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The Ultimate Question 2.0
September 2006

The edge and how to get it
Chicago Tribune 

If you want to know about customer loyalty ask the customer the Ultimate Question: "Would you recommend us to a friend?" The answer lets companies track promoters and detractors and "produces a clear measure of performance in its customers' eyes."
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June 2006

The ultimate question: driving good profits and true growth
Financial Executive 

Not all profits are created equal, and "bad" profits risk alienating customers, writes Fred Reichheld, author of two popular books on loyalty, The Loyally Effect and Loyalty Rules. Moreover, these bad profits can create legions of detractors who bad-mouth the company and switch their allegiance to competitors. Reichheld, who is a director emeritus of Bain & Company, contends that "good" profits have the opposite effect: They turn customers into promoters who can help the company on its journey to sustainable growth. He posits a central question that companies should ask their customers: "Would you recommend us to a friend?" From this, he creates a "net promoter score" (NPS), which he claims represents the most reliable indicator of a company's growth.
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March 2006

'Prepared Mind' outlines skills necessary to good leadership
Milwaukee Business Journal 

Every company has its regular measurements from ROI to bestselling products to annual budgets. One of the hardest and most important aspects to measure is customer satisfaction. Saying this is easy, but implementing it is not necessarily simple. Fred Reichheld proves there is a better way to measure customer satisfaction -- a measure that prophesies actual growth, thus showing profit potential. This better way involves using the "ultimate question" which is, "How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" Respondents can rate the likelihood from 0 to 10.
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CPAs offer online tax help
St. Paul Pioneer Press 
How can business win customer loyalty? Fred Reichheld (HBS) "How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" That simple question, it turns out, may be the most powerful tool you have in assuring the long-run growth and profitability of your company, says Fred Reichheld, a Bain & Company fellow who has been writing convincingly about customer loyalty for a decade. In "The Ultimate Question," Reichheld draws the distinction between unsustainable bad profits, which are generally the result of taking advantage of customers in some way, and self-reinforcing good profits, which come about because delighted and satisfied customers keep coming back, bringing their friends with them.He uses a few case studies and a succinct set of recommendations to show how any company, of any size, can build a successful business around asking the "ultimate" question and responding to the answers.
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Turning bad profit into good profit
Globeandmail.com 

Too many companies these days can't tell the difference between bad profits and good profits, and as a result, have become hooked on bad profits, contends loyalty expert Fred Reichheld. Bad profits are earned at the expense of customer relationships. You don't have to look much further for examples than most customer service phone centres, or, alternatively, the exorbitant costs for using a hotel room telephone. They lower short-term costs for a company or raise short-term revenue at the expense of long-term profitability. But companies can't spot the impact, today, on the financial statements. "Accountants can't tell the difference between good and bad profits. They all look the same on an income statement," Mr. Reichheld writes in The Ultimate Questions: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. The book explains the details of introducing the metric at your company, and using it as an active management tool, offering examples from trailblazers. 
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A satisfied customer isn't enough
Harvard Business School Press 

It's fine to have customers who like you, but satisfaction isn't going to stoke the growth engine, argues loyalty expert Fred Reichheld. The goal is to turn a customer into a promoter, someone who would answer yes to the "ultimate question": Would you recommend us to a friend? Reichheld's new book, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, offers a system called the Net Promoter Score that helps rate customers based on their view of your company. The goal: Cut out "detractor" customers and promote recommenders. In this excerpt, Reichheld outlines the payoffs from developing deep customer relationships and outlines the NPS system.



Readings
Washington Post 
"How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" That simple question, it turns out, may be the most powerful tool you have in assuring the long-run growth and profitability of your company, says Fred Reichheld, a former Bain consultant who has been writing convincingly about customer loyalty for a decade. Among management books, this one's a keeper.

Jack Covert selects -The Ultimate Question
800-CEO-READ Blog 

Every company has its regular measurements from ROI to bestselling products to annual budgets. One of the hardest (and most important) aspects to measure is customer satisfaction. Saying this is easy; implementing it is not always so simple. Fred Reichheld proves there is a better way to measure customer satisfaction--a measure that prophesizes actual growth, thus showing profit potential. This better way involves using the "ultimate question" which is, "How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" Respondents can rate the likelihood from 0 - 10. Then ask the appropriate follow-up question.
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February 2006

Loyalty, on a Scale of 1 to 10
1to1 Magazine 

The more loyalty becomes complex, the more one man says it should be simplified. Fred Reichheld, author and Bain & Company Fellow, has struck a nerve with his book The Ultimate Question and his concept of the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The ultimate question is: "Would you recommend this product or service to an associate, friend, or family member?" On a scale of one to 10, customers are asked how strongly they would recommend a company. The NPS is derived from indexing two numbers from that scale. The first is measuring promoters (those who score a company as a nine or 10).
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January 2006

Good and Bad Profits, and their impact on customers
The Wise Marketer 

Companies earn 'bad profits' from one-third of their customers, stifling long-term growth, according to research from Bain & Company. "Companies are strangling their growth prospects by converting a third of their customers into liabilities, which is the direct result of booking bad profits from these customers," said Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company's loyalty expert and author of the forthcoming book, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. Reichheld says that the average company's customer balance sheet now contains almost as many detractors as promoters. In his book and research, Reichheld reveals that companies can best achieve customer growth in the long-term by asking customers one simple question: Would you recommend us to a colleague or friend?

Are You Asking the Ultimate Marketing Question?
Clickz.com 

Fred Reichheld, author of an engaging, provocative new book entitled "The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits for True Growth," has gotten it right. Without incentive, enticement, or reward, I give his book my highest recommendation and endorsement. We're at a critical inflection point in marketing, in which the fastest-growing media are those consumers shape and share among themselves. It's TiVo-resistant, and it emanates from real consumer experience and opinion, not marketer activity or stimulation.
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Asking the right questions is the ultimate answer
Financial Times 

Fred Reichheld, author of two previous books on the value of loyalty in business, in his new work, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, explores the idea that there may be a single metric that connects the customer experience with profits. There are many similarities to the customer-focused approach in this question aimed at employees: "How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a potential recruit?" But the scaled responses to a question such as this might say a lot about a company's reputation. Might this be the year that companies and their employees finally measure up in a way that means something to all of us?
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Publishers Weekly: The Ultimate Question Review
Publishers Weekly 
Almost everyone appreciates the importance of customer satisfaction in business, but Fred Reichheld's new book takes that idea to two extremes. First, it claims that customer satisfaction is more important than any business criterion except profits. Second, it argues that customer satisfaction is best measured by one simple question, "Would you recommend this business to a friend?" Pressure for financial performance tempts executives to seek "bad profits," that is, profits obtained at the expense of frustrating or disappointing customers. Such profits inflate short-term financial results, Reichheld writes, but kill longer-term growth.

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