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NPS soon to be abandoned by 75% of businesses?

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For customer satisfaction specialists, this title is very enticing. The Net Promoter Score (or NPS), the star metric of customer satisfaction, will be abandoned by 75% of businesses by 2025. This prophecy is, in fact, the result of research put forward by Gartner. Problem: I don’t believe it at all, and I think it’s neither realistic nor very objective.


crédits : Shutterstock

Most large companies use the NPS

First of all, let’s remember that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a valuable metric used by most businesses with many customer touchpoints to manage. The NPS is indeed simple to implement because there is only one question to ask. And since its correlation with customer satisfaction is well established, there is no need to worry about interpreting the results.

“Invented” by Reichheld in 2006, the NPS has been popularized by large businesses such as Amazon and has now gained its credentials. Why should it be abandoned?

crédits : Shutterstock

Is Gartner’s prophecy altogether disinterested?

Gartner, therefore, claims that NPS would be abandoned by 75% of businesses by 2025. The reason? It is more difficult to interpret in the context of customer service, is not actionable, and does not provide insight into what needs to be improved. What a discovery! Gartner has just rediscovered hot water.

How was this prophecy established? Based on research realized using … 42 customer service managers.

If I may summarize, this global diagnosis (“75% of businesses will abandon NPS by 2025”) was established by requesting their opinion from 42 people. For those who like econometrics, I let you appreciate the margin of error and the seriousness of the method.

If this doesn’t make sense on paper, you can find an explanation in the Gartner press release. The latter is peppered, in several places, with a recommendation that does not go unnoticed. Since NPS is no longer useful, it should be replaced by something else. “Replacing” is, of course, a lucrative business for a consulting firm, and my little finger tells me that this is where the explanation for this all-out attack on the NPS lies.

crédits : Shutterstock

Is there anything better than the Net Promoter Score?

There are certainly better ways to understand the drivers of customer satisfaction in a given context than Net Promoter Score. I can’t disagree with Gartner when they say that CSAT or CES is more appropriate. The questions asked can indeed be more “oriented” to reflect the nature of the customer service activity.

But there is always more. The measurement of service quality, for example, can be accurately measured using the SERVQUAL scale invented 35 years ago or one of its many sector-specific variants. There are also measurement tools for the 6 dimensions of customer experience. In short, there is no shortage of approaches to gather more insights and identify improvement levers.


Let’s not take the NPS for what it is not

Except, the NPS is not intended to provide this level of granularity. NPS aims to provide a global view and then go deeper into the areas that deserve it. Using a single metric has advantages that are lost if you multiply the measurement tools.  Not to mention that CEO’s salaries are sometimes indexed to NPS.

crédits : Shutterstock

Conclusion

The Gartner report is based on non-representative “research” used to promote alternative metrics for measuring customer satisfaction. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is denigrated in favor of alternative measures (CSAT, CES, VES). The latter is supposed to provide solutions for understanding the “customer service experience.” But Gartner does not explain how the customer experience, a complex construct, could be “summarized” by such simple measurement tools.
Long live the NPS.

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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