Dr. Vince Nowinski, Director of Methodology for Satmetrix, discussed a newly completed assessment of how organizations are doing when it comes to Net Promoter best practices. Dr. Laura Brooks was originally scheduled to present this topic, but fell ill with the flu…we were lucky to have Vince already with us in New York, since he worked directly with Laura on development of the assessment.
From Vince’s perspective, many companies excel in one area or another. But they are asking, “How do I know where the gaps are?” That’s the question he set out answer today.
Vince described why Satmetrix calls the assessment Net Promoter 360. The feedback on internal practices includes viewpoints from the Executive Sponsor of NPS within the organization, the Senior Executive Team, and Program Sponsors who manage the feedback operations. Think of this as a 360 degree view of what’s going on with your Net Promoter program.
Vince presented data from a group of 22 different companies from 12 different industries, with an even split of B2B and B2C business models. Most of the companies (about two-thirds) had over $1 billion in revenue.
The assessment itself was designed jointly by Satmetrix and Bain & Company. Questions on the assessment capture a mix of internal attitudes, behaviors, and business results to assess a company’s maturity level in adopting the Net Promoter discipline. It includes questions like, “Does the organization invest resources? Do executives believe the data they have is reliable? Do they understand what the top customer priorities are? Do they have closed loop processes in place to address individual customer issues?”
How Mature Are You?
Vince separated the 22 companies into 3 groups, to understand different levels of maturity.
Level 1: Developing
Adoption of Net Promoter is limited to some parts of the organization. Data was not yet trustworthy, or fully used operationally within the business.
Level 2: Progressing
The biggest difference here was that NPS had wider adoption, and companies were regularly taking action on the data. This group also had a big focus on root cause analysis…indicative of a phase of adoption where tactical insights are being developed.
Level 3: Advanced
These companies had Net Promoter fully integrated with the decision making culture. They were focused on understanding relative competitive position, and had processes in place to focus both on limiting Detractors and, more importantly, generating more Promoters.
Some Key Differences
Ultimately, Vince pointed to the measures of customer centricity as the most linked to overall level of adoption. Many people describe this as “culture.” I like to think of it as passion for the mission of the company.
What really struck me was the internal NPS for the Net Promoter program itself. Advanced companies had 96% Promoters of their NPS efforts, with no internal Detractors. These are organizations where all the key executives and core team members are “on the bus.” In contrast, those at the developing stage had closer to 50-60% Promoters and a group of Detractors within the core circle that should normally be leading the rest of the organization.
Advanced companies (100% of them) felt that NPS was involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, while none of the advanced companies described it as a “research initiative.” I found this point interesting. What language does your organization use to discuss Net Promoter internally? I’m sure the advanced companies have “research” resources involved with the program, but they understand that the ultimate value of the research is its use in strategic and tactical decision making. The other word that jumped out at me was “initiative.” The advanced companies don’t think of it as a one-time initiative. It is part of the way they do business.
Finally, Vince turned to the big question: What’s more important, eliminating Detractors or creating more Promoters? Ultimately, companies need to do both, but we found that the more advanced companies were in their adoption of NPS, the more likely they were to be focused on creating more Promoters. That’s really the end goal, isn’t it? You may indeed need to focus on eliminating Detractors, but if that’s all you ever focus on, it can be hard to define a winning vision and sustain the motivation of your employees.