"Why NPS Falls Short in B2B: A More Insightful Approach to B2B Customer Success Metrics"

A critical examination the effectiveness of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a customer success metric in B2B businesses. It outlines the limitations of NPS, particularly its inability to provide actionable insights and capture the complexity of B2B relationships.
Kari Thor Runarsson
3 min to read

NPS for B2B: A Misguided Metric or the Biggest Myth in Customer Success?

As with any ambitious customer-centric businesses, it's a given that we want to understand our clients better.

We need to anticipate their needs, wants, and experiences.

And in this pursuit over 70% of Fortune 500 companies have found a solution in NPS (Net Promoter Score), a tool praised by many as an effective way to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction. However, is it really as valuable as we believe, especially in the B2B space?

NPS has been the go-to metric for a while now. A simple question – "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a colleague or friend?" – is all it takes to generate your NPS. While its simplicity is undoubtedly appealing, it's essential to recognize that NPS is not without its limitations, particularly in the B2B domain.

The Limitations of NPS in the B2B Space

First and foremost, NPS is predicated on the idea of referrals, which makes it more applicable to B2C businesses. And in fact, all the studies done while researching for the methodology of NPS was done on consumer businesses, where the business relationship is much more simple and straightforward compared to the nature of most B2B businesses. This is because B2B markets rely more on strategic partnerships and long-term relationships rather than spontaneous word-of-mouth referrals.

Secondly, NPS overlooks the multifaceted nature of B2B relationships. In the B2B environment, multiple stakeholders with diverse needs and expectations often influence decision-making. A single score does little to capture this complexity.

Lastly and most importantly, NPS doesn't provide actionable insights. You might have a high NPS, but what does it actually mean? What specific actions can you take to improve or maintain it? NPS doesn't answer these crucial questions, leaving businesses guessing rather than strategizing.

If you cannot take decisive actions to improve the experience of your clients, than that tool/metric is nothing but a vanity number to be projected onto board meeting screens and reports.

Cliezen's Alternative: A Comprehensive, Actionable Approach

Recognizing these limitations,  Cliezen proposes an alternative methodology that provides a more nuanced understanding of B2B clients.

Instead of focusing on a single metric, our approach emphasizes tracking customer outcomes on various touchpoints of the vendor/client relationship to bring exact pain points and experience gaps to the surface. These tangible results form the real measure of customer success, as they directly influence the return on investment (ROI) for your clients and uncover upsell opportunities.

Our methodology is specifically geared towards actionable insights and to minimize the time and effort that goes into becoming a real customer-centric business. By aligning the metrics with the customers' objectives and stakeholders' goals, we enable businesses to strategically improve their services and products. With this, the customer success function becomes not just a reactive problem-solving unit, but a proactive driver of client success.

Shifting the Paradigm

The time has come for a shift in how we view customer success metrics. While NPS may serve as a superficial temperature check, it's imperative to delve deeper to understand your B2B customers truly. A more comprehensive and actionable approach like Cliezen's brings us closer to this goal, paving the way for stronger client relationships and sustainable business success.

Contrary to popular belief, NPS may not be the most valuable measure of customer success. It's time we started thinking beyond it, turning our attention to what truly matters - the actual outcomes for our customers. After all, your customers' success is your success. Let's start measuring it the right way.

Got a question for Cliezen?

We would love to hear from you!
Contact us