Obviously not, or we wouldn't be asking...
The MIT Sloan Management Review poses this question and at first glance you would assume that this is a leading question. After all, “yes” makes for a short article.
However, the question raised reminds us of the reasons that most companies employ Net Promoter and why it creates change. Let’s start with the five questions posed by the article:
- Can middle managers accurately describe your customer promise?
- Can all members of your senior executive team name the three things that most undermine trust among your existing customers?
- Is your brand really the best option for customers? Will it continue to be next month and next year?
- Have you embraced any novel ideas that have produced significant innovations beyond the
familiar during the past year?
- Have front-line staff posed any uncomfortable questions or suggested any important improvements to your offering during the last three months?
Net Promoter is not a silver bullet to address these issues, but it does take a step forward towards several of them. For example, if a classic failing of companies is the inability of senior management to identify the top three things that undermine trust, you would expect any decent NPS root cause review with senior management to call out those three items. In terms of brand fit, the more interesting question relies on a segmentation model: for which of our customers IS our brand the best option and for which group ISN’T it? As you segment your NPS by behavioral or other segmentation criteria, again, the relative NPS between segments should be a strong lead as to where your brand is the best option.
But the question around front line staff is clearly where Net Promoter shines. Anecdotal voice of the customer information and closed loop processes serve to both engage the front line (they are part of coming up with solution and hence “important improvements”) and act as “aircover” for taking customer issues up the organizational chain.
So Net Promoter, through engagement with both senior management and front line employees, works hard to address the two information gaps that characterize the idea behind the information failure that’s at the heart of the article. A timely reminder of the right focus of your program.