Why NPS® Isn't Enough Anymore

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Understanding your customers is, of course, an important piece to the puzzle that builds a successful business. But it can be difficult to predict what influences purchasing decisions and what drives consumers to your company. If only gaining that insight was as simple as asking customers what they think of your business... But maybe it is.

Explanation of NPS®

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/service to others? This commonly-used question is at the heart of Net Promoter Score. NPS® is one of the most commonly used customer loyalty metrics in the world because it effectively measures customer satisfaction and loyalty. Once the customer has given their answer, the number given will place them into one of three groups: Promoters, Passives and Detractors. The company’s score is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Any score above 6 is considered good.

It’s a very simple equation and has guided some of the most successful companies in the world—such as Apple, GE, and American Express to name a few—in making changes to their business to put them on top. NPS® is such a popular tool because it’s straightforward, easy to understand and apply, and gets business owners answers fast. But are those answers enough?

Missing the Full Picture

It’s true, NPS® can give you some valuable insight into understanding your customers, but it’s only a piece of the puzzle. There are a lot of things NPS® doesn’t do. Consider the following:

  • One Moment in Time: NPS® captures a customer’s opinion during a single transaction only and doesn’t take into consideration the surrounding factors. For instance, what if the customer was distracted when they gave their answer, or what if they were in a bad mood that day? It doesn’t show how the consumer feels during other interactions or how they feel about your brand overall.
  • Best of Intentions: What users say isn’t necessarily what they do. For example, we all want to exercise more and eat healthier. We carry those good intentions with us, but it doesn’t always work out when we have to work late or receive a free cookie with our meal. Same with NPS®. Users will say they will recommend you to others, but it doesn’t mean they actually do.
  • Missed Opportunity: When a consumer takes time out of their day to provide feedback, it’s a valuable opportunity to engage and deepen your connection with them. In the case of NPS®, it asks the customer one standard question, treating them like a number, and ends the discussion quickly. But in today’s digital age, relationship building and providing a customized, personal experience is becoming more crucial to maintaining customers.
  • Incomplete Answer: NPS® can tell you what your customers think of you and your products, but not necessarily why they feel that way about your brand. Let’s say a customer answered 2 to the NPS® question. Wouldn’t you want to know why they said that, and if they have always felt that way? What caused them to answer 2? Follow up questions and additional research are necessary to fully understand your customer’s answer.

Don’t misunderstand: NPS® is great at providing quick and helpful insight into your customers. But you’ve got to take the next step and find out why. Direct Opinions can help you do that.