In the hypersensitive, hyper-engaged business world of today, customer expectations are stratospheric. As individual consumers, they’ve come to expect instant information, real-time status, multiple communication channels, access to experts, and near-perfect end-to-end handling. And that’s just while ordering a meal. The expectations are growing as technology continues to enable greater and more media-rich access to information and insights.
Meanwhile, customers have unprecedented access to each other’s individual and crowd-sourced opinions online. They can weigh your product and brand against countless other market place options, and are not hesitant to switch brands to reach a better experience and value. What stands out in this comparison is the note your brand hits with them, the value it offers, and what other customers think about them.
Think about how quickly and easily you can access customer reviews and scores of movies, shoes, books, restaurants, and just about every product and service available. Customers perform this quick analysis, read reviews with a grain of salt, and make a conclusion often based on content that the manufacturer didn’t produce or have much control over.
Online reviews are a strong aspect of brand comparison, and in this age of customer experience, your customers can be your biggest brand ambassadors if you continue to wow them. All of them.
Companies who understand this go out on a limb to make the customer engagement process perfect and memorable, in turn creating brand loyalists. NPS is the metric that is used to identify if your customers are brand loyalists or not.
In more recent times, NPS benchmark has been included as one of the key metrics of C-level executives, pointing to the fact that a better NPS score is correlated to better future growth and revenue potential. A brand with a higher NPS score has earned higher brand loyalty, and customers would continue to reengage and buy from the brand time to time with minimal investment from the brand, ultimately driving high growth. Perhaps even better, new customers evaluating options available in the marketplace will look favorably upon brands with higher NPS scores, not because they look at the score directly, but because the high level of brand support from existing customers means favorable opinions and reviews in the blogosphere and social media are likely present.
It should be noted that its really difficult to build a cadre of motivated happy and loyal customers that are so delighted that they’re willing to craft such reviews publicly. People generally do not take the time to do this unless they are so delighted that they feel good about it. Quid pro quo reviews that are drafted and published as a result of a company offering a term or price concession or other items of value are often subpar and not as authentic sounding as customers who write about a product that they were genuinely impressed and inspired by.
Further, prospective customers within the buying journey are more moved by authentic content. That is, all the anonymous case studies, marketing demos, white papers, and PDF brochures that a company has are not as worth as much as a sincere customer story describing what they were trying to do and how a given product or service not only helped them, but delighted them in unexpected ways.
This is why NPS has grown in popularity and importance. It’s hard (but not impossible) to game the metric. And a high NPS score (relative to your competitors) means something significant. More on the integrity of the NPS metric later.