If a customer index would serve as a navigation system (can it be anything else?) then NPS leads us to the smileys. What we want are promoters (customers who like us), what we rather not want to have are critics. These we call ‘detractors’, because they get us down. Just to be sure: we still talk about customers, people or companies who do business with us. But we strictly separate good and bad (ignoring the silent mass).
But how to put that into our navigation system? ‘Avoid critics’ could be the command for the ride. But where is that target? Does it have an address? ‘Take me to the smileys’ would be the alternative. That target sounds nice, but in the same poetic way like you told your car ‘take me to the horizon’.
In fact, most companies that use NPS, say, they want to go to the land where more people smile at them than at their competitors. This is probably something that NPS delivers. But is this a customer index? It sounds more like a competitor index. ‘We want to have less nagging customers than our competitors’ is a statement that probably no one would argue against. Targeting the management comfort zone always sounds attractive.
But probably the whole navigation idea is crap at this point. A customer index like NPS does not serve to achieve anything that you can measure in terms of business. It is not meant for this. But what is it meant for? Whatever you get if you use NPS is that you go with the crowds. That has always been a good survival strategy. But then you go where the crowds take you. And this is why you better live without a navigation system, because it would only raise doubts. And doubts are anti-comfort. So let’s better forget the whole idea.