The Ultimate Satisfaction Question

Have your customers quit responding to your lengthy satisfaction surveys? Are your response rates too low for adequate analysis and action?

Well, you can’t just give up. You need to know what your clients are thinking. And, you also need to meet the requirements expressed in ISO 9001:2000, clause 8.2.2, Customer Satisfaction.

Fortunately, there is a simpler way of surveying your customers. A measurement tool, called Net Promoter Score (NPS), uses only one question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?

A study by Satmetrix Systems, in partnership with Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company, determined this single loyalty question can judge individual customer purchase and referral patterns across seemingly disparate industries.

If customers reported they were likely to recommend a particular company to a friend or colleague, then these same customers were also likely to actually repurchase from the company, as well as, generate new business by referring the company by word-of mouth.

If customers reported they were not likely to recommend a company, they were also less likely to engage in actual repurchase or referral behaviors. To see a white paper published on this study, go to the Satmetrix Systems web site.

Ultimate Question
One simple question – Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague? – allows companies to track promoters and detractors and produces a clear measure of an organization’s performance through its customers’ eyes.

Promoters are customers who are so enthusiastic about a firm or brand that they not only increase their own purchases, but also refer their colleagues or friends. Promoters are customers with ratings of 9 or 10 and exhibited the highest rates of purchase and referral behaviors.

Passive customers are those that were somewhat likely to recommend a company, i.e., ratings of 7 or 8, and exhibited moderate rates of purchase and referral behaviors.

Detractors are customers who feel so badly treated that they cut back on purchases, switch to the competition, and warn others to stay away from the company. Detractors are customers with ratings of 1 thru 6 and exhibited the lowest rates of purchase and referral behaviors.

Net Promoter Score
In industry after industry, the “Net Promoter Score” – the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors – provided the single most reliable indicator of a company’s ability to grow.

Of course, there is more to profitably growing your company than just calculating a score. A successful Net Promoter program includes 5 elements:

  • Metrics proven to link to growth;
  • Leadership practices that instill customer focus, passion, and values;
  • Organizational strategies to ensure adoption;
  • Integration with core business processes, and
  • Operational systems to support the initiative.

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