Satmetrix last week released its 2010 European Net Promoter Scores and I thought it would be interesting to review them versus recent Australian data.
The highest of the European banks (First Direct) received an NPS® of 42% compared with the highest of the Australian banks (Bendigo Bank) at +33%. At the other end of the scale, the lowest European score is -26% versus -39% in Australia.
Mobile Phone Networks
Moving on to look at mobile phone networks, the best of the best in Australia (Virgin Mobile) scored 0% compared with the best in Europe (O2) of 24%. At the other end of the scale, Australia’s lowest score was -34% and Europe’s was only -13%.
Why the Differences?
Scores in Australia would, on the basis of these numbers, seem to be lower overall. Why?
Two potential reasons are:
Australian Service delivery is worse than European Service Delivery
Lower NPS scores in Australia may indicate that the very nature of Australian service is lower than that experienced by European customers. There is no definitive way of determining if this is the case.
I know that there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence collected by travellers to both regions of the service levels in their counter parts but there is no convenient impartial way of collecting that data.
Australian’s have higher service expectations than Europeans
This is the second potential reason for the differences in scores and identifies a cultural bias in the outcomes of the Net Promoter Score process. If Australian customers simply have higher expectations from customer service it would drive down the NPS for that region even if the service levels were the same.
Of the two suggestions, I am more inclined to believe that it is the second (higher service expectations) that is the driver for the difference in scores. This may connected with the infamous Australian Tall Poppy Syndrome, whereby Australians are just a little less inclined to give maximum praise for a job well done.
Either way it reinforces the one of the tenants of NPS or any customer loyalty measurement system. The absolute score is not as important as the score relative to competitive peers and your own score in the past. Focusing on understanding what is important for customers and how to improve your score day in day out, month in month out is the driver of long term success.
This result also underscores the critical role that customer service expectations have in determining customer satisfaction with the service delivered. This recent post (Customer Charters: Good or Bad for Customer Satisfaction) discusses the issue of service expectations in more detail “The 2009 Consumer Recommendation & Loyalty Study”, Engaged MARKETING Pty Ltd