9 Is Not Fine with NPS Scores
Maybe you got one of these printed notes from a cashier at Walmart, like I did:
You can win a $1000 Gift Card and we can
improve your shopping experience! Please
follow the instructions on your receipt.
“9” is NOT fine…
We’re focused on an excellent experience.
Please give us a “10” when we’ve earned it.
My Name is GRETA
Please mention my performance in your survey!
Or maybe you didn’t—maybe Greta is a rogue employee trying to gin up her scores. Either way, I find these types of surveys to be troubling.
First, they are not being used to improve the customer experience in any thoughtful, strategic way. They are being used to measure employee performance and reward or penalize employees with bonuses. The survey is about them, designed to help them. It is not about you, or your opinions, or what you need, or how you could be served better. YOU are merely a tool for their data collection.
Second, the data are not valid, reliable, nor representative. Surely Greta is smart enough not to give this note to her cranky customers. Surveys should never be designed, pitched, or promoted by the people who stand to gain or lose the most. And respondents should never be “coached” on how best to answer. That’s why third-party, objective research teams are so critical.
Third, surveys like this fetishize data and measurement. Not every interaction and touchpoint needs to be evaluated. Doing so poisons the well for future research. Customers become inured to ceaseless requests, and begin to ignore meaningful surveys that could really help. It is not true that you are better off with more data, and it is not true that big samples are better than small samples.
This survey is an example of research gone bad, and unfortunately our current technologies with CRM integrations and snazzy dashboards make it all too easy.
We can do better by refusing to design, execute, and partake in such surveys. Do this instead: Design surveys that focus outward, not inward. Develop protocols that ensure objectivity and representation. Use thoughtful approaches to measurement and sampling. Do the kind of research that would help both Greta and Walmart actually improve what they do.