In 2003, researchers everywhere were stunned by an article in the Harvard Business Review titled "The One Number You Need to Grow" by Frederick Reichheld, a director emeritus of the consulting firm Bain & Co. What Reichheld discovered in a study of more than 4,000 consumers is that a company can, very accurately, anticipate its short-term success based on how customers answer the question: "How likely is it you would recommend (company X) to a friend or colleague?" 

"If growth is what you're after, you won't learn much from complex measurements of customer satisfaction or retention," Reichheld writes. "You simply need to know what your customers tell their friends about you." 

Since 2006, Flaspöhler Research Group has included this question in all of our surveys for insurers, reinsurers, engineering firms, law firms and accounting firms. Based on the answers to this question, we calculate a Client Advocate Score (CAS) for our clients and for each major competitor in the industry. A company's CAS is simply a net measure of whether or not a company's clients are advocating usage of the company to colleagues.

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