Correction: Feedback FormsWhy customer star ratings are so unsatisfactory.

Correction: Feedback FormsWhy customer star ratings are so unsatisfactory.

Issue 46

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Arts & Culture

  • Words Precious Adesina
  • Photograph Cecilie Jegsen

In 2003, American management consultant Fred Reichheld invented a system to measure how customers perceive companies, which he called Net Promoter Score (NPS). The premise was straightforward. Asking one simple question could determine customer loyalty: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” The more a person was willing to promote a business, the better the chances that they’d return themselves. But over two decades, this simple idea has taken on a life of its own.

Whether talking to an airline, dealing with a delivery service or ordering takeout, customers are now often asked for feedback after each communication. The assumption by a customer filling out these forms is that their smiley face, number grade or written response will be use...

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