Net Promoter Score: customer feedback you can use

When I mentioned surveys a couple of weeks ago, a reader asked if I was planning to discuss the topic of Net Promoter Score. For anyone who (like me) has seen far too many, far too detailed customer surveys, it’s a fascinating concept, and worth knowing about.

The idea is to measure how many more of your customers are ‘promoters’ rather than ‘detractors’ – hence ‘Net Promoter Score’. If you’ve ever seen a survey asking: ‘How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?’ on a scale of 1 to 10, that company is using Net Promoter Score.

The idea may seem simplistic, but it turns out that there’s a strong correlation between a Net Promoter Score and the results from more detailed analyses of customer satisfaction. In other words, get this one right, and you’re probably getting the more complex things right.

What’s more, it’s an easy thing to ask your customers. You don’t need a market research company for this one. The normal procedure is to ask a single follow-up question: “What changes could we make to improve the rating you’ve given us?”

The concept of Net Promoter Score was first widely outlined a little over 10 years ago, and has certainly sparked a lot of debate. But the simplicity of such a simple customer feedback mechanism has two great advantages: more people are likely to take part, and you’re more likely to understand and use the results.

If you’d like to know more, the original extensive article The One Number You Need to Grow is online at the Harvard Business Review website. Services like Surveymonkey even provide Net Promoter Score templates to use.

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