Is your business too obsessed with NPS?

By: Elizabeth Clor

June 21, 2016

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
customer experience
customer experience management
Customer Feedback
Net Promoter Score

It may be top of mind with your CEO. It may be the largest number on your customer experience dashboard. It may even be the key metric that determines your bonus. But your Net Promoter Score (NPS) isn’t everything. The more you focus on this one outcome, the less energy you have for the process of customer experience management.

Many businesses and customer experience professionals are so obsessed with this metric that they don’t take the time to truly understand what drives it and how to address unhappy customers. Ironically, having a deep customer understanding is the only way that businesses can improve this metric, but it’s not a quick fix that happens overnight.

If you want to improve customer satisfaction and build loyalty, you need to focus on the customers themselves. Many businesses pay lip service to being customer-centric, but don’t have formal processes and initiatives in place to truly understand and act on customer feedback.

Achieving a target NPS score without having gone through a strategic process means that it could be less sustainable or a product of circumstance. So while businesses can’t lose sight of their desired outcomes, they need to focus less on the numbers and more about the story behind the numbers.

How do you get to the story? By truly listening to the feedback that accompanies the NPS ranking. Here are some questions you may begin to ask:

• What do they like best about our business?
• How do they feel about our brand and what drives those emotions?
• Are there commonalities among promoters that point to something we do really well?
• How can we highlight this strength in our marketing campaigns?

• What are the primary drivers of dissatisfaction?
• What emotions are driving the dissatisfaction? Frustration? Anger? Annoyance?
• What feedback can we give to the product department, marketing team, call center, web team, or other areas of the business to help improve?

The more accurately you can analyze all of this feedback, the better you will be at making true customer-centric decisions. And the more feedback you can share with the areas of the business that can make a difference, the more likely you are to raise NPS.

Process-focused businesses see better results. Just like process-focused athletes are the best performers. Instead of obsessing over NPS, where should customer experience professionals be focused?

• Instead of trying to benchmark your NPS score, focus on how you can make your business the best it can be.
• Instead of pointing the finger within your business when NPS decreases, focus on ways to make customers happier.
• Instead of spending time analyzing spikes in NPS, spend time analyzing the drivers of those spikes.

And don’t forget, if customer experience management is your job, being process-focused will make it more fun. If you’re constantly worried about what the numbers say, then are you really embracing the mission you were hired to accomplish?


Elizabeth Clor is the Sr. Director of Content Marketing and Communications at Clarabridge. In this role, she is responsible for solidifying Clarabridge’s position in the marketplace as the leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) technology vendor. Elizabeth has 17 years of experience in high-tech marketing and communications, and is a regular contributor to various marketing publications. She holds a B.A. of English from the University of Virginia.