What is a net promoter score (NPS)?

Few things are as valuable in life or in business as a good reputation. It’s what we all strive for, but how do you ever really know what customers think of you? 

Fortunately, there’s a way to quantify a company’s reputation through a net promoter score (NPS)

NPS is a metric used to measure customer experience – how likely your customers are to promote your brand in a positive way to friends and family whether that’s through social media, word of mouth, or other channels. 

How is NPS calculated? What are ‘promoters’ and ‘detractors’?

The NPS scoring system comprises three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors. 

  • Promoters are loyal customers who encourage others to give your brand a try. 
  • Passives are happy customers, but for one reason or another they aren’t completely sold on your brand. They are less likely to tell others about you and more likely to purchase from one of your competitors. 
  • Detractors are customers who have had a bad experience and who will actively dissuade others from buying from you. That can be a big problem.

How is NPS measured?

Before you can learn what your NPS score is, you’ll need to poll your customers to find out where they stand. One way of doing that is by inviting them to participate in a post-sale survey. 

You might ask how likely they are to recommend your brand to others, using a 0 – 10 scale. This will give you the percentages with which you could calculate NPS.

  • Those respondents who select 0 – 5, for example, are classified as detractors
  • Those who select 6 – 8 are classified as passives
  • Anyone who chooses 9 or 10 can be classified as a promoter

To calculate your NPS score, subtract the percentage of your customers who are detractors from the percentage of your customers who are promoters. Passives are considered neutral, therefore they don’t figure into the NPS calculation. If 80% of your customers are promoters and 10% are detractors, then your NPS is 70.

How do I make a good NPS survey?

To get accurate data, you need a good NPS survey. 

“A high NPS is a good indication that you’re doing something right as a brand”

  • Keep your questions brief and to the point, but also specific to your various products and services. 
  • Ask questions such as “How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a colleague or a friend?” 
  • A customer who would promote one of your offerings, for instance, might not be so enthusiastic about promoting another one. If so, you need to know and you need to know why. 
  • Be careful not to lead your customers to respond positively with the wording of a question. You’re looking for honest feedback. 
  • After each question, give respondents a simple scale, like the 0 – 10 example above, from which to choose. 
  • It can be beneficial to offer customers a comment box where they can share their unique perspectives. 
  • Lastly, be sure to thank your customers for their time and let them know their opinions are valued.

A high NPS is a good indication that you’re doing something right as a brand. In that scenario, shore up your strengths and turn your attention toward fine-tuning any weaknesses your customers point out. 

Conversely, a lower score might be hard to accept, but it can provide you with a valuable roadmap in which to guide your improvement efforts.