Which Companies Do Consumers Recommend The Most?

I recently published a research report called Consumers’ Likelihood To Recommend 133 Firms that examines how loyal consumers are to 133 firms across 14 industries (the same firms that are in the 2010 Customer Experience Index). Based on surveying more than 4,600 US consumers, I created a metric called Net Recommendations*.

Here are the top 10 firms and their Net Recommendations rates:

  • Barnes & Noble (86%)
  • Amazon (81%)
  • eBay (81%)
  • Vanguard (79%)
  • Kohl’s (79%)
  • USAA (78%)
  • Apple (77%)
  • BJs Wholesale Club (76%)
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts (75%)
  • Costco (75%)

To get a more complete picture of which firms are generating loyal customers, I compared the Net Recommendations score for each company to its industry average. The top five on the list are credit unions, Sun Trust Bank, JetBlue, Vanguard, and Kaiser.  Here are the 25 firms that were 10 points or more above their peers:



*Net Recommendations: We asked consumers how likely they were to recommend firms to a friend or colleague on a 5-point scale from (1) not at all likely to (5) very likely. To create the Net Recommendations score, we took the percentage of consumers who gave the company a “4″ or “5″ and subtracted the percentage of consumers that gave the company a “1″ or “2.”

The bottom line: Does your business generate enough recommendations?

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

9 thoughts on “Which Companies Do Consumers Recommend The Most?”

  1. Hi Karthikeyan: Good observation. This is a similar metric to the Net Promoter Score (NPS), but it isn’t quite on the same scale. I just needed to describe the analysis and give the metric I was comparing a name so that people would understand what I did. I wasn’t trying to promote it as a replacement for NPS.

  2. Net Recommendations: It really gets under my skin when companies or people use a different scale and calculation as the original Net Promoter Score (I think it was first published in the December 2003 Harvard Business Review), but still call it a Net Promoter Score. I really appreciate your sensitivity to accuracy and hope that some “offenders” will realize that when it comes to names, scales and calculations, there is a difference that matters.

  3. I frankly consider this metrics a publicity tool. Using the old “we are the best because people say so” a very USA way of view success.
    Recommendations based on what? which was the question for computers lets say:

    “Which brand would you recommend to a related one, when buying a computer”

    The amount of things which could be happening inside the customer head makes the survey useless:

    1) First brand to my head is…(answer)
    2) Biased because the amount of publicity, advertisement, past experience, etc. but he cannot make an opinion because doesn’t know nothing about the subject.
    3) When asked that it is for a related he could be thinking in his 65 year old mom who cannot tell the difference between a monitor and a microwave oven. (answers the easier to use brand, but then again he cannot make the exception)

    In the end (or bottom line as the blog would say): We have learned that the world is not your market, when referring to people we are not talking about “customers” these are a differentiated group of people for each brand. So when doing a survey which ask “people” which brand they recommend for other “people” we should ask ourselves, what are the results showing me?

  4. GaryTell and Kobus: Thanks for your feedback

    Mauricio: The question is actually stated differently than you show it — and it’s a meaningful difference. If it was asked the way that you show “Which company would you recommend…” then it would have some of the problems you highlight. The question is asked about a specific brand, like this “Would you recommend BRANDNAME to a friend or a colleague?” So the response provides a scale of loyalty to a specific brand. It’s fair to ask, even in this form, if it’s overly simplistic. Take a look at my posts about Net Promoter.

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