A growing number of small-business owners are using Net Promoter Scores to increase customer referrals and boost sales. Fortune Small Business checked in with entrepreneurs who swear by the magic metric.
It appears in the annual report, gets discussed at meetings, and lest any employee forget, 63 periodically flashes on the flat screens that appear throughout the Atlanta headquarters of this fast-growing maker of custom parts for clients such as Intel and Whirlpool.
The magical metric is called a "Net Promoter Score," and essentially it measures customer satisfaction and referrals. The score represents the proportion of customers who are promoters - those so delighted that they praise a product or service to all within earshot - minus the detractors.
Back in 2006, Quickparts' number was 48, which is none too shabby. But here's the difference between 48 and 63, according to co-founder Ronald Hollis: a 25% increase in customer referrals. That helped drive record profits in 2007 on $23 million of revenues, up from $17.5 million in 2006. This year Quickparts is aiming for 65.
"We want to just keep driving the number up," says Hollis, 41.