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Category: Net Promoter

2010… Predicting a Year of Many Wins

Welcome to 2010… it’s early days: the optimism is tangible, and the predictions are many.

I’ve seen 2010 declared to be the year of mobile (again!), the year of social responsibility, the year of social media, the year of work/life balance, the year of accuracy, the year of reduced business travel, the year of innovation, the year books die, the year of mass personalization (from B2B to me2u), the year of the executive dashboard, the year of the turnaround (fingers crossed!), the year of … you get the idea. 2010 is shaping up to be exhausting!

The reality is that for many businesses, 2010 is going to have to be the year of many small successes – budgets are tight, and every action is being scrutinized to ensure promised returns are realized.  As SAMS, we can support our clients in building a year of many wins by making 2010 the year of being accountable.  I’m making a renewed commitment to hold myself accountable for helping my clients achieve the goals we establish together for this year and for keeping us moving forward along our 2010 roadmap, marking each step along the way and not letting us ‘go off-roading’ without a solid reason.  I’m making a further commitment to hold my clients equally accountable for these same things. 

What are your thoughts on 2010?  What do you predict this will be the ‘year of’?

Jennifer Batley
VP, Strategic Accounts

Patrick Gibbons

From education to business impact

At our recent Fall Forum for Walker clients, my friend and colleague Jennifer Batley presented a terrific model that provides a logical explanation of how educating your account teams leads to business impact.

She shared a graphic which I have scribbled here. The progression goes like this:

Education of account teams…

…leads to buy-in for your voice of the customer program, which helps…

…get better inputs from account managers for gathering customer insights, which leads to…

more robust results fostering a stronger belief in the information, which produces…

more action and use of customer information, which increases…

…results, or business impact.

Why is this so important? Because too often, customer advocates and strategists provide lots of great customer feedback, insights, and information that never gets used. Everyone, particularly account managers, is overloaded with information. They are not looking for more. So if you are responsible for putting customer feedback to use, you need to not only provide the information, you have to constantly educate as to how to put the information to use in a way that helps them and helps the company.

Education can be one of your most powerful tools to engage your enterprise. When your most customer-facing employees believe in the information, or actually rely on customer insights you will see more action and better results — guaranteed!

Chris Woolard

Employee Net Promoter

Well, we knew it would happen.  Marketing guru Fred Reicheld is now applying the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to employee surveys now.  This was bound to happen because Fred is a great marketer and this was the next logical step in the evolution of NPS.  So now we have the Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS). 

The concept is similar to the customer NPS.  You use the likelihood to recommend question, have a scale from 0-11 and subtract the Promoters (answering 9 or 10 on the scale) from the Detractors (answering 6-0 on the scale). 

The beauty of this approach is in its simplicity.  Everyone likes to have their one number they can track over time and this number is easy to understand and easy to track over time. 

One of the problems is we have found almost 40% of employees who are not engaged or loyal to a company will still recommend the company as a good place to work.  So only looking at recommend is not necessarily an accurate measure of employee’s perceptions of their workplace. 

In actuality, using the ENPS is probably a fine thing to track in and of itself.  It is important that the right questions are being asked the right way and the information is being used in such a way that it is having an impact on the organization.  You can’t ask just one question and expect to get useable data that can help create change in an organization.  To me, the question is not necessarily what is the one number, but what questions are asked and how is the information used.  

If you want to read more info on NPS and ENPS, below are a sites that have more info:

-Vovici blog on ENPS

-Walker blog on NPS

-Walker article on NPS

An overall review and critique of net scores, Part 1

I had the opportunity recently to discuss the issue of net metrics with a client; given the popularity of the topic of net scores (thanks in large part to the Net Promoter metric), I thought it would be beneficial to share our thoughts on the topic in this blog. In this first installment, I’ll talk about some of the methodological issues you should consider when thinking about net scores.

Net scores are composite scores that are defined by taking the difference between two scores; this can be from two different questions (for example, the Top 2 score of Quality minus the Top 2 score of Value) or from within a single question (for example, the Top 2 score minus the Bottom 2 score).

Net scores are touted to be effective due to their ease of understanding; assuming this is true, we give up a couple of key statistical elements that we believe most clients would find troubling from a target setting and/or actionability perspective:

  • The margin of error around net scores balloons as a result of the need to account for variance in both portions of the metric. The result can be a metric with a margin of error so wide as to be meaningless. For example, if our net score is 70 with a margin of error of +/- 20, this means our actual results fall within a range of 50 to 90. The only way to counteract this is to dramatically increase the sample size. Increases in sample can, of course, have cost implications, particularly depending on the method of data collection employed.  This limitation is particularly critical, given the desire to set performance targets – a wide margin of error can prove to be not only difficult, but also de-motivating.  
  • Net scores are just that – net. As a result, when we see movement, we cannot discern what portion of the score is moving. Consider the following scenario
-Two groups, Entity A and Entity B, each move their net score from 40 in period one to 60 in period two. From a net score perspective, they are doing equally great.
-If we decompose the net score into its component parts, we see a much different picture:


Wave 1

Wave 2


Top 2

Bottom 2


Top 2

Bottom 2


Entity A







Entity B







Given these scores, do we really think both groups are making the same progress? In this example, Entity A is making progress in reducing the number of Bottom 2 scores, while Entity B is growing the Top 2 Box scores. The point is, we need to understand how each element is moving relative to the other to truly assess who is improving and who is declining.

  • The nature of a net score is, by design, an aggregate level indicator. It has no utility in helping us to profile individual client relationships (unless we combine, as NPS does, individual score points into categories like Promoter and Detractor). 
  • Finally – and perhaps most problematic from an actionability perspective – the utility of net scores (when using a single metric) is limited to the aggregate level. Unless we arrive at categorical definitions (again, like the NPS approach), the data by itself can have constrained value.

The whole premise of using net scores is that they are easier to understand – there is a school of thought that says that any metric that requires some level of calculation is, by definition, more difficult to understand. The scenario cited above reinforces this relative to net scores; the same could be said of indices as well. As with most metrics, you’ll need to consider your culture and the organization’s ability to assimilate and utilize any metric – after all, measurement for the sake of measurement is neither strategic nor a wise use of the firm’s time and resources. Creating a bias for action is the key.

In my next entry, I’ll review some common ways our clients use metrics and how these drive action. In the meantime, I’d be interested in your thoughts – what metrics do you use in your organization? Do they resonate with your co-workers? Do they prompt action?

Mark Ratekin
Sr. Vice President, Resource Management and Consulting Services

I Am A Community Activist

No, I don’t carry a sign on a stick (well, not often); but I do get involved and support causes I believe in.

While we all belong to many communities, we benefit most from the ones we actively participate in – typically those made up of individuals who share our interests, experiences and challenges.  Our communities of choice change over time, but the values at the core of our involvement are constant. 

I believe in collaboration, transparency, and shared learning.  So it’s no surprise that on a personal level I am involved with two parent-led cooperative preschools and with Friends of Lansdowne Park, a community group championing smart development for a significant Ottawa park space.

Now I’m extending my activism to the workplace by joining some new communities.  In addition to LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter

  • I’m leading a Yammer group that gives Walker employees a quick and easy way to share and search for best practices and great ideas generated by co-workers.

  • I’m participating in Customer Connection, a Walker-led community open to professionals dedicated to improving the customer experience.

  • I’m discussing strategies for developing relationships and growing accounts on Walker’s SAM Source, a qualified community for professionals dedicated to strategic account management.

I’ve already benefited from consulting with others in these communities: I am using shared learnings to develop a new solution for a client program and to help another relieve some internal ‘admin’ pain.

Get Active!  Join me on SAM Source and/or Customer Connection, or comment here about how you are using professional community activism to your advantage.

(And for more on making the most of your community time online, read Esteban Kolsky’s blog post: You, The Community Manager.)

Jennifer Batley
VP, Strategic Accounts