Request a Demo

Meet with our Truthlab experts to experience the product first-hand and see how it can help meet your company’s needs.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
*By clicking or tapping the “Submit Request” button, you agree to Truthlab contacting you for purposes of coordinating a product demonstration.

Subscribe to the Truthlab Blog

Receive blog article notifications by email and get insights on Product Experience, Customer Experience, Design, SaaS Technology, B2B Thought Leadership and more.

*By clicking or tapping the “Submit Request” button, you agree to receiving regular emails for Truthlab blog article posts. You can stop the emails at any time by clicking the “unsubscribe” links at the bottom of the emails.

Create a Test Account

Take full advantage of Truthlab’s moderated session recording by signing-up for a free trial account for 10 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Watch Our 60 Second Introduction.
Customer Experience

Net Promoter Score is Not an Effective Customer-Centric Strategy for B2B Companies

4 minute read | By: Patrick K. Donnelly


As I have discussed in earlier blog posts, my primary reason for starting Truthlab centered on the absence of any systematic, tech-driven way for measuring, managing and optimizing what I have come to believe is the biggest (and so far mostly missed) opportunity for B2B companies: the customer experience.

Customer experience (CX) is probably the last frontier of critical business areas that has not yet been disrupted and dramatically improved through technology. And that’s why I launched Truthlab to build the industry’s first Customer Experience Management (CXM) products and solutions that were purpose-built for B2B companies. Our mission is to help B2B companies create better, more profitable customer relationships that drive retention, loyalty and advocacy.

The problem for B2B companies, however, is that most of them are managing their CX by measuring  Net Promoter Score (NPS). I’ll explain my reasoning for this in a moment, but first a few words of clarification about what the NPS is and what it does. The NPS is a survey methodology that was invented in the early 2000s to gauge the loyalty of customers. The score is determined by asking one question: Would you recommend the company/product/service to a friend or colleague, as measured on a scale of 0 to 10? Those customers who answer affirmatively in the 9-10 range are called “promoters.” Below that are either “passives” (7-8) or “detractors” (0-6).

Probably because of its simplicity and relative ease of implementation, the NPS has been widely adopted by consumer product companies as well as B2B organizations. But, just because something is simple does not mean that it is right or useful. That is the case with regard to B2B companies using NPS to measure and track their customer relationships. The bottom-line is that NPS does not give insight, actionable data, predict KPI trends or future results like retention in B2B organizations.

Truly understanding how your customers view your products and services (and your brand) requires much more than the NPS’s single, simplistic question. To fully understand your customers (so you can respond accordingly and in a timely fashion), you’ve got to engage them, solicit their feedback, and monitor their interactions on an ongoing basis. Equally important, you need to do this across every touch-point and throughout the entire journey those customers experience with your company and its offerings. Becoming a category-leading, customer-centric company is not a “one and done” proposition, and that is especially true for B2B entities.

 

"Customer experience (CX) is probably the last frontier of critical business areas that has not yet been disrupted and dramatically improved through technology."

- Patrick Donnelly

 

In my newly published white paper, “The Customer Experience Advantage,” I detailed the reasons why the NPS does not work for B2B companies:

Unfortunately, a large number of B2B companies think they are driving a customer-centric strategy by measuring their Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a misguided and ineffective CX approach for B2B companies. The truth is, NPS is unreliable in the B2B context. Unlike with consumer products, where the person responding to the NPS survey makes most (if not all) of the buying decisions, B2B buying groups are now larger and more diverse with multiple, varying points of view. As such, a positive NPS score with a B2B product user might be diametrically opposed to the scores other decision-makers at the company would register, if they even agreed to take the NPS survey (and most senior B2B economic buyers typically would not). The net is that the NPS measurement approach is too simplistic to have any validity for the complex and multi-person B2B buying process. As such, NPS is not an effective solution for making your B2B organization customer-centric.

Notwithstanding all of that evidence, I know sophisticated B2B company leaders whose primary approach to measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction and loyalty remains the NPS. They even include NPS as a key corporate objective. While I agree wholeheartedly with embracing customer-focused objectives and KPIs, using your NPS score as your main (and frequently, only) customer measurement methodology is self-defeating in the highly complex and competitive B2B category.  You need to go much deeper and broader to understand your customers’ needs and improve their full range of experiences with your products, services and brand.

Customer experience is the new battleground for B2B companies. As such, CX is also a tremendous opportunity to be managed, optimized and exploited (there’s nothing wrong with giving your company an unfair competitive advantage!). CX is the most powerful and profitable way to differentiate your company and its products and build strong customer relationships that pay huge dividends over the long term.  However, by relying on the superficial NPS score to measure and maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty you are flying blind.

In my more than two decades of working with some of the most innovative and successful B2B brands on the planet, the biggest growth opportunity I have seen is Customer Experience Management (CXM). I would be willing to bet that you are ready to sharpen your company’s competitiveness and join the CX revolution in the year ahead and beyond. CXM will help you get there and win by making your company a truly customer-centric enterprise.