Book Review – “Answering the Ultimate Question”

260692_cover.inddSince I have written in the past about Net Promoter Score (NPS) the publishers of this most recent book sent me a copy and it’s about time I posted my review.

There has been much criticism of NPS as a single measure of loyalty.  With most of the criticism centered around the disbelief that a single metric can be reliable, and the inability of others to reproduce the results from the original book.  With this recent work it looks as though the authors are more on the path of using NPS as a process for building a customer-centric business than as a single indicator of ability to grow.  The authors state “Net Promoter is a metric and way of doing business.”  So while the book answers some questions, it still leaves others unanswered.


  • It backs off from the single metric concept and offers a good framework or operating model for collecting, analyzing and acting on customer feedback.
  • It provides several good options for understanding and segmenting customers and what to do with each segment. It also offers a good methodology for driving organizational change towards becoming a more customer-centric organization.
  • It finally talks about multiple question surveys for gathering customer feedback.
  • They urge caution when using NPS to impact employee compensation.


  • It lists a major tenet as “linkage to financial outcomes” but doesn’t discuss or show how to really do that.  How does one prove that an improvement in financial performance is due to an increase in NPS?  They state that it does, but don’t show how to prove it.
  • Their discussion around correlation, regression, and relative impact analysis without a detailed example is a major fault.  They tell you why it’s important, but it really falls short on implementation.
  • Much of their discussion around customer-centricity is not all that new.

So if you are struggling with how to start on the path towards a customer-centric culture it’s a good read.  If your still hoping that asking one question will get you a loyal customer base, keep hoping my friends. It’s just not that easy.

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4 Responses

  1. Paul

    Thanks for taking the time to read the book and post a review.

    Without necessarily agreeing with each of your points (pro or con) I think your comments are fair and considered. Perhaps most importantly, I do strongly agree with your closing statement.

    I would hope that if people learn one thing from our work, it is that companies who are successful take a complete and sophisticated approach to Net Promoter as a discipline, not just as a metric. Of course, I don’t think that should deter folk – the opportunity is too great – but it should caution them that, as you suggest, “it’s just not that easy”

    Thanks again

  2. Richard, thanks for the opportunity to review the book and your comment. I agree that any valuable work with respect to customer relationships requires a complete approach, which includes rigorous measurement, and a strong desire to adopt the customers’ point of view. I look forward to following your continued efforts with Net Promoter.

  3. please heip me
    i have a few question about D.M.I.T

  4. Hi Dilip. Please post your question here and I’ll see if I can help.

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