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Net Promoter Score: The Pros and Cons

The telco world has embraced the idea of the Net Promoter Score. Why? Because its simple. Ask customers how likely they are to recommend you to a friend and you get the net score of your promoters versus detractors. It’s used to incentivise staff in many telcos around the world and is a key measure in the turnaround happening at Telstra. But does it disguise the need for a quantum shift in customer improvements?

Martha Brooke the founder and program director of Interaction Metrics in Portland, Oregon says it has to be treated with caution, though. For a start it’s easy to cheat the system. Whenever a measure influences peoples’ pay they will always find a way to fudge it.

Even if the NPS is seen as an effective measure of customer satisfaction it doesn’t tell you how to fix issues. But there are tools for that. David Stevenson, General Manager for Motive Customer Experience Solutions at Alcatel Lucent, says many problems now relate to devices – tracking events at the network level can help identify issues and can be added to a knowledge base of worldwide symptoms that might be caused by a particular app on a particular device, for example.

That’s all well and good but there are some significant issues that telcos have been slow to resolve – like bill shock. Industry analyst Paul Budde says it’s an example of how the industry doesn’t want to change, otherwise it would have fixed the problem long ago.

Which raises the question – faced with a short term revenue hit or a hit to the NPS, which would most telcos choose? Do they really have their heart set on customer experience or does NPS simply provider a metric to show that things are moving in the right directly, even if it’s at snail’s pace.

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