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Net Promoter Scores and Social Media

You are more likely to hear a complaint from a customer than a compliment.

Over the past few days, we've been engaged in strategic and tactical discussions on how to help raise a brand's Net Promoter Score. If you are not familiar with Net Promoter Scores, it measures customer satisfaction via an extremely simple process. Customers are asked to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely they are to recommend the brand to a friend or colleague.  Customers who give a score of 9 or 10 are considered "promoters". Customers who give a score of 6 or under are considered "detractors". Anyone who gives a score of 7 or 8 is considered "passively satisfied".

This process was created by the senior team at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in collaboration with Bain & Company and published in the December 2003 edition of the Harvard Business Review. The researchers noted that there is a strong correlation between a company's growth rate and the percentage of customers who are "promoters".

Our tactical Net Promoter Score discussion started with the basics: changing operational procedures, enhancing relational messaging and the personalization of customer touch points.  However, when social media entered the conversation, a debate ensued. Given that social messaging is not 100% controllable, when and how should a brand utilize this tactic? We analyzed several brand-based social initiatives that drove both positive and negative results in search of an answer to our question.

Our analysis to date has identified several fundamental variables that should be considered prior to launching a social campaign:

1. The number of promoters versus detractors

Obviously, having a large number of detractors versus promoters is going to be a problem in the social space, so comparing your brand's Net Promoter Score to others in the category will provide insight on this particular variable.  However, a low Net Promoter Score can be tempered via the other variables on this list.

2. The volume level of promoters versus detractors within the social environment

Analyzing the social footprint of promoters and detractors will help forecast the volume level of each group and the potential impact of their brand views on the intended message.

3. The number of issues driving the Net Promoter Score and the ability to separate the positive from the negative

Segmenting the Net Promoter Score via brand attributes can help identify topics and message strategies for social campaigns. Positive attributes can be promoted directly while negative attributes can be discussed indirectly or held until solutions are introduced. However, understanding the weight and correlation of each issue within the overall Net Promoter Score is crucial.

While this variable list is merely a starting point, we are continuing to analyze the impact of social campaigns on brand image; specifically, the ability of social media to facilitate a change in the likelihood to recommend a brand and overall customer satisfaction. We'll stay in touch.