To demonstrate the differences between the commonly used Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the more reliable ForeSee Word of Mouth Index (WoMI), this is one in a series of interviews highlighting company leaders who have experience using both word-of-mouth metrics.
Here is what Stephanie Bottner, general manager of Pear Tree Greetings, had to say about her experience in working with both NPS and WoMI:
I am familiar with NPS because of my experience with it at my previous employer in the transportation industry. The executive team made the decision to bring NPS to the company and integrate it into every level of the organization. It was a massive movement to keep our customers at the front of each business decision. General Managers at each local market, as well as their staff, were expected to personally reach out to individuals who were identified as detractors. NPS became one of the key metrics we used to evaluate how each market was performing. We also used NPS to compare ourselves against other companies—not necessarily those solely in our industry but companies with significant size and performance over time.
The major benefit of NPS is in its simplicity. NPS was used as an overall indicator of customer satisfaction, but we asked five questions in addition to the NPS question of referral. One of those questions was about vehicle cleanliness and I remember one market in particular had low scores compared to the others. Yet everyone was following the same cleaning schedule. What this simple question with NPS showed us was that this market had different needs than the others we served. We immediately saw a big bump in scores and revenue when we made the business decision to increase cleaning frequency in this market.
Despite the clear usefulness to businesses across all industries, NPS is limited because it isn’t scientific and the results are not predictive of future success. Yet it also negatively overstates the impact of your Silent Majority. When you have an overstated count of detractors, you focus too much business energy on what’s going wrong in your business, but if a person scores you a 6, is that really something wrong? I would argue no. The fact is that a neutral score is really just that—a shrug-of-the-shoulders kind of score about a company you don’t think about. WoMI allows for customers to be neutral but gives business leaders the insight they need to focus resources on people who are truly detractors. Business leaders know that a campaign to turn a detractor into a promoter is very different than one to turn neutral customers to promoters. WOMI sees this and does not arbitrarily group these two segments together.
WoMI has just been introduced here at Pear Tree Greetings, so we’re watching the scores to get a baseline understanding of our performance. In the short term, we identify customers in the true detractor and true promoter categories and reach out to them. The goal is to understand their experience…the good, the bad, and the ugly. By measuring these groups quantitatively and understanding them qualitatively, I can guide my customer service representatives to these groups on either side of the spectrum more easily and more accurately which in turn guides better decision-making at all levels.
WoMI can have a significant positive effect on businesses by adding value to the NPS programs companies already have place.
— Stephanie Bottner, General Manager of Pear Tree Greetings
Pear Tree Greetings is an award-winning online greeting card company with a unique collection of high-quality personalized photo cards and announcements, invitations, and innovative paper products founded in 2008.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc. and Fred Reichheld. ForeSee is not affiliated with Net Promoter or Satmetrix Systems (and/or Fred Reichheld or Bain & Company) or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Furthermore ForeSee is not associated with, licensed by, endorsed by, or funded by Satmetrix Systems (and/or Fred Reichheld or Bain & Company), and no effort has been made to falsely suggest a connection with any of those entities or the products/services offered by Satmetrix Systems (and/or Fred Reichheld or Bain & Company).