Whether your company is a start-up or a well-oiled machine, there’s one figure almost all brands reference to prove their success — the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

While it’s a strong indicator of consumer loyalty, NPS was never meant to be an end-all-be-all measurement. Rather, it was designed to be just one part of an omnisource approach in weighing customer happiness.

Because many brands rely too heavily on NPS, they are missing out on key points of the customer journey. As a consequence, executives and customer service teams aren’t able to identify what their customers want and need the most, which has long-term impact on the bottom line.

Not only do many companies put all their eggs into the NPS basket, they have also tainted what this score is supposed to analyze.

NPS is based on simple questions. Will customers recommend your brand to others? Will they promote the company?

But over the years, executives have transformed this into a frankenstein survey that prioritizes the outcome instead of the overall experience. Companies need to reevaluate how they use NPS, or they won’t be able to keep up with consumers’ ever-evolving expectations.

Ready to get started? Here are three tips for using NPS the right way.

Don’t Bastardize NPS

Brands aren’t sticking to what NPS was created to do. NPS has and should always assess the overall brand instead of individual parts of the company and customer journey. Thanks to fragmentation of questions in surveys, brands are asking customers for feedback on specific store locations, sales representatives and products, when NPS was created to measure the overall brand experience.

For example, let’s say a customer — we’ll call her Rachel — dines at a chain’s restaurant on 42nd Street in New York City. When she’s finished eating, a customer service representative emails her a survey that asks, “Would you recommend the restaurant on 42nd Street to a friend?”

While this question gives the individual restaurant insight into its performance, the chain’s NPS is no longer asking the larger question: that is would Rachel tell her friend the overall brand is great. As a result, the company is completely unaware of Rachel’s loyalty to the restaurant chain. What’s more, combining this feedback with information from other chains to determine overall brand sentiment results in an inaccurate understanding of how customers feel about your company.

In other words, if you’re changing the way your brand operates based on data from specific stores, you will implement new strategies and protocols that might have a negative effect on your overall brand.

What works for one restaurant doesn’t mean it will work for the whole company. You need to align your brand’s initiatives with data that shows if a customer will return to any store no matter where they are in the world, so don’t stray away from what NPS was created to do — it’s not worth the risk.

Remember to Ask Why

Always remember to ask why a consumer would or wouldn’t recommend your brand. You can’t let this important information go to waste. The whole point of gathering customer feedback is to improve the customer experience, so you need to ask “why” to make the data actionable. If you don’t you’ll be playing the guessing game when it comes time to make evaluations.

In a survey from American Express, two-thirds of Americans revealed they’re willing to spend 14 percent more on average with a company that delivers excellent service. So even though customers might not always take the time to answer, it’s important to collect as much information as possible. Knowing the reason why a consumer will or will not recommend your brand will help you address issues within the company, which, in return, will improve your customer experience and overall profit.

NPS is a Data Point, Not the Full Story

In today’s digital age, brands will no longer survive on NPS alone. Consumers are now talking and interacting with companies on multiple channels.

That’s why your brand must take an omni-source approach to customer experience and mine data from all sources — including social media, surveys, call centers and beyond. You will not meet consumers’ growing demands with snapshots of the customer journey, which is what happens when you only gather customer feedback from NPS. You need the full picture.

NPS does not capture organic feedback and results are often influenced by when the survey was sent. That’s why it’s important to weigh NPS results with insights from various channels that collect driven and candid feedback at different stages of the customer journey.

Ultimately, when measured and analyzed correctly, NPS shows how a brand is growing and evolving overtime.

That’s valuable insight, especially if you take a deep dive and figure out what went right and what went wrong.

And remember, a low NPS score doesn’t instantly mean your company is doomed. Don’t try to explain away bad results, but instead learn from them and strive to improve your NPS score moving forward.

Invest in building a top-tier omnisource customer experience program that creates lifelong brand ambassadors and loyalists — your NPS score will go up and so will your profit. Now that’s priceless.

Title image "to err is human" (CC BY 2.0) by pj vanf