The pros & cons of Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS): The pros and cons

Net Promoter Score (NPS) has been widely adopted by businesses worldwide as a measure for determining whether their brand is viewed positively by customers, and it is the bedrock of many customer experience programmes. It seems easy enough, right? But before you rush to measure yours, consider the several pros and cons, and how you can ensure appropriate use.

The pros

The beauty of NPS lies in its simplicity, and the fact that it is easily understood by CEO’s. It makes a useful metric for determining whether you are providing a positive or negative customer experience, and therefore indicates whether your business is set to grow. By asking the simple question of how likely customers are to recommend your brand/product/service, followed by a verbatim explanation, you can get an indication of how your brand is perceived by customers.

Great businesses will put customers above all else – they will have the highest NPS. Their products and services will be meeting customers’ needs, they will have a positive opinion of their brand and will be loyal. On the flip, a low score is bad news and indicates you need to work on improving your customer experience. Maybe your products are not up to scratch, aren’t living up to customer expectations, or they feel that your competitors are doing a better job.

By gathering NPS responses at various touchpoints along the customer journey, you can get a good overview of how satisfied your customers are in real-time. There are several ways you can ask your customers that crucial question, where it be with a pop-up on your website, in an email or via SMS, or on social media.

The cons

Often the issue is not with the score itself, rather with how it is used by many businesses…

It’s not one size fits all

Measuring NPS is not appropriate for all and any product, service, or brand. Many organisations make the mistake of asking people how likely they are to recommend a product/service which they would be unlikely to ever recommend regardless of how much they like it (toilet cleaner, for example!). Asking the question in an inappropriate context can either annoy the customer or impact the accuracy of results and analysis.

  • To avoid misuse, you should be aware of the limitations in where NPS can be used effectively, and ensure you add context where you do use it. For example, you may also ask if customers ever recommend things, what makes them more inclined to recommend, and so on.

Obsession over the score, rather than the customer

A common issue with how businesses utilise NPS is obsession over the score itself, which often stems from it being used to justify incentives or to meet targets. While useful in providing a benchmark, the score alone is limited in reliability and doesn’t take into account individual interpretation – scoring of emotional responses is bound to vary from person to person.

  • The focus should instead be on the customer feedback which underlies the score. Take into account verbatim explanations of the scores and further customer experience insights, as a guide to where you are letting customers down and the areas in which you should be focusing your efforts.

Shifting the blame

Use of NPS can be prone to making enemies of the customer. By labelling them as a detractor as a result of their bad experience, the blame has been shifted away from the organisation, onto the customer whom it has failed. This can detract from what should be the ultimate goal: improving customer experience.

  • Keep customers at the heart of your organisation. Rather than blaming the customers which you are letting down, maintain a focus on how you can improve their experience.

If you have measured your NPS and found it lacking, read our next blog in our NPS series on how you can improve your score whilst maintaining customer-centricity.

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