British shoppers think loyalty cards are past "Best Before" date
What drives loyalty among shoppers? This week a Net Promoter survey across 1,200 British shoppers was released – with some eye-opening results.
While you may think cost-effectiveness was a sure way to driving loyalty, the brand with the most loyal customers was premium supermarket chain Waitrose. [Check out our previous Waitrose coverage]
Based on that, it might be reasonable to assume that customer service and quality were the main drivers of loyalty. Well, sort of. In fact, the biggest driver of loyalty was “Good price for good quality,” followed by “Customer service; product quality.” But that doesn’t mean cheap prices aren’t important – discount supermarket Aldi was second on the ladder, not far behind Waitrose.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the survey surrounded loyalty cards. Despite the name, they don’t seem to be effective. Loyalty card pioneer The Co-operative Group, has the least loyal customers, and Tesco, which operates the mammoth-sized Clubcard scheme, has the third least. By contrast, Waitrose has only recently launched a loyalty card initiative.
These were the key findings, but also intriguing for us Net Promoter junkies are a few observations on the supermarket chains’ Net Promoter scores against their overall business performance. Not only did Waitrose and Aldi record the best and second best scores respectively, they have been among the two fastest-growing grocery retail chains in recent years. The Co-op, which scored -14, sacked hundreds of head office employees just last week. And Tesco, which scored -8, recently gave its first profit warning in 20 years.
Of course, Net Promoter Scores and business performance are not always in sync. But we believe there is more than a little truth in an independent 2005 study by the London School of Economics which was quoted in the article. The study found that Net Promoter “may be useful not only in predicting sales growth but, also predicting share performance and employee productivity”.
If that’s the case, I think I just felt Tesco shudder. Those scores in full:
|Store||Net Promoter Score|
|Marks & Spencer||-10|
|Source: Grocer/Satmetrix Mar 2012||The Grocer|
Big Data Analytics and the role of Net Promoter
The rise of big data has been the subject of much discussion over the last few years, as businesses try to capture, analyze, and capitalize from it.
Bernard Marr, author of a book on the topic called “The Intelligent Company” suggested in a post this week that while traditional KPIs will remain vital tools to chart business strategy, they will increasingly be supported by analysis of “big data” – such as unstructured conversations across social media networks or search engine keywords.
He suggests that increasingly, companies may utilize tested metrics such as Net Promoter to assess advocacy and loyalty among a group of customers, but supplement this with big data analysis, such as social media analysis of the conversations around the product or brand on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
We have long been firm advocates of a customer-centric approach to business, and therefore what we like about this approach is that it sensibly places your relationship with your customers at the centre of your strategy. Despite the changes brought about by big data, sometimes the fastest route to nurturing delighted customers is by asking them one simple question: "How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?" Smart Data Collective [Editors note: Bernard Marr has "75 measures every manager needs to know" but Adam Dorrell of CustomerGauge bests him by two in "77 Essential Metrics"]
Does a social media presence affect your Net Promoter Score?
The past few years have seen an enormous amount of noise (and some informative discussion) around the rise of social media, but what happens when a marketing-leading brand puts little or no effort into creating a corporate social media presence?
Conventional wisdom might tell you that the brand in question is missing out on an enormous opportunity. However, a post this week argues that beyond the hype, social media is just one medium through which customers interact with a brand. And if customers are consistently being delighted by that brand every time they interact with it, they will in turn advocate it to people around them – their friends, families, and social media communities.
According to the post author, automotive general manager Peter Anthony, the key takeaway is that corporate social media initiatives are not always necessary to achieving a high Net Promoter Score. (Note: While he cites Costco as an example to support his argument, we did find a Costco page on Facebook with nearly half a million fans, so we aren’t sure that the brand does not have a clear social media strategy.)
At any rate, we agree with the point, but we’d like to add a significant caveat. There may be a select few large, highly-advocated brands with enough positive momentum to rely on positive word-of-mouth buzz across social media channels to help generate advocacy. However, if you do not have a corporate presence on social media, that is one less channel you have to delight your customers and nurture new advocates.
In short, although for many brands there are risks associated with being on social media, the argument of whether to be in the space or not has already largely passed most of us by. The question for most companies now isn’t whether a social media affects your Net Promoter Score. Instead, it’s this: How can I nurture new advocates across my social media platforms? Peter Anthony’s blog
Accuray enters the loyalty zone
It’s another week, another NPS-based award for customer satisfaction as radiation oncology company Accuray Incorporated became the first company to receive Omega's NorthFace ScoreBoard Award(SM) for excellence in customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score.
This award system works on the Net Promoter Score’s basic principles. To be eligible, customers are surveyed a minimum of four times in the preceding year. However, rather than simply relying on the tried and tested NPS scale of zero to 10, Omega spins a little magic with the metric and converts it to a 5 point scale. Companies must achieve a score of 4.0 or above from their customers to receive the NFSB Award.
While we are not a fan of the mechanism or reasons for converting NPS to another scale, the basic principles of the award methodology seem sound, and we particularly like the fact that customers are surveyed four times in the preceding year. According to Omega, companies that average over 4.0 in their scale are in the so-called “Loyalty Zone,” and this ensures that they are “locking in profitable, long-term customer relationships.” But hey hey Accuray, what's wrong with just sticking to the 0 - 10 scale? The Sacramento Bee
Doxim’s self-promotion fails the advocacy test
Last week we took a look at an announcement by virtual data room company V-Rooms that it had achieved an “A+” Net Promoter Score. While we weren’t sure exactly what that was, we were very enthusiastic about the tangible, clear steps the company is taking to further improve on its customer service.
This week, cloud-based enterprise content management firm Doxim has announced its “record Net Promoter Score” of 63 – an admirable figure, but a puffy piece of self-promotion that still leaves us feeling like we’ve just watched a nil-all draw.
Where V-Rooms focuses on the future and getting even better, Doxim discusses the past and how they compared to now. While V-Rooms drew a clear line of differentiation between their competitors, which are cutting down on customer service costs, Doxim compares its scores to global companies such as Sony, Google, Amazon and Apple – none of which are direct competitors and for which comparison is mildly interesting at best.
To wrap it up: Kudos on your score, Doxim. But what’s next? PR Web
Finance and NPS - A round up of recent company filings that mention Net Promoter.
Aviva PLC 2011 - reporting in London, Andrew Moss, Group Chief Executive Aviva said: "Last year more of our customers were willing to recommend us than ever before. We improved our customer satisfaction measure, Net Promoter Score(TM), last year and now more than half of our businesses operate in the upper quartile relative to local competition". And in the UK: “Customer satisfaction levels and employee engagement have increased, with customer complaints down 20% in 2011. We've been changing the way we look after our customers by simplifying our processes and making them more customer-friendly. In our existing annuity business this has delivered a 26 point improvement in our Transactional Net Promoter Score(TM), achieved significant cost savings and helped reduce call volumes by around 20%.” Marketwatch
By the way, found on the web, really nice Net Promoter story from Andrew Moss, at Henley Business School June 2011. "...And when we look at our customer metrics, it’s an amazing thing but, here in the UK, our best net promoter score, which is how we measure customer satisfaction, is in our Death Claims Unit in York. So, how we deal with people in that very difficult situation, it’s amazing how people appreciate it if you really do deal with them like a human being" Aviva
Telecom Italia Adopt NPS (from Q4 2011 Earnings) “Move to our goals for the Mobile business... progressively shift customer care to self caring and adopt net promoter scoring across our organization to gauge customer preferences....” Seeking Alpha
Metro PCS (Q4 2011 Earnings call). Interesting as it’s in an answer to an analyst – shows that the COO understands NPS: Thomas C. Keys: "That's a great question, Michael. The first thing is you're asking me to give up a little bit of the secret sauce, so I'll be happy to do that. [...] That works on the viral nature of how we advertise, at how we move a product, keeps our CPGA lower. It keeps our net promoter score higher.... ” SeekingAlpha
Bank Montreal Q1 2012 "This business continues to perform well with volumes higher across most products, and we continue to innovate in the execution of our strategy, achieving higher net promoter scores and increasing share of wallet" SeekingAlpha
Overstock Q4 2011. Report Net Promoter of 52 (see graph) "Customer, net promoter score has, slide 20, has still remained sort of astronomically high compared to retail in general. I just saw another scoring service came out and it put us right at the very top, we scored an 83, well, on another scoring service." Seeking Alpha. and Slides
H&R Block (Q3 2012) "Additionally, our retention and Net Promoter Scores are up 150 and 400 basis points, respectively, demonstrating sustained improvement in 2 of our most important metrics." Seeking Alpha, and Slides