The Customer Confidential Podcast

The Benchmark Is Dead! Long Live the Benchmark!

Adam Ramshaw, founder of Genroe, talks about common mistakes companies make when they adopt the Net Promoter System®.


The Benchmark Is Dead! Long Live the Benchmark!

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“Can you please provide benchmark Net Promoter Scores® for psychoceramics companies operating or selling at the high end of the Mauritanian market?”

Net Promoter® practitioners love to talk about NPS® benchmarks. They want to know how their companies measure up against “typical” or “comparable” companies. A well-constructed benchmark samples all target customers for a certain product or service, including those of competitors and even alternatives. Competitive benchmark Net Promoter Scores provide an objective and fair basis for comparing your company’s feedback with the feedback your competitors earn. Done right, they can provide the basis for goal setting and prioritization at the highest levels of a company.

But too many companies misuse benchmarks. Almost every day, it seems, we see another press release or blog post in which a company (wrongly) proclaims its NPS superiority over Apple. As a result, there’s been a pretty strong backlash against NPS benchmarks. And I’ve personally locked horns with some of the people who have been most critical of using them.

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My next guest on the Net Promoter System podcast is one of those people with whom I’ve locked horns in the past. He says that many companies should ignore benchmarks altogether, especially small companies for whom an appropriate NPS benchmark might not even exist. Adam Ramshaw, founder of Genroe in Sydney, Australia, says it’s better to focus on increasing a company’s score over time and building a system of constant improvement. Adam discussed his position in a recent post on Genroe’s blog. At the end of the day, it turns out, he and I agree that benchmarks are useless if you’re comparing apples to oranges.

Adam’s firm helps other companies implement the Net Promoter System and advises them on customer service.

In our discussion, Adam also shared his perspective about how NPS can help service companies bring total quality management-like approaches to their operations. Total quality management—a philosophy that relies on statistical process control and simplifying operational mechanisms to eliminate production variables at factories—helped Japanese automakers gain an edge over American companies in the 1980s. These tactics helped Japanese car companies sell high-quality cars at shockingly low prices.

You can listen to our lively discussion on iTunes or through the player above.

 Net Promoter®, Net Promoter System®, Net Promoter Score® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.


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