Beyond the Ultimate Question: New Book Challenges the Net Promoter Score


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Business growth depends on more than asking a single question. Challenging the widely touted Net Promoter® Score claims, Bob E. Hayes, Ph.D., an author and recognized expert in customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement, publishes his latest findings in his new book, Beyond the Ultimate Question. Dr. Hayes provides compelling evidence that, to grow their business, companies need to look beyond this simple question to efforts on improving the entire customer feedback program (CFP).
First, despite the claims by the Net Promoter® Score (NPS; likelihood to recommend) developers that the NPS is the best predictor of business growth, Hayes found that the NPS is no more predictive of business growth than other commonly used customer loyalty questions (e.g., overall satisfaction, likelihood to purchase). Why? Despite these questions’ apparent differences, Hayes shows that these questions are really measuring the same thing, advocacy loyalty. In fact, the NPS is deficient in measuring other important components of customer loyalty: purchasing loyalty and retention loyalty. Hayes develops three robust, reliable measures of customer loyalty and demonstrates how they each predict different types of business growth. Hayes states, "Customer loyalty actually consists of three components, advocacy, purchasing and retention, each providing unique and useful information regarding future business growth. By measuring these three components of customer loyalty, companies will be better able to manage their customer relationships to maximize growth through new and existing customers.”
Second, because of the diverse business practices companies can employ with respect to their CFPs, there are hundreds of different ways a company can structure its particular program. Some companies have top executive support for their programs while others do not. Some companies integrate their customer feedback data into their daily business processes while others keep them separate. Some companies use customer feedback results as part of their employee incentive programs while other companies rely on more traditional incentive programs. Still some companies conduct in-depth customer research using their feedback data while others rely on basic reporting of their customer feedback data for their customer insight. But are there critical elements of a customer feedback program that are absolutely necessary for its success? Can a company exclude some elements from its program without adversely impacting its effectiveness? How important are certain components in increasing customer loyalty?
This book, Beyond the Ultimate Question, answers these questions. Surveying hundreds of CFP professionals and working first-hand with employees from Microsoft, Oracle, Harris Stratex Networks, Akamai, and American Express Business Travel, Hayes gathered reliable insights and case studies to illustrate how to build a world class CFP. The way a company structures its CFP has a significant impact on the program’s success. Hayes states, "There are key ingredients for a successful customer feedback program. Adoption of these elements is critical to improving both customer relationship management and customer loyalty." From strategy and business integration, to methods and reporting, to developing an applied research program, Loyalty Leading companies adopt certain business practices compared to their Loyalty Lagging counterparts. Hayes continues, "Companies need to look beyond the NPS as the ultimate question and learn how to design an effective customer feedback program that will help improve the customer experience, increase customer loyalty, and, ultimately, drive business growth.”

About Bob E. Hayes, Ph.D. 
Dr. Hayes is the president and founder of Business Over Broadway (B.O.B.;
He is a recognized expert in customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement, and author of Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty (2008). Dr. Hayes currently sits on the CRM Advisory Council for Cognizant Technology Solutions and is an advisor for Mob4Hire. He has conducted survey research for enterprise companies including Siebel Systems, Oracle, Agilent Technologies, and Cisco Systems.

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