Net Promoter, Do You Really Recommend?

I have mixed feelings about NPS (Net Promoter Score). It is rare for a marketing metric to be quite so successful and as such I have got to admire how professionally it has been promoted. That said, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that it is over-hyped. It certainly isn’t the one number you need to know.

I’m always interested to see other people’s takes on it. John Dawes at the University of South Australia gives his thoughts in a blog. He notes that with so many NPS surveys out there all of us as consumers probably end up saying that we are very likely to recommend a lot. It seems polite to say so — ‘yes it was really great, have a 10 out of 10 on NPS’. This does not mean we actually do the recommending. I certainly don’t.

“So, the scores from Net Promoter are more like indications of satisfaction. They are misleading to management because they can give the impression there is a lot of positive word of mouth occurring about their brand when there’s not.” (Dawes, 2018).

To Dawes would you recommend is not a helpful question, as we often say we would but we don’t. A better question might be: did you recommend? Clearly this can only reasonably be asked a period of time after the experience — which does create practical difficulties. I guess that helps illustrate the key point. Much that it would be lovely if one number told you everything, such thinking is a bit too good to be true. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Read: John Dawes (2018) Why Net Promoter Score is Actually a Bad Tool and What to Use Instead,, March 22, 2018