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In New York, Chairing the Advanced Track for the 2010 Net Promoter Conference.

Posted by Bill Lee on February 2, 2010 at 05:39 PM

Yesterday and today I was in New York at the Grand Central Hyatt, chairing the Advanced Track at the Net Promoter Score (NPS) conference "Customer Experience 2010". Some 400 attendees participated from a variety of B2B and B2C firms.

For those of you unfailiar with NPS, it's an increasingly widespread process used by companies for increasing the number of customers who would be highly likely to recommend them. Such customers are called "promoters," appropriately enough. In other words, NPS is a process for increasing their customer references.  

Here's what struck me about NPS today: 

Net Promoter Score is an effective approach to creating more promoters or customer references.

That's because it focuses on getting at root causes, using sophisticated analytical tools, for why customers aren't inclined to promote a vendor. And it stresses real corporate change to improve customer experience to the point where they ARE likely to start doing so.

Remarkably, most firms look at NPS as a tool to get customers to BUY.  They don't  give much thought to getting such customers to REFERENCE.

That is, firms using NPS--who spend so much effort creating promoters--don't organize any sort of effort to leverage the overtly expressed desire of promoters to . . . promote! To get them commenting on social networks. Or  taking sales calls. Or interviewing with the media or analysts. Or speaking at industry events. Or taping testimonial videos. etc. etc.

And as readers of this blog know, the referral value of customers can be substantial--often, it's more valuable than their value as purchasers. 

That tendency to overlook and not levearage referral behavior is understandable--it takes a lot of work to build up your NPS. But as companies create more promoters they are creating an exceptionally valuable asset. If they continue to focus on only their tendency to buy--and not on their expressed desire to reference and promote--they'll be leaving a big chunk of the value of those assets on the table. 

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