Elements of a Successful Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Leveraged by a wide variety of industries, a Net Promoter Score has been a heavily adopted survey tactic that helps businesses gauge loyalty. Since inception, it’s proven to be successful, with many businesses citing it as a competitive advantage and a tool for revenue growth.

In this article, to help provide a top-down understanding of what a Net Promoter Score is and how it can aid you, we’re defining NPS by exploring its calculation and highlighting the best practices you can utilize to receive an optimal response rate.    

What Is A Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

A Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a system for gauging how likely your customers are to recommend your service or product to others. Similar to CSAT or CES surveys in that it is a one phrase question, NPS provides a more holistic view of how customers feel about your brand and their likelihood to recommend your business or product to others.

How To Calculate A Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The calculation of a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple process. Through the use of paper-based or online surveys, companies pose a simple one-phrase question either within a broader survey, or by itself.

The NPS question is as follows:

“How likely are you to refer/recommend our business?”

Customers are then presented with the option to answer the question on a rating from 0-10, where 0 equates to“Very Unlikely” and 10 equates to “Very Likely”. Using this scoring system, they are then grouped into 3 categories; Promoter, Passive, and Detractor. Here, we break down what each means:

  1. Promoter: A customer who rates the business, service, or product either 9-10. This customer will actively refer other customers and is responsible for business growth.
  2. Passive: A customer who rates the business, service, or product either 7-8. Although satisfied, this customer isn’t jumping at the chance to tell people about the business, service, or product and can be swayed by other brands.
  3. Detractor: A customer who rates the business, service, or product either 0-6. These customers will most likely not recommend the business, service, or product, can hinder growth, and can tarnish the brand’s reputation.

With an NPS survey, the business’s objective is to generate as many “Promoters” as possible and learn from passive and detracting customers. The more “Promoters”, the more likely a business is to retain customers and generate new revenue from word of mouth marketing.

Understanding the sentiment of an entire audience is also a simple undertaking. To do so, a business simply categorizes their desired amount of respondents as either a “Promoter”, “Passive”, or “Detractor”, then add up how many customers rate as “Promoter” or “Detractor” specifically. Using those results, then subtract the “Detractors” by the “Promoters” to receive a final NPS score.

The Percentage of Detractors  – Percentage of Promoters = Final NPS Score

Why Net Promoter Scores (NPS) Are Important.

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) holds a great deal of value regardless of industry, proving to aid in customer retention efforts and the building of brand advocates. With an NPS survey, businesses gain insight into how their business is resonating with customers, which can help identify areas that are excelling or areas of improvement. By listening to that feedback and taking active steps to enhance the experience, businesses can build stronger connections with customers and increase the probability of return visits.

Net Promoter Scores are also a low cost and effortless insight tool to implement. As a one-phrase question, a business can implement it into an already existing survey or prompt a customer with a follow-up email after their experience. What’s more, there is little uplift when it comes to calculating an NPS score, or no uplift if a business uses a technology solution that’s helping to deploy and measure.

Lastly, an NPS survey can help a business grow in their respective markets. By consistently gathering information and feedback from customers, they can put themselves directly in the know of new trends and customer expectations. Therefore, by using an NPS, any business can use insights to make more strategic decisions and plan a more promising future for long-term growth.

NPS Best Practices

Like any business practice, the only way to achieve optimal results is by following a set of best practices. In order to help you see the best results, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective tactics to incorporate into your NPS survey.

Send It In Real-Time

To ensure the experience is top of mind with the customer and they’re providing the most authentic feedback, sending the survey in real-time is ideal. With real-time deployment, customers will feel more inclined to fill it out. In addition, it can deter them from expressing negative sentiment online.

In order to make sure your surveys are going out in a timely fashion, or if you’re looking to automate the entire process, a customer experience management solution can be beneficial. With it, you can schedule messages to go out, respond on multiple channels through one inbox, and measure the entire survey journey.

Make It Simple And Mobile Friendly

When it comes to any type of customer survey, the goal should be to make it as effortless as possible. The customer should be delighted to fill out the survey, not overwhelmed. This means providing a simple and intuitive design that looks just as good on a customer’s mobile device as it does on their desktop. With the steady reliance on smartphones around the globe, not being mobile-optimized can equate to a huge missed opportunity.

Personalize the Accompanied Message.

A friendly and inviting message is always a great way to entice customers to fill out a survey. However, by personalizing the message you increase the odds of them filling it out even more. According to Statista,The open rate for emails with a personalized message was 18.8%, as compared to 13.1%  without any personalization.”

When sending out your NPS survey, a minimum best practice would be including the customer’s name within the first sentence. If you’re looking to really impress your customers, try adding more personalized information throughout the email. It’s important to note that the more personal you get, the stronger the connection you can forge with your customers, which can entice them to provide more feedback.

Ask More Probing Questions.

In order to get more granular and to uncover specific issues within your business, pairing your NPS with other, relevant probing questions is a great tactic. With it, customers can elaborate on why they scored your establishment the way that they did. For example, if they were satisfied, what was it about their visit that was so great? The employees? The product or service? The cleanliness? Knowing the more granular details can help you pinpoint specific aspects of your business that are doing well or need improvement.

How a CEM Solution Can Further Your NPS Efforts.

In order to modernize your NPS survey, a Customer Experience Management (CEM) solution can be a great addition.

With a CEM solution, you streamline the process of collecting feedback and identify new ways of getting more responses for a Net Promoter Score. A CEM solution can help your business obtain more granular insight like customer details, the communication channel used, and assisting employee so that you can have more context.

With an ideal CEM, you can additionally collect data on the customer experience from an hourly, shift, and daily basis – and use reporting tools to understand trends and issues. Using that information, you recognize how to improve and continuously deliver an exceptional customer experience.

In addition to helping you achieve your desired score, a CEM can also help you deploy your NPS survey in a way that resonates with them and requires little uplift from you. By deploying surveys through a CEM solution, you approach customers on the channel of their choice and in a format you wish. Rather than having team members go through stacks of surveys, the data you receive is calculated with ease and summarized, taking the strain off your team.

Lastly, with a CEM solution, you can motivate team members in real-time with insights into customer satisfaction. A modern CEM solution will use back of house scoreboards or daily email summary digests where customer satisfaction ratings can be shown to team members immediately after the customer has scored, or in the case of an email, as a summary of a prior day’s performance. These scores can provide employees with insight into what areas they are excelling in and what areas need work, so everyone is striving for impeccable service.


Since inception, Net Promoter Scores have been the tried and true way of gauging customer loyalty and intent to recommend a business. As a simple one phrase question, it’s easy to implement and effective in providing valuable insight. However, with modern trends in technology and changing customer preferences, solely relying on an NPS can have its faults. This is why we suggest the addition of a customer engagement management solution. By modernizing your NPS with a CEM, you increase the response rate, get more granular feedback, and can ensure you’re obtaining the most effective information – a recipe for a more successful Net Promoter Score program.


What tactics are you using to listen to your customers? Discover the top tips to gain the most insight from your customer base in our white paper: The New Voice of The Customer. 

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