RESEARCH: It's Not Enough To Know Your NPS Score: Act On It

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Net Promoter Score (NPS,) as typically implemented through the "likely to recommend" zero to 10 question, remains a buzz in credit union marketing, primarily because it is simple to implement and easy to understand. It is also highly actionable...if one goes beyond the numbers.

The score merely tells the credit union where it stands today, but does not help it learn or progress. To make NPS research more productive, a step in the right direction is to view the score as a gauge to be moved up as the institution trends results over time.

What really makes NPS research actionable, however, are the comments from survey subjects because these show the drivers of promotion (strengths, brand distinction, opportunities) and detraction (weaknesses, challenges, problems). NPS should not be thought of as a research routine, but as a change management initiative. Comments provided by members express their points of pain, which can then be changed, and their points of "wow," which can then be leveraged.

Another key to making NPS research actionable is segmentation (e.g., by age, access channel, product usage, length of membership). This provides insights into what is working or not working for which members, so the institution can improve. Customized questions may also be added to NPS questionnaires to provide specific insights to meet the organization's research objectives. The steps that make member NPS research actionable of course also apply to employee NPS research as implemented through the "likely to recommend as a place to work" zero to 10 question.

Although NPS is perhaps the most noteworthy, actionable research tool in decades, it is not a panacea. Knowing one's score is important, but acting on the intelligence behind the score is what leads to organic growth from within.

Neil Goldman is Senior Partner of Member Research. He can be reached at 310-643-5910 or by email at

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