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Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Guide with Examples

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a powerful tool for gauging customer loyalty and satisfaction. This article demystifies NPS, guiding you on how to calculate it and effectively utilize it to drive business growth and customer-centric improvements. Read on to harness the full potential of this indispensable metric.

Understanding and leveraging customer loyalty is crucial for business success, and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) serves as a vital tool for achieving this. As a simple yet profound metric, NPS measures customers’ willingness to recommend a business, thereby providing insights into customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into how to calculate NPS, interpret its results, and effectively use it to enhance your business strategy. Whether you’re a novice or looking to refine your understanding, this article will equip you with the knowledge to fully harness the power of NPS in your business context.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Definition and How to Calculate it?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer experience metric that measures customer loyalty and is predictive of business growth. It is calculated by asking customers the question “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” Based on their responses, customers are categorized into three groups: Promoters (9-10 ratings), Passives (7-8 ratings), and Detractors (0-6 ratings). To calculate your NPS, subtract the percentage of Detractor responses from the percentage of Promoter responses, disregarding the Passives. This score can range from -100 to 100. To calculate your NPS, follow these steps:

  1. Survey your customers and ask them the NPS question.
  2. Categorize the responses into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
  3. Calculate the percentage of Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
  4. Subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
  5. Disregard the Passives.

Interpreting your NPS is crucial for understanding customer loyalty and business growth. Higher NPS scores indicate a healthier business, while lower scores may indicate potential customer satisfaction and loyalty issues. A score of 75% to more than 80% is considered world-class loyalty. Scores above 0 are generally positive, while scores below 0 are negative. A score of 50 or higher is considered excellent, while a score below 30 may indicate room for improvement.

It is important to note that the true value of NPS comes from the customer feedback. Analyzing and acting on survey feedback insights is what will continue to move your business forward. Additionally, comparing your company’s scores region to region, branch to branch, sales rep to sales rep, and customer segment to customer segment can uncover root causes of differences and share best practices from your highest-scoring groups. Surveying your competitors’ customers using the same method can also provide valuable insights into how your company stacks up against the competition.

Interpreting your NPS is crucial for understanding customer loyalty and business growth. Higher NPS scores indicate a healthier business, while lower scores may indicate potential customer satisfaction and loyalty issues. A score of 75% to more than 80% is considered world-class loyalty. Scores above 0 are generally positive, while scores below 0 are negative. A score of 50 or higher is considered excellent, while a score below 30 may indicate room for improvement.

Why is Net Promoter Score Important?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a powerful tool in market research, serving as a key indicator of customer sentiment, brand loyalty, and overall customer experience. Its simplicity, combined with its ability to provide actionable insights, has made it an essential element in the toolkit of market researchers worldwide.

At its core, NPS measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. This is crucial information for any business because word-of-mouth referrals are often more effective and less costly than traditional marketing methods. When a customer recommends a product or service, they’re putting their own reputation on the line, which is a clear indicator of their trust and loyalty to the brand.

In addition, NPS provides a means of benchmarking against competitors. In an increasingly competitive market landscape, understanding how your business compares to others in terms of customer loyalty can be invaluable. If your NPS is higher than your competitors’, it indicates that your customers are more likely to recommend your products or services, giving you a competitive edge. Conversely, if your NPS is lower, it signals a need for improvement.

In the era of social media and online reviews, the importance of NPS in market research is even more pronounced. A high NPS indicates that a business is likely to receive positive online reviews and social media mentions, which can significantly enhance its reputation and attract new customers. On the other hand, a low NPS suggests a risk of negative online sentiment, which can be damaging to a business’s reputation.

What Is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

What Is Net Promoter Score (NPS)? – by TemkinGroup (03m:45s)

Tips for Using Net Promoter Score (NPS)

When used correctly, NPS provides valuable insights that can help a business improve its products, services, and overall customer experience. Here are some tips on how to correctly prepare and use the Net Promoter Score.

  • Understanding the NPS – Before implementing the NPS, it’s crucial to understand what it is and how it works. The NPS is based on one simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” Based on their responses, customers are categorized as promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), or detractors (0-6). The NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
  • Establishing the Right Time and Platform for Surveying – Deciding when and how to survey your customers can significantly impact the reliability of your NPS. Generally, it’s best to survey customers after they’ve had a meaningful interaction with your company, such as after a purchase or customer service experience. As for the platform, consider where your customers are most active and likely to respond, whether that’s through email, on your website, or via a mobile app.
  • Keeping the Survey Short and Simple – One of the strengths of the NPS is its simplicity. Avoid the temptation to add additional questions to the NPS survey. A longer market research survey can lead to lower response rates and fatigue, which may skew the results. If you need more detailed feedback, consider conducting a separate, more comprehensive survey.
  • Ensuring Anonymity – Customers should feel comfortable providing honest feedback. Assure them that their responses will be anonymous and used only for improving your business. This can help increase response rates and ensure the accuracy of your NPS.
  • Analyzing and Acting on the Results – Simply calculating your NPS isn’t enough. To make the most of the NPS, you should dig deeper into the results. Look at the distribution of promoters, passives, and detractors. Are there more detractors than promoters? If so, this signals a need for improvement. You should also segment the results by various demographic and behavioral factors, such as age, purchase history, and product usage. This can provide valuable insights into how different customer groups perceive your business.
  • Benchmarking and Tracking Changes Over Time – Use your NPS as a benchmark to compare against future scores and those of your competitors. This can help you gauge your performance over time and in relation to others in your industry. Keep in mind that the NPS is a dynamic metric. Regularly updating your NPS can help you track changes in customer sentiment and assess the impact of various initiatives.
  • Ask Follow-Up Questions – While the NPS question is powerful, it can be beneficial to ask a follow-up question to understand the reasons behind the score given. For example, after the initial NPS question, you could ask: “What’s the primary reason for your score?” This open-ended question can provide valuable context and insights into specific areas of improvement.
  • Consider Cultural Differences – If your business operates globally, remember that cultural differences may influence the way people respond to surveys. Customers from different cultures may interpret the scoring scale differently. Therefore, be careful when comparing scores across different regions or countries.
  • Regularly Review and Update Your Approach – Like any tool, the NPS should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it remains effective. This involves reassessing when and how you survey customers, how you analyze the results, and how you act on the feedback.
  • Respond to Feedback Quickly – It’s important to close the feedback loop by responding to customers promptly, especially to detractors. This shows customers that you value their feedback and are committed to improving their experience. Timely responses can sometimes even turn detractors into promoters.
  • Educate Your Team – Ensure that everyone in your organization understands what the NPS is, how it works, and why it’s important. This can help to foster a shared understanding and commitment to improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Be Patient – Improving your NPS takes time, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see immediate results. Stay committed to listening to your customers, acting on their feedback, and continuously improving their experience.

Benefits of Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  1. Simplicity and Clarity
    One of the most significant advantages of using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is its simplicity. The NPS operates based on a single question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” This simplicity allows for a clear and unambiguous interpretation of customer sentiment, making it easy to understand and communicate across the organization.
  2. Identifying Brand Advocates and Detractors
    The NPS helps to categorize customers into promoters, passives, and detractors. Promoters (scoring 9 or 10) are loyal enthusiasts who will continue to buy and refer others. Detractors (scoring 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand through negative word-of-mouth. By understanding these groups, companies can strategize their marketing and service efforts more effectively.
  3. Benchmarking Performance
    NPS offers a standardized measure that enables businesses to benchmark performance against competitors or industry standards. This uniformity provides organizations with a clear indication of where they stand in the market and how their customer satisfaction levels compare to those of other players in the industry.
  4. Highlighting Areas for Improvement
    One of the most potent aspects of the NPS is its ability to spotlight areas for improvement. By following up with customers, particularly detractors, businesses can dig deeper into the issues and develop solutions. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and customer-centricity, making sure that organizations are always striving to better serve their customer base.
  5. Predicting Business Growth
    There’s a proven correlation between a high NPS and business success. Promoters tend to stay longer, buy more, and bring in new customers, all of which contribute to business growth. Therefore, the NPS can serve as a useful metric for forecasting future business performance and guiding strategic planning.
  6. Improving Customer Retention
    NPS plays a significant role in improving customer retention. By identifying the issues causing customers to become detractors, companies can work to rectify these problems, thereby reducing churn and increasing customer loyalty. This is crucial, as retaining existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
  7. Promoting Internal Alignment
    The NPS also encourages internal alignment within a business. It can serve as a shared goal that unites all departments – from marketing to product development, from customer service to sales. Everyone’s efforts can contribute to improving the NPS, fostering a customer-first mindset across the entire organization.

Drawbacks of Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  1. Lack of Diagnostic Information
    One of the primary drawbacks of using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is its lack of diagnostic information. While the NPS offers a broad perspective on customer loyalty, it doesn’t provide specific insights into why customers are satisfied or dissatisfied. Without these detailed insights, businesses may struggle to devise effective strategies for improvement.
  2. Over-Reliance on a Single Metric
    The simplicity of NPS, while a strength, can also be a pitfall. Over-reliance on this single metric can lead to a skewed understanding of customer satisfaction. Customer sentiment is a complex construct that can’t be entirely encapsulated by a single number. It’s essential for businesses to use NPS in conjunction with other metrics for a more comprehensive view of customer experience.
  3. Vulnerability to Manipulation
    Another potential issue with NPS is that it can be manipulated. There might be a temptation to nudge customers towards higher scores to boost the overall NPS. This manipulation not only undermines the reliability of the score but also distorts the understanding of genuine customer sentiment, ultimately damaging the integrity of the feedback process.
  4. Inadequate Representation of Passive Customers
    NPS has a binary approach to customer sentiment, classifying customers as either promoters or detractors. This approach fails to adequately represent the group of customers who fall into the passive category (those who score 7 or 8). Passives, who neither actively promote nor detract the brand, can provide valuable feedback and insights, which often get overlooked.
  5. Cultural Differences in Scoring
    Cultural differences in scoring can also skew NPS results. Customers from different cultures may have different interpretations of the rating scale. For instance, in some cultures, giving a ‘perfect’ score is less common, even if the customer is satisfied. Therefore, businesses operating globally need to consider these cultural variances when interpreting NPS.
  6. Limited Use in B2B Context
    NPS tends to be less effective in a B2B context. B2B relationships often involve multiple stakeholders with varying levels of influence and satisfaction. Thus, a single score may not accurately reflect the overall sentiment of the client organization.


In conclusion, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a critical tool that enables businesses to measure and understand customer loyalty. Its strength lies in its simplicity, allowing businesses of any size to gauge customer sentiment quickly and easily. However, calculating your NPS is just the first step. The real value of NPS lies in how you interpret and act on the insights it provides.

With NPS, you can segment your customers into promoters, passives, and detractors, and develop targeted strategies to enhance their experience. By identifying the reasons behind customer scores, you can pinpoint areas of improvement and work towards enhancing customer satisfaction. Regularly tracking your NPS helps you to monitor changes over time and assess the impact of different initiatives.

Moreover, remember that NPS is not a standalone tool. It should be used as part of a broader suite of metrics to provide a holistic view of customer satisfaction and business performance. When used correctly, NPS can be a powerful tool to drive customer-centric improvements, foster business growth, and gain a competitive edge in the market. As you continue your journey with NPS, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is not just to increase your score, but to enhance the overall experience for your customers.

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FAQs on Net Promoter Score

How is NPS calculated?

To calculate NPS, respondents are divided into three categories based on their rating: Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8), and Detractors (score 0-6). The NPS is determined by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The resulting NPS can range from -100 to +100, with higher scores indicating higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What is the significance of Net Promoter Score?

NPS is a valuable tool for businesses as it provides a simple and standardized way to measure customer loyalty and track changes over time. It helps identify areas for improvement by focusing on customer feedback and understanding what drives customer satisfaction. Moreover, NPS has been correlated with business growth and profitability, making it a key performance indicator for many organizations.

Can NPS be benchmarked across industries?

Yes, NPS can be benchmarked across industries to gain insights into relative performance. Several research organizations provide industry-specific NPS benchmarks, enabling companies to compare their scores against competitors or industry averages. Benchmarking helps identify areas where a business may be excelling or falling behind, allowing for targeted improvements.

How can a company improve its NPS?

Improving NPS involves focusing on enhancing the customer experience and addressing any issues or pain points. Some strategies to improve NPS include actively listening to customer feedback, implementing changes based on customer suggestions, providing excellent customer service, personalizing interactions, ensuring product or service quality, and fostering a customer-centric culture within the organization.

Can NPS be used for market research or product development?

Yes, NPS can be used as part of market research and product development efforts. It can provide insights into customer preferences, identify areas of improvement or innovation, and help prioritize product or service enhancements based on customer feedback. By analyzing NPS scores and associated comments, businesses can gain valuable insights into what drives customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to better decision-making.

Are there any alternatives to NPS?

While NPS is widely used, there are alternative customer satisfaction metrics available. Some common alternatives include Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Loyalty Index (CLI). These metrics may focus on different aspects of the customer experience, such as overall satisfaction, ease of doing business, or repeat purchase intentions. It's important to select a metric that aligns with your specific goals and captures the insights you seek.

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