John Kelly, Managing Director at ADEPT Customer Experience, nails one of the biggest issues that Net Promoter Score (NPS) has, in his LinkedIn Pulse article. He simply states:
“The point then, is that the NPS is a key measurement but for it to improve customer’s success that results in retention, repeat business, revenue expansion and positive advocacy, it needs to be accompanied with an effective business process, or system, to interpret results, define and implement the required improvement actions.” - John Kelly
Perhaps we should think of NPS as a 21st-century thermometer to measure how sick your client relationships are – at that particular moment in time.
NPS MEASUREs 80% OF the 20% OF YOUR REVENUE
In B2B what you need is a smarter approach to measuring client engagement; a set of internal processes agreed to by senior management that allows you to look both internally and externally to be able to retain more customers and turn them into clients. Clients are a category of partnership that exceeds how typical customers are treated. With the 80/20 rule, NPS is good for measuring the 80% who deliver 20% of your revenue. However, you need more to measure and to be able to serve the 20% who drive 80% of your revenue.
NPS can tell you what your customers think about you, but it can’t tell you why they feel the way they do. One question can’t answer this complex question; while it can tell you who is a "brand advocate", it can’t say whether your customer experience is first-rate.
NPS captures a moment in time, not a reflection of the business relationship that trusted advisors aspire to in B2B sales. NPS has had a long run as the defacto customer satisfaction metric, but many high-value companies are beginning to realize that it isn’t enough to measure the total relationship of buyers and sellers, and that, in fact, there is a significant difference between satisfaction and loyalty.
According to Kenneth L. Strickland, manager of research and evaluations at Tampa International Airport:
“Even NPS advocates concede that loyalty takes, on average, two to three years to build. The reason for this is simple: It takes consumers time to connect their various experiential attitudes into opinions. It takes even longer to formulate those opinions into the type of beliefs that support consumer loyalty. Strictly measuring loyalty only gives us insight into outcomes, not the processes that led to them.” - Kenneth L. Strickland
What’s the solution? B2B organizations should look to a solution that takes into consideration the “Moment of Truth” impact of an NPS survey but also allows executives to measure the “true” value of the relationship between clients and salespeople - a smarter approach to measuring client engagement that goes beyond a client/customer perspective. A solution that uncovers blind spots in the buyer/seller relationships and expose customers who might leave, and why, or find upsell or cross-sell opportunities that sales people might overlook.
Yes, NPS has its place, driven by huge marketing dollars and its inherent simplicity; but in the B2B world, more is needed.
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