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The Ultimate Question 2.0
Once convinced of the need to measure and manage customer feedback as rigorously as one measures and manages profits, the next question is how to develop an effective measurement process while avoiding the pitfalls of satisfaction surveys. It isn't easy! Net Promoter Scores may be simple in concept, but gathering good data is hard work. It requires at least as much effort and resources as many companies currently spend (or squander) on satisfaction surveys.

Companies should follow these seven principles when calculating NPS:

  1. Ask the Ultimate Question and very little else
  2. Choose a feedback scale that works and stick to it
  3. Aim for high response rates from the right customers
  4. Report relationship data as frequently as financial data
  5. Use granular data to make employees more accountable
  6. Audit to ensure accuracy and freedom from bias
  7. Validate that scores link to behaviors
Find out more about the 7 rules of measurement in chapter 6 of The Ultimate Question.

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If organizations take seriously the goal of turning customers into promoters, then they must take seriously the need to measure their success. As these rules of measurement become more widely practiced, the hope is that they will evolve into a set of generally accepted relationship measurement principles that can focus organizational energy on relationship quality in the same way that the science of accounting has focused us on profits. Over time, indeed, more and more investors and board members may come to demand an audited set of relationship metrics that accord with the rules of measurement detailed in The Ultimate Question.

One's initial impulse may be to balk at the investment required to generate solid NPS metrics, but consider how much most organizations now spend tracking and auditing accounting profits, which can provide only a look in the rear-view mirror. Net Promoter Scores not only help companies see the future, they help them manage it to improve performance. NPS can show companies how to grow.

Learn how listening to your customers can drive growth
Measuring what matters
Customer grid
Identifying where your best customers fall in this grid is imperative to driving growth
You cannot build an effective customer-feedback system on the shaky foundation of current satisfaction survey methods and practices. In the best tradition of late-night comedy, here are the top ten reasons why satisfaction surveys are a joke.
10. Too many surveys, too many questions
9. The wrong customers respond
8. Employees don't know how to take corrective action
7. Too many surveys are marketing campaigns in disguise
6. Survey scores don't link to economics
5. Plain-vanilla solutions can't meet companies' unique needs
4. There are no generally accepted standards
3. Surveys confuse transactions with relationships
2. Satisfaction surveys dissatisfy customers
1. Gaming and manipulation wreck their credibility
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