The REAL ultimate question

“How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” is the ultimate question. Well … Bain‘s Fred Reichheld introduced it as the utimate question as a part of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), allowing companies to track promoters and detractors, producing a clear measure of an organization’s performance through its customers’ eyes.

I love the Net Promoter Score. It is simple. It is easy. And above all: it made conversations and Word-of-mouth part of boardroom-lingo. On the other hand, NPS is a extremely misleading metric. It doesn’t take extremely important elements like target group and content of the conversation into account. It could make you end up having a great NPS while targetting the wrong message with the wrong target group. I recommend reading “A longitudinal examination of net promoter and firm revenue growth” (Keiningham, Cooil, Wallin Andreassen and Aksoy) for a more detailed breakdown of the Net Promoter Score’s restrictions.

If ANY question is the REAL ultimate question it is: What would you recommend me?

Take this two situations:

  1. Person A: You should try product X, you will love it.
    Person B: Euh, ok, I will try it sometime.
  2. Person B: I really need a product that can do Y. What would you recommend me?
    Person A: You should try product X, you will love it.
    Person B: Wow, thanks, I will try that!

Research by InSites shows (but you could have figured that out yourself) that in situation 2, person B is way more likely to buy product X.

That means that creating your brand ambassadors (or: getting your Net Promoter Score right) is only the humble first step. The second step, having people ask for a recommendation, is an important, and more difficult, second step. And that asks for a different goal/approach to campaigns …

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