Net Promoter Score: Fact and Fiction

It seems like every year I get a surge of questions about Net Promoter® Score (e.g., NPS®). Well, it’s that time of year.

Rather than re-writing my answers, I decided to share a webinar that I recorded a few years ago. Much of that data has been updated, but the content remains totally applicable. This is a great primer on NPS. Enjoy!

You should also check out Temkin Group’s VoC/NPS Resource Page for current data and more advice on how to use NPS. In particular, read My Latest 9 Recommendations For NPS.

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

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 thoughts on “Net Promoter Score: Fact and Fiction”

  1. On a fundamental level, my discomfort with NPS is best summed up here:

    “But enough about me, let’s talk about you… what do YOU think of me?“
    – CC Bloom (Beaches 1988)

  2. Hi Bruce – That is still a great webinar with a crucial message “The improvement process is more important than the specific metric. I think a couple of points are worth clarifying:

    – You asked whether NPS was “The Ultimate Question” and answered a different question when you (correctly) said it is not the “ultimate metric”. Yes, you can find other (usually compound) metrics that are better predictors of loyalty and market share. However, you can’t find any single question that is a better predictor than the recommendation question.

    – As a golfer, I found your golf metaphor memorable. Yes, the pure score is of no use to you in improving your game. However, the recommendation question is never asked on its own. It has always been accompanied with a variation on “Why?”, which would be incredibly helpful in golf, and more recently by “What should we improve?” as well.

    – Your Intuit slide is great and I will use it.

    – I had not heard of the Hilti approach to transactional research, and really like it.

    – Good points about how the things that make people into Promoters are not the same as those that cause Detractors. This gets into ‘hygiene factor’-type discussions.

    – While you say that we need to understand the key drivers of NPS, I am surprised you did not mention using the answers to the verbatim questions. Indeed, you did not suggest any way of identifying the drivers.

    – Good points on cultural differences.

    – The person asking the last question clearly does not know that the recommendation question is followed by at least one open question.

    Overall, I enjoyed it, though you did talk about the score, and not the system. I suppose you did not claim to do anything else.

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