Article | 7 min read

How to collect and use Net Promoter Score® data in 2023

Leverage Net Promoter Score® data to enhance the customer experience and boost your bottom line.

By Peter Alig, Contributing Writer

Last updated January 4, 2023

Remember that scene in Jurassic World where the flying pterosaurs escape and start attacking everyone in the park? What if three months later, a Net Promoter Score® (NPS) survey accidentally goes out to that day’s guests?

net promoter score

Let’s just say Jurassic World would need to consider a rebrand when the results came back.

The lesson for us? NPS is a key way for companies to determine if they’re offering a positive customer experience. For support teams, the metric is a clear indicator of whether or not they’re meeting customers’ expectations.

What is Net Promoter Score®?

Net Promoter Score® is a metric that measures customer loyalty. Companies typically use it to evaluate the quality of their customer experience. First developed in 1993 by Fred Reichheld, NPS is measured by asking your audience a simple survey question: How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?

net promoter score

The NPS survey respondent selects a number between 0 and 10, and their answer places them into one of three categories:

  • Detractors (respondents who answer 0–6): unhappy customers who are unlikely to recommend your business.
  • Passives (respondents who answer 7 or 8): customers who might recommend your business if they continue to have good experiences.
  • Promoters (respondents who answer 9 or 10): your most loyal customers will likely recommend your business through word of mouth.

Unlike the customer satisfaction (CSAT) score or Customer Effort Score (CES), NPS most often measures a buyer’s overall perception of a brand—not their impression of one interaction or purchase.

To adapt NPS to a single interaction, add a phrase to your core question: “How likely are you to recommend [company] to a [friend or colleague] based on [your customer support call on February 3, 2022]?”

How to calculate NPS

Once you have all your customer survey responses, you can calculate your NPS using the following methods.

Manual calculation

Segment your results into detractors, passives, and promoters. To determine your overall Net Promoter Score®, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

net promoter score

Passives are left out of the scoring because their sentiment isn’t strong enough. But it’s still a good idea to identify these folks for targeted follow-up.

Wondering what a good NPS score is? There’s no clear answer. NPS benchmarks vary by industry, according to Statista.

The key is to aim for continual score improvement. To figure out where you can strengthen your customer experience, include an open-ended question at the end of your NPS survey, such as: “How can we improve your experience?”

Automated NPS metric calculation

If you have thousands of customers, you can use software like Zendesk to automate the collection and processing of Net Promoter Score® survey responses.

We’ve built an NPS survey right into our platform. With just a few clicks, you can instantly send the one-question survey, gather feedback, calculate the score, and compile a report. Zendesk also automatically updates customer profiles with NPS scores, so your support team can personalize each interaction accordingly. An agent will want to use different playbooks with detractors and promoters, for instance.

Whether you collect NPS surveys manually or automatically, stick to a clear schedule for sending them. If you send them too often, customers might feel like you’re spamming them. You should also set a benchmark response rate so you know when to adjust your survey delivery method.

What can you measure using NPS surveys?

A customer support team typically uses Net Promoter Score® surveys to assess the quality of their interactions. Beyond support, companies can also use NPS surveys to gauge how their customer base feels about their products, their services, or the business as a whole.

Customer support quality

After a support agent closes a ticket, send the customer an NPS survey to see if they’re satisfied with the help they received. A support team’s NPS survey might consist of something like this:

  • Core question: “Based on your recent support experience, how likely are you to recommend [Company Name] to your friends and family?”
  • Follow-up open-ended question: “How can we improve the support experience?” or “What did you like or dislike about your support experience?”

Product quality

Wondering whether customers are enjoying your product? Send an NPS survey a few days after their product is delivered.

Say your product team is having trouble deciding whether they should add features to the company’s core software. Your quarterly NPS survey might ask:

  • Core question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [Product Name] to a friend or colleague?”
  • Follow-up question: “What features would improve [Product Name]?”

Customer experience quality

Often, a company’s leadership team is curious to know what customers think of their business as a whole. To evaluate overall brand perception, you might send this NPS survey:

  • Core question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [Business Name] to a colleague?”
  • Follow-up question: “How can we improve your customer experience?”

Once you’ve gathered and analyzed NPS responses, you can begin making the necessary improvements to your support, products, or customer experience.

What can you do with your NPS score?

The short and simple answer: companies use NPS scores to inform how they keep their customers happy and loyal.

But what does that look like in practice? Here are a few ways to act on your NPS results.

Enhance your customer service

In the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2022, 68 percent of respondents said most businesses need to improve their customer service. NPS scores can help you do just that.

Before interacting with customers, support agents can check their NPS score using software like Zendesk. Agents can quickly view each buyer’s NPS rating and feedback in their profile, enabling them to tailor their service accordingly. For example, if an agent notices they’re going to interact with a detractor, they can provide better, more appropriate responses because they know exactly how that customer feels.

Agents don’t need to wait until the customer reaches out again, either. Once they spot a detractor score, they can connect with that person directly to understand what went wrong and how their team can improve the situation.

Promoters drive the most business growth, so it’s worth following up with them, too. Agents can reach out to thank them for their loyalty, offer a reward (such as a discount code or free gift), and ask for a referral.

Improve your products

If you pair your core NPS survey question with an open-ended question, you can learn why a customer gave you a certain rating. The responses will tell you how customers feel about your product and how you can strengthen it for future users.

Say you send an NPS survey a month after a major product release. You notice scores are lower than those from the previous release, which means your latest product may have fallen short of expectations. Your support team can review the customer feedback and send it to product developers, who can then decide to release a revamped version, add a feature, or create a new product altogether. Once the next iteration launches, you can send another NPS survey to determine whether the change satisfied customers.

Walker & Company, the makers of Bevel, uses NPS scores to adjust the product experience. “For us, NPS is more than just a score,” says Jaimel Gauda, VP of consumer experience and product innovation. “We learn a ton from the feedback and apply our learnings so we can design a better shopping and product experience for our customers.”

Use Net Promoter Score® to refine your customer experience

Your NPS surveys are only as powerful as your ability to make sense of the data and act on it. With the right analysis, you can leverage NPS responses to remove customer experience roadblocks before they lead to churn.

Use customer service software like Zendesk to easily collect and understand NPS insights. Our solution automatically sends surveys via customers’ preferred channels, gathers responses, and compiles reports—empowering you to identify your next steps and enhance your products, customer support, and overall customer experience.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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