Blog Posts Enterprise Architecture (EA)

Gross Demoter Score

Blog: Tom Graves / Tetradian

Marketing departments of so many organisations these days seem obsessed about their Net Promoter Score – the percentage of customers who’ll promote their products to others. “Free advertising!” is how some have described it to me – hence very enticing to them, no doubt.

Which is why we see so many of those darn ‘Customer Satisfaction’ surveys…

Take a personal example. I’d just taken a flight with British Airways, and the next day up popped their survey-request. “It’ll only take a few minutes”, they said. As it happened, I actually wanted to send in a reply, because I’d wanted to thank one of the cabin-crew, who’d had gone far ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ and had given me a lot of useful advice about traffic-issues between the airport and my end-destination.

But the survey went on, and on, and on, all of it increasingly personal, and no way to skip forward to the only part I wanted to do. The wretched thing took well over thirty minutes, and the only place I could finally thank the steward was in the ‘Any other comments’ section right at the end – and by that point I was pretty much like this guy:

Not A Good Idea…

Yes, no doubt Net Promoter Score sounds great – to a marketer. Flatters the ego and all that. (And lots and lots of juicy personal-data to go with it, too – a marketer’s dream!)

But to anyone who has to deal with the resultant mess – such as the folks who have to fend off those angry phone-calls to Customer Service – maybe not so great?

What really matters is not Net Promoter Score, but Gross Demoter Score – the percentage of customers (or, all too often, ex-customers…) who’ll demote our services and products. Loudly. Openly. Actively. To anyone who’ll hear them at all…

Look on Twitter; look on Facebook; look on blogs; look on newspaper-articles, even. Yes, you’ll occasionally see the odd bit of praise here and there. (Some of them are from outright shills, of course.) But you’re much more likely to see the ‘angries’, often with a #fail hashtag – every one of which in effect increases that organisation’s Gross Demoter Score.

(You’ll notice that I’ve done just that above, of course, about British Airways’ abysmal ‘Customer Satisfaction Survey’ that merely created deep dissatisfaction after what had actually been very satisfactory service…)

It’s not just individual organisations: certain industries seem to go out of their way to maximise the Gross Demoter Score across their entire industry. Telcos, for example, or internet-service-providers, or most US-based airlines, or seemingly most utilities. Not so much a service, in those cases, as more like systematic disservice – creating a kurtosis-risk that I sometimes describe as ‘Pass The Grenade‘. Oops…

So marketers, please, drop those darn surveys? Net Promoter Score is nice, but what you really need to worry about is your Gross Demoter Score. Because if you’re not paying attention, and a Demoter rant goes viral on you – which they sometimes do – the costs, in every sense, can be enormous. Even to the extent of killing the company, seemingly ‘without warning’ – yet the signs were right there, all of the time, in your unnoticed yet all-important Gross Demoter Score.

You Have Been Warned, perhaps?

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