NPS has got more to do with the message than the metrics


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Richard Evensen, formerly of Forrester research, wrote a blog titled ‘Stop using NPS, but please save the question.’ In this blog he exposed the shortcomings of the net promoter score, voice of the customer solution. He opined, “For most, I would have to say: Stop using NPS. Or, better said, start using it more properly. The central issue for me with NPS is the formulation: Score = Promoters (% of customers scoring 9-10 on a 10 point scale) minus Detractors (% scoring 6 or less on a 10 point scale). Why is this an issue?”
I do share a similar sentiment with Richard Evensen as companies tend to get so elated with big data generated from the NPS formulation and not the conversation.
The NPS scoring pattern is very similar to other voice of the customer platforms like NICEfizzback. The simple yet ultimate question that makes the scoring difference is: How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?

– Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
– Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
– Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

The above measurement pattern employed by NPS and NICEfizzback provide companies with an opportunity to see how happy their customers are with their product, service or brand. This provides the premise for customer feedback metrics. Customer’s thoughts and feelings are measured and then fed back to relevant personnel and departments.

The Danger of Relying on Metrics without listening to the message

Companies that rely solely on the promoters, passives and detraction yardsticks for measuring customer feedback, will lose out on building a strong customer strategy. I have had encounters where I gave a feedback score based on my experience with a single agent and not the company. So many customers like me are aware that the question that is measured is that revolving around the recommendation of the brand or the company to friends and family. Some customers that are aware of this are forgiving- as they could look past horrible service with your company in the past and reward the current agent, providing quality service with a good touch point score. But if your analytics team look deeper some of these customers will leave a message on how they are recommending your company by this single agent’s great service and not the appalling service they’ve received in the past.

Metrics depicts a picture whilst message captures the entire album.

Focussing solely on metrics will show you how great you think your company is while deep diving into the actual message left by your customers help you understand the complete journey they have had with your company and what they feel about your brand. You want a complete understanding on the experiences your customers have had with your brand right from the start? If your aim is to achieve this then look beyond the metric- as customers select these numbers for different reasons like: the agent had begged them to choose a high score, they did not want the agent to be cautioned and they saw it as an obligation or they felt selecting a number will prevent follow-up text messages. Whatever the robotic or remote reason for selecting a number could be- they show how they deeply feel with the comments. The best way to make the message count is to build patterns from the comments, identify emotional and power words like- happy, disappointed, excited and descriptive phrases like: old store, unhappy staff, lack of waiting seats or poor ventilation. Analysing this deeply to understand the sum total of the customer’s experience and devise ways to improve or consolidate their feelings towards your brand, is critical. Remember your brand value is a reflection of the feelings your customers have towards it.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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