NPS to evaluate client satisfaction in B2B

Collaboration – 18 February 2014

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a scale widely used in the evaluation of client satisfaction in B2B. It is of remarkable simplicity, which allows us to measure the satisfaction of clients over time. Any company that has the satisfaction of its clients at heart should integrate it as a measurement tool.

A while back at the office, after having made a purchase from a web service provider, I received a call from their customer service department. The person at the other end of the line was very courteous, effectively responding to my questions and after a few minutes, the call ends. Good service, very friendly; everything is perfect! A few minutes later, I receive an email invitation to assess this provider. When I click on the link, it takes me to a short questionnaire which invites me to answer, on a scale of measurement that I know very well; an NPS scale.

What is NPS?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is part of a process of quantitative research, has existed since 2003. It is now used by large companies as a tool for measuring client satisfaction. It aims to measure the clients’ tendency to recommend your products, services or your brand.

The NPS is very avant-garde when it comes to measuring client satisfaction; mostly for its simplicity and speed in which the sponsor can respond (no one appreciates a questionnaire that consists of 22 questions!).

The issue rests in a few words:

On a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = not at all likely, 10 = very likely), what is the likelihood that you would recommend company X to a colleague or a friend?

In my case, I replied with a 9 or 10.

As shown in the image below, we define the respondents as either:

  • Detractors: those answering 0 to 6. They consist of someone who will speak ill of your company, and does not hesitate to say pass the word along of how disappointed they are in you. Consideration should be given to them however, to convert them into passive respondents, and who knows, maybe even promoters.
  • Passives: those answering 7 and 8. They remain neutral and do not necessarily speak of you.
  • Promoters: those who answered 9 and 10. They are very happy with your service and do not hesitate to speak of you to their entourage.

Then, we have to subtract your percentage of promoters from the percentage of detractors. Finally, you will have your NPS score!

A case of practical application

Following a major study for an Exo B2B client, the results of the questionnaire are obvious: respondents want good customer service! To support this positioning axis, in my recommendations, I have suggested establishing a type of NPS scale.

Therefore, each client would receive an NPS questionnaire at the end of a mandate, and, to add some spice to the mix, scales will be calculated on the basis of business units that will compete (in a friendly way) to know which group is going to win the annual award for best customer satisfaction.

To be compared to their industry

Seeing the great popularity of this scale of measurement, particularly in the United States, it is often possible to compare your NPS score to your industry. The scores vary from one industry to another: this is normal as there is no tendency to recommend to your entourage, for example, a brand of hammer nails versus a brand of laser printers!

The critics

The NPS has all the qualities of a good model… and also, its flaws:

  • It is a poor representation of reality: it does not capture all aspects of customer service!
  • It must be well interpreted: the same score using NPS can be obtained with very different percentages (a regular analyst is better!)
  • There appears to be differences from one country to another: it would seem that respondents evaluate more severely in Europe than in the United States. If your business is international, it is not recommended to compare from one country to another.

If you want to establish an NPS score in your business, do it on a regular basis; every week, every month or every year. If possible, attempt to measure performance by region, according to the type of client or work team which performed the service. Have fun comparing the results!

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