Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Metrics

If you think that NPS is the only way to go, be prepared to stop and take another look. This blog is based on an article by Suresh Lulla. I think the main message out of this blog is that we still haven't decided what is the best way to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The first method is a single measure like NPS but his measure is CPV which stands for Customer-perceived value. The basis of this measure is the belief that perceived value is the basis of customer loyalty, retention and re-purchase. The measure is a cost-benefit analysis of a product and/or service. One of the challenges of CPV is that it is usually implicit and abstract. It is often used to compare alternatives. Customers don't usually put the CPV down on paper with numbers. However, the brain seems to be able to integrate values so that each purchase can be reviewed relative to all the other purchases made over a period of time. That is why customers can compare the value of a pair of shoes with a new shirt or blouse; or they can compare the value of a toaster to a mixer. The advantage of CPV is it is a great metric for benchmarking. Since customers value can change over time as result of purchases CPV becomes a dynamic measure and must be continuously revised. this puts a great deal of stress on the company to keep the measure current.

NPS is a single metric that many use to measure loyalty and predict future performance. NPS is based on the question "how likely is it that you would recommend this product/service to a friend or colleague?" Customers respond on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 indicates no chance for a referral and 10 means the customer will make a recommendation. The scale is interpreted as follows: scores of 9 or 10 indicate a promoter, scores of 7 or 8 are neutral and scores from 0 to 6 are considered detractors. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors. Most companies seem to fall into the range of 5% to 10% and market leaders such as Southwest Airlines and Federal Express will have an NPS score near 50%.

Another measure is Share of wallet (SOW). This metric forms the basis for penetration marketing and measures the percentage of the customer's purchase against their total product/service budget. Share of Wallet is being recognized as a more effective predictor of long-term performance than of market share.

The Gallup group uses four measures of customer engagement to analyze the satisfaction and loyalty of a company. Their four measures are:
1. Confidence - this is a measure of how the company is perceived in delivering on its promises.
2. Integrity - this measure detects the faith in the organization's commitment to quality, customers and ethics.
3. Pride - measures the ownership of the brand. This measure the personal association with the product/service.
4. Passion - It is a measure of the belief that the product/service is the perfect solution to their requirements.
Gallup's research suggests that customers who score high on all four metrics tend to contribute about 23% more to profitability than the average customer.

As you can easily see there are a number of metrics in the market that are all being promoted as the metric which will improve your company's performance. It is not clear that any one of the measures outperforms the others. These measures remind me of the simple management principle that "people do what gets measured." Once management starts looking at a metric, the metric tends to improve.

The bottom line is that measures are good but there is also the problem that the measure itself may become more important than the performance it is measuring. I call it the measurement trap and will discuss it in the next blog.

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