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Three Types of Net Promoter Scores

Three Types of Net Promoter Scores

Seasoned practitioners of the Net Promoter System gather feedback from their customers in three different ways.

It’s not unusual for a company to crow about a high Net Promoter Score. You may have seen a company issue a press release touting a score as high as 75 or more.

High Net Promoter Scores are certainly better than low ones. They indicate that a company has earned more promoters than detractors. But how do we interpret the scores these companies are self-reporting? What is a good score? How should we set goals and targets for improvement?

To begin, we should make sure we look at the right sort of Net Promoter Score.

Three Forms of Net Promoter Feedback

Three Forms of Net Promoter Feedback

Seasoned practitioners of the Net Promoter System gather feedback from their customers in three different ways: competitive benchmark, relationship, and experience NPS. 

  • Competitive benchmark NPS

    The competitive benchmark Net Promoter Score is often overlooked or undervalued. Yet it adds an important level of information the other two are likely to miss and should serve as a keystone of your broader market research efforts. Double-blind, competitive benchmark NPS compared with your competitors’ double-blind scores is the best way to understand where you truly stand to make informed, strategic decisions. It allows a company to learn what respondents think about an entire value proposition, not just their relationship with one particular company.

    Competitive benchmarking also eliminates the responder bias that’s likely to crop up when you survey only your own customers. In your own surveys, people who don’t like doing business with you may decide that it isn't worth their time to participate. With a third party doing the asking, you’re equally likely to hear from everyone on the love-you/hate-you spectrum.

  • Relationship and experience NPS

    Relationship and experience Net Promoter Scores fuel continuous improvement and are the primary inputs into the Net Promoter System’s high-velocity closed-loop feedback practices (i.e., inner loop, huddle, and outer loop). In both types of NPS feedback requests, best practice recommends that a company follow-up with customers whose feedback merit and employees take the opportunity to learn and improve thereby “closing the loop.” Both types of scores can also be supplemented with predictive NPS using operational signals and data about the customer’s history. That said, there are also a few key differences between the two scores, and the two should not be compared directly.

    Relationships NPS is solicited when there is no initiating trigger. It is the way a company can ask for feedback, often once or twice a year, to get a general sense of customer sentiment. Since it is known who the respondents are (unlike competitive benchmark NPS), relationship NPS is also often used for loyalty economics. In some industries where double-blind competitive benchmark data is hard to collect, relationship NPS can serve as an imperfect proxy.

    Experience NPS, in contrast, is triggered by the completion of a specific customer action—such as, making a transaction online or finishing a call with the customer service rep. Since it is triggered by a specific interaction, experience NPS is a great opportunity to immediately recover service. While these experiences can be very frequent, a company should make sure not to overload a customers with too many feedback requests. For example, best practice recommends to focus only on the experiences that are most impactful for a customer and apply rules to survey software to ensure that customers are solicited a maximum of once every three months.

The competitive benchmark Net Promoter Score is often overlooked or undervalued. Yet it adds an important level of information the other two are likely to miss and should serve as a keystone of your broader market research efforts. Double-blind, competitive benchmark NPS compared with your competitors’ double-blind scores is the best way to understand where you truly stand to make informed, strategic decisions. It allows a company to learn what respondents think about an entire value proposition, not just their relationship with one particular company.

Competitive benchmarking also eliminates the responder bias that’s likely to crop up when you survey only your own customers. In your own surveys, people who don’t like doing business with you may decide that it isn't worth their time to participate. With a third party doing the asking, you’re equally likely to hear from everyone on the love-you/hate-you spectrum.

Relationship and experience Net Promoter Scores fuel continuous improvement and are the primary inputs into the Net Promoter System’s high-velocity closed-loop feedback practices (i.e., inner loop, huddle, and outer loop). In both types of NPS feedback requests, best practice recommends that a company follow-up with customers whose feedback merit and employees take the opportunity to learn and improve thereby “closing the loop.” Both types of scores can also be supplemented with predictive NPS using operational signals and data about the customer’s history. That said, there are also a few key differences between the two scores, and the two should not be compared directly.

Relationships NPS is solicited when there is no initiating trigger. It is the way a company can ask for feedback, often once or twice a year, to get a general sense of customer sentiment. Since it is known who the respondents are (unlike competitive benchmark NPS), relationship NPS is also often used for loyalty economics. In some industries where double-blind competitive benchmark data is hard to collect, relationship NPS can serve as an imperfect proxy.

Experience NPS, in contrast, is triggered by the completion of a specific customer action—such as, making a transaction online or finishing a call with the customer service rep. Since it is triggered by a specific interaction, experience NPS is a great opportunity to immediately recover service. While these experiences can be very frequent, a company should make sure not to overload a customers with too many feedback requests. For example, best practice recommends to focus only on the experiences that are most impactful for a customer and apply rules to survey software to ensure that customers are solicited a maximum of once every three months.

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