How We Listen at Rally: A Case Study

By Timothy Bundy | August 12, 2019 | Rally Health


At Rally Health®, we know that creating the best possible health engagement platform means we need to stay in touch with what our members need and want.

Listening to our members leads to better products. Case in point: We were able to nearly triple our Net Promoter Score for Real Appeal®, Rally’s personal weight loss coaching program, using surveys and feedback analysis to drive our product roadmap.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a deep dive into how we leverage customer feedback so you can consider replicating some of these strategies in your own company. For more details, we also discussed how we got to the Real Appeal improvements during a recent webinar.

Not being satisfied with success

To make sure we’re hearing from our customers and responding effectively to their feedback, we’ve established numerous “listening posts,” including closely tracking our NPS, leveraging our support team who engage with members daily, monitoring social media chatter, and hosting focus groups.

In fact, we’ve created an entire team — the Voice of the Consumer (VOC) team — whose purpose is to make sure member feedback is properly collected and analyzed so we can turn those insights into relevant product updates.

Together, the VOC team and our product teams were instrumental in improving Real Appeal’s NPS. Built on decades of clinical research, Real Appeal is designed to encourage members to lose weight by making manageable but lasting changes to their diet and physical activity. A “transformation coach,” along with digital tools like a mobile app and weekly online support groups, help keep participants on track and accountable.

The program has been highly successful. More than 700,000 people have lost a collective two million pounds through Real Appeal. On average, members who attend four or more sessions during the program shed 10 pounds. Most important for employers, Real Appeal is able to produce results at scale, with the most engaged participants seeing lower medical costs of $674, on average.

Despite Real Appeal’s continued success, we haven’t stopped innovating the program and improving the experience for members. Back in 2016, the NPS for Real Appeal stood at 16. That’s a decent score, but we knew we could do better. The overall NPS score scale goes from -100 to +100.

“If your NPS is greater than zero, it means you have more customers who will promote you versus those who speak negatively about your organization,” said Katey Brown, director of the Voice of the Consumer (VOC) program at Rally. “NPS scores closer to 50 are fantastic and mean you have far more happy customers than disappointed ones. For scores that are 75 and above — you my friend are setting the bar for your industry and most likely growing your organization at a far greater pace than your competitors.”

At an NPS of 16, we were closer to zero than to 50. We wanted to change that.

Focusing in on areas for improvement

As NPS companies know, the more promoters you have, the more likely you are to build a loyal user base for your service or product. But you also want to pay close attention to your passives and detractors because they shine a spotlight on areas of potential improvement.

In 2016, we launched the first round of surveys for Real Appeal, which include both NPS surveys and more in-depth VOC surveys. Participants expressed a lot of positive feedback about our coaches, their ability to meet their weight loss goals and the group support. On the flip side, the surveys also revealed the need to focus improvements on the technology and functionality of our mobile app, how we ran our group sessions, and the amount of accountability that was built into the program.

We also found that we needed to work on our ability to grow the program to allow more people to participate and offer classes that better fit their needs. With more classes and more participants comes more peer support.

Making sense of the feedback

A critical role of our VOC team is to ensure that we connect the most important experiences to key performance indicators like Net Promoter Score. This ultimately allows us to deliver actionable insights to our product team. In turn, those improvements lead to higher NPS.

To arrive at the insights, we start with the NPS survey, which also asks why respondents gave the score they did. We spend quite a lot of time analyzing this feedback and categorizing comments to align with our most important experience drivers. For Real Appeal, those categories come down to Program Efficacy, Coaching, Accountability, Convenience, Group Session and Support, and Technology and the Mobile App.

Next, based on the NPS findings, we design a follow-up survey, which we refer to as the Voice of the Consumer, or VOC, survey. This allows us to dive into a specific area of Real Appeal to get even greater insights into a feature or function.

These two listening posts work together to help us better understand the user experience. With so many people participating in the program, we get a lot of feedback and survey results. It gives scale and significance to our research insights.

Turning feedback into product improvements

After collecting and categorizing the feedback, the VOC team works with our product teams to make the insights actionable and understand which ones should be priorities in their product roadmap. We want to focus on what is critically important to the business and would have the biggest impact on consumer sentiment and loyalty.

“Having correlated the feedback categories to NPS, we can show how they impact the score either positively or negatively,” Brown said. “Ultimately, this gives us the information we need to focus on what to improve. The goal here is to triage what is critically important versus something that we should get to eventually, or is just a nice-to-have.”

All of this listening directly leads to better products. In this case, the Real Appeal product team decided to focus on releasing improvements to the registration flow and the mobile app, and making scheduling coaching sessions easier for users.

The vast majority of Real Appeal participants say the greatest driver of their success in the program is centered on their relationship with their coach, so we worked hard to increase the visibility of the coaches. The new Real Appeal experience puts the coach at the center of the dashboard, modernizes our messaging tools, and adds new profiles and communication tools for coaches like the “Coach Tweets” section.

As a result of the improvements we’ve made to the program since 2016, we are thrilled to report that we were able to bring the Real Appeal NPS up to 44 from 16. That’s almost a three-fold improvement — a huge change in consumer sentiment around this product.

Takeaways for your company

The biggest takeaway is that you need a defined process for properly capturing and analyzing the feedback that results in relevant product improvements. What listening posts will you create at your company? Are NPS surveys enough, or do you need to create follow-up surveys? Do you need a dedicated team to shepherd the process? How will your company prioritize what improvements get made?

Having a process for listening will help you avoid the fate of feedback “going into a black hole” or never getting collected in the first place.

Timothy Bundy is senior director product management at Rally.


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