NPS Blog

A radically simple approach to radical simplicity

When the Net Promoter Score debuted in 2003, perhaps its most distinctive feature was its radical simplicity. The score is based on a single, intuitive question. Its clarity appealed to CEOs, general managers and other business leaders. It wiped away the unnecessary complexity and cut through the confusing opacity of proprietary, multi-question customer satisfaction or loyalty indices.

Net Promoter System podcastOf course, the Net Promoter approach has always required asking the follow-up question: “Why?” Giving customers an opportunity to describe, in their own words, what they love and hate about a product, an experience or a company strips away the preconceptions of managers and researchers. With no friction or complexity, it engages a customer in sharing his or her own thoughts and feelings about the company.

A decade later, we still see many companies add a lot more questions to their Net Promoter feedback tools. When managers see a chance to communicate with their customers, they just can’t seem to help themselves. We call it “question bloat”—the tendency to add just one more question to any feedback opportunity until the questionnaire puts so much burden on customers that they rebel by either abandoning the process midstream or by not responding to a future request. In the long run, the executives’ lack of restraint is punished with low response rates.

Simplicity is surprisingly difficult to achieve and maintain. Complexity can kill any company. There are thousands of ways to introduce complexity into your customer feedback processes, and dozens of forces pushing the organization toward burdening customers to provide more and more feedback.

Chad KeckThat’s why my next guest on the Net Promoter System podcast is trying to help companies keep it simple. With his app, Chad Keck offers firms a quick, easy and elegant way to collect customer feedback with minimal burden on the customer and maximum information for the company. With his radically simple approach to Net Promoter feedback, he helps companies turn it into operational improvements with no friction. Chad became a fan of the Net Promoter System while he was working at Rackspace, a longtime Net Promoter company.’s self-serve platform helps users query different customer segments, create campaigns and quickly spot score trends. However, the app does not allow users to change the central question from which the Net Promoter score is derived—“How likely are you to recommend my company to a friend or colleague?”—or add other questions. In essence, this forced simplicity keeps data-hungry entrepreneurs from becoming their own worst enemy. The company made the news recently for completing a successful round of financing. It’s one to watch. (Full disclosure: Fred Reichheld, Bain Fellow and my collaborator on all things loyalty, recently became an investor in Chad’s company.)

You can listen to my discussion with Chad on iTunes, through the player below or on our podcast pageClick here to browse more Net Promoter System podcasts.

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