The mere thought of it sends shivers through the brand marketing world. Alarm bells sound when it happens. People scramble for answers. The dreaded event is the unceremonious farewell customers give to a less-than-satisfactory product or service. And when the dissatisfied leave, they rarely provide advanced notice. It’s out the door and far, far away – you’ve lost another customer – probably for good.
That’s bad enough. Oh yes, it smacks like a thunderclap. But wait – those evacuees are more than willing to heap additional salt into your stinging wounds. Because ex-customers love to tell all. And what they’ll tell everyone under the sun is how dissatisfied they are with your product or service. If bad news travels fast, this blazes at light speed. Particularly when you consider the expressways available to the devoted mud-slinger – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp … you get the idea. You’ll be well-covered by the darkness.
Can brand marketers defend against the onslaught? Well, creating the perfect product that satisfies every possible demographic 24/7/365 is good place to begin. But if perfection is hard to come by in your vicinity, then you might consider the Net Promoter Score (or as it is affectionately known, NPS).
The NPS is beautiful in its simplicity. Essentially, it’s a lone survey question that asks very bluntly — How likely are you to recommend our product/service to friends, colleagues, Romans, countrymen, whomever. The point is that this single inquiry extracts a numerical value (-100 to 100) that gauges customer feelings with a high degree of accuracy. Naturally, it doesn’t tell the whole story. But the numerical revelation can give brands a pretty good idea where they stand in the customer’s list of brands most likely to send me fleeing.
Bear in mind, an anemic score isn’t the end of the line; it’s the beginning of bigger and better things. Consider it brand protection — a cue to implement improvements in brand quality and customer service. Your brand may not win them all. But with this number guiding the way, a bigger share of future winnings will be in the offing.
If you have any questions or comments about net promoter scores, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.