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  • Writer's pictureHCM Unlocked

3 Reasons Why Payroll NPS Won’t Improve Any Time Soon

The Net Promoter Score is one of the most useful tools in measuring customers’ willingness to recommend a company’s product or service. The index ranges from -100 to 100; to put this into perspective, a score below 0 is not good and anything above 50 would be considered great. Heartland recently published the NPS scores for some of the most popular payroll vendors and the results left a lot to be desired.


There are three reasons why these scores probably won’t improve much:

1. It’s difficult to standardize

Henry Ford’s Model T took off because his assembly line enabled every employee to know exactly what his or her specific job was, allowing them to successfully execute. This isn’t a possibility for payroll vendors because every client has its own unique quirks, needs, and internal structure. What works for one company won’t always work for the next. Without dedicated resources with years of experience it’s almost impossible to provide excellent support. Vendors either have a “team” approach (meaning they’re just using a call center), or they offer a single point of contact who typically turns over every six months. Because of this, payroll vendors will be fighting a losing battle to provide an acceptable service level.

2. The execution gap between sales and delivery

You meet with a payroll sales rep and you’re shown a dazzling product demo that promises

to make your life easier while saving you money. You’re excited to move forward and can’t wait to start using the talent management tools, data analytics, or any of the other workforce management modules. A month later, the implementation process is messy and taking twice as long as you thought it would. The features you are most excited about get put on the back-burner as you barely manage to get payroll up and running, weeks behind schedule. This lack of execution between what the sales team promised and what the implementation team builds is largely responsible for the lackluster NPS scores. Additionally, training is typically conducted in a classroom setting with other new users who may have a completely different setup. This often causes the material and content that is covered to be generic and mostly unusable.

3. Incorrect and incomplete build-outs

Is the technology you purchased awful, or has it just not been built correctly? One of the biggest problems in the HCM industry is building just enough to launch the software (aka running your first payroll). There’s a reason why, according to SHRM, over 70% of payroll/HR implementations are considered a failure. This may come as a surprise to some, but payroll implementation teams have quotas too. They need to get clients off their “backlog” as soon as possible to hit their personal and team goals which correlate to their compensation. The faster a client starts, the better it is for the implementation specialist’s own wallet. Have you ever wondered why you felt rushed to run your first payroll when time & attendance or your HR modules weren’t built yet?

Let past experiences serve as lessons. It’s up to you to take charge (or find an expert who can help) and make sure your system is fully functioning, built correctly, and that you aren’t paying for modules you don’t need. Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how good the technology really is.

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