We are all incessantly being asked, at every turn, to undertake surveys or rate an experience, with the stated objective that as a valued customer we can provide feedback to help improve the experience for us and others in the future. Part of this need for a “pat on the back” from our customers is the fear that our competitors will be receiving more frequent and higher ratings, something I call the Trip Advisor Syndrome. And more often than not the comments that accompany this rating are ignored for the most part as the advice for improvement is not practical or possible, given a combination financial restrictions and entrenched methods of service delivery. Further the number and mix of questions beings asked of the customer make sound results from the customer feedback difficult to evaluate at best which in turn can lead to flawed knowledge being derived from the data.
Over recent months however, DDL Insight, the analysis arm of DDL Group, has seen a rise in the use of the net promoter score, a methodology quite widely used in the USA, as a measure of rating customer experience. It’s very simple to implement, in fact it consists of asking one simple question and the manner in which this question is asked cannot vary as the would invalidate the outcome of the measure.
The question asked to obtain the net promoter score is:-
How likely is it that you would recommend our Company to a friend or colleague?
The answer is in the form of scoring from 0 to 10 where 0 means not at all likely and 10 means extremely likely.
The answers to this question are the grouped into three categories:-
- Promoters. These are customers who scored either 9 or 10
- Passives. These are customer who scored either 7 or 8
- Detractors. These are customers who scored between 0 and 6.
To calculate your Net Promoter Score, you take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors. Simple! You end up with a score between -100% and +100%. A score greater than 0% indicates more customers are wowed by your service than alienated and vice versa. The higher the score the better the overall service.
So what are the advantages of this approach?
- It is simple, no need for lengthy surveys, no need to ensure leading questions are not asked, no need to worry how quantitative measures will be generated from the combination of questions asked. And its simple to come up with the score.
- It should improve response levels. It’s quick for the customer to complete and its a question we all understand.
- It ignores the passives. When we really don’t have strong views, good or bad, in relation to our experience we are likely to score a 7 or 8. We don’t want to upset the supplier by sounding negative but equally we were not vowed by the experience and so would not score a 9 or 10.
- Over time you can monitor how the score changes. If its going upwards your service is getting better overall, it its going down, your service is deteriorating.
- You can compare your score with other similar Companies, such as competitors. In the USA it is common for the score to be published, this is a trend that is also growing in the UK. And because the question and method of scoring are identical then comparison against similar Companies with similar customer bases is possible.
It is not a perfect method of measuring satisfaction and indeed this method of measurement does have its critics. It does not measure all aspects of the customer interaction, for example the propensity for loyalty, and the figure is less reliable with small numbers of responses, as with any statistical gathering. However I do believe that the increasing desire for customer feedback will eventually alienate customers and so anything that can keep this simple from the customer perspective will prolong the time frame over which valued information can be derived.