Stop Using NPS (Net Promoter Score) But Please Save The Question!

(Note: Due to concerns that the strong language of my original blog would overshadow the message, I have rewritten the first paragraph. The goal of this blog is to stimulate conversation – admittedly, through confrontation – in order to determine what correlation NPS really has and how to best use it, or not!)

As the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) analyst in the Market Insights Team, I get a lot of questions about Net Promoter Score (NPS). As the “ultimate question,” NPS is being positioned as a cure to all business ills and a way to understand everything you need to know about your customers . . . with just one question. Most market insights professionals struggle with NPS as it goes against our training to accept data correlations which have not been proven. Presenting actionable insights tied to NPS when correlation has not been proven? It feels like selling snake oil and is likely one of the drivers for the view that “researchers hate this metric.”

Has NPS — like Britney Spears’ singing — been overhyped?

My professional colleagues — including Timothy L. Keiningham, Bruce Cooil, Tor Wallin Andreassen and Lerzan Aksoy (A Longitudinal Examination of Net Promoter and Firm Revenue Growth) and Jeffrey Henning (Net Promoter Score [NPS] Criticisms and Best Practices) — have already beautifully, and very analytically, dissected and disproven NPS. They are not alone in their views or criticisms. So, why do we still use NPS when there is no clear statistical conclusions as to its effectiveness?!

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Social Data Meets Customer Data

As much as I believe in the power of social media data, I've always stood by the fact that if you just monitor social media, you'll only learn about social media. If you want to learn about your customers, you'll have to look at them across all of their varied communication channels.

With this concept in mind, today NM Incite and Clarabridge announced they are joining forces — and data — through an integration partnership. The strategic alliance gives customers the ability to feed NM Incite's social data through Clarabridge's text analytics platform, run sentiment analysis, and combine it with other voice of the customer (VoC) data. This partnership signifies two important areas for Customer Intelligence professionals:

  • Successful VoC programs require access to social media. Social media is important in the customer feedback space, but it's not the silver bullet. It is a series of channels to monitor consumer discussion and gain customer insight — but it's just one set of many areas to learn about customers. A complete picture of a customer comes from any of the fragmented ways they communicate — including surveys, chat transcripts, call logs, and more. Just yesterday my colleague Andrew McInnes — our resident VoC expert — published research on the importance of listening to social media as part of the customer feedback process. Check out Andrew's blog for more VoC coverage.
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