In recent years advocates of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) concept have claimed clairvoyance.

It’s easy then to see why NPS has been adopted by big hitters like GE and Microsoft.  Alongside its apparent predictive power, NPS is beautifully simple and provides a focal point for action across the organisation.First ask a representative group of your customers a simple question – on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely are you to recommend us to a colleague or peer.  Then subtract ‘detractors’ (those rating you 1 to 6) from ‘promoters’ (9 or 10) and out pops your NPS.  And here’s the most compelling part.  Evidence suggests that when compared to other marketing metrics this one number is the single most reliable indicator of a company’s ability to grow (although it’s worth noting that some recent studies have disputed this claim).

In my view NPS is undoubtedly useful, but incomplete.

It provides a valuable snapshot of brand health but doesn’t show how to improve performance.  That’s why it should never be used in isolation.  One should also identify the core drivers of customer loyalty; those factors that really make a difference when customers are choosing between suppliers.  Performance against these core drivers relative to competitors should then be regularly measured not just amongst customers but amongst the market at large.

Let me jump on the bandwagon then and make a prediction for 2009.  I predict that enlightened marketers will replace NPS with a multi-metric approach which allows them to boost rather than just observe the vital signs of their brand.

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) customer satisfaction surveys.

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About Andrew

Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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