How time flies. About 10 years ago I was at an industry leaders meeting (over breakfast, because “leaders” get up early!!) and I was struggling with my decision to reach for the apple danish or fruit-yogurt-muesli combo in a shot glass (who knew a shot glass had any other use?), when we had a presentation from the international consultancy that had their foot stuck in every door in town spruiking the new religion: Net Promoter Score (NPS), or “the one number you need to grow”.

Today there isn’t a boardroom meeting imaginable, nor even a balanced scorecard, without NPS as the central customer measure. If memory serves, there was a lot of caution around putting this measure in staff scorecards. I’ve written on this before. You can find it at –

But now there’s a new kid in town: Customer Effort Score (CES), and it has designs on the Iron Throne of performance metrics (c’mon Khaleesi!). CES is a newer, hipper customer metric, and it attempts to address the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Both NPS and CES have their good and bad points. When do we need to use which measure, and is it really necessary that we choose anyway?

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promotor Score is based on the concept that a company can divide its customers into three main categories: promotors, passives and detractors. Your customers can be segmented by asking them all the same simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to friends, family or a colleague?”