More than ten years go, in an article featured in Harvard Business Review, business strategist and best-selling author Fred Reichheld introduced the world to the idea of the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It was, he claimed, the one number that all businesses needed to grow in order to succeed. Sure, Reichheld had a vested interested in promoting his branded concept, but it was supported by extensive research and has proven to be a valuable tool for businesses over the past decade.

So what exactly is a Net Promoter Score? It’s a number based on the responses to one simple question: How Likely Are You to Recommend This Business to a Friend or Colleague? That’s the one question more than any other that predicted customer loyalty.

Respondents are asked to rank their likelihood on an eleven-digit scale, from 0-10. Those who respond with a 9 or 10 are deemed “Promoters,” those who select 7 or 8 are deemed “Passives” and anything below that is labeled a “Detractor.”

The final score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are detractors from the percentage who are promoters. What you’re left with is a figure between -100 and 100. A higher number is obviously better and, generally, anything above a 50 is considered high. For context, Apple, perhaps the most beloved brand in America, has an NPS of 72. Netflix, another brand with a loyal following, has an NPS of 68. It doesn’t get much higher than that. And we’d know.

We recently surveyed our clients to determine our NPS. 75% participated in the polling and, perhaps unheard of in our industry, we achieved a score of 66. According to one report, marketing and creative departments have an average score between 15 and 20. What that means is a large percentage of our clients would recommend us to their friends or colleagues — an uncommonly high percentage for a marketing firm.

While an NPS score doesn’t delve into the reasoning behind responses, it typically reflects a number of things that are being done right. We’d like to think our high mark is the result of our hard work and focus on our clients’ individual needs. It also doesn’t hurt that we offer integrated solutions, thoughtful creative and measurable results. Regardless, we don’t plan on changing a thing. Because we love what we do.

With that in mind, here’s a little homework for you: Ask your marketing partner or ad agency what their NPS is. Unless Apple or Netflix is your AOR, it’s likely a good bit lower than ours. And, if that’s the case, the next question you need to ask is, “Why are we still using these guys?”  

Why, indeed.

Sources: Harvard Business Review, Medallia, Inavero, Retently