Why Online Reputation is the Next NPS

March 7, 2016

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) used to be the Big Dog of marketing metrics.

It’s still necessary.

But it’s no longer enough in the Digital Age.

Here’s why – with a few ideas on what’s to come:

We’re all connected.

Social media has become the great equalizer, turning us all into publishers and promoters. Everyone – from public figures to companies to government agencies – rightly worries about virality, the ability of something negative, embarrassing, or damning to spread well beyond the original audience of stakeholders. The NPS was created for a non-connected world. It has real utility, but doesn’t cover the real reach of social media sentiment.

There are no secret sins.

Pre-Internet, when something was bad – a product that missed the mark, a conference speaker who tanked, epically rude customer service – containment was possible. The sphere of influence was limited to the people who bought the product, the conference audience, the customer who endured a scathing interaction. Unless the issue was dramatic and newsworthy, the crisis was contained, it passed, and eventually became a distant memory, a cautionary tale. On the flip side, when something was truly excellent, it still just reached a fairly finite audience.

Now there are no secret sins where your products, service quality and delivery are concerned. One angry person, one great story plus one perfectly composed tweet can tank a brand – at least for a good long while.

You need a way forward.

Refining your brand in today’s world is truly about co-creation. It’s reciprocal, a shared journey between company and consumer. You are no longer in complete control – customers can redefine who you are for you, with or without your influence. Spending is necessary but not sufficient – no dollar amount can stem the tide of unadulterated customer sentiment. But smart, strategic, swift action can. For that action to take place, however, a more well-rounded view that encompasses more Digital Age elements is needed.

The NPS was perfect in a simpler, more contained, less connected world. But we don’t live there any longer. We haven’t for some time. So what’s the alternative?

A nuanced, data-driven look at customer sentiment.

A systematic online reputation score is the wide-angle view that’s required of businesses now. The digital heir to the NPS, the reputation score should cover social media, online reviews, surveys (and indeed, incorporate the NPS as a useful data point), analysis, and benchmarking and scoring. Think about using it to monitor and learn from your customers’ immediate, in-the-moment reactions; run reliable sentiment analysis that can shape your service delivery and operations; see how you stack up against local and regional competitors; see your score improve over time as you implement needed changes; and survey your customers for additional feedback you’ll find useful. All of which enables you to make operational changes and run your business better.

Taken as a whole, you can use this data to drive real, meaningful operational change – and keep your brand promise to your customers.

Learn more here.

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