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Is NPS a marketing KPI?

Brian Benner | Account Manager
3.27.2012       Comments (0)

Three-letter abbreviations are the curse of business communication. Everyone in marketing is familiar with ROI (return on investment) and can discuss KPIs (key performance indicators). But a relative newcomer to the buzzword circuit, at least for direct marketers, is NPS or Net Promoter Score.

In a nutshell, NPS is a measure of customer satisfaction. It depends on the answer customers give to the question: How likely are you to recommend us to someone else?

I’ve made this sound much simpler than it really is.

In fact, Net Promoter is more than just a score. It’s a whole system and a way of doing business. It’s all about treating the customer like a customer instead of a dollar sign from the first communication or transaction to the very end of the relationship. It’s about the follow-up, the communication and the knowledge that every employee has an impact at every touch along the way.

However, while I would argue that while the Net Promoter Score is a leadingindicatorof where an organization is headed and as such must be taken very seriously, it is not truly a performance indicator that should be owned exclusively by marketing. Rather it should be consider an enterprise KPI.

Preliminary testing has shown that marketing efforts alone can have only a limited and temporary positive impact on NPS. The real impact lies with ensuring that all customer facing parts of the company – service, support, sales, help desk, etc. – are empowered and aligned with helping and serving the customer.

Marketing can point out positive changes a brand has made. Unless the customer has experienced the changes personally, there will be no sustainable change in their attitude. I would love to be able, as a marketer, to take responsibility for boosting this metric for our clients. But, in truth, the power lies almost entirely with the client’s organization.

On the brand side, this is truly good news. It’s an empowering notion for employees. Individuals within even large organizations can really make a difference. Their impact is far greater than they knew.

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