Has Dr Robert East shown us the future of WOM measurement?

January 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Events, Measurement, Research | 2 Comments
Tags: social media, word of mouth, Measurement, WOM, net promoter score, dr robert east

Wednesday morning’s espresso briefing event certainly drew a big crowd – and a host of questions. It wasn’t surprising, as Dr Robert East’s presentation on the limitations and alternatives to the famous WOM measurement tool Net Promoter Score was provocative and persuasive in equal measure.

As Professor of Consumer Psychology at Kingston University, Dr East has long applied rigorous academic thinking to the contentious world of WOM metrics. He began by looking at the actual impact of positive and negative WOM for brands, something that NPS ignores. His research showed that measuring levels of sentiment is also more complex than it might initially seem, as detractors and promoters may not be as wholeheartedly glowing or derogatory as we assume.

He next moved on to look at the American Customer Satisfaction Index, another popular measure, and questioned the validity of ‘satisfaction’ as determined by the survey – highlighting such important points as the fact that satisfaction is proved to have little correlation with customer retention, and is only one of the causes of WOM.

By proposing a new methodology that takes into account these discrepancies and subtleties, Dr East showed that there could be a way of producing a much more reliable and effective measurement. This was very well received, and prompted a lively debate, with most of the questions circling the perennial problem of measuring essentially emotional and complex data quantitavely, and how to incorporate the differing value of different types of WOM. The issue of offline monitoring was also raised, with Dr East suggesting that examining individual industries and passion groups was the best starting point for gaining deeper insight. Check out the full presentation below.

What is certain is that this is an area that will be central to the growth and strength of the WOM industry in the next few years – and that an injection of funding is badly needed to investigate new systems large-scale. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for Dr East in securing further funding, leave a comment below or get in touch.

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  1. [...] I attended a WOM UK espresso breakfast briefing with Professor of Consumer Behaviour Dr Robert East from our very own [...]

  2. [...] Dr Robert East in the audience bringing his perspective to bear on the research, and a real variety of attendees, [...]


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