Review of The Ultimate Question 2.0

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Bain & Company partner Fred Reichheld returns with a best-selling “revised and updated” version of his 2006 bestseller, The Ultimate Question – this time with a co-author, Bain partner Rob Markey. The original book instructed businesses that just one question matters: Will your customers recommend your company to friends, family and strangers? This sequel arrives 10 years after the first book. Since new technologies and constantly accelerating change make today’s business environment barely comparable to the commercial climate a decade ago, readers will find this update valuable and likely indispensable. The authors explain how and when to ask the “Ultimate Question.” They delve into how to structure surveys to measure the aligned, widely accepted metric – the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has evolved into the Net Promoter System. NPS tells you what percentage of your buyers would respond to the ultimate question by recommending your company, offering, services and customer experience. The authors make a convincing, if somewhat repetitive, case for NPS. In the book’s mostly new second half, they offer illustrative histories about companies that use it successfully, including Apple Retail, JetBlue and Charles Schwab. getAbstract recommends this readable, practical guide to managers and small business owners, as well as to entrepreneurs who want to inculcate NPS’s customer loyalty principles into their ventures from the beginning.

About the Author

Bain & Company partner and fellow Fred Reichheld’s books include The Loyalty Effect, Loyalty Rules! and The Ultimate Question. Rob Markey, also a Bain partner, leads the firm’s Customer Strategy and Marketing practice and heads its “Net Promoter Score” Loyalty Forum.


Components of the NPS System

Reichheld invented NPS, debuting it in the 2003 Harvard Business Review article where he first offered the dramatic question that forever changed business tactics: “On a zero-to-ten scale, how likely is it that you would recommend this product/service/brand to a friend or colleague?” NPS measures consumers’ responses. Using NPS as a primary metric calls for devoting your resources and strategies to customer loyalty and retention, making NPS feedback intrinsic to how you operate, and seeing NPS as a spur to putting buyers first permanently, not as a one-off program.

Reichheld’s genius question rests on a simple, sweeping concept. It answers everything a company needs to know about how its buyers feel about what it does. Reichheld also proposed a crucial follow-up question: “What is the primary reason for your score?” In the 10 years since the first Ultimate Question book, that query has become deeply familiar to consumers. It’s now part of the common parlance of business. Many successful firms measure what percentage of their customers respond with NPS rankings of nine or ten.

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    Steve Towers 2 years ago
    Obviously, the writer(s) of this summary have been drinking the same kool-aid as the original author. Google 'NPS' and get a better understanding of why betting the farm on this one question may be the ultimate in self-delusion.