The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used by many of today's top businesses to monitor and manage customer relationships. Fred Reichheld and his co-developers of the NPS say that a single survey question, "How likely are you to recommend Company Name to a friend or colleague?", on which the NPS is based, is the only loyalty metric companies need to grow their company. Despite its widespread adoption by such companies as General Electric, Intuit, T-Mobile, Charles Schwab, and Enterprise, the NPS is now at the center of a debate regarding its merits.
Fred Reichheld, the co-developer of the NPS (along with Satmetrix and Bain & Company) has made very strong claims about the advantage of the NPS over other loyalty metrics. Specifically, they have said:
- The NPS is "the best predictor of growth," (Reichheld, 2003)
- The NPS is "the single most reliable indicator of a company's ability to grow" (Netpromoter.com, 2007)
- "Satisfaction lacks a consistently demonstrable connection to... growth" (Reichheld, 2003)
There is considerable scientific evidence disputing the findings of the NPS camp (Hayes, 2008; Keiningham et al., 2007; Morgan et al., 2006). The basic finding is that the NPS is not the best predictor of business performance measures. Other conventional loyalty questions (e.g., overall satisfaction, continue to purchase) are equally good at predicting revenue growth. Reichheld's claims are grossly overstated with regard to the merits of the Net Promoter Score. Despite the scientific research criticizing the NPS claims, the NPS developers still presses the claim that the NPS is the best predictor of company growth.
The Net Promoter developers have not refuted the current scientific research that brings their methodological rigor into question. Instead, they only point to the simplicity of this single metric which allows companies to become more customer-centric. That, however, is not a scientific rebuttal. That is marketing.