09 Jan 17 Net Promoter Score: Is it just about the score?

Shortly after my car came back from the service centre, I got a telephone call from the car company requesting me to share my feedback on their service. I promptly asked the lady to go ahead with her questions, pleased to know that they cared about me. Surprisingly, there was just the one question – “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our firm to a friend or a colleague… would that be an 8, 9 or 10, ma’am?” I haven’t been back to the service centre since.

Net Promoter Score

Coincidentally, while writing this piece, I got a survey request from a mutual fund firm. Thankfully they had a field for a qualitative answer to support the score. After I hit the submit button, the message read “We might call you in case our team requires more details.” So far, nobody has contacted me!

It made me wonder about how the Net Promoter Score (a key metric for customer loyalty) is being used. Are companies genuinely keen to listen to me (a customer) and address my concerns? Or was the customer feedback exercise mere compliance?

During a study we conducted on the perception of elevator brands by customers, we found that a once-market leader consistently came out on top across parameters such as product quality, energy efficiency, pricing and product warranty. Despite this, sales were stagnant. On further probing, we discovered that after-sales service was the most critical for customers, and the leading brand scored poorly on this parameter. The company focused all their resources on improving their after-sales service which soon resulted in an increase in sales.

Customer satisfaction surveys are much more than an NPS. Not only must companies probe to understand the why of a particular score, but that’s only half the story; it’s what you do with the data that counts. Addressing the qualitative comments and concerns that customers have about your firm and your product (or service) is imperative.

A recent customer satisfaction study we worked on threw up some interesting insights. A respondent gave the client an emphatic 9, but proceeded to offer suggestions on areas for improvement (constructive feedback, no doubt, which the client implemented immediately). Another offered a rating of 6 – a detractor by definition. On gently prodding him to elaborate, we discovered he was happy with everything except one particular element of the project, and that tainted his rating.

Going back to the title of this piece – it isn’t about just the score. It’s about reading between the lines and listening to what your customer really has to say; and then demonstrating your intent to address the concerns. At the end of the day, it’s how you deal with complaints that builds customer loyalty. After all, it was Frederick Reichheld – the inventor of the net promoter score – who said ‘increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%’.

For additional reading on customer satisfaction studies, here are some links –

Nandita Harendra

I look after the corporate communications function at ValueNotes, and contribute towards marketing. You can reach me on nandita@valuenotes.co.in

    Posted at 23:54h, 09 February Reply

    The basic construct of a Net Promoter Score is easy to understand, hence its popularity and widespread usage. If a company has more detractors than promoters the score will be negative and vice versa. A Net Promoter Score provides companies with a simple and straightforward metric that can be shared with their front line employees. The Net Promoter Score is helpful in that it can be used as motivation for employees to improve and to provide the best customer experience possible. The ultimate objective here is to convert customers who were less than happy or unimpressed into promoters who will put the word out and allow for increased revenues and profits.

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