3 Reasons Net Promoter Score (NPS) Is Completely Insufficient

September 22, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Since its inception by Bain and Company in 2003, Net Promoter Score (NPS) has been the go-to customer satisfaction metric.
  • NPS allows businesses to quickly gauge what the overall customer experience is, but is unable to determine why the scores are what they are.
  • Tattle is pushing customer feedback to new heights, swallowing up the NPS model into a sea of more granular, actionable data points.

What is Net Promoter Score?

NPS is a simple metric that measures the perception of a customer to a specific business, product, or service. The score ranges from -100 to +100 and is determined by the results of a single-question survey.

The question is as follows:

“How likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X/Product Y/Service Z] to a friend or colleague?

It’s a question everyone has seen or heard — and perhaps even responded to. Based on the responses — a scale of 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely) — these scores are split into three categories.

  1. Promoters: Considered highly-engaged or enthusiastic customers who respond with a rating of 9 or 10.
  2. Passives: Considered neutral in their perception of the company and its product or service, responding with scores of 7 or 8.
  3. Detractors: This is considered to be anyone who responds with a 6 or below. These individuals are unhappy with the business and can ultimately discourage others from becoming customers.

In order to calculate NPS, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

For example, if Detractors made up 10% of the survey results and Promoters made up 70%, the NPS would be 60%.

The Shortcomings of NPS

While NPS has shown its strength as a simplistic metric in the last two decades, the cracks are beginning to be seen in our age of information and technology. In fact, it seems that with every new data-centric customer satisfaction or loyalty tool that comes about, the use cases for NPS continue to diminish.

Here are three problems that shadow the traditional NPS system.

1. A Vague Metric

When calculating a singular metric that encompasses the customer experience of tens, hundreds, or thousands of people, we completely mask the nuances in how people rate their satisfaction. So much so that the results can often be misleading.

A single metric can’t paint the picture when someone is satisfied with certain aspects of the experience, but not others. For example, if a customer thinks the drive-thru experience was worthy of a low score, but the food was worthy of a high score, they’re left with no choice but to be stuck in the middle and considered a Detractor.

When, in reality, that label would simply not be true.

Another example would consist of customers who encounter extremely poor customer service at a restaurant, but feel almost compelled to eat there because of the incredibly affordable pricing. These individuals may be Detractors on paper, but they may eat at that establishment every week!

The customer experience has always been multidimensional and the data should reflect that.

2. Not Actionable

When a metric is vague, it carries with it a lack of actionability.

“Huh, we have a 43% NPS. I wonder what we’re doing wrong?” a manager at a restaurant might say. “Could it be our food presentation? Or, maybe it’s our servers? Do we need more training? But, what if the Detractors come mostly from pickup or delivery? Is the wait time too long? Or, you know what, maybe it’s just too chilly in this restaurant?”

As you might imagine, this could go on ad infinitum.

Where do you start? What must be changed first? How can you know anything without consistent, granular data points?

That’s why it’s so important to generate granular, detailed feedback from a single customer. If done correctly, the operational categories that were overlooked or ambiguous might be exposed. Unfortunately, NPS fails to uncover the underlying causes of issues, and only gives you a generic overall rating that your teams can’t act on.

3. Passives Left Behind

How often do we personally encounter businesses, products, or services that we really love and enjoy, but wish just one small thing could be different?

Quite often, those are the Passives.

When we exclude the entire group of Passives from the final NPS calculation, we eliminate an entire group of people who may have extremely relevant and helpful feedback for the success of the customer experience. How many more Promoters could be generated if those scores of 7 and 8 are turned into a 9 or 10?

Passives are the individuals who are closest to being raving fans. They must be heard loud and clear.

This harkens back to the last point on the inability to take action based on NPS, showing exactly why it’s so important.

The Industry-Preferred NPS Alternative

While the birth of NPS two decades ago brought us out of the customer experience stone age and into the 21st century, it cannot hold a candle to the modern world’s growing expectation of granularity and specificity.

That’s where Tattle is changing the game.

1. Innovative Survey Design

NPS is like a thermometer. A doctor can use it to achieve a high-level gauge of your overall temperature, but nothing more.

But Tattle is like a doctor, who has access to far more than a mere thermometer and can use the many tools at his disposal to determine what’s wrong and how to remedy it.

So, how does Tattle do it?

Its proprietary, causation-based survey design collects a whopping 55+ data points per survey submission, breaking down traditionally ambiguous operational categories into contributing factors (such as whether a bad “Food Quality” score is due to temperature, texture, presentation, or more).

Despite the granularity, Tattle surveys on average achieve a 94% completion rate and 10% survey participation rate due to its intuitive, user-friendly design — far above any industry average metric.

Ultimately, Tattle measures the performance of over 50 operational categories, organizing it all into an interactive dashboard and generating location-level improvement recommendations using AI.

These AI-powered suggestions do a great deal of the heavy-lifting for your team – in monitoring the objectives of over 10,000 locations, recommendations made by Tattle have an 84% certainty in improving guest satisfaction.

On the front-end, Tattle provides a survey that is both intuitive and well-incentivized for the guest.

Before the customer begins to fill out the survey, they will first be alerted to a reward for completion – whether that be a free side item, discount, or anything else their location might like to provide.

This incentive does two things:

  1. It drives extremely high completion rates. People are willing to spend 5-10 minutes filling out a detailed questionnaire if they know they’ll gain access to something like a free dessert. This plays a large part in how Tattle generates a 94% average survey completion rate across all its restaurant brands.
  2. It disarms the Detractor. Oftentimes, people who have poor customer experiences are ready to eviscerate the business in every regard. Having an incentive causes those individuals to step back and say “Ok, so maybe this restaurant really does care about me.” They’ll be far more objective about their experience and considerate to the questions, as opposed to furiously scoring everything as low as possible.

When taking the survey, it presents a single question at a time in a clear and concise way. Despite the length of the survey, it never once feels overwhelming, especially with the incentive being at the forefront of one’s mind.

By this survey formula, Tattle has been able to obtain over 1.1 billion data points in the last three years.

2. Granular, Actionable Data

With 50+ data points on virtually every measurable operational category, the guesswork is eliminated almost entirely.

Gone are the days when district managers or general managers have to ask the following questions:

“Why is X location performing better than Y location?”

“How are the wait times for delivery? Sit-down? Pickup?”

“Which servers are performing well? Which are not?”

“How can we improve right now?”

Apart from answering specific questions or spurring-on location-wide CX initiatives, Tattle can take action automatically. For example, when a low Customer Experience Rating (CER) is detected in survey responses, Tattle jumps into guest recovery mode. This effort involves sending anything from an apology email to a freebie offer, all of which is completely customizable in the dashboard.

Because of the numerous integrations Tattle has with top POS, ordering, kiosk, and loyalty providers (e.g. Olo, Punchh, Toast, etc.), data aggregation and automation is far easier to come by.

Check out Tattle’s full list of integrations here.

Actionable Feedback Within 30 Days

The old way of NPS is dying out – just ask brands like Hooters, MOD Pizza, Pieology, and Dave’s Hot Chicken. They’ve migrated to the next generation of restaurant technology in Tattle, choosing data-informed decisions and concrete direction over a vague and impractical metric.

“Tattle has become our center of gravity,” said Alicia Alfi, Senior Manager of Strategy & Analytics at MOD Pizza. “Overnight, we went from 10% of off premise revenue to roughly 80% across our 500 locations. Without Tattle, tracking performance, improvement, and positioning the guest experience as a cultural cornerstone of our business would be nearly impossible.”

Tom Colichhio, Founder of ‘Wichcraft, provided a rave review of the CXI platform, saying, “Through Tattle’s direct impact, we have mobilized our staff to succeed in improving our customer experience in ways previously unimaginable.”

Melt Shop put it even more succinctly: “Tattle is part of our operation’s DNA at this point.”

Over 10,000 restaurants have conformed themselves to the Tattle CXI. Team members enjoy tracking their performance in the dashboard. District managers know the highest probability objectives to boost CSAT and ROI. Operations can monitor the customer experience in real-time.

Everybody wins with Tattle.

Interested in learning more about how Tattle skyrockets customer feedback volume, generates actionable metrics, and automatically recovers 70% of all lost customers? Click here to request a demo with our team today.

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