CORPORATE WORDS WEDNESDAY – 5/17/17

Jack Welch is on CNBC talking about “Net Promoter Scores”.

We all get these surveys from time to time from pretty much every store or business that we visit. The inevitable question is, “Would you recommend us to a friend?”.

You’re asked questions to grade on a scale of one to ten. Typically, six or below are called “Detractors”. Seven or eight are called “Passive” and nine or ten are “Promoters”.

You then take the percentage of detractors, suctract it from the percentage of promoters and that is your “Net Promoter Score”.

The types of survey miss the most important people. I’ll explain in a story.

I had a Business Policy and Strategy class in college. Best class that I ever had. We were talking about the value of customer feedback. I relayed a story to the professor of a bad experience I had at a diner the weekend before. The waitress was rude, spilled a little water and the food was bad.

The professor asked me what I did about the poor service. “Nothing” was my response. He then made a point that has stuck with me all these years. ” The world is filled with nice people like Dan. They have a bad experience and don’t complain  about it , they just never come back!”.

He was right.

The people that don’t complain and never come back are rarely the people that do surveys. They know they have other options and don’t want to be bothered. “Net Promoter Scores” are better than nothing and are something for the suits to brag about but they are somewhat limited in their usefulness.