You Know Your Net Promoter© Score. Now What?

In twenty five years of working with leaders and business to focus on customers…what I’ve learned is often that the score is the end game.

First it was garnering a great satisfaction score,

then one for loyalty,

followed by experience,

and now Net Promoter™.

The name of the game should be giving customers a memory and experience so great – that they’ll want to repeat it. Yet, corporations in their quest to drive customer focus have attempted to improve customer experiences by attaching things people want to the attainment of a good score.

It’s the score that’s tied to people’s compensation and it’s the score that determines if people get that bonus to pay for braces or that trip to Disneyland.  Pavlov himself couldn’t have set up a better behavior modification system.

The sad news is that the behavior modified is how to get the customer to give a better score, not taking the data to heart to change the company.

Net Promoter™ can break through and drive the change…

But ONLY if you break the cycle of what is classically done with the information you receive.  

Any time business asks a customer how they’re doing it should be for the purpose of doing something with that information. But that’s just not happening today. Companies are so exhausted and numbed from customer survey collection that just getting the report out is considered a great feat.  And then it lands – as a brick – that big 4 inch report of survey data at the feet of the people who are supposed to read the data, analyze it and understand how it relates to them, weep about it a bit and then go fix things for customers. Beyond the rigor of running surveys, there is not much rigor around doing anything with what’s learned.

If your end game is simply pushing for the greatest NetPromoter™ score,  know that at the end of the day, this may just be the latest of your corporation’s customer scoreboards.

As with any customer feedback system, it’s what you do with the information that’s key.

Net Promoter - Its What You Do with the Information

  • What will you do when a customer won’t recommend you?  Do you find out why not?
  • Are you collecting information from dissenters and identifying the big things that are broken in your business? Do you  fix them?
  • Are you identifying customers who have declared that they would recommend you? Do you build stronger relationships with them?
  • Do you know what customers really love about your business? Do you pinpoint which part of your operation (and in what geographies) those actions are coming from?
  • Have you created systems and processes to reliably replicate those loved experiences across your enterprise?


8 comments to " You Know Your Net Promoter© Score. Now What? "

  • Sharlene Plewman

    As usual Jeanne, this post is right on the money! I’ve seen time and again where not only do companies not react to the survey data they have, they don’t even collect information that they could react to! (Setting customers up for disappointment… a whole other post topic!). One reaction to dissenters that I see time and again (and cannot believe) is the classic “Oh, that promotion is only for new customers… and you were a customer with us before, so it doesn’t apply”…! Rather than thanking them for returning, no matter if they left before, and more so, recognising them as a very valuable pool of information on why they left in the first place and thus what to improve. So many companies throw away this free and important insight! Hopefully your post reminds them to take notice of all feedback they receive!

    Great post – thank you!

    • jeanne

      Isn’t it crazy that the score chasing continues?! One of the ways to make this simpler for folks is to do good old fashioned “customer math” where you begin the customer experience review first with incoming and outgoing customers by volume and value, then take people across the journey to see the experience issues impacting behavior, then only after that use the survey score to statistically validate the customer behavior. We’ve got to get this score chasing in perspective!!

  • Jeanne,

    It is with great interest that I’m following your blog – and I couldn’t agree more on the topic you raise here. The whole beef in the Net Promoter methodology is the system – not the score only. Only when you collect actionable insights and when teams across the company take action on the feedback, you can talk about a culture change in customer centricity.

    In this sense, e.g. taking only the score into a company’s bonus schemes may even be a risk. Again, if we want to put focus on developing a customer orientation, the first thing to reward employees for should be the actions they take on customer understanding – and then carefully monitor the impact of those actions.

    Your list of questions is so relevant – understanding the reasons behind the scores is key to improvement. Thank you for a great post!

    • jeanne

      Hi Johanna!
      So glad you find the post to be spot and relevant. We are finding that also placing team accountability to operational metrics (I call this operational “Listening”) which impact the key experiences that earn a promoter or detractor — we are driving behavior on things people can actually change. Earn the right to the score – don’t go get the score!!

  • Dougie Cameron

    Great post Jeanne – I had a really interesting experience a couple of weeks ago.

    After having to return my Samsung S3 to the repair centre I received an NPS call, clearly from an agency, after it was returned. I answered the questions, which were too poorly structured to be action orientated – of the 4 questions I answered 2 at 4 out of 10 and 2 at 8 out of 10. During the course of the next hour the dialler obviously went haywire as I received 3 more calls driving me to the point of despair.

    I was asked no follow up questions, so what is Samsung going to do with those few minutes of my life that I offered them – absolutely nothing!

    They will never know that

    – despite the breakdown I love the product

    – the two advisors that I spoke to at their service centre were brilliant

    – their online tracking is awful, practically unusable

    – their call centre shuts at 6pm – that’s an old story in a 24/7 mobile world

    – 8 day turnaround was not acceptable.

    What Samsung miss other than the pointlessness of their survey is that a mobile device is now in the same category as water or electricity or health in customers’s perceptions. Customers feel a visceral helplessness when their device is removed from them. Samsung’s whole recovery experience needs to be overhauled to match or manage the customer’s expectations but they are not asking the right questions to know that.

    • jeanne

      Dougie your points are so critical. The power of NPS when done correctly and with the right intentions, is wanting to know the “why” behind the score. Unfortunately some companies are just replacing Net Promoter with their other survey systems – still with the end game of getting a good score – not using it to really understand customer emotions and experiences.

      Your point about the necessity of mobile in our lives and the disruption it creates is completely game changing. Looking forward to see who the winner in this space will be regarding putting customers elegantly back together again when their life has been disrupted.

  • Hi Jeanne,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Often, the score becomes a primary focus that the whole purpose of conducting the NPS survey is lost. That one question (“How likely would you recommend our product”) alone will not get insights into the customers problem. It’s very important to ask them the reason for their score, and close the loop.

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