Is Net Promoter Score A Savior Or A Demon?

Every couple of years, I get a resurgence of questions about Net Promoter® Score (NPS®). These surges typically coincide with research that shows how NPS is either an excellent predictor or a terrible predictor of company performance. That data often ignites a religious battle between the NPS lovers and NPS haters.

Well, it’s one of those times.

Let me start by saying that I’m an atheist in this NPS battle. We’ve had the opportunity to study and work with hundreds of companies that use NPS. I’ve recommended to some companies that they adopt NPS, to others that they stop using NPS, and to others that they start with a totally different set of metrics (see our VoC/NPS resource page).

Let’s look at what we know for sure about NPS…

The reality is that the metric itself is much less important than how it is used. I’d rather use a sub-optimal metric in a way that drives positive improvements across an organization, than have a perfect metric that doesn’t result in as much impact.

Here are some quick answers to key questions:

  • Is NPS the best indicator of customer loyalty and business performance? In many cases, no.
  • Can other metrics be used to drive positive change? Yes.
  • Does NPS provide an easy to understand metric that can be widely adopted? Yes.
  • Can NPS be used to make an organization more customer centric? In many cases, yes.
  • Will a company improve if it increases promoters and decreases detractors? In many cases, yes.
  • Can NPS be used inappropriately? Yes.
  • Can any metric be used inappropriately? Yes.
  • Would I ever recommend NPS for every touch point? No.
  • Should companies consider their specific business when selecting metrics? Absolutely.
  • What’s more important, the metric or the improvement process? The improvement process.

The bottom line: NPS is neither a savior nor a demon.

P.S. In case you didn’t know, NPS® and Net Promoter® are registered trademarks of Fred Reichheld, Satmetrix, and Bain & Company.

Report: Unlocking Customer Insights From Contact Centers

1505_UnlockingInsightsFromContactCenters_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Unlocking Customer Insights From Contact Centers: From Agent Productivity to Enterprise Intelligence. Here’s the executive summary:

Companies have traditionally viewed their contact centers as cost centers and have consequently focused most of their energy on making agents as efficient as possible. However, companies are now beginning to realize that contact centers actually contain a wealth of deep, untapped information about customers. Temkin Group recommends that companies tap into this rich vein of information by shifting their focus away from agent productivity and towards enterprise intelligence. To construct a more holistic picture of their customers’ experiences, companies should take the unsolicited, unstructured voice of the customer (VoC) feedback they capture in the contact center and combine it with data they collect from other sources, such as CRM and digital analytics. In this report, we outline how companies’ efforts should shift across each of the Six D’s of a VOC program: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. To start the transformation away from agent productivity and towards enterprise intelligence, companies need to focus on data integration, analyzing the entire customer journey, forming a cohesive governance structure, and developing new roles and skills for employees.

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In the report, we describe these best practices for shifting the focus of customer insights in the contact center from agent effectiveness to enterprise insights:

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Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience


Don’t miss webinar with Bruce Temkin and Aimee Lucas
on July 16 at 1:00 PM ET:
Infusing Customer Experience With Positive Psychology


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Last week, the Temkin Group leadership team attended the World Congress on Positive Psychology in Orlando. Kudos to the International Positive Psychology Association for putting on such a great event. It was inspirational for us, as it confirmed what we fundamentally believed; positive psychology can be an incredibly valuable tool within the world of customer experience.

What is Positive Psychology?

Before we go any further, I want to make sure everyone understands what positive psychology is all about. Here’s the definition from the Positive Psychology Center:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

It’s a new branch of psychology where the emphasis is not on fixing psychological ailments, but on helping people “flourish.” You may want to read the book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman, who many consider the godfather of the positive psychology movement.

Highlights from the World Congress

Seligman was one of the keynote speakers at the event, which included the who’s-who list for positive psychology. Here’s a small dose of highlights from the keynote speakers:

  • Martin Seligman, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. The latest research is showing that helplessness is a natural reaction in the brain and rather than trying to unlearn it, it is possible to create a “hope circuit” in the brain by building an expectation of control or mastery of the situation. In the World Well-Being Project, positive psychologists are now monitoring world wellbeing by creating word clouds based on millions of social media from around the world. What emerges is a clear picture that positive and negative emotions each have their own lexicon. The question this research raises: if we can change the words people use, can we change their life satisfaction?
  • Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.: When it comes to understanding and helping people through change, rather than studying a “sample of the average,” study the “growing tip” where individuals or organizations are performing at their best. This shift to focusing on peak performance can help to “democratize excellence” and push through what Goleman has referred to has the “honeymoon effect,” where after some initial success the change is not sustained over the long term.
  • David Cooperrider, Ph.D., Case Western University: Flourishing enterprises support the development and engagement of their people and have a culture and identity based on sustainable values. As he put it, “human beings are not a resource that gets used up, but are a source that can intensify and increase in value and contributions.” These sorts of organizations can be agents of world benefit, and Cooperrider put the spotlight on efforts like Google’s Balloon Project, that brings Internet connectivity to extremely rural areas lacking infrastructure through the use of large balloons. To discover and design positive institutions, we have to view organizations as solutions and use techniques like appreciative intelligence to bring out the best in the system (and the people within the system) in order to drive change at the scale of the whole.
  • Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., New York University: Haidt put forth that capitalism is the most transformative force since the domestication of fire. And in order to “increase the total tonnage of happiness around the world,” capitalism can be a means to create the right kind of happiness. Rising prosperity brings rising security in society, which lets the attention shift away from simply surviving. With that shift comes a change in values away from the traditional, a push for greater freedom, investments in education (especially for women), and additional powerful benefits for society.
  • Tom Rath, Gallup Consulting: To have the energy they need for sustainable performance, people require three things: meaningful work, quality interactions, and energy. Meaningful work aligns our interests and natural talents with the needs of others. Quality interactions are those relationships with people we enjoy being around, which can have a profound impact on individual health and wellbeing. Energy comes from recognizing that how we eat, move, and sleep work in parallel. Across all three elements, small wins can generate meaningful outcomes when it comes to individual wellbeing.
  • Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Institute of Heartmath: Of the four energy domains—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—the emotional domain is the primary driver of physiology and is the biggest way to lose or gain energy as a result. Researchers have identified a nerve center within the heart that sends signals to the brain to help regulate emotion. It is possible to apply some specific techniques to control variable heart rate and self-regulate emotion in order to build capacity for resilience and sustain energy over time.
  • Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., University of North Carolina: The center of this presentation was the Upward Spiral Theory of Lifestyle Change, still a work in process in the research world. Early findings show that the more you enjoy a wellness behavior you undertake (swimming, meditation, etc.), the more you will have spontaneous positive thoughts about that activity resulting in an increased passion for that behavior. In short: you are more likely to stick with a wellness behavior over time if you enjoy it from the start. With the upward spiral, wellness behaviors become more rewarding over time and our motives to pursue them also increate over time. When it comes to prioritizing positivity, people should be proactive about arranging their day to incorporate activities that increase their positive emotions rather than trying to “will themselves happy.”

Infusing Positive Psychology Into Customer Experience

Hopefully this brief introduction to positive psychology has made it clear why there is so much potential value for customer experience.

To make the connection explicit, here are three of the many themes from positive psychology that we will be infusing into our work:

  • Positive emotions support sustained behavior change. People are more apt to continue an activity if it results in positive emotions, which supports more sustainable results than sheer personal willpower.
  • Positive emotions increase human capacity. People are more thoughtful, creative, and adaptive when they experience positive emotions, and it also improves their physiological health and well-being.
  • Meaningful work amplifies positive emotions. People experience more positive emotions when they find meaning in their work, and this can be heightened when their work and efforts are appreciated.

We believe that these themes can affect every aspect of customer experience. Here are some of the many ways that they connect with our four customer experience core competencies:

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Positive Psychology Within Temkin Group Research 

We plan to increase our focus on positive psychology within Temkin Group’s research and advisory services, but positive psychology is not a new theme for us. You can see elements of it across many of the things that we’ve already published, including:

The bottom line: Positive psychology and customer experience are a natural fit.

USAA and Amazon Top 2015 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

For the second straight year, USAA took the top spot in the Temkin Web Experience Ratings. Based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers, the 2015 Temkin Web Experience Ratings examine 262 companies across 20 industries (see full list of companies (.pdf))You can see all of the company data on the Temkin Ratings website.

Download dataset for $295 (download sample file)

***See how your company can reference these results
or display a badge for top 10% and industry leaders***

USAA earned the top spot for its banking business, followed by Amazon.com in the second spot. USAA was also in the top 14 with its insurance and credit card businesses, along with credit unions, Capital One 360, SunTrust Bank, eBay, Chase, Fidelity Investments, QVC, Sheraton, and Apple Retail.

Frontier earned the lowest Temkin Web Experience Ratings followed by Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Spirit Airlines, Comcast, Blue Shield of CA, Time Warner Cable, Haier, and CenturyLink.

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Here are some more highlights from the 2015 Temkin Web Experience Ratings: Read more of this post

H-E-B Earns Top Spot in 2015 Temkin Emotion Ratings

For the previous five years, we’ve measured emotion as part of the Temkin Experience Ratings. This year, we examined 293 companies across 20 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see methodology section below). I decided to showcase the results from the emotion component of those ratings.

Congratulations to H-E-B, Publix, Chick-fil-A, Trader Joe’s, USAA, Aldi, Hy-Vee, PetSmart, Dairy Queen, Walgreens, and Amazon.com for earning the top scores in the 2015 Temkin Emotion Ratings.

At the other end of the effort spectrum, the lowest scoring companies in the Temkin Emotion Ratings are Coventry Health Care, Comcast (for TV service and Internet service), Time Warner Cable (for TV service and Internet service), Charter Communications, Cox Communications, and CIGNA.

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Do you want to the data from the 2015 Temkin Emotion Ratings? It’s included in the Temkin Experience Ratings spreadsheet that you can purchase for $395.
Here’s a sample of the spreadsheet (.xls)

Here are some additional insights from the 2015 Temkin Emotion Ratings:

  • Supermarkets, fast food chains, retailers, parcel delivery services, and hotels earned average scores of “good,” while TV service providers and Internet service providers earned average ratings of “very poor.”
  • Georgia Power, USAA (banking, credit cards, and insurance), TriCare, JetBlue, Optimum, Amazon.com, Lexus, Regions, Kaiser Permanents, Cablevision, and credit unions all earned Temkin Emotion Ratings that are more than 10 points ABOVE their industry averages.
  • Coventry Health Care, Spirit Airlines, Fox Rent A Car, Consolidated Edison of NY, Hitachi, BB&T, Blackboard, Consumers Energy Company, Sears, Dollar Rent A Car, Bi-Lo, Comcast, and Jeep all earned ratings that are 12 or more points BELOW their industry averages.
  • Seven companies increased by 10 or more points from last year: US Cellular, DHL, Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, JetBlue, Hilton, Westin, Fifth Third, Dodge, and Marriott.
  • Thirteen companies dropped by 10 or more points from last year: Subaru, Buick, TD Ameritrade, Audi, Advantage, True Value, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Best Buy, E*TRADE, Time Warner Cable, Blue Shield of CA, and AOL.

Read more of this post

Hospital (Almost) Provides Valuable Patient Status

In a recent visit to a hospital, a member of my family spotted this patient status screen. It’s a great concept, keeping family members up to speed on the status of their beloved patient as he or she is in surgery. While it’s a wonderful idea, the design falls flat. Take a look at the confusing status items:

1506_TuftsPatientStatusThis is an example of what I call the Design of Little Things (DoLT). So many organizations invest in good ideas, but fail to do the little things that will create a really positive experience for customers. It’s like running a marathon and then giving up right before the finish line.

In this case, the idea of a real-time status screen is great, but the hospital needs to provide status items that are meaningful for family members in the waiting room. All it would take is one more tweak and this would be a wonderful tool.

The bottom line: Don’t neglect the DoLT

 

Report: Economics of Net Promoter, 2015

1506_Economics of Net Promoter_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Economics of Net Promoter, 2015. Here’s the executive summary:

Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) is a popular metric that companies use to analyze their customer experience efforts, but how does it actually relate to loyalty? We asked thousands of consumers to give an NPS to 293 companies across 20 industries, and then we examined the connection between NPS and four key areas of loyalty. We found that compared to detractors, promoters are more than five times as likely to repurchase from a company, more than five times as likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake, more than seven times as likely to try a new offering shortly after its introduction, and that they recommend the company to about four times as many people. This analysis examines the loyalty behaviors of promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 industries: airlines, appliance makers, auto dealers, banks, rental car agencies, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, retailers, software firms, supermarkets, TV service providers, utilities, and wireless carriers. The percentage of promoters who are likely to repurchase ranges from 96% for retailers, fast food chains, and supermarkets down to 77% for airlines, while the percentage of those who are likely to forgive ranges from 72% for computers & tablets, utilities, and supermarkets down to 51% for airlines. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who are likely to try new offerings ranges from 70% for major appliances and software firms down to 52% for banks. Ultimately, if a company wants to benefit from using NPS as a key metric, it must focus on improving customer experience, not obsessing over the metric itself.

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Here’s an excerpt from one of the 12 graphics, which shows the loyalty differences for promoters, passives, and detractors across all industries:

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The report provides loyalty data for promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 industries: airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, supermarket chains, TV service providers, utilities, and wireless carriers.

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See our VoC/NPS resource page, which includes great resources for creating a successful NPS program. You mat also want to see our latest NPS Benchmark Report with NPS data on 283 companies.

The bottom line: Promoters are much more valuable than detractors.

Net Promoter Score, Net Promoter, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld.

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