Net Promotor Score or Client Engagement Score: Which is better?

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NPS
The Net Promoter Score may be a simple tool for measuring client satisfaction, but it has limitations
NPS
The Net Promoter Score may be a simple tool for measuring client satisfaction, but it has limitations.

In a recent posting, I described the challenge of achieving worthy metrics using some of the standard survey tools within the AEC community; namely, the sales cycle is long, complicated, and the sample size is rather small. (This industry tends to work on longer-lasting, high-ticket projects, rather than massive consumer-driven demand.)

The Net Promoter Score has achieved recognition for its simplicity.

The PeopleMetrics blog describes the NPS quite simply:

“How likely is it that you would recommend [Company Name] to a friend or colleague?”

The response choices range from 0, “not at all likely,” to 10, “extremely likely.” Each respondent is then placed into one of three groups:

  • Promoters, who give 9’s and 10’s on the 11-point scale;
  • Passives, who give 7’s and 8’s; and
  • Detractors, who give any score from 0 to 6.

To get to the Net Promoter Score, you take the percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors. Net promoter scores vary by industry and hence, targets should be set according to benchmarks and norms.

The advantage of NPS, in my opinion, is that it is a single, simple and easy to measure question. The disadvantage:  You may get somewhat invalid results, especially on a small sample size.

PeopleMetrics suggests “customer engagement” may be a more useful metric.

As we define it, customer engagement is based on four factors:

  • Retention, or the likelihood of the customer continuing to do business with the company.
  • Extra Effort, or how likely it is for the customer to go out of their way to do business with the company in the future.
  • Advocacy, or whether the customer will refer his or her network to the company.
  • Passion, or the customer’s emotional response to the experience.

Sounds good, but how do you measure this quality without some rather challenging questions or a long-form survey? (I fear long surveys may irritate clients rather than incite good-will. These observations are based on personal bias rather than any science, but when someone foists a complex (or even more than a simple one or two question) survey on me, I shut out right away, either declining to participate, of if it is online and required for some information exchange, delivering totally meaningless or false answers.)

PeopleMetrics suggests the solution if you aren’t sure: Just use one or another — and that, to me, would mean defaulting to the NPS.

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