Friday, April 28, 2006
Lousy Customer Satisfaction-It’s a Global Phenomenon!
Digging around a bit after my earlier post on the Net Promoter Score methodology (“Customer Satisfaction Rates are Like So Last Week”) I found some more information on the application of the NPS and consumer attitudes toward company efforts at customer satisfaction and was amazed to discover just how poorly companies around the world – not just in the U.S.A. — are satisfying the needs of their customers. I was intrigued enough to track down NPS ratings of companies from other parts of the world. Apparently the average Net Promoter Score for US companies varies between +11% and +16%. The UK was the next highest at +3%, followed by Australia at –5%. Some research by Profusion International of 5,000 Western European consumers weighing in on the matter provided ratings over a much wider range and more tied to an industry: -6% NPS for the automotive industry and a whopping –48% for telecomm. At first glance, one could look at those numbers and say ‘wow most companies are doing a better job at meeting the needs of customers in the US than anywhere else’ — until you remember that with the Net Promoter Score any number below 50% means you have a lot of improvement to make!
On an individual basis, some of the big name companies you’d expect to have phenomenally avid word-of-mouth promoters based on traditional customer satisfaction ratings systems and good press (such as Southwest Airlines) were only slightly above average on the NPS scale: 51% for Southwest, according to a table of high performers on the Netpromoter.com web site. Even famously evangelized Apple Computer only scored 66%!
From my B2B standpoint it's equally distressing that only two of the 19 “top performers” listed could be considered pure B2B companies and neither one had an NPS greater than 66%. What does all of this mean? Are B2B companies not as good at creating brand advocates? Are they less concerned about cultivating strong corporate brands than B2C companies? While I've hardly put together a comprehensive world summary, if nothing else all of this does give the sense that there is ample room for improvement the world over. I’d love to hear if anyone has Net Promoter Score data for some other countries or continents not mentioned here.
Chief Marketer Interviews Fred Reichheld
Walter Carl. "Measuring WOM: Advocacy Drives Growth in UK Companies" Word-of-Mouth Communication Study Blog
NPS Top Performers
CEO Forum Australia
The European Centre for Customer Strategies