The original Net Promoter concept was coined in 2001, described in a Harvard Business Review article in 2003: “The path to sustainable, profitable growth begins with creating more promoters and fewer detractors and making your net-promoter number transparent throughout your organization. This number is the one number you need to grow. It’s that simple and that profound.”

Put another way, you can measure how pleased your customers are  if you listen to just one metric: will they recommend you?

Reports of the death of NPS are greatly exaggerated, but at 20 years old, Net Promoter Score is looking a little long in the tooth. It’s a great external metric, for sure, but actionability is discredited by poor response rates and slow results. In addition, customers can express significantly more than purely ‘Yes, I would recommend’, such as dissatisfaction, enthusiasm, suggestions for improvements, and more.

Perhaps review star ratings (usually out of five, not the NPS 10) or smiley face emojis could form the next basis for measurement. Tapping a star rating on a cellphone is almost second nature after using a service. As a proxy for customer health, a smiling emoji surely correlates to business growth.

Or does it? Apart from the tendency to give good ratings (they cost nothing to give, and giving a low rating could reflect badly on your own profile), ratings also leave a yawning gap: the real-world comments, posts, and unstructured exchanges that reflect what people think and how they actually feel.

Alongside the hard numerical data generated by NPS (9.5), star ratings (4.75) and survey results (95%), the next stage is to capture, collate, and analyze sentiment expressed in the mass of unprompted, real-world feedback. Think of the thousands of support conversations, daily account management emails, mountain of online reviews, numerous customer call transcripts, and the onslaught of social media and community chatter, just to name a few; is it possible to detect what is relevant, understand it, and create usable metrics to help you build a better business?

At this scale, the aim is to extract meaningful results using a repeatable process, creating a reliable source of VoC monitoring and measurement. Being able to make sense of global sentiment will add richness and context to NPS and survey scores, showing you the direction and flow of the current, so to speak.

To make this possible, the latest technologies use AI—unstoppable, sleep-free, and bias-free engines that detect and surface actionable Voice of Customer insights from thousands of data streams and millions of posts, clicks, shares, replies and reposts. AI makes it possible to capture and understand customer sentiment in real time, and analyze the trends that could influence product strategy, development, and, ultimately, growth.

Importantly, by establishing a repeatable process, AI-powered technology offers the ability to create Programmatic VoC that can bring your Voice of Customer program into the digital age at an industrial scale. Programmatic VoC becomes part of your business process—measured and managed for success, and one of the key tools to drive business growth.

For companies setting a product-led growth strategy, Programmatic Voice of Customer is vital to success, and AI is leading the way.

If you’d like to learn more, reach out here and we'd be delighted to help.