Reviewing the Net Promoter Score

NPS google images
A diversity of consultants have adapted the Net Promoter Score concept in their messages. Here's a montage demonstrating the concept from Google Images.

In the previous post, I outlined my belief that marketing success only results from two more fundamental business metrics: Your organization’s continuing and reasonably stable profitability and, roughly correlating with that, the genuine satisfaction and value your clients perceive in your products and services (which translates to your brand’s effectiveness — in that branding success relates to trust.)

One tool to determine branding (and business) success may be the well-established “Net Promoter Score” concept. It is based on this survey question:

 How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?

On a 1 to 10 scale, if a client scores you at 9 or 10, you are in “promoter” territory.  “Passives (scoring 7 or 8) are neither good nor bad, and anything lower than that would rank as a “detractor” because you could expect negative word of mouth.

The score is measured with this calculation:

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter).

The advantage of the NPS is its simplicity. You don’t need to develop a complex-to-administer survey; just one question. And because of its power, you can quickly determine how well you are doing.

It isn’t a perfect tool, however. Perhaps the most severe problem with it is the tendency of some people and organizations to try to game the results. The best example of this failed approach could be seen when I visited a less-than-wonderful hotel, associated with one of the major brands. There were signs in the lobby advising visitors they would be experiencing the NPS survey, and if they were thinking of giving anything less than a 9 or 10, they should immediately contact management so that things could be made right.

In a way, that would seem to be good — heck, you are trying to catch complaints before they get out of hand — but it also suggests desperation; of trying to make the numbers match the target, rather than creating the experience where the numbers simply reflect real-life.

Nevertheless, despite some debate about over- and mis-use of this metric, it is relevant in the context of my previous message. Great client service and truly happy and enthusiastic clients will define your marketing and business development success far more than any well-developed (and expensive) external marketing strategy. And the NPS may provide the quantitative tool you need to assess your current circumstances and how you are progressing.

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