Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To: John Buleader
From: Barbara Researcher
Subject: How to improve our Net Promoter Scores

In response to your question of last week, I have considered several options for how we can improve our recently flagging Net Promoter scores and thereby increase that portion of our year-end bonus linked to that specific metric.

  1. We could restrict our sample of surveyed respondents to only those who have recently purchased from us, and ignore those who either didn’t like us enough to buy from us as well as those who bought from us a while ago buy may be having second thoughts due to our poor reliability and service.
  2. We could change our sampling approach to only solicit surveys from those who buy online since our website is so slick and efficient. This has the added benefit of reducing our research expenses so we can still afford those front-row football tickets.
  3. We could change the way we calculate Net Promoter to take the percentage of customers who score us as 7 trough 10’s and subtract those who score us as 1’s or 2’s since we know that 3’s to 6’s are really the “marginal” middle group and thereby take some credit for producing partial satisfaction.
  4. We can offer customers a $10 bonus coupon to allow our sales associates to “help” them complete the survey before they leave the store, thus providing both convenience and value to our customers.
  5. We can reduce the frequency of surveying from monthly to annually so as to make it virtually impossible to link our marketing or sales actions back to increases or decreases in the scores. This will create much confusion over interpretation and causality that bonuses will have long been paid by the time anyone actually agrees on what to do next.
  6. We can have our sales reps do the surveying themselves. This will allow us to capture notations about body language of the respondents too (side benefit: see football reference above).

Any or all of these strategies could essentially ensure success. Provided our market share doesn’t fall too fast, we’re unlikely to draw any undue attention.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed. We can also adjust any of our other metrics in similar ways.

Pat LaPointe is Managing Partner at MarketingNPV – specialty advisors on measuring payback on marketing investments, and publishers of MarketingNPV Journal available online free at

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