An NPS model that keeps us honest

At Affirm, a major north stars is our Net Promoter Score (NPS). Our NPS measures if we have succeeded in our mission of building a company that provides honest and transparent financial products that improves our customers’ lives.

First, a definition

NPS is a metric used to track the loyalty of customers to a business. We ask a single question:

“How likely are you to recommend Affirm to a friend or colleague?”

Respondents answer on a scale from 1-10 with those in the lower third labeled Detractors, those in the middle third are considered Passives and those who rated us nine and above are Promoters. With a few calculations, a numeric score between -100 and +100 results in an NPS. Scores closer to +100 mean the company has a good reputation that encourages customer loyalty.

An example of the survey we send is below.

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Financial services historically have a terrible reputation for caring for their customers and their industry NPS—46—reflects that. It’s only 22 points higher than Telecommunications, the industry with the lowest NPS.

Therefore, as a company in the financial services sector, our 83 NPS is one of our biggest sources of pride. But it’s also a way to assure we are still living up to our company’s core values.

We were honored to be featured in ConsumerGage’s 2018 NPS & CX Benchmark report as a model company for NPS.

Our NPS program is about more than just one number

We send our NPS survey over email to 5,000 random active Affirm users a week. Then we reach out to Detractors and Promoters by phone or email to understand their concerns or praise better. We turn some of those conversations into Customer Spotlights to be shared with our employees and the public.  

We not only learn more about our customers’ issues, but this process gives us a chance to strengthen our relationship with them. It creates invaluable opportunities for repeat usage and customer referrals. It also allows us to educate customers on how our complicated products work.

One of Affirm’s applicants provided feedback after being declined through one of the NPS surveys. We manually reviewed his account and followed up to explain to him how and why he was declined a loan. He was incredibly appreciative of our “unexpected reply” and complimented us on being “user-friendly with excellent customer service.” Our customers are our best spokespeople so closing the loop with this type of follow-up can turn detractors into promoters.

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Our NPS program keeps us honest

We promise to be transparent with our customers—from the terms on their loan to our collection process. Publishing our NPS is an essential part of fulfilling that promise. A high NPS indicates that a company is doing right by its customers. By making it available to the public, it forces Affirm to change if our practices start to hurt our customers instead of helping them.

“At its core, NPS is a measure of trust,” Affirm CEO Max Levchin said. “So long as our customers continue to trust us with their time, money, and well-being, we know we’re doing something right.”

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Would-be customers have the right to know if the brand they are considering buying from has served its current customers well in the past. If all companies made their NPS public, by market forces, we could change the entire landscape of financial services. Low performing companies would lose customers until they changed their behavior or simply went out of business, leaving only companies with the best customer service in the market. Leaving one where ethical companies and consumers win.

NPS as a blueprint for our product roadmap

Talking to our customers gives us valuable insights into what our customers need from our product. It’s the most direct way to understand any areas we might have overlooked.

“NPS allows us to identify improvements we could make to our product and enhance the customer experience, including billing reminders, payment process, checkout experience, and updates to FAQS,” Levchin said. “This was key as we pride ourselves on making everything we do completely transparent and honest as possible, including making complex concepts simple and clear.”

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If our mission is to provide the next generation of financial products, then it only makes sense that we get ideas for innovation from that generation. Instead of emulating the traditional companies of the past, we look to our customers for our next step.

We want to build a company that people actually want to return to buy with again, again and are excited to recommend to their friends. NPS is a simple and straightforward way to identify improvements we need to make to our product and our company.

Read the ConsumerGage Report