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Each month, I highlight one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for service and support. I define the KPI, provide recent benchmarking data for the metric, and discuss key correlations and cause-and-effect relationships for the metric. The purpose of the column is to familiarize you with the KPIs that really matter to your organization and to provide you with actionable insight on how to leverage these KPIs to improve your performance! This month, I focus on Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter Score Benchmarks.

Net promoter score (NPS) is based on the idea that every organization’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. By asking one question—How likely is it that you would recommend our service to a friend or colleague?—you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your support organization’s performance from the customer’s perspective. Customers respond on a 0-to-10-point rating scale, categorized as follows:

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will refer others to your support organization.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who may choose another source of support if given the chance.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your reputation through negative word-of-mouth.

To calculate your support group’s NPS, simply take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors. Your Net Promoter score can be as low as −100% (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100% (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is thought to be good, and an NPS of +50% or greater is excellent.

Net Promoter Score

IT support groups that track NPS will typically follow the initial question with an open-ended request for elaboration, soliciting the reasons for a customer’s rating of their IT support. These reasons can then be provided to front-line employees and management teams for follow-up action and improvement initiatives.

Net Promoter Score Benchmarks

NPS is a relatively new metric and is currently tracked by approximately 25% of all service desks and desktop support groups. However, the majority of organizations tracking NPS are providing support to external businesses or consumers, where NPS is viewed as a leading indicator of customer loyalty and follow-on business. This would include hardware and software vendors who use NPS to gauge customer loyalty, as well as managed service providers who want to know if you are likely to recommend their services to others.

MetricNet’s benchmarking data for customer satisfaction and net promoter score is shown in the figure below for 74 IT support organizations that track both metrics.

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Jeffrey Rumburg

Jeff Rumburg is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, where he is responsible for global strategy, product development, and financial operations for the company. As a leading expert in benchmarking and re-engineering, Mr. Rumburg authored a best selling book on benchmarking, and has been retained as a benchmarking expert by such well known companies as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, IBM, and Sony. Mr. Rumburg was honored in 2014 by receiving the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the IT Service and Support industry. Prior to co-founding MetricNet, Mr. Rumburg was president and founder of The Verity Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in IT benchmarking. While at Verity, Mr. Rumburg launched a number of syndicated benchmarking services that provided low cost benchmarks to more than 1,000 corporations worldwide. Mr. Rumburg has also held a number of executive positions at META Group, and Gartner. As a vice president at Gartner, Mr. Rumburg led a project team that reengineered Gartner’s global benchmarking product suite. And as vice president at META Group, Mr. Rumburg’s career was focused on business and product development for IT benchmarking. Mr. Rumburg’s education includes an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. magna cum laude in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. He is author of A Hands-On Guide to Competitive Benchmarking: The Path to Continuous Quality and Productivity Improvement, and has taught graduate-level engineering and business courses.

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