Net Promoter™ is the internationally recognized tool that measures the dimensions of loyalty. By asking the simple question, “How likely are you to recommend my company (product, service or brand)?” customer loyalty can be effectively measured and tracked. But loyalty is not a simple concept. Loyalty has many dimensions that involve both the rational (the head) and the emotional (the heart).

The rational dimension of loyalty uses the head in a very logical evaluation of the product or service. Did it have the features I wanted? Did I get the best service? Was it the best price? If all this results in positive answers, then you were probably satisfied with the product or service. It met your expectations and maybe even exceeded them. You were satisfied, but were you loyal?

Satisfaction has a lot to do with initial expectations. I like to use the example of the new owner of a Kia 4 door sedan and the proud new owner of the BMW 335i sedan. After six months a headlight fails and forces both owners back to the dealership for servicing. The Kia owner may be happy that nothing else has gone wrong with this low-cost, entry-level car. However, the BMW is furious that his $60,000 pride and joy is in the shop for something as simple as a headlight. The Kia owner is still very satisfied with the purchase, mainly because expectations were low to begin with. The BMW owner was expecting perfection and is less than pleased that the headlight failed. The Kia owner has a higher level of satisfaction than the BMW owner, based on initial expectations. Who is likely to be more loyal, the owner whose low expectations were exceeded, or the owner whose high expectations were unmet?

The emotional dimension of loyalty engages the heart. Loyalty will be earned when a personal relationship develops between the product or service and the customer. The heart asks the questions: Do they know me? Do they value me as a client? Do they listen to me? Do they share my values? Only when the emotional combines with the rational does true loyalty happen.

Think about the last time you recommended a product or service. How did you feel when asked to make a recommendation? How did you feel when your recommendation was followed? Did you feel good when everything worked out? When you are loyal and recommend a product, you’re really sticking your neck out so you better totally engaged before you do it.

I am a long time Toyota owner and promoter (I’ve owned eleven Toyotas over the years) and I never hesitate to recommend the brand. It feels great when someone follows my recommendation and they become a happy Toyota owner. Needless to say, there are a lot of Toyotas in my neighbors’ driveways. I am very emotionally engaged with the brand.

Promoters, by definition, are emotionally engaged with the product or service they recommend. Passives, however, are not emotionally engaged. Their rational, logical mind may tell them that they are somewhat satisfied, but their heart has not yet created an emotional bond. Passives may not recommend nor stay with the brand. Detractors, on the other hand, may use rationality and emotion for NOT recommending (did not meet my expectations and I do not feel good about recommending).

If you are a quantitative researcher who lives for the numbers, you might be uncomfortable with the simplicity of Net Promoter Score and the short questionnaire used to collect the data. If you are the accountant- type manager who needs massive amounts of data to make business decisions, you may question the wisdom of using a single number to enable organizational change. However, if you are the researcher or manager who understands the complex interactions of the head and heart, you will see Net Promoter Score® as an effective tool to create a customer-centric focus within the organization.

The head and heart work in mysterious ways.

 

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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