Recently I was asked to think about how a company’s community strategy could impact net promotor score (NPS). To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about NPS before and I’ve needed to get up to speed on it. If you’re new to NPS, here’s a basic definition and a few decent links for beginners:
Definition: Ask you customers this simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Based on their responses, customers can be categorized into one of three groups: Promoters (9-10 rating), Passives (7-8 rating), and Detractors (0-6 rating).
The great thing about NPS from a strategy perspective is that it’s a key strategic measure (KSM or KPI) that can be used to guide decisions. And like all KSMs it’s not so much about what the number is, but what it means to the business and how it’s trending.
The same can be said about a KSM for a community. I believe the single most important metric for determining community performance/health is “engagement.” I measure that simply as # of actions (posts, documents, wall posts, discussions, likes, etc.) by users who are not community managers. The reason why engagement trumps all others is that 90%+ of the population in a community get value from watching (lurking). In other words, without engagement there’s nothing in it for nearly all the people.
But not all engagement is the same. If the community is engaging, but pointless from the perspective of the business sponsor you get engagement without ROI.
So, back to NPS… One option would be to measure the sentiment of the community and tie that to NPS. There are many tools now for measuring sentiment, but I find all that pretty squishy. Instead, I would suggest that you must find ways to steer the community to engage in ways that directly impact NPS.
Apple is a NPS god to some people. Wouldn’t it make sense if Apple did what it could (there are ways) to direct the converstation around the one thing that has the biggest positive impact on NPS? Maybe you have (or are planning) a product innovation community (people voting up down new product concepts) then you should steer the attention of the community towards ideas you think will have the greatest impact on NPS. When talking about socialCRM there are many ways to influence the community to engage in discussions related to NPS measurements. Each company is different, but if you think hard enough about it you will find that there are things you can do within your communities to impact NPS.
So, in summary… For some companies NPS is an important strategic initiative and their a community strategist must find the link between NPS and engagement.