More Net Promoter Rhetoric


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I read a blog today (
by Richard Owen, the President of Satmetrix. Satmetrix is the co-developer of
the Net Promoter Score. True to form, Mr. Owens minimizes the critiques of the
NPS that are circulating around the blogsphere as well as scientific journals.
He never addresses the fact that Satmetrix (and Fred Reichheld) mislead the
business community with their initial marketing that touted their NPS
methodology while minimizing other methodologies. They (Satmetrix) have said,
and I quote, NPS is:
“the best predictor of growth” (Reichheld, 2003)
“the single most reliable indicator of a company’s ability to grow (,
“Satisfaction lacks a consistently demonstrable connection to… growth.” (Reicheld,
So, when they are challenged to produce the scientific studies to back up their
claims, all they have to offer is marketing rhetoric.



  1. ……….and amen. Especially disillusioning when conferences like ECMW 2008 identify Fred Reichheld as “The World’s Leading Loyalty & Advocacy Expert”.

    Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
    Vice President and Senior Consultant
    Harris Interactive Loyalty

  2. Bob, Michael

    Much as we all dislike rhetorical bluster, the business world is full of it.

    The discipline of management today is much like physics and the hard natural sciences were prior to the Scientific Revolution in the 17th Century. Full of half-thought through theories, based on little robust research, that appeal to the ignorance (by today’s standards) of its practitioners.

    It is only with hindsight that many of management’s recent theories have been shown to be similarly lacking. In that category you can put many of the big management ideas of the last 50 years, from the economist’s rational expectations theory, through the marketer’s customer relationship management, to the manufacturers enterprise resource planning. If history is anything to go by, it is highly likely that customer experience management and customer-centricity will be shown to have fallen into equal disrepute in only a few years time.

    Without a robust, empirically-tested, theory of management upon which to base decisions, we should not be surprised that simplistic notions like NPS are taken up with gusto by well-meaning but ignorant managers.

    This is all part of the natural selection of ideas that drive much of science and scientific management forward. Management ideas are put forward and tested in the white heat of front-line business. The fittest ideas are adopted, implemented and extended by businesses whilst the weakest fall by the wayside. Maybe one day there will by a working theory of management.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  3. Graham,

    Sure, theories come and go. They get tested and are either supported or not supported. I like the scientific method. I try use it whenever I approach a research problem.

    My issue is about how Satmetrix et al. misinformed the business community regarding the merits of the NPS. Their statements regarding the NPS were not based on sound science yet they were presented as if they were. Business leaders were not ignorant; they were duped.

    Bob E. Hayes, Ph.D.
    Business Over Broadway


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