|Tim McElligott Blog|
The Problem With Net Promoter Score
I used to think the Net Promoter Score was a good, economical way to get to the heart of customer satisfaction, now known as the customer experience, without all the mind-blowing and expensive data mining and analytics. NPS asks a very basic question: How likely are you to recommend a company to a friend or colleague?
It's just not that simple.
If my friends all had the same tastes as me in music, movies, food and books, hanging out with them would be a pretty dull affair. If that was the case, why wouldn't I just hang out with myself? So even though I may be delighted with a new Tom Waits CD, I only have one friend to whom I would recommend it. The rest would just start growling and laughing. They're idiots. And I love them.
Nor would I recommend, even though I thought it was great, the latest Richard Dawkins book because I know it would irritate the tender sensibilities of their spirituality. And I wouldn't recommend my favorite steak place to my vegan friends — actually, I only have one of those, too. So why would I ever make a blanket statement that I would recommend my wireless provider to them?
Look around. That's one of the big problems in this country (and presumably the world): Just because one person or one group of people believes something, they think the rest of the world should believe it too. If I were to be so bold as to recommend a wireless company to a friend, colleague or family member, my personal satisfaction with the product would only be one factor, my primary motivation would be, or should be, based on that individual's need and preferences — just like food, movies and the rest. In that case I may recommend something that doesn't suit me and neglect to recommend something that suits me just fine.
I am delighted with my iPhone, but (1) I don't pay for it and (2) I would not recommend it to my friend who loathes computers even though I try to tell him it is just like using that machine at the Off-Track Betting Parlor he goes to every Saturday. In fact, I find myself increasingly reluctant to recommend anything to anyone. Telling people what you think is overrated (unless you're paid to do it in a blog). And telling a pollster what you would recommend for others is just a closeted way to proselytize.
Bottom line is that the NPS seems like a cheap and easy way out. But that doesn't make it bad for everyone. It's a perfect fit for someone looking for a cheap and easy way out. But it probably shouldn't be an industry-wide standard. It's not much better than the "Like" button on Facebook.