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Which Metric?

Anyone running a business nowadays must be confused by the number of marketing metrics that are promoted as the Holy Grail. To some the Net Promoter Score is the ultimate question. But what about good old customer satisfaction scores; are they redundant? In 2010 The Harvard Business Review published an article promoting a question that asked about the amount of effort required to do business with a company – the Customer Effort Score was born.  And then there is the Net Value Score – what is that all about? Click on our machine to learn more.


Customer Sat

Customer Satisfaction Score


Typical question:  on a scale from 1 to 10 how satisfied are you with company X?


What this tells us: it goes without saying that a good company delivers a good customer experience. By asking people their overall satisfaction with a company and also asking how satisfied they are with different parts of their offer, we can determine strengths and weaknesses of the company. This is useful for tracking over time and benchmarking against competitors.


Typical result: most responses to this question are in the range from 7 to 9 out of 10. This is the relatively narrow “corridor satisfaction”. A company with scores hovering around 7 out of10 is not performing well. It should be borne in mind that it is increasingly difficult to improve scores beyond 8 out of10. However, great companies can achieve overall satisfaction scores of close to 9 out of 10. This should be every company’s aim.


Taking action: a low satisfaction score on something which is important is clearly something that requires addressing.



Net Promoter Score (NPS)


Typical question: on a scale from 1 to 10 how likely would you be to recommend company X to a colleague?


What this tells us: we take the proportion of people who give a score of 9 or 10 out of 10 (these we call the promoters) and subtract those who give a score of 6 or below (these we called detractors). The result is the net number of promoters – i.e. the Net Promoter Score.


Typical result: the average Net Promoter Score for b2b companies is 24%. There is much variability around this figure with high performing companies achieving scores of over 50% and low performing companies achieving negative Net Promoter Scores because they have more detractors than promoters.


Taking action: by correlating the satisfaction scores for individual parts of the offer with the “likelihood to recommend score” we can determine what is driving loyalty and the NPS. Plotting the drivers of loyalty against the overall loyalty score will indicate if there is anything in the north-west quadrant that needs attention because it is important and has achieved a low loyalty score.


Cust Effort

Customer Effort Score


Typical question: on a scale from 1 to 10 how much effort is required to do business with company X?


What this tells us: the Customer Effort Score is especially relevant for certain products and services. If we are buying a new airliner for our fleet, we expect a good deal of effort will be required in the purchasing process. However, for many business transactions that are at a lower level, we expect our suppliers to be easy to deal with. Some are not and the amount of effort that we have to put in can be a serious detraction from doing business.  This is the purpose of the Customer Effort Score.


Typical result: being easy to do business is highly valued by buyers and specifiers of business to business products and services. A company that is easy to do business will attract loyal customers. Some companies require a huge amount of effort to do business. It is hard to find the right product; ordering the product is tortuous; they take ages to deliver and so on.  Companies in a monopoly position often act in this way.


Taking action: there is likely to be a weakness in the customer engagement process if the customer effort score is significantly below that of competitors. This could be the result of an accounts department that has forgotten about the importance of keeping customers happy, or an IT department that finds customers a nuisance, or even a flaw in the customer service department which needs rectification.

cust effort


Net Value Score


Typical question: how would you rate company X on its products or services compared to other similar suppliers? (And similarly how would you rate it on its prices?)


What this tells us: We live in a competitive world and so it is not enough to know how we are performing in absolute terms, we also need to know how we are performing in relative terms.  Answers to these questions enable us to plot a company on the value equivalence line. This paradigm tells us whether a company is offering more or less value for money than others in the marketplace.  It is a good indicator of future growth and potential actions.


Typical result: a company that has its prices neatly balanced against the perceived benefits of its offer will sit on the value equivalence line. A company which is considered to have high prices relative to its benefits will be to the left of the line and a company considered to have a price with significant more benefits than the competition will sit to the right of the line.


Taking action: if a company is to the left of the value equivalence line it must either reduce its prices or increase the benefits it offers for otherwise it will lose market share. In contrast, a company that is positioned to the right hand side of the value equivalence line has the choice of continuing to gain market share or it can raise its prices and improve its margins.





Metrics are a vital tool for helping us run our businesses. However, metrics deliver different intelligence and should be chosen to meet different objectives. There is no reason why they couldn’t all be asked in the same survey.  To stay more focused use the table below to decide which metric is most applicable. 


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