’t a one-off strategy, says Blundell. Businesses change. They add new staff. The process needs to be repeated to make sure you’re making continuous improvement.

Launching Your Own NPS Survey

Setting up a Net Promoter Score survey is simple. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Sign up for a survey website. SurveyMonkey and are two widely used, affordable options. Once you’ve created an account, you can customize the survey using the tools that fit your needs.
  2. Include at least one open-ended question and one “Would you recommend” query. Open-ended questions provide rich qualitative data and valuable insights. Recommendation queries allow you to gain a clear measure of performance through your customer’s eyes.
  3. Write an email to your clients asking them for feedback. Include the link to the survey. Keeping the format simple and accessible will increase response rates.
  4. Tabulate results. Remember to organize your findings so that you can easily compare and contrast results on a regular basis. Look for correlations in the responses to different questions and highlight data specifics to the objectives of your business.
  5. Repeat the process – annually, at a minimum. After gathering and reviewing the data, develop an action plan and implement processes for improvement.

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