Use your NPS to guide your business

Are you a “big picture” person?

I think it’s good to always have a feeling for the big picture. It takes a vision of the big picture to make the big decisions in your business. You need to have your eyes on the horizon – people who are constantly staring at their feet end up walking around in circles.

The net promoter score (NPS) is perhaps the best single metric we have that gives you the big picture with regards to how well your business is doing. It is simply a number between -100 and +100 that captures the number of “promoters” your company has as they relate to the number of “detractors” your company has. In other words, do more people have a positive or negative feeling about your company.

One simple question

You have all seen the question that drives the NPS: On a scale of zero to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend (the brand) to a friend or colleague?

Individuals that give you a 9 or 10 are deemed “promoters,” those who score your business 6 and lower are deemed “detractors,” and anyone who gives you a 7 or 8 is considered “passive” and they aren’t counted in the final score at all.

I like the NPS question because it’s essentially asking, “How likely is it that you’ll give my business word-of-mouth advertising?” We all know that this is the most valuable kind of advertising any business can hope for, so the NPS gives you a good idea how likely you are to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising.

If all your customers were willing to talk you up to others and gave you 10s, your NPS would be 100. On the other hand, if you have 100 percent totally Unsatisfied customers, your NPS would be -100. You could expect to be bad mouthed in the marketplace.

Using your NPS

When you make contact with your customers for the purpose of getting their feedback, be sure to ask this question. The NPS is a concept everyone in your organization can relate to. It puts the nebulous feeling of “customer satisfaction” into a hard number that can be used to inform and motivate your team.

When it goes up, you can celebrate the result and catalog what you’re doing right. When it goes down, you can rally the team and identify the areas that need improvement or the situation that caused customer experience problems. It’s a tool that can be used to keep everyone rowing in the same direction.

Don’t ignore the details

At the top, I asked if you were a big picture person and gave my reasons why it’s good to always have the big picture in mind. However, the problem with big pictures is that they are usually made up of several smaller pictures and if any or all of those are bad, they detract from the big picture.

This means that you can’t rely on the NPS alone. To some lesser degree you need to survey your customers on their satisfaction with the smaller “scenes” that all come together to make the big picture. Fortunately, surveys are easy and inexpensive to conduct today so even small business owners can gather the information they need.