Snap Out of the NPS Brain Fog
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) have been used (and abused) for decades. They are regarded as a vital part of the marketer’s understanding of the customer’s experience (CX) in using a company’s products and services.
NPS is a marketer’s dream. Customer Experience is reduced to a number, which is used as a measuring stick on success. Just follow the magic number: if it is a high score then all is well, and a low score is a prompt for change. It is so easy to use and so easy to focus solely on the number that the marketer may lose sight of other issues that may negatively affect his product: if the number is good, why worry about anything else?
Yet relying on the NPS is like relying on the Dow Jones Index to measure the growth of the economy: the speculative economy has little to do with the real economy. For example, the Covid lockdowns have led to unemployment and bankruptcies, and yet the stock market is booming because it is fed by quantitative easing.
Think about how Net Promoter Scores are obtained. Consumers are asked about their experience in using a product or service. They may or may not participate: if they had a good experience, you miss out on a high score, and if they had a bad experience you would not know about it or do something about it.
The scores are from 1 to 10. Yet the respondent does not know what each number represents. What’s the difference between and 8 or a 10? They are both high scores.
Often, respondents are asked to describe their experiences in writing. Most do not use this opportunity because they want to move to other matters.
Another thing to take into consideration is that the consumer is overwhelmed by these short surveys. Call this respondent fatigue. They may or may not take them. They may provide any score just to complete the survey.
Mystery shopping puts an end to all this uncertainty. Mystery shopping provides a real world, real time depiction of the interaction between buyer and seller. There is no respondent fatigue. There is no need for a respondent to remember the customer experience. The mystery shopper can provide more information on customer experience by answering a quick survey, recording the experience, adding additional observations of the event, and also going through a post-mystery shop debriefing.
Mystery shopping provides greater value for the market research dollar than Net Promoter Scores can ever hope to achieve.