Here is one smallish but important announcement that may have passed you by today: Satmetrix, creators of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), have announced SparkScore. SparkScore is a methodological update to NPS that, using a sentiment engine provided by Metavana, marries social sentiment data and NPS measurement methodology, yielding a score that mimics NPS based on social data.
Why is this important?
Currently, Net Promoter is one of the most widely adopted methodologies for measuring customer experience; specifically, a customer’s likelihood to recommend a product or service. In my interviews with nearly 40 companies for “A Framework for Social Analytics,” many of the people I spoke with indicated that their companies used Net Promoter and wanted to know when Satmetrix would integrate social data into the score. Some of the more advanced companies said they had been looking at social data in the context of NPS for some time, but hadn’t yet evolved a way to integrate the two.
Note that because SparkScore is still separate from NPS, we’ll have to see what insights customers are able to extract at the outset, as well as what interpretive challenges they face as they view the two scores side by side. Says Richard Owen, Satmetrix CEO, “Ultimately, the goal is to integrate the data. Right now it gives us a chance to see the demographics separately.” While this isn’t ideal in the long run, it’s a reasonable start, as the demographics of customers and of online engagement can be very different. But, Owen concedes, “everyone wants an integrated approach.”
If it’s successful, social plus NPS will help companies provide critical context to customer experience insights. “We need to be able to reconcile what companies think versus what is happening organically,” Owen says.
Owen believes that the introduction of a “social NPS” is a boon to social strategists and their teams, as it can increase the relevance of social signals in a way that is credible to executives. That entirely depends on the extent to which executives have embraced social as a legitimate source of customer insight, or whether they’re still looking at it as a condiment on top of “real” enterprise metrics.
To that end, keep in mind that adding social to NPS is a bit like adding oil to vinegar; their properties are different, and blending them is tricky. One is structured and bounded, the other is unstructured and real-time. So we can’t underestimate the challenge of integrating NPS and social data, especially at the outset.
This has the potential to leave unwary social strategists and customer experience professionals high and dry as they seek the right context in which to view and interpret these two very different data sets. While Satmetrix will provide some direction in terms of how to interpret the SparkScore data in context of traditional NPS, those of you who use NPS and SparkScore together will be on the front lines in terms of determining the right approach for your particular business.
It’s good progress, but not a magic bullet. We’ll be watching closely as Satmetrix releases its initial set of solutions. My advice? Set expectations with executives now.
If you’re an NPS company and you’re using SparkScore, or if you plan not to, I’d love to hear from you. Please comment here, or drop me a note at Susan [at] altimetergroup [dot] com.