Auditing Net Promoter Scores

Should NPS scores be audited?

There is no doubt that Net Promoter Score has to be the most widely known measure of customer loyalty, but with Boardrooms being increasingly keen to promote their NPS score, either internally or to the wider market, or simply to be able to compare their score with those that have been made public, is there the possibility that some are “managing their scores” and they should be audited by independent parties?

Recently I have completed a straight forward online survey for a supplier, who’s only market research question was the classic recommendation one. Interestingly the default position on the radio button response was 9 out of 10! Clearly if respondents either skipped the question, or felt that was the “normal” score, and simply left it there, the company will be receiving an increased number of Net Promoters (scores of 9, or 10 out of 10 are considered promoters). I complained to the company about how they were biasing the findings, and some 6 weeks later they emailed me thanking me for my feedback!

Other practices that are present in some companies, and potentially are influencing the accuracy of their NPS scores are:

  1. Interviews are conducted by employees who have not been trained as professional interviewers and may not conduct the interview in a consisitent and unbiased manner
  2. Employees tell the customer that when completing the questionnaire / they are contacted to be interviewed, that only a 9 or a 10 ‘really counts’. Possibly reflecting NPS scores are part of their objectives / reward and recognition programme
  3. A decision to include scores of 8 out of 10 as a promoter, thereby increasing their NPS score.
  4. Leaving the zero out of the scale, thereby artificially pushing scores up the scale.

Ultimately these companies are only hiding the truth from themselves, as their scoring practice won’t change a customer’s view of their individual experience, but perhaps all NPS scores, and others, should have a formal auditor sign off to say that the correct standards have been approached. You would expect it for a company’s financial performance, so why not for their customer performance – after all one drives the other!



Share this