Is Online Reputation the New NPS?

If you’ve been tracking your Net Promoter Score (NPS) and still don’t have a grasp on customer sentiment about your brand, the answer may lie in online reviews.

NPS has been top of mind for marketers since Fred Reichheld and a team at Bain & Company determined the one question that seemed to predict company growth: What is the likelihood that you would recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?

High scores on this question were highly correlated with repurchases and referrals — customer activities that lead to increased revenue.

Researchers followed up with evidence of the system’s validity: In 11 of the 14 industry case studies, no other question was as powerful in predicting consumer behavior. In fact, companies using NPS grew at about twice the rate of competitors.

And there are benefits to using NPS, such as simplicity (surveys are only a few questions), ease of use (they can be administered by phone, email, text or mail) and adaptability (it’s open-source and works in various business scenarios). Many large companies have successfully adopted the practice, including Apple, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Philips.

But with the growing prevalence and importance of online reviews and social media, NPS may no longer be enough to determine your future success. A high NPS measures the quality of a company’s relationships with current customers — but what about profitable organic growth?

What NPS Can’t Tell You

Critics of NPS say it may not be specific enough to help you truly understand customer sentiment and loyalty. Additionally, without a plan for acting on results, the survey can’t help you improve your business.

A low NPS score may alert you to a problem, but without the details, it’s difficult to take action. You’ll still have to dig deeper to determine the root cause of the customer’s dissatisfaction.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) platforms, by contrast, provide at-a-glance access to all online reviews from all of the key sites on a single dashboard. With the review in-hand, you can take immediate, targeted action — if you uncover a review that criticizes your service quality, you can reach out to the customer directly to address the issue.

Digging Deeper with Analytics

Some ORM platforms such as offer competitive benchmarking tools that provide a more comprehensive view of how you’re perceived by your customers and the public at large.

By capturing and analyzing unstructured, free-text data contained in online reviews, you can begin to understand how your customers perceive you at a much more granular level. And, you can identify and address service issues quickly, before they lead to customers writing negative reviews.

For example, word clouds provide a dramatic visual of words most frequently found in social posts and online reviews about a company. Here the word “service” is large, because it has been mentioned many times.

Clicking on the word, you can open up the source text to read and understand how customers have used the word “service.” Are they praising your high service quality, or criticizing you for bad service? Are these comments about one location or several?

Knowing this information can help you zero in on problem areas, teams, or even individuals and implement training programs or operational changes. Or, you can reward employees for providing exceptional service and standardize on what’s working across your locations.

A 360-Degree View of Customer Sentiment

Although NPS is still a powerful measurement of the probability of customers to refer someone to you or continue to use your services themselves, it doesn’t provide a full picture of how they feel about your brand.

Online Reputation Management helps create a 360-degree view of customer sentiment, and empowers you to take action to strengthen your brand perception based on candid feedback from all available sources.

Learn more about how you can use advanced analysis and reporting tools to improve customer experience.