Research has shown that referrals are the best source of new students for Jewish day schools. But how do schools know if their parents are referrers? How can they judge their reputation within their parent body?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used customer loyalty metric that was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix in 2003. It is based on a single question: “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” Respondents are asked to rate their likelihood of recommending on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being “not at all likely” and 10 being “extremely likely.” Based on their responses, customers are categorized into three groups: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (0-6).
To calculate the NPS score, the percentage of Detractors is subtracted from the percentage of Promoters. The resulting score can range from -100 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction. NPS has become a popular metric in many industries because it is simple, easy to understand and provides a clear indicator of the reputational strength of the product or organization. For day schools, NPS provides an effective indicator of the strength of their reputation within their community.
NPS in JDS
While NPS was initially developed for use in business settings, it has become increasingly popular in other areas, including education. In the context of education, NPS is used to measure parent and student satisfaction and loyalty. By asking parents and students how likely they are to recommend the school to a friend or colleague, schools can get a clear picture of how their communities perceive them.
In addition to the NPS question, a parent survey will include a variety of questions about the full range of the school experience. This will allow schools to draw correlations between how parents rated individual aspects of the schools and how likely they were to recommend the school to others, giving schools a roadmap of areas to concentrate on to improve their scores.
A recent parent survey of nine elementary schools in Toronto, commissioned by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, sheds light on how parents viewed their school and the factors that most contributed to the overall likelihood of parents to recommend the school to others. The parent survey asked a broad range of questions, including the basic NPS question about likelihood to recommend.
The study found that the range of NPS scores across the nine elementary schools, three Orthodox and six non-Orthodox, was -17 to 54, with an average of 26. While this range may seem wide, it is not uncommon for NPS scores to vary widely among different organizations. There is no set standard for a good NPS score as it is highly dependent on the industry. Nobody likes their internet service provider, so the average score is only 2! According to ISM, school NPS scores above 40 are considered good while 15-39 is in the “needs improvement” category.
There were some notable differences in the NPS scores between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewish day schools. Utilizing factor analysis, a statistical method for uncovering connections and patterns between responses, it was revealed that Orthodox schools had lower satisfaction scores with regards to how they handled Covid-19, which significantly affected their overall NPS scores. The parent survey was performed during significant Covid-19 restrictions in Canada. These restrictions were frustrating for parents, and this was an especially difficult issue for Orthodox schools to navigate.
Most importantly, the study found that higher NPS scores correlated with several key factors that are critical to the success of any school. Higher school scores correlated with parents who felt the school provided support for the needs of each student, their health and safety, and their social-emotional growth. Additionally, schools where the respondents trusted their school’s leadership, felt that communication was effective, and were satisfied with the overall school environment (both inside and outside the classroom) received higher NPS scores. Interestingly, higher NPS scores were not as closely correlated with responses to questions about satisfaction with general or Jewish school subjects such as math or Hebrew.
Simplicity is a key benefit of NPS. Any school can include the NPS question as part of a larger parent survey and immediately get a sense of the strength of their reputation within their school community. The next step is to conduct the regression analysis, correlating the responses to other questions within the survey to the NPS. While this takes some knowledge of statistics, a graduate student who relies on statistics can perform the analysis. This does not need to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. When complete, a school will understand where they stand and the most important issues to focus on to improve their standing.
NPS is an important tool for measuring satisfaction and loyalty in Jewish day schools. By focusing on key areas such as student support, leadership and communication, and the overall school environment, schools can improve their NPS scores and create a better educational experience for their students and families. No matter the baseline score at any school, focusing on these key areas can help all schools improve their NPS scores and provide a better educational experience for their students and families.