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The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World

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In the first edition of this landmark book, business loyalty guru Fred Reichheld revealed the question most critical to your company’s future: �Would you recommend us to a friend?” By asking customers this question, you identify detractors, who sully your firm’s reputation and readily switch to competitors, and promoters, who generate good profits and true, sustainable growth.

You also generate a vital metric: your Net Promoter Score. Since the book was first published, Net Promoter has transformed companies, across industries and sectors, constituting a game-changing system and ethos that rivals Six Sigma in its power.

In this thoroughly updated and expanded edition, Reichheld, with Bain colleague Rob Markey, explains how practitioners have built Net Promoter into a full-fledged management system that drives extraordinary financial and competitive results. With his trademark clarity, Reichheld:

� Defines the fundamental concept of Net Promoter, explaining its connection to your company’s growth and sustained success
� Presents the closed-loop feedback process and demonstrates its power to energize employees and delight customers
� Shares new and compelling stories of companies that have transformed their performance by putting Net Promoter at the center of their business

Practical and insightful, The Ultimate Question 2.0 provides a blueprint for long-term growth and success.

290 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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Fred Reichheld

14 books17 followers

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5 stars
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279 (24%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews
Profile Image for Jw van Eck.
21 reviews1 follower
December 14, 2014
A familiar concept: consulting company does some research, publishes an article, then a book. This one is about the one number* you should monitor whether you and your organisation are behaving customer centric: the likeliness to recommend your product or services to a friend or colleague. It is called The Net Promotor Score and now it is even system, see http://www.netpromotersystem.com

The book has the worst introduction I have ever read. It states that because the method is free (thought NPS is trademarked, could you really claim ownership of something like this), market research traditionalist and academics have written papers "claiming that NPS does't work". But the authors do not disclose their own data (at least not in this book) or reasoning why this is the metric which is better than other metrics. They do bring anecdotal 'evidence', with stories claiming where NPS has had a positive effect on organisations, but not ruling out other causes.

Although the question itself is in interesting one, a few questions related to the NPS method could be: Which companies have failed, although they were using this method? What if customers just would never recommend a product at all, out of principle? What if certain products or services by nature or their social impact are hard to recommend to others? Although the book warns you that implementing the NPS as a system is not easy at all, I can recommend just adding the question to your short survey. Just monitor what happens over the years and see how it compares to other statistics. Or even better: call or talk to a customer every week, if not every day.

One star for writing a book, or 1 point on the 1 to 10 scale. I guess this make me a distractor. Tip for the authorship: leave the word "science" out of the next print of this book.

*You can compare this to the search for one single method to determine 'a good life'.
Profile Image for المهند السبيعي.
Author 8 books32 followers
July 9, 2017
I am working in market research field since Seven years, I always said that NPS creator succeeded not in creating the ultimate question but in marketing and promoting that they did so, this book is another Marketing campaign for this metric which I am not convinced at all that it is deserved to be called the ultimate question, I preferred to call NPS the ultimate myth . .

Although the author admit that there are some white papers claming bad things about NPS, but he didn't discussed thier claims while it is a great chance to prove they were wrong, but on his book indirectly said: "The ultimate test for any Customer-relationship metric is whether it helps the Organisation act in a customer-centric manner, therby tuning the growth engine to operate at peak efficiency"

with all respect NPS is like darwin theory of evolution, it starts small and then people make it big ... very very big but at the end it is just bull**it.

I am not against using NPS and we are using it, but I am against making this huge prpoganda around it and consider it the GOD of all questions, i.e. using CES Customer effort score which is also a one question metric would lead to the same result if not better.

However just to be fair the book would be good in terms of learning how to deal with issues related to implementing NPS, some ideas which you will find it repeated again and again for no reason ...
Profile Image for Tanja Berg.
1,808 reviews403 followers
July 8, 2012
As the company I work for uses NPS (net promoter score), I figured reading a book about it would be useful and fill in some blanks. The "ultimate questions" in customer satisfaction is this: "would you recommend us to a friend?" The scale is 0 to 10, where the customers who tick in 9 or 10 are called promoters, the once who give 7 and 8 are called passives and the ones giving a score of 6 or below are called detractors. This is a score of excellence, because exactly how good does a company or rendered service have to be before you recommend it? I am a net promoter of only a handful of companies, but in turn I am unfailingly loyal to these. Besides, 80% of the customers who left a company for the benefit of competitor said they were "satisfied". So clearly the traditional methods of measuring customer satisfaction is not hitting the mark.

This book puts into words what I burn for every day - to give every customer a little something extra. It's not easy, I am bombarded with input and responding to everyone in a timely fashion can be difficult. I try though. The only service which gets remembered is that which was extra-ordinary and the bad. The merely "good" is quickly forgotten. So yes, I strive to be extra-ordinary and this book pats my back and tells me I'm on the right track.

The thing about measuring and closing the loop with customer is definitely something that could be improved though. Customer-centricity needs to be at the heart of everyone and not just one or two front-line employees. This is the only way to grow in the long run. The brilliant thing about NPS is that the score can be broken down into metrics and actual dollars. You can measure how much a promoter is worth or how much a detractor pulls you down. For this to happen, there has to be a large customer base responding to the question and honestly. NPS is brilliantly simple at the same time as it is nuanced and complex. The ultimate question touches the heart of whether customers are loyal or not. This is a book everyone who works toward other people should read. Unless you work in a basement with no human contact, you need to read this.
Profile Image for Nast Marrero.
47 reviews8 followers
February 16, 2016
It is astonishing to realize how aligned are the leading management innovations nowadays. Agile Frameworks, Lean Six-Sigma, Lean Startup, Customer Development. Reads from these disciplines share many principles. In the core of them is customer centrism as the single main indicator of health in an organizations. These organizations focus on building systems that are continuously learning and improving towards the perfect (ideal) service and product.

Net Promoter Score and System is a sharp toolkit to help business achieve better results by doing good for their customers and employees.
45 reviews
August 5, 2022
Pros - a practical exposition on a really important CX tool, which can be used to help businesses set up their own NPS systems to get a better feel for customer satisfaction.

Cons: The useful bits of this book could be said in <100 pages, the rest is padding so the author could make a book out of it.
Profile Image for Robert Chapman.
501 reviews45 followers
August 30, 2013
I first heard about NPS at an executive meeting at my previous company. Even with the high level explanation given during the presentation I knew it was something I needed to learn more about as it was obvious it could offer huge value.

This book is a simple to read all in one reference and guide for NPS, so I'd say the title is pretty accurate in the use of the word "ultimate".

The raw power and reach of social media is overwhelming any messaging that companies can hope to put forward. A simple measurement tool is essential to understanding the real perceptions of customers and how to make positive changes based upon their feedback.

The basis of the scoring system is really quite simple, ask one question to obtain a score, ask a second question to find out the primary reason why that score was given. The boilerplate question is something like "how likely are you to recommend our products and/or services to someone else?". The score is based upon 1-10:

1-6 are considered detractors
7-8 are considered passives
9-10 are considered promoters

As simple as this sounds, it's the management of the score results within the organization that represent the real challenge and can make or break the success of using NPS. This is where the real value of book shines, in the case studies and detailed explanations of how to make NPS work and stay working.

Another really interesting aspect of NPS is ENPS which is Employee Net Promoter Score, a scoring system used to measure employee satisfaction internally.

Both NPS and ENPS are significantly different from the mega surveys that take 20+ minutes to complete. Not only does NPS offer more value, but it is also far more likely to avoid survey fatigue and actually get a response. In my limited experience with NPS this is where I have seen the biggest mistakes made - stick with the massive surveys and coerce the data into a 1-10 score and call it NPS.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in a position to influence how customer satisfaction is measured and responded to.
Profile Image for Greg.
9 reviews
May 3, 2016
A company I had previously worked for started to use NPS which is where I first saw this methodology. This book was recommended reading to get up to speed on the methodology. It seems like there is a new "thing" every few years. As a methodology, NPS makes a lot of sense and this book does a good job of laying explaining why becoming more customer centric is so important. The anecdotes from various companies on how they got started and who was assigned to head up the project was very interesting and useful.

My issue with the book is that it doesn't go much deeper than anecdotes from various companies. Additionally, it felt like the same points were repeated multiple times across the various chapters. I also would have liked to have a chapter or more dedicated on how to get started with NPS within an organization maybe for big and small companies along with the anecdotes that were provided with each company. There is also an interesting discussion about 'bad profits' which is a bit gray. There are some clear examples like sales people forcing products on customers who will eventually cancel and miscellaneous fees and lock in periods which customers don't like. From a customer's perspective, they should be removed however from a company's perspective, this is where the profits may be and eliminating these fees may require raising prices which will also make customers unhappy.

The Ultimate Question 2.0 is a nice introduction to NPS. Clearly companies need to become more customer focused and listen to what customers are asking them to do and using NPS as that catalyst is what makes this useful.
Profile Image for Anton Iokov.
111 reviews57 followers
July 21, 2017
This is the most controversial book I've read.

It is full of marketing bullshit and shallow preaching. It is extremely repetitive and can be easily be shortened twofold or even threefold.

There are parts that are obvious even to a 10-year-old:
"More value for less money. Schwab reduced its prices aggressively. But instead of also reducing its services, it improved what customers reveived". What a surprising receipt for success!

The author either doesn't know about survivorship bias or preferes not to know. There is just a hint about NPS implementation not always working and this single failure is anonymous — "one global industrial firm" — while successes are carefully attributed.

However, the book turned out to be extremely thought-provoking for me. I've written an 8 page document with actionable items on analyzing satisfaction data, designing a new feedback system, connecting dev teams with customers and much more. We'll see how it goes, stay tuned at targetprocess.com :)
Profile Image for Josh Steimle.
Author 3 books192 followers
February 10, 2013
If you're wondering whether you need to read the previous iteration of this book AND this book the answer is no. This book contains everything from the first book and then some, at least as nearly as I can tell, having read both within weeks of each other. I would just get this book and ignore the earlier edition.

Now that we're done with that, this is a great business book. The general concept is quite simple--there's only one question that matters and so focus on that. The rest of the book just adds data, evidence, examples, and context. You already get the gist of it just by knowing what the question is. But the rest isn't merely fluff, it's interesting, useful, and practical for all companies from large to small. Unfortunately the book primarily focuses on large enterprises, but it is not at all difficult to figure out how to apply the principles and practices to the smallest company. I liked the book so much I'm starting a company based on it.
Profile Image for Akshay.
41 reviews1 follower
July 17, 2016
The Net Promoter Score stems from customer loyalty research at Bain. The premise is that in order to collect customer feedback to create a customer-centric organization, one question is sufficient("on a sale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?"

This book outlines cases where this system has been used, pitfalls, etc. It's compelling to someone like myself who goes in with a bias leaning towards the system and ideology, and it walks through ways to help ensure that NPS deployment is a success and sufficiently resourced but I know that some of my colleagues who have also read this book aren't bought in so don't expect this to be a magi bullet.
Profile Image for Angela Guedes.
3 reviews
February 9, 2015
Good concept with valuable ideas, but the book itself was hard to read. Too many chapters talking about the same things, it seemed I was reading the same ideas over and over again. like another reader pointed out, the author tried really hard to fill in a given number of pages.
Profile Image for Jason Braatz.
Author 1 book15 followers
September 18, 2022
I am in the camp that this isn't as perfect as a methodology as Mr. Reichheld would have you believe, nor do I believe that the examples covered are examples of truly using his system (Enterprise rent-a-car and others use a system that pre-dates it and is a bit different overall).

That said, who can argue with success? This is literally the #1 metric used by everyone from Microsoft to Chic-Fil-A and is even referenced by leaders like Satya Nadella, Stephen R Covey and others on a routine basis. If this one-question metric turned out to be garbage, I don't think it would be as widely adopted. That's not crowd theory gone wrong: businesses are quick to implement and abandon ideas when things don't work out. Yet this is being implemented far more than it's being unimplemented.

The danger is the effectiveness of this question long term (this book is 10 years old now and the concept is going on 15+) will start to erode as more of the people answering the question understand why people are asking it.

For example, maybe your experience at the Apple store was great but you'd like something free so you press on that your experience was bad to leverage a call with the store manager? I'm not crazy. Customers "in the wild," are as such.

I think this is a must-read on one premise alone: it's popular. It doesn't have to pertain to your situation or your business, but understanding it demystifies why your competition maybe using it, and it unravels other ideas that could work as effectively.

This is definitely a must-read for any entrepreneur or business leader.
Profile Image for Henrique.
4 reviews2 followers
September 15, 2020
tldr: A shallow introduction to one of the most popular cx trends right now. Would greatly benefit from dropping the anecdotes and adding some actual science.

I have mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, it's a good (Although in my opinion too lengthy) introduction to NPS. It also is a great resource for those seeking to implement this methodology in their companies, as it goes to great lengths discussing what should be your approach when implementing the system (Closing the loop, etc...), creating a common language that helps talking about problems.

On the other hand this is an awful book if you are trying to find evidence on whether the metric is any good or not. The book claims that a lot of studies have been made linking NPS to customer satisfaction and purchase behavior, but it shares little on their results or methodologies. It acknowledges criticisms on the metric, but doesn't address them in a satisfying manner.

Finally I found the cases presented in the book incredibly simplistic, and most of them can be resumed as "Company was doing a bad thing, they used NPS to do a good thing and now everyone is happy". The last chapter containing some advices from practitioners was laughable and could be dropped entirely.

In conclusion I found the book pretty long for such shallow content, and it would have benefited a lot in exchanging most of their anedoctal data for actual science.
Profile Image for Brian Kurzhal.
39 reviews2 followers
June 1, 2019
"On a zero-to-ten scale, how likely is it that you would recommend us (or this product/service/brand) to a friend or colleague?" Business loyalty expert Fred Reichheld explains how this single question can accurately reveal the health of your product, service, or brand. Based on their scores, your customers can be sorted into 3 distinct categories: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (0-6). Net Promoter Score (NPS) = Percentage of Promoters - Percentage of Detractors. Detractors spoil your company's reputation and thereby sabotage future sales, while Promoters generate profits and growth. Bad Profits result from short-term, (and short-sighted), gains made at the expense of the customer's best interests and will cripple your NPS, while Good Profits are made as a result of serving your customer's best interests. Continuous improvement = timely customer feedback + prompt corrective action.
Profile Image for Stephen.
207 reviews6 followers
August 6, 2020
Written in a manner that is both easy to read and understand, unlike books such as Hustle and The Impact Equation with their fancy buzzwords and fluffy concepts.

The authors placed an intense focus on just one concept, instead of trying to push across a bunch of highfalutin ideas at the same time like so many other business books.

Some may argue that there's a lot of repetition as a result, but they serve to reinforce the points rather than act as fillers. The case studies cited were relevant and informative.

Uncannily, the negative reviews fit exactly the profile of detractors (especially those with vested interests) described in this book.
Profile Image for Vlad.
731 reviews33 followers
August 20, 2021
Have read this book twice and implemented NPS once using its advice. There’s probably no better guide to NPS than this.

That said, the book isn’t exactly well written. It’s accidentally repetitive in places (the same details about the same program mentioned more than once) and deliberately but unnecessarily repetitive in other places.

This is an example of a text that could shrink by 75% at the hand of a good editor and be better off for it. But then it wouldn’t meet the arbitrary standards expected of modern business books, so here it is, in all of its padded-out, repetitive, but still-useful glory.
Profile Image for Kim Pallister.
129 reviews22 followers
October 9, 2021
Net Promoter Score is a great idea and the book does a good job of explaining how/why it works, and some of the benefits of implementing it and the pitfalls of doing so incorrectly.

Downsides (thus my 3/5 rating): First, this is one of those business books that was bloated far beyond the necessary length - would be twice as good if edited to half the length. Second, and more vexxing, downside is that the book dismisses critics/detractors with ad hominem attacks, vs addressing critiques directly.
Profile Image for Jacquelyn.
28 reviews
Read
February 20, 2020
Needed for work project.

Criticisms of methodology are valid, from a statistician's POV. This is definitely a sales tool to market the method.

That said, there is still good advice on company surveys and client relationships. We've already decided to use NPS methods for our client relationship survey, so I listened to the audiobook to learn how it was being used and interpreted. Advantage of this method is its simplicity when implementing a system from nothing.
Profile Image for Daniel.
48 reviews7 followers
August 22, 2018
Potentially a good idea, but the lack of actionable guidance is extremely evident and leads to an average at best rating.

I guess the most important takeaway from this book is that you should talk to your customers and "close the feedback loop". The majority of the book reads like a bunch of company reviews that almost always lack substance.
Profile Image for Johan Horak.
48 reviews
October 8, 2020
NPS is great. The book is not worth the money

The major focus is motivation to use NPS. Lots of quotes from massive businesses who use it. And what they say about it. Some nice quotes. But I don't need motivation.

This book could have been 30 pages.

I'll implement NPS at our small business. But for practical implementation ideas search Google.
4 reviews
January 13, 2018
Excellent customer experience book, NPS is great

The net promoter system is a great way to improve customer experience. This book gives you the tools and methodology to apply it to your company.
Profile Image for Robert Pozil.
Author 1 book2 followers
September 24, 2020
Great insight about the data driven basis for surveys. Used this information to help my company deliver more meaningful surveys... and learned what to do with the results. Great information for anyone that manages customer feedback, customer satisfaction, and surveys.
Profile Image for Sarah.
254 reviews4 followers
August 16, 2021
Bit of a sales pitch, but worthwhile for perspective on a frequently-used and simple customer satisfaction metric. I picked this up because NPS is frequently used in the healthcare sector, and I often design surveys for health plans using NPS.
Profile Image for Aaron Schumacher.
159 reviews3 followers
November 20, 2021
I was interested in Net Promoter® score, so I read the book, which is a longer version of the original article. NPS is an interesting case study in simplicity, interpretability, paths to action, unintended consequences, and data collection.
8 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2017
Part of my current business metrics and is my only customer survey.
28 reviews3 followers
February 25, 2018
It makes you think about your own business. The cases are convincing and the setup of the book engaging.
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