NPS Blog

Webinar Q&A: How does an NPS questionnaire compare to other surveys?

Fred and Rob discussed the upcoming book in a July 20 webinar. In this and subsequent posts, they answer additional audience questions from the webinar question-and-answer session.

Q: How does an NPS questionnaire compare to ACSI, Gallup, etc.?

It is important to distinguish between “top-down” or “competitive” Net Promoter surveys and “bottom-up” Net Promoter feedback systems. Top-down Net Promoter score research is executed as market research using a “double-blind” protocol in which the company conducting the research is not known by the respondent and the respondents retain anonymity. In top-down processes, the company’s own customers are surveyed along with customers of the competitors to develop a true, unbiased view of the relevant market.

Top-down Net Promoter surveys may often be shorter than their equivalents from major research organizations. But they are often similar in structure, purpose and even sometimes in length. The primary distinction is that many research companies insist that the top-down or market-level data they collect is owned by and analyzed only by them. They calculate their proprietary scores, and any additional “data cuts” or segmentation must be done by the firm. In the typical Net Promoter system, top-down Net Promoter survey data is the property of the company for whom it was collected, enabling the company to cut and analyze the data in any way it pleases. Because the Net Promoter calculations are not proprietary, there is really no limitation to a company’s use of the data.

Bottom-up Net Promoter systems are designed to gather feedback from your own customers, either triggered by a transaction or as an overall relationship or product feedback tool. These surveys are typically much shorter than the equivalent from market research companies. They are also conducted as an operational process. There is no anonymity either direction – the customer knows the feedback is being provided to the company, and the company knows which customers responded in which way so that it can take action on the feedback directly with the customer.

Bottom-up Net Promoter surveys are unusually short because they are designed to put the minimum possible burden on the customer and to encourage a healthy dialogue between the customer and the company. Structuring a customer’s responses tightly or barraging them with a long series of detailed questions will not result in high quality feedback. And it almost certainly will result in frustration that can erode a customer’s trust in the company.

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