Why Your Obsession is Damaging Your Customer Experience


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Old habits die hard. Companies love measuring stuff – but often it is subjective whether what they measure is useful to their strategy. Sometimes I think it is just nice to measure stuff to feel like you are in control – whether, in reality, you are or not.

Companies that profess an undying love for their customers, the ones that desire “world class” service, survey their customers to find out how they are doing – but is it effective?


Most companies use the Net Promoter Score to understand how well they are doing with their customers. In the simplest terms this gives you a number – in a survey they ask on a scale from zero to 10 asking how likely you are to recommend a company, brand or product. Customers that score you 9 or 10 are promoters, 7 or 8 neutral and zero to 6 are detractors – subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters gives you a score. The Net Promoter Score.

So far, so simple – but what do you do with it now? For sure, this is an interesting directional statistic but if you are going to the trouble of disturbing your customers by asking your customers a question are you getting value from the question? For a lot of companies the answer to that question is no.


Why? Because they are intruding on a customer’s time and they are not asking the right questions. Try out my recent experience…….

I recently had, and wrote about, a horrible customer experience with T-Mobile when my Samsung S3 broke. Ultimately, I had to return it to the Samsung repair centre.

After it was returned I received a survey call, clearly from an agency working on Samsung’s behalf, that I recognised as an NPS survey. I answered the questions – I answered two of them at 4 out of 10 and two at 8 out of 10. Samsung now had an NPS score from me and the genesis of some interesting insight. But then they hung up – I was a little surprised that they didn’t want more information on the detracting scores. They had gone to the trouble of surveying me – why on earth didn’t they want to know why I had scored some questions low?

It then got worse. During the course of the next hour their dialler clearly had some sort of seizure – within 60 minutes I received 3 more NPS calls from the same agency driving my patience, my goodwill, and my courtesy to the edge.


Samsung have not contacted me to this day to ask about the detracting scores, so what is Samsung going to do with those few minutes of my life that I agreed to share with them – absolutely nothing! They can’t do anything because they don’t know what to do!

They are happy – they have an NPS score from me in the bag, bonus will be paid, charts will be created and wallboards will be updated. But they will never know that

  • although my mobile phone let me down I really like it
  • I spoke to two service centre advisors that were brilliant
  • their website is a dog’s dinner and their online tracking is awful, practically unusable.
  • for a company that sells products that they want people to integrate into their lives their service philosophy is stuck in the middle ages. A telco call centre that shuts at 6pm – the mobile world is 24×7.
  • 8 day turnaround for a cell phone is not acceptable.

And because they don’t know they can’t do anything about it.

So, a company cares enough to want to measure their customer sentiment. It interrupts their customer’s life, it asks them how the service went, the customer responds that it could have been better, the story ends there.

I don’t feel great about that. I have no assurance that it won’t happen the same way again. I can’t recommend Samsung.

I ask one question in return for the time that I offered up. What was the point Samsung?

Dougie Cameron
Having worked in major blue chip organisations in both senior finance and customer service roles Dougie is described as a strategist, planner and implementer. In his own words he describes himself as "a reformed financier on the road to enlightenment". But most of all he is just plain frustrated by poor leadership and bad customer experiences. Dougie founded addzest consulting to help companies find their way to engage their teams to give customers better.


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