What's Missing When It Comes to Net Promoter

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) — or more globally, advocacy indexing — is now familiar to most credit unions as a useful tool for understanding the member experience, assessing member loyalty, and predicting likely growth. Research suggests, however, that only 15% of organizations employing the tool would claim they are doing so effectively.

What's missing? And how can you make measuring the member experience work for your CU?

Philosophy. To start, NPS cannot be thought of as research. Instead, it must be thought of as a change-management program — an initiative to continually improve the member experience. The study should not be about "How did we do" but rather, "What can we do to improve?"

NPS is about positive change, so the score itself is less important than the direction it moves over time. Think of the results as not on a scoreboard, but rather a gauge. This isn't nice to read pat-your-back research. This is a guidebook for future success. The focus then must be action.

Drivers. If we're going to act, we need more than a number. Comments are essential, with driver analysis the next step. What do members comment about? What leads to being a promoter? To a detractor? And what will get passives off the fence? What leads to loyalty (offense) or diminishing satisfaction (defense)?

Voice of the (Most Valued) Member. NPS programs are best when targeted. How do your most valued members respond? How do new members respond? Segment by member relationship, by product/department used, by access channel. Understand distinctions between recent transacting and longer-term members. Understand the comparative distinctions between how members rate your credit union and how they rate their other financial providers.

Absolute AND comparative scores matter.

When used correctly and in tandem, NPS and other advocacy indexes (e.g., net satisfaction and net word of mouth) can powerfully drive your organization. First, however, they must be driven by the philosophy of an improving member experience, and include comments, driver analysis, and considered segmentation.

Mike Anstead is VP with Member Research. He can be reached at 949-833-6901 or manstead@memberresearch.com.