Could having an army of promoters be worth $1.8bl?

Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank manages a lot of money for customers. Some of the money they were responsible for was invested in Madoff’s fraudulent investment scheme. Today, the bank has agreed to compensate their customers for losses arising from these investments made on client’s behalf.

Cost to the bank is $1.8b! The bank is admitting that it failed its customers and that it keeps its promises. It was hired to be a middleman for being “quality control” for its clients. Its job was to evaluate and select among thousands of money managers around the world and guide their clients to the best ones. So, the bank was duped by Madoff, no doubt. But, the bank was hired look out for clients and that is exactly what it is doing.

Other banks and investment advisors will be sued and will hire lawyers to fight their clients instead; they will eventually settle. They will get no goodwill from clients for doing so. They will get a small story on the Web that tells a story of how they fought to the bitter end but settled without admission of guilt to avoid the risks of trial. While these advisors may end up paying less than this bank by fighting their clients, to clients, 100% of the cost will be flushed. Everyone will know that these firms didn’t keep their promises when put to the test.

At Rackspace we would call this being Fanatical. Bravo Banco Santander- I hope others follow your lead.


Today I had business breakfast with five leaders of exciting multi-billion dollar company (we’ll call them Sugar Corp) that prides itself on great customer experience. Sugar’s execs explained to us that their firm used a system called Net Promoter Score (NP Score) to measure customer engagement. They said this measurement was so important to Sugar that a portion of their compensation was tied to it. That shows the company is really serious about pleasing customers! Net Promoter Score is a system created by the world’s foremost expert on loyalty, Fred Reichheld of Bain and Co.

Rackspace has followed Reichheld’s teachings since our inception and today uses the Net Promoter Score. But, our score is 40….and Sugar Corp’s score is 80! That score is truly world class since the rating has a range frome negative 100 to positive 200. Actually, 40 is amazingly good and we at Rackspace are very proud of it.

Promoters are people who rave about your company. Detractors bad mouth you. A NET Promoter is the difference between these two. A 40 means that Rackspace has an army of “promoters” in the marketplace singing our praises. And, these promoters out-number detractors by a good margin. Promoters act as Rackspace’s sales force…for free. They drive down marketing costs and push profits higher. Creating promoters are the key to every business.

How the NP Score is measured:

Over the many years Rackspace has been measuring its NP Score I have never met a leader whose firm had a higher score than Rackspace. Our score of 40 is darn good and reflects a ton of engagement from our customers out in the maketplace. Our commitment to Fanatical Support has created customer-promoters who have propelled Rackspace to be the world leader in hostng #1 over the past decade to over 2500 Rackers (employees) and revenues over $500m.

I am proud of the trust we have created with our customers, ….but a score of 80 makes my mind go crazy. I wonder where Rackspace would be if we had a score of 80! Would our customer referral rate be twice as high? Would our profit be twice as large? Would we be twice as successful?

As I listened to Sugar’s leaders, I knew that Rackspce would be an much better company with a score of 80….We would be a greater company. When a company commits to greatness, customers know it. Those customers bring more of their business and they tell their friends. Its that simple. There are so very few companies that truly commit to greatness because it it so hard. And, its so easy to settle for “average”.

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