Editor's note: Julie Wittes Schlack is a consultant and former senior vice president, product innovation at customer agency C Space. 

The Net Promoter Score has lost some of its luster. Asking people about their intent to recommend a company or brand doesn’t yield results nearly as meaningful or actionable as does behavioral data about what they’ve actually done. Still, behavioral data is intrinsically backwards-looking and brands rightly hunger for predictive measures. With that in mind, customer agency C Space experimented with combining two measures – one predictive and one retrospective. Using predictive markets supported by the FastFocus market research platform, we found that consumers’ predictions regarding the likely recommendations (and detractions) made by others mapped closely to self-reported behavior measured by C Space’s proprietary Earned Advocacy Scores. This suggests a potentially promising new approach, one that invites consumers to anticipate what brands/products are likely to succeed (or be polarizing) via use of predictive markets, then tracking real-world outcomes using behavioral metrics like purchase data and the Earned Advocacy Score.

In May 2019, Forbes magazine contributor Ron Shevlin unapologetically declared that “it’s time to retire the Net Promoter Score.” His arguments – that NPS fails to take customer demographics into account, doesn’t explain why someone would or wouldn’t recommend a company and, most importantly, that it measures intention as opposed to behavior – echoed those made by a growing number of executives who were increasingly uncomfortable with assessing business performance using such an opaque and unactionable metric.

At C Space we’d been hearing similar misgivings from our clients. As Christina Stahlkopf noted in an HBR Online article (“Where Net Promoter Score goes wrong”), “Increasingly, companies across industries approached us because they were st...