If you need to change minds about NPS...

Ed Powers
Ed Powers Member Posts: 168 Expert
Third Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Insightfuls 25 Likes
edited July 2020 in Metrics & Analytics

During Office Hours the other day, several folks noted issues using NPS. Here's a study from the Service Alliance at Cambridge University that may help you build your case. The bottom line is that intention isn't same thing as behavior, and you need more than a single attitudinal measure to predict outcomes. Although the company studied had high NPS scores (65) with 70% classified Promoters, only 54% actually remained loyal. NPS is better than nothing, but its benefits are routinely oversold. 


  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member Posts: 51 Expert
    Second Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020

    Interesting, Ed. Based on your experience, what other avenues of customer feedback have you found to be successful? 

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Thomas Fortier
    Thomas Fortier Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    Third Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020

    I don't disagree with that assessment, Ed, but I do find value in individual NPS responses as a quick win for engagement. Whenever a client replies, whether they are a Promoter, Passive, or Detractor, that should always kick off a reply from the CSM, or an automated "tech touch" response based on the score provided, and that can lead to a new and valuable discussion. Overall, though, there is a lot that NPS does not answer, so I agree that it is frequently overvalued.

  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 132 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited June 2020

    Thanks for the reminder, @Ed.  Although the initial marketing around "NPS" indeed did have a focus on the score, Satmetrix, Bain, and Fred quickly updated to "Net Promoter System."  Sadly, the horse was already out of the barn and the "system" designation was largely lost to instead focus on "score." Our research in B2B consistently finds that 

    1. The metric you use to gauge overall sentiment is far less important than doing it with a commitment to address what they are telling you (for high customer participation) so you can demonstrate listening (i.e. that you care) and take the opportunity to strengthen the relationship. In well run engagement/feedback programs, our clients achieve a powerful predictor of retention through customers' participation, as we see silent accounts (those not participating) are ~14x more likely to churn, providing a way to engage the account through other means. 
    2. In B2B, very little happens until someone shows up to activate the promoters.  Most B2B businesses are highly specialized, so word-of-mouth happens far less naturally in B2B. So creating and identifying promoter/advocates ought to be followed with a clear sales/marketing program to enlist the support of those people telling you they are advocates. References, referrals, speaking engagements and more are there for the asking...
  • Thomas Fortier
    Thomas Fortier Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
    Third Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020

    Nice follow-up, @Steve Bernstein ! That's essentially what I was getting at, and it's great to see some numbers behind the thinking.

  • Alex Turkovic
    Alex Turkovic Member Posts: 61 Expert
    Second Anniversary
    edited June 2020

    I agree that marketing automation is key to scale NPS effectively. It's one thing to get an overall score - but just scratches the surface of what NPS is capable of. By customizing your response to the client based on their rating, you can super charge your brand voice and show empathy and compassion in ways that can:

    • Rally your promoters to actually promote your brand
    • Build lifelong fans out of your passive clients
    • Re-engage your detractors

    This is where a good copywriter is worth their weight in gold.