Improving NPS does not always equal improving CX

Improving NPS does not (always) equal Improving CX

We recently ran a customer experience (CX) focused AdWords campaign and it amazed us how many people were searching for something like “tactics to improve Net Promoter Score” or “how to increase NPS in a restaurant?”. The questions suggest there might be an issue with the mindset of the people conducting the searches because improving NPS is not the same thing as improving CX.

This is indicative of how CX has fallen over itself. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is simply a metric that gives an indication of what customers think about your business, but it is very easy to manipulate. Your frontline staff might be manipulating it by being selective about who is asked to complete a CX survey and who is not. I heard Ian Golding tell a story about a bank recently, where the bank was only collecting NPS data from customers who had been approved for loans. That is a great example of how a CX programme itself may be manipulating the result (they had an NPS of 81). 

Yes, you have to measure CX in some way to understand if you are improving customer journey or making it worse, but setting out to increase NPS for the sake of increasing NPS is a deeply flawed strategy.

Essentially, CX is about people. The people receiving the service or product and the people that are delivering the service or that built the product. I was going to write an in-depth post about that, but I figured more eminent CX professionals have already said it better. Below you will find some of my favourite quotes from CX luminaries that really spell it out loud and clear… customer experience is about people.

Ian Golding 

Certified CX Professional, Speaker, Blogger, Resource & Training Provider for the CCXP Accreditation 

“To become a stronger customer focused leader, it is necessary to acknowledge that you do NOT know everything. It is necessary to surround yourselves with others who may have the answers you do not. It is necessary to listen – and listen regularly – to your people and your customers. ”

Read more from Ian


Shep Hyken

Customer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker, NYT Bestselling Author

“Operating based on personal assumptions – or my personal likes and dislikes – can be dangerous. What makes me happy or upset may not be in sync with how my customers feel. And when my assumptions don’t align with my customers’, it’s a potential customer experience disaster.”

Read more from Shep


Natalie Calvert

CX Leader & Coach, Board Advisor, Conference Speaker, Author, 200K+ Customer service & sales people, 100+ organisations

“Customers don’t always communicate in an efficient way.  An effective customer-facing professional is able to break this communication barrier to learn exactly what the customer wants. They do this by adapting their questioning, changing their tone or repositioning their questions. It’s a nuanced art which in my opinion, is also uniquely human.”Read more from Natalie


Colin Shaw

CX Thought Leader, Recognized by LinkedIn as World’s Top Business Influencer, CEO at Beyond Philosophy CX Consultancy, Author, Podcast Host

“Many organizations don’t respond to complaints quickly enough, and when they don’t, the complaints escalate… A customer complains but then suffers several more reminders of their negative experience in a process that requires three meetings to resolve. Each time the customer is reminded of the problem, the customer feels that intense rush of anger that occurs at the start. It’s a bit like a death by a thousand cuts. And what’s worse is that the company isn’t winning either with all those resources gathered around discussing the problem.”

Read more from Colin

Also read: “Closing the Feedback Loop should be a Goal of Great CEM!” 


James Dodkins 

Customer Experience Rockstar, Author, Keynote Speaker

“We need to move away from process standardization and towards experience personalization. The only way we can do that is by starting to move away from segmenting customers by circumstance and towards categorizing customers by need.”

Read more from James


Jeannie Walters

CX Expert, TEDx Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Podcaster, 15+ yrs Customer Experience Strategy, CEO at 360Connext

“Leaders get so far away from customers in so many organizations. Leaders can regularly assign tasks like calling support, visiting a storefront, or ordering online- to themselves and others. First-hand customer stories help others internalize what needs to change. More importantly, it helps them decide what to do about it.”

Read more from Jeannie


Adam Toporek

Customer Service Expert, Author, Speaker, Transforms Teams via High-energy Customer Service Training & Keynotes, Podcast Host

“Your brand is only as strong as your weakest customer experience. Your customer experience is only as strong as your weakest link…The first step is identifying the weak links on your team. The next step is either providing the coaching or customer service training needed to help them provide customer-focused experiences or removing the weak link from the chain.”

Read more from Adam


Blake Morgan

CX Futurist, Speaker, Author, Forbes & Harvard Business Review Columnist, Podcast Host 

“Companies today need to be cognizant of the structures put in place that make employees glazed over and do something that counters that glaze. That’s why culture matters. It plays such a vital role in the reputation, growth, and success of a company that entire C-level positions are dedicated to shaping it. With their chief responsibilities to build culture and customer loyalty, chief culture officers and chief customer officers can fight apathy by building a sustainable culture where everyone feels valued. Culture translates to customer experience, which translates to growth and increased revenue.”

Read more from Blake


Shaun Belding

Customer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker, Training & Consulting, Author

“The thing is, customer service is not about us and how we feel.  It is about how we make our customers feel.  Yes, we all have bad days.  But our customers don’t deserve to feel our pain.”

Read more from Shaun


Annette Franz

CX Consultant, Speaker, Author, Member of CXPA Board, Mentor, #CXChat Host, CEO at CXjourney Inc.

“While creating and maximizing shareholder value is important to any public company, it is an outcome, not a means. There are means to achieving that outcome, and they include putting employees and customers first, ahead of profits. Companies succeed if and when employees want to work for them, customers must be willing to buy – and actually buy – their products, vendors and suppliers want to partner with them, people want them to locate in – and be a part of – their communities, and shareholders buy their stocks.”

Read more from Annete


Jeanne Bliss

CX practitioner & pioneer, C-Suite advisor on CX and business growth, Keynote Speaker, Author, Co-founder of CXPA 

“Create a “Kill a Stupid Rule” movement, encouraging employees to identify rules that erode customer trust and diminish employee’s ability to deliver value.”

Read more from Jeanne


Chip Bell

Customer Loyalty Expert, Keynote Speaker, Business Consultant, Author, Advocate of Innovative Service, Contributor at Retail Customer Experience

“Getting new customers costs 5-10 times as much as keeping the ones you have. It means never taking the real race—customer loyalty—for granted. Don’t rest on your laurels and fall asleep alongside the marketplace road and let the race be won by competitors who treat existing customers with the same care and attention promised to new customers.”

Read more from Chip


Todd M. Noftall

General Manager at Hilton Garden Inn, Passionate about the Hotel Industry and providing Great Customer Service

“Technology is not the magic cure for all of your service issues. While it is convenient for your guests to be able to request additional towels or a later check-out through an SMS message with the Front Desk, basic customer service traits like empathy, caring and understanding cannot be shared in a text message. It is and will always be the extra effort and commitment to providing your guests with a memorable stay that will make the difference.”Read more from Todd


Simon Sinek

Author, Optimist and Founder at Start With Why

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”

Read more from Simon

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Improving NPS does not (always) equal Improving CX

by Oisin Ryan time to read: 5 min