Are brands and employees manipulating NPS® results?

Net Promoter Score resultrs

Written by Miguel Sanz for Buljan & Partners Consulting

We all know that the NPS® metric (Net Promoter Score) is commonly used by companies as a reference to measure customer experience with a single question: Would you recommend the product or service to a relative or friend?

We are not going to discuss whether NPS® is the best metric to measure customer experience or the best time to use it, but rather if NPS® results may be manipulated.

When is the NPS® of the customer experience measured?

Let us explain this in detail: all of us, as customers of brands, are usually exposed to 2 possible situations every time we interact. On the one hand, we may receive a short (online or telephone) survey about our experience ―this is the foundation of the customer voice but it is often overmeasured. However, we cannot improve what we do not ask. On the other hand, we may not be asked anything―this is less common, but there are companies that prefer not to ask.

Bad practices in the Net Promoter Score

Concerning cases where an interaction ends and we receive a survey, we are going to analyze the example of Media Markt―bearing in mind that many other brands, such as bank or automotive, do the same. If we look at the picture taken at one of their shops, we see how NPS® methodology is explained. It shows not only that bad ratings are from 0 to 6 and good ratings from 9 to 10, but goes one step further, by mentioning key concepts of the methodology, such as: “detractors”, “passives” and “promoters”. Not only do they risk customers finding out the metric (in this case, it was graphic material prepared by Media Markt, although it is sometimes created primarily by employees): the seller also tells customers how to rate them or what they lose if we give them a low rating―as is the case of American Express agents, who politely “encourage” customers to give them the highest rating.

It is time to think about whether linking NPS® to results has led to these situations and whether results are 100% reliable… It is time to think about whether 90-point NPS® are real… In short, it is time to think about whether we are doing it properly.

Miguel Sanz is Senior Consultant in Buljan & Partners Consulting. Miguel is Service Line Leader for Customer Experience Management and has experience in CRM and project management across different industries since 2009.

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