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Should You Publish Your Net Promoter Score, Part 2

Congratulations! You’ve just received the final results of your Net Promoter Score® (NPS) survey and the results are quite good. Perhaps your NPS survey was conducted by an independent, third party, thereby ensuring the results would be perceived by others as reliable and trustworthy. Nonetheless, you probably understand how awareness of the superb service delivered to your customers could help your business.

I previously discussed the advantages of making your Net Promoter Score public to three distinct groups:

(1) company employees,

(2) interested parties, such as the Board of Directors, investors, etc., and

(3) everyone else.

Without a doubt, we believe in sharing high-level details with employees and key stakeholders, as it will help reinforce your customer-centric culture. For prospective customers, trumpeting your commitment to service excellence can serve as a differentiator and key selling point. But sharing your score outside of this select group has the potential to inadvertently open your organization up to scrutiny. Before you do so you should know there are some potential risks.

First, once you start, it’s hard to stop.   

Is this your first Net Promoter Score survey? How often do you plan on asking for customer feedback? What if your NPS drops? Adopting Net Promoter Score as a measure of customer loyalty is a marathon, not a sprint. Before you start sharing the score on your website, in the company newsletter or with a press release, make sure the entire organization – from the C-Suite to front-line employees – is 100 percent committed to the effort. Publishing the score is great but the absence of an update could actually harm credibility with the very audience you were seeking to impress.

Competitors could use your score to their advantage.

As Fred Reichheld has stated, “A company’s Net Promoter Score indicates whether it’s winning with customers.” The most obvious way a competitor could use your publicized NPS score against you is by having a higher score – and promoting it to close more sales or steal your customers! Broadcasting your company’s achievements with Net Promoter could also be like sharing a secret family recipe. Letting the public in could result in others replicating your success and possibly weaken your competitive advantage.

Broadcasting your score may invite scrutiny.

While NPS may appear to be a simple concept on the surface, there can be a wide variety of approaches to implementation. Publishing a score based on a different methodology could be misleading or, worse, embarrassing. Some companies use a 1 to 10 scale for the “likely to recommend” question – instead of the 0 to 10 scale used in the original research; we have seen instances of end-points be labeled differently (i.e. “very likely” instead of “extremely likely”); and companies often have inconsistent approaches to determine which customers to invite and which scores are counted to calculate their score. To be clear, these differences don’t necessarily mean it’s being done “wrong” (although they would likely render benchmarking data meaningless) but publishing your score could invite questions about the approach used by your company. Unless a reputable third party manages your program, such discussions may prove difficult.

Now that you are aware of the downside of sharing your score, don’t let this dissuade you from adopting a Net Promoter program. Continuous assessment and improvement of your customer relationships will be hugely beneficial (and profitable) for your company. Just be aware of the risks and rewards of making your score public beyond your internal stakeholders so you can make an informed decision of how you’d like to proceed.