SOURCE: Alignable, Inc.

Alignable, Inc.

February 18, 2016 08:00 ET

Love Them or Leave Them: New Index Reveals Small Businesses' Most, Least Recommended Brands

Alignable Offers First Glimpse Into Latest NPS® Scores of Today's Most Talked About Tech Brands

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwired - Feb 18, 2016) - Alignable, the social network for small business owners, today announced the findings of its first quarterly SMB Trust Index(SM), highlighting the sentiments of more than 6,000 North American small business owners toward the products and services they are most and least likely to recommend to their peers. This first publicly available Net Promoter Score ® (NPS) report for small business technology brands reveals how they stack up to each other and the competition.

Notable findings from Q4 2015 include:

  • WordPress, with a NPS of 73, ranks highest among small business owners, followed by Authorize.Net and MailChimp.
  • Yelp and Groupon are at the bottom of the barrel with scores of -66 and -65, respectively.
  • Facebook continues to lose ground, falling out of the top 10.
  • MailChimp and Square both saw their scores rise by three points.

"The availability of NPS data on local marketing providers will impact how business owners make buying decisions," says Greg Sterling, VP of strategy for Local Search Association. "That, in turn, could radically affect how brands act in the market."

The number of small and medium businesses (SMBs) adopting cloud-computing services, such as those highlighted in Alignable's SMB Trust Index, is growing at a staggering rate. According to Compass Intelligence research, the American SMB cloud computing and services market is poised to hit $55 billion in 2016, up 450 percent from 2011.

"There is certainly huge opportunity for brands in this market, but in selling to small businesses, success revolves around gaining a disproportionate share of the available market," says Eric Groves, Alignable co-founder and CEO. "To claim this share, brands must be both present and trusted among the small business community. These net promoter scores reflect just how well some brands are -- and aren't -- doing that."

Insights from the index include:

Internal NPS Scores Don't Tell the Whole Story
When brands survey existing customers to determine NPS, true brand sentiment is only partially captured. Of course, those who use a brand are in general more likely to recommend it than are the others who have decided to not work with that brand. This situation can lead to disparities in reported NPS and actual NPS. For instance, OnDeck has self-reported a NPS of 73, yet the Alignable SMB Trust Index (which surveyed a population representative of all small business owners) shows OnDeck's NPS is actually closer to -50.

SMBs Trust Each Other When Evaluating Brands
With more than 6,000 small business owners sharing their honest thoughts on multiple brands for the benefit of business owners they don't even know, it's clear they welcome the opportunity to help others make informed business decisions. As borders vanish with technology's growth, social networks are becoming the environment small business owners seek to share insights, concerns and opinions with one another.

Social Networks Offer Remedy for Choice Fatigue
A recent report from the Local Search Association shows that SMBs receive on average 17 sales calls a month. Though overwhelming, this number is unsurprising, considering the multiple names on the SMB Trust index that are actively pitching their products and services to small businesses. This overload causes small business owners to turn to each other to figure out which brands are worthwhile and trustworthy. The index shows WordPress and Authorize.net are worthy of referrals, while Groupon and Yelp miss the mark.

"Small business owners find themselves inundated by vendors marketing to them, and the decision-making process can be overwhelming," says Venkat Krishnamurthy, Alignable president and co-founder. "It's never been more important for entrepreneurs to have a solid network where they can seek advice and ideas from one another."

To view Alignable's SMB Trust Index, see here. Additionally, to help understand what makes a brand strong as well as weak, Alignable created word clouds from the comments on four of the more popular brands in this version of the SMB Trust Index. Head to Alignable's SMB Insights page to see those.

Methodology, Timing, and NPS
More than 6,000 North American small business owners have used Alignable's platform to provide detailed ratings and reviews of the brands they're most and least likely to recommend to other business owners.

Between June 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015, 6,496 Alignable members rated these brands on a sliding scale from 0-10. The scores were calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (everyone who rated a brand 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (everyone who rated a brand 9-10). Relative position changes from Q3 to Q4 were generated from the 25 percent net new ratings added to the database in the quarter.

Far more opinions than a single brand can reach or leverage, the businesses on Alignable's platform candidly and openly stated who they are most and least likely to recommend to other business owners.

The Net Promoter system was introduced by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company in 2004, and was based on research supported by Satmetrix. It helps to measure the likelihood that consumers will recommend a brand's products or services to one another. Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

About Alignable
Alignable is the free social network for small business owners. Using Alignable's platform, small business owners connect with others nearby, within their industries, and across North America based on their interests. More than 7,000 communities across North America are using Alignable to build business networks to grow their businesses and succeed. Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Alignable is a privately held company with the backing of prominent investors in small business, networking and data, including Mayfield, Saturn Partners, NextView Ventures, Boston Seed, CrunchFund, Kensington and Lead Edge Capital.

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