Time to Stop Obsessing Over Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)?


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By WilliamTeutoburger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Customer Feedback Is Key, But NPS Isn’t Everything. (Photo by WilliamTeutoburger, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

In my recent interview with Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers, he said a surprising thing for a customer loyalty advocate:

“I sometimes think that people are working way too hard at getting a perfect customer experience for all their customers, when I think there is a point of diminishing returns” – Bill Lee

He sees companies that already have a good NPS struggling to get it even higher when they’d be better off putting that effort into energizing the net promoters they’ve already got.

In one study, even with as many as 81% of their 9,900 clients saying they would recommend the firm, only 30% did. (Source: How valuable is word of mouth? By: Kumar, V., Petersen, J. Andrew, Leone, Robert P., Harvard Business Review, 00178012, , Vol. 85, Issue 10)

So it makes more sense to focus on getting that other 51% talking you up than worrying too much about the 19% who are neutral or negative.

What If You’ve Got an NPS of Zero?

Even then, argues Bill Lee, perhaps especially then, when it comes to marketing and selling, you should be focusing hard on getting your existing promoters in action.

Let’s face it: if your company has a bad reputation, nothing your sales reps say is going to convince a prospect otherwise. But what if a colleague the prospect respects says “Yeah, I know they’ve got a bad reputation, but I’ve worked with them and for what you need they’d be perfect.” That has a much better chance of leading to a sale.

That said, if you’ve got an NPS of zero you likely have some big customer experience issues that need to be worked on. But you still need to be marketing and selling your business. Even with an NPS of zero you could still have 25 – 30% of your customers who self-identify as promoters, so keep finding and encouraging them.

This is a version of an article that first appeared on the Frank Reactions website. To hear the interview with Bill Lee or download a transcript of it, visit http://frankreactions.com/9 or find the Frank Reactions podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Tema Frank
Tema Frank, Chief Instigator at Frank Reactions, is a pioneer in assessing multi-channel customer experience. She was testing omni-channel customer service with her 1st company, Web Mystery Shoppers, before "omnichannel" was a thing! Hers was one of the world's 1st companies to do real-world testing of online and offline customer service & usability. A best-selling author & highly rated international speaker, she hosts the Frank Reactions podcast, and is the author of the new book PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule. Get the 1st chapter free at http://peopleshock.com .


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