Professional service firms have always relied on professional competency to attract and retain clients. Word of mouth, referrals and recommendations have historically been the principal sources of new business. In order to drive these ‘advocacy’ behaviours, legal and accountancy service levels have to go beyond client satisfaction.

What is Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple but powerful tool to measure client advocacy with one single question. Devised by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company in 2003, NPS is a customer loyalty metric to determine a clear and easily interpretable client satisfaction score which can be compared over time.

In the context of professional services, NPS assesses the extent to which a firm’s client would recommend the firm or service to his friends, relatives or colleagues. Specifically, the client is asked:

How likely is it that you would recommend our firm to a friend or colleague?

It’s a useful tool for professional service firms because purchasers of legal and accountancy services tend to ask friends or colleagues for advice and recommendations as part of the purchasing process.

In answering the question, clients are able to respond on a 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely) point rating scale and are categorised as follows:

Promoters (scores 9 – 10) – loyal enthusiasts who will keep using your services and refer others.

Passives (scores 7 – 8) – satisfied by unenthusiastic clients who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.

Detractors (score 0 – 6) – unhappy clients who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word of mouth.

The NPS is then calculated as the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors as an absolute number.

For example if your firm has 30% promoters, 50% passives and 20% detractors, the NPS is +10. A positive NPS is considered good.

To understand the motives of your firm’s promoters and detractors we have accompanied the NPS question with one or more questions that probe the underlying reasons behind the given score. This allows your firm to take the appropriate strategies or service adjustments to increase the future NPS, either by increasing the percentage of promoters, or by reducing the proportion of passives and detractors

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