Here’s the Most Important Factor to Consider When Evaluating eDiscovery Providers


There are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating providers in any industry, and that’s certainly true when evaluating eDiscovery providers as well.  But there is one factor that is the true test of the quality of the provider’s services and that is how happy their clients are. 

Is their client base comprised of several unhappy clients that have had negative experiences?  Or are most of their clients satisfied, but on the lookout for a better offering?  Or are they happy and loyal to the point that they want to refer other clients to the provider? It may be time consuming to interview client references and you don’t really expect the provider to give you the bad ones, do you? The good news is there is a metric you can request that reflects the level of client satisfaction to enable you to understand how the happy their client base is overall – not just a few select clients.

Net Promoter Score

In 2003, Fred Reichheld and a team at Bain & Company launched a research project to determine whether a different approach to customer satisfaction surveys would prove more fruitful. Working with data supplied by Satmetrix, they tested a variety of questions to see how well the answers correlated with customer/client behavior.  As it turned out, one question worked best for most mature, competitive industries using a 0-10 scale:

What is the likelihood that you would recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?

High scores on this question correlated strongly with repurchases, referrals and other actions that contribute to a company’s growth. In 11 of the 14 industry case studies that the team compiled, no other question was as powerful in predicting behavior.

The metric created from that served as a new way of measuring how well an organization generates relationships worthy of loyalty. He called that metric the Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®.  NPS measures customer experience, but it also predicts business growth and it provides the core measurement for customer/client experience management programs with organizations around the world.

In short, businesses that make their clients happy tend to grow and succeed.

As described by NICE Satmatrix, respondents to the question are grouped as follows:

  • Promoters (score 9-10): Loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth;
  • Passives (score 7-8): Satisfied but unenthusiastic customers/clients who are vulnerable to competitive offerings; and
  • Detractors (score 0-6): Unhappy customers/clients who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the NPS, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every client is a Promoter). 

Here’s an example of how NPS is calculated. To keep it simple, let’s say you’re a company that has ten clients:

  • four of which are promoters and very loyal;
  • four of which are passives (who think you’re good, but not great); and
  • two of which are detractors who are unhappy.

Subtract the 20% that are detractors from the 40% that are promoters, and you have an NPS score of 20.  See how that works?

As you can see, with a client population that is largely satisfied, but not happy and loyal, just a few detractors can make a big difference in the NPS score – so it’s difficult to achieve a high NPS score.  A company needs a lot more promoters than detractors to achieve a high score and as you can see by this chart of NPS scores for top brands, most find it difficult to achieve an NPS score of 30 or more (only 28% of the top brands on this list have a score higher than that). Believe it or not, 23% of those large and very well-known companies have a negative NPS score!

Of course, when considering providers, there are several factors you want to consider, including the experience level of the core service team, the depth of the provider’s services and capabilities, security infrastructure they provide, etc.  But the best measure of any provider is how happy their client base is – if they are happy with the provider’s services, that’s the best sign that your organization will be too.

So, if you want to know how happy the provider’s clients are (which is likely the best indicator of how your own experience will be), ask them for their NPS score. You don’t have to ask Compliance what ours is, we’ll tell you right here!  It’s 59!

For more information regarding NPS score and how it’s used, check out the ACEDS webinar on Thursday, November 19 at 1pm ET with Maribel Rivera, Senior Director of Community Relations at ACEDS, James Zinn, Director, Commercial Partnerships and Alliances at Relativity and our own Marc Zamsky, CEO at Compliance!


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