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I've Never Heard of Your Company

It happens. Someone working at one of your customers states, "I've never heard of your company." How could that be?

We regularly perform Net Promoter Score® surveys and in almost every survey, there is at least one Detractor response (someone who rates the company a 6 or below) that includes the reason, "I've never heard of [company name]", or, "who is [company]?" Sometimes it is a handful, and sometime even more than that.

Invariably, the question that gets posed to us is, "Can these responses be pulled from the overall data so it doesn't impact our overall score?"

Do you think they should be left in or taken out?

Before I get to the answer and the recommendation, let’s first try to understand why the situation happens.

Who are you surveying? We recommend surveying all active contacts for all customers billed in the last six months. Surveying prospects can skew the results because they really have never worked with the company. Also, if it has been more than six months since a contact has had any interaction, they are less likely to respond to the survey at all. Then the question becomes, who are the active contacts?

When using a CRM system effectively, when a contact leaves they should be marked as Inactive. Emails will likely bounce anyway… eventually. That means that while the email address is still active, it will just be another ding to the overall response rate of the survey. If the overall dataset includes prospects or inactive customers, then it is better to separate those out.

It is possible then that an active contact may have never worked with your company directly, or they may be new to the relationship. If this person takes the time to respond to the survey, should his or her response be counted?


1. It is a valid response

The Net Promoter Score survey is based upon THE one question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?” How could a person that doesn’t have any knowledge of or history with the company respond truthfully with anything other than a detractor rating?

2. It is a gold brick

Just like any other detractor response, the feedback should be treated like a gold brick. What the person is saying is, "Tell me who you are." It gives you an opportunity to not only make a real connection with this person, but maybe even uncover other opportunities to sell more.Consider the impact of not knowing, especially if this person were a key decision maker or influencer…

3. Net Promoter Score by customer

Where you have multiple contacts in the same customer, wouldn’t you want to see a picture of client loyalty, or know the score just for that customer? Not all relationships are equal. One contact may respond with a high rating, but if no one else in that customer organization knows who your company is, and wouldn’t or couldn’t recommend you, the overall customer is at risk. A score then at the customer level provides a quantifiable indicator that can be a benchmark and monitored over time. It is also important to look at the individual ratings and even include them in Quarterly Business or Partnership Review meetings as well.

Depending upon the volume of overall survey responses, a few detractors that have never heard of your company may not have that much impact to the overall NPS but they do need to be included and counted. If the data is clean and the person really is an active contact with a detractor rating, consider the feedback as a gift and an opportunity to expand your relationship!

Finally, ask yourself why they haven't heard of your company. You have them in your system as active contacts. Has anyone ever reached to them? Are they receiving any messages from marketing? Or, is the message not resonating?

Whether it is part of a 'Best of' program like The Best of Print & Digital® administered by Butler Street Research, or not - if you haven't done an NPS survey recently, it's time!

A CEO from a print distributer recently said, "Butler Street's NPS program gave us the opportunity to objectively measure and establish a loyalty benchmark - and through focused actions, improve our score by 23% this year. Because of this effort, we are posting industry-leading growth year over year."

Contact us to learn more NPS best practices, to schedule your next (or first) NPS survey, and to be on your path to industry-leading growth.

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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