Every company needs an inspiring mission statement and a simple one, a commitment to how it will make the world a better place; for it customers, investors and cute puppies.

It should be a simple and snappy one like LEGO’s famous;

“To Inspire and Develop the Builders of Tomorrow.”

Coincidentally the same one as my cute puppies mission statement.

But how can you tell you’re achieving what your mission statements says?

If my postman greets me with a cheery whistle and not a lack of abject terror is my puppy biting him hard enough or often enough?

This kind of feedback is the reason companies like Apple use Net Promoter Score® measurement to check their mission statement is being met, and their customers are happy.

But how does this work? We all know Apple is the number one choice of annoying hipsters working on their screenplays in Starbucks or updating their blogs about how fantastic their stupid beards are.

Do they just employ people to go into Starbucks and count how many of them there are?

Of course, not they use;

“Net Promoter Score®.”

And I recommend you do so too.  Why?  Net Promoter Score® enable you to compare your company performance, your employees performance against your benchmarks and those of your competitors as well.

To go back to the puppy analogy this is rather like finding out from my postman, that my puppy waddles up to him to get his ears scratched, and tummy tickled. While the big mean looking dog over the road chews the bottom right out of his trousers.  Or Apple being able to see just how much happier it’s 10 makes it’s hipster, acolytes compared to Windows.

NPS® was an invention of Bain incorporated in 2006, and when you first read it, it sounds like a very complicated amalgamation of questions, theories, and ideas. But like most great ideas it’s actually unbelievably simple.

If somebody would recommend your product to your friend, they probably like you and are willing to buy your product.

So if I see my postman showing a new postman around my street and he points over the road at their, big psycho dog with drool and too many teeth and says;

“If you want to get bitten go over there.”

Then even if he doesn’t mention my cute puppy, I know he’s recommending the neighbours dog like the one to bite over mine. Word of mouth is perhaps the greatest motivator towards purchasing services, as anyone who has been set up on a dodgy date by a colleague will tell you.  With their sister with the lazy eye and preference for Justin Beiber will attest. NPS® just takes those rational doubts and fits them into a system of questions that can work for multinational companies.

Fred Reichheld who pretty much invented NPS wrote the Bible on it, “The Ultimate Question.”

You might want to read it yourself, though if you have a big dog in your garden. Maybe order it via Kindle as it’s more likely to get delivered.

But NPS® does more than just tell you how you’re doing, it can even tell you where you’re going.

Yup NPS® can predict the future.

You break your customers into three distinctive groups, dissatisfied, satisfied passives and promoters.

Satisfied passive will be blandly happy with your performance and won’t say much more than that.

Dissatisfied may still use your product but will actively run you down to others.

A lot like certain people marriages, unfortunately, you can’t divorce unhappy clients.

And satisfied who will actively promote you to other people. Kind of like your mother (well not my mother but you get the general idea)

Now to get your NPS® score all you do is ignore the satisfied passive, and then you take all the dissatisfied from the satisfied.

If you get 50, you’re doing pretty well.

If you’re Apple, you’re getting 72 and like your customers you’re insufferably smug about it.

But how does this move from knowing you’re doing well to realising you’re about to reveal you’re going to start doing, really, really well.

Relationwise crunched the numbers and turned the seemingly obvious into verifiable useful data.

No tarot card or crystal balls needed!

Every one of your customers whose a promoter will recommend you to their four people then probably one of them will become a customer.  If you get 40 recommendations, then you’re likely to get ten customers. Now if you’ve got a steady list of recommendations you’ve got a steady list of customers.

Conversely, if you get a low NPS® score, then you’re going to start losing customers.

Apple has a high NPS®; their CEO has a yacht the size of an aircraft carrier the math kind of works itself out from there.

Conversely, Microsoft has an NPS of 49 and Macafee has one of 20 which are low. But that just goes to show if you’re old rich and established then you can be a little bit of a grumpy old coot. 70% of the world’s computers run on Windows, maybe if NASA finds intelligence life on other planets that need operating systems they’ll have to be more charming.  And maybe Macafee won’t need to turn your PC off for the sheer heck of it.

But if like Apple you want to make lots of money, get lots of new clients then you need to start paying attention to NPS®.

I’ve just given  a very basic introduction to NPS; there’s quite an art to getting your clients to tell you exactly why they’re detractors or promoters. If they’re annoyed with you, they probably don’t want to tell you and if they’re happy they may just want to say that.  Whereas you want them to tell you why they’re happy, how others can be just as happy you and how you can spread the love.

Now for the moment I need to have a chat with my postman about if he’s satisfied with the dog services I’ve been providing him with?


This story was written by Joel Soetendorp from England.