All B2B service firms rely heavily on client satisfaction and service quality to retain accounts and differentiate from the competition. As such, NPS can be a leading indicator of revenue retention, growth, and brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace.

What is NPS?

Net Promoter® Score (NPS) is a client satisfaction and service quality metric based on a single survey question that asks clients of B2B service providers how likely they are to recommend your firm to a friend or colleague. Clients respond using a numeric scale of 0-10, ten being extremely likely and zero being not likely at all.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the % of detractors (those who respond with 6 or lower) from the % of promoters (those who respond with a 9 or 10). Click here for a more detailed look at the NPS methodology.

NPS is unique because it offers standardized measurement and reporting on client satisfaction and service quality that can be applied across the B2B services industry as a whole, across different provider types and practice areas at the company-level, and even by client category.

NPS for B2B Service Providers in 2018

NPS for B2B service providers is the key focus of Inavero’s annual industry benchmark study, and in 2018 clients across B2B service firms reported the following NPS scores based on overall satisfaction with the services provided (our sample focused on clients working with firms in the U.S. and Canada):

As you can see, NPS across industries has a wide variance, from as low as 8% for clients of HR service providers (like PEOs, ASPs, HROs, or RPOs) to 32% for clients of architecture firms.

It’s important to note that despite the range of scores across client type, none of the industries represented by our sample meet the minimum global standard for ‘excellent’ service – which is classified as 50% NPS (meanwhile, 70% is considered ‘world-class’). These industry benchmarks demonstrate that the quality of service provided by B2B firms is well below the threshold for what clients might consider satisfactory, much less excellent.

Given the growing expectations of clients, and the continued prioritization of transparency and service – B2B service providers have a unique opportunity follow the example of credible service leaders like Nordstrom (a company that boasts 75% NPS) when it comes to investing in client satisfaction and creating credible proof of their commitments. And when you compare the customer experience at a store like Nordstrom to that of Comcast (a notorious service laggard with reported NPS of -1%) you can begin to see that this type of investment won’t be optional for long. Click here to learn more about NPS.

How does your service stack up?

If you’re not already leveraging NPS at your company, we hope you consider this article a call-to-action. Not only do client satisfaction and service quality represent opportunities to differentiate in an increasingly commodified service industry, they are fuel for company growth.

And if “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – then you certainly won’t be able to improve it either.

Next steps

  • Ready to get started with NPS? Contact the Inavero team for insights, best practices, and a tour of our survey platform (designed specifically to support professional services firms).