What is a Net Promoter Score? And why is it important to your lab?

By John Schwartz on May, 20 2017
John Schwartz

What if I told you that your best and worst customers have something in common?  And that your toughest customers are actually the ones that are technically satisfied?  Oh, and that before 20-30% of your satisfied customers leave in the next 180 days, they will work very hard to drive your margins to zero.  Oof!

When you think about it, this makes sense, but most businesses identify these core customers -- formally referred to as promoters, passives and detractors -- only after the fact.  After they have left for lower prices or after they have told 10 other dentists you screwed up their crown. What net promoter scoring does is identify these customers so you can either help them promote even more, or head off negative consequences before they happen and save business.  At the end of the day, it helps you grow your business.  

What Is a Net Promoter Score?

A Net Promoter Survey simply asks customers to rate the likelihood that they will recommend a business's services on a scale from 0 -10. Based on these customers' answers, they are put into three categories: Detractors, Passives and Promoters. Those customers who post a score of 6 or below are labeled Detractors. Passives rank their scores as either a 7 or 8. Those who answer the survey question with a 9 or 10 are put into the Promoters class. If a business has substantially more Promoters than Detractors, management is doing many things right, and the business is growing.

A dental lab would receive an overall score by subtracting the percentage of survey Detractors from the percentage of survey Promoters. As a result, the business will be scored somewhere between -100 and 100. Obviously, any score in the negative is cause for some concern.

NPS is an excellent way to measure what type of "word of mouth" advertising a dental lab or office is receiving.

Dental Labs Aren't Hotels or Restaurants

Some lab owners may be reluctant to use Net Promoter surveys simply because they don't consider themselves the same as other commercial concerns, such as restaurants or bed and breakfasts. After all, they offer a complicated blend of art and technology that requires years of study and a high level of expertise.

Acquiring a Net Promoter Score should be considered a tool to provide customers with the best service possible, which almost always leads to a stronger business and better, more sustainable revenue stream.  In a market that can be price driven for many labs, identifying opportunities to add value is essential for growth.

How to Use the Score

First, lab owners need to contract with a company to provide this service. Then, they may want to add an open-ended question to the Net Promoter survey so dissatisfied customers can explain the root of their complaints. If a customer reports that their lab experience was a 5, management needs to know if the product is at fault or whether is was a front office matter or shipping concern. In this way, they can address the issues with all levels of staff. Certainly, a negative score of -100 means that all levels of service need to be examined.  

At LabWorthy, we can automatically collect, track and analyze your NPS with the added benefit of asking your Promoters to fill out a review. You can access this information at any time through your admin page.

Experts suggest that the Net Promoter Score be used in conjunction with other methods to determine customer satisfaction. On its own, the Net Promoter Survey is a powerful tool that can help make any business more successful. Labs can embrace these tools to improve their service and build their customer base.

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John Schwartz

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