Ironically, the Best Employees NEVER Leave

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There are a few things that really get my goat:

  1. The belief that Net Promoter Score (NPS) predicts revenue
  2. The belief that competitive capabilities can be boiled down to “5 Ways to…”
  3. The belief that asking survey participants to represent non survey participants is evidence of anything!

I think I heard the most insightful thing about NPS while attending CRM Evolution this year. Sure, I have plenty of data-based evidence that Net Promoter Score is a scam perpetrated upon unsuspecting marketers (the graphic design type). But, what I heard was just plain common sense:

“Net Promoter scores tend to be inflated due to the defection of detractors over time. Thus, they are under-represented in customer surveys.”

Over time, dissatisfied customers leave and therefore your sample is skewed to those that are satisfied. That just makes sense, right? Even disregarding all of the research from Dr. V. Kumar (and others) surrounding this simplistic number, the aforementioned common sense view of NPS is really hard to argue with. Can one single number really tell you anything insightful? If you believe that, show me the evidence in cold, hard, ca$h! And reproduce it, over and over and over again.

This whole idea dove-tails so nicely into another type of internal survey I’ve seen. This one asks current employees:

Do the best people leave <insert company here>?

“Why, of course not! I’m the best employee and I’m still here!” That’s almost as ridiculous as asking current employees if the worst employees leave. “Of course they do! I’m still here aren’t I?”

Whether this is manipulative data collection, or done out of complete ignorance, we can reach the same conclusions:

  1. Survey the right people
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Understand the limits of your data
  4. Don’t use bad data to support pre-conceived notions

No, I’m not going to discuss 5 ways to predict revenue with NPS. You can Google that one.

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