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Net Promoter News: Who Surveys the Surveyors?

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? For those who missed out on a formal education, memorise and learn this latin quote, which can be translated as "Who Watches the Watchmen?" (that includes you, CIA). I choose to modify this expression to mean "Who Surveys The Surveyors?", and I move for a standardised reporting of the Net Promoter Score®.

In the last 3 months I've reported around 100 company Net Promoter Scores. I'm delighted that companies are choosing to reveal the scores, especially in Earnings Calls. But unlike GAAP audited accounting figures I am never sure if the figures are meaningful or can be trusted. I am certain that intentions are good, but also certain that some companies are reporting on small sample sizes or with non-standard questions.I call on you, the nascent Net Promoter Industry, to agree on a standard for reporting, so we can benchmark companies further. My suggestions are:
  • Minimum sample size: Let's say n=100 as good place to start. If you can't get to 100, please list the "n" used.
  • Sampling: You have a minimum response from survey: 20% is a good start. If you claim an "relationship" NPS for the company, that means you should have something like  20% of your customers responding. For "transactional" NPS on touchpoints, same applies.
  • Standardised Likert scale: Fred's book says 0 - 10. Nothing else please.
  • Standard Question: Question must include be "Would you recommend..."
  • No-gaming: Take sensible steps to ensure that survey-fraud has not taken place
  • Auditing: Self-certification should be enough, but you should be ready for peer review of results to ensure an outside perspective.
  • Designation: So the industry knows when a result meets above criteria, I suggest a small designation. My first idea was  NPS100 (meaning n=100) but I think too restrictive. My new suggestion: NPS-a - meaning "Net Promoter Score - Audited"
The more discipline on reporting the better for all concerned. If Net Promoter Score is to become a gold-standard for investing, let's make sure we can all do a better job to enable comparison.I welcome your comments.

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