Reliable metric

The start of NPS®

After testing many questions, we found that one worked best for most companies in most industries:

“How likely is it that you would recommend Company X [or Product X] to a friend or colleague?”

We conducted research (supported by the research team at Satmetrix Systems) with thousands of customers in six industries. We found that the way customers answered this question consistently predicted their behavior: customer retention, repeat purchases, referrals and other indicators of customer loyalty, profit and passion

What’s more, the question was quick, respectful of customers’ time and easy for both customers and employees to understand.

That’s why we called it "the Ultimate Question."


More than a score

The score is at the heart of the Net Promoter System℠, but you can’t take action if you don’t know why a customer is or is not “likely to recommend.” You should always follow up the Ultimate Question with an open-ended question: “Why?” 

The answers can help transform your organization. To learn how, check out the Closed loopLearning and Action processes of the Net Promoter System.

How the scoring works

We scored the answers to the ultimate question on a simple zero-to-ten scale. This scale is easy for customers to understand. And the responses tend to cluster in three groups, each one characterized by different attitudes, behaviors and, therefore, economic value.

promoter-iconPromoters (9 or 10)

Promoters are loyal, enthusiastic fans. They sing the company’s praises to friends and colleagues. They are far more likely than others to remain customers and to increase their purchases over time. Moreover, they account for more than 80 percent of referrals in most businesses. They are, in general, pleasant for employees to deal with.

passive-iconPassives (7 or 8)

We call this group “passively satisfied” because this group is satisfied—for now. Their repurchase and referral rates are as much as 50 percent lower than those of promoters. Their referrals are likely to be qualified and less enthusiastic. Most telling: if a competitor’s ad catches their eye, they may defect.

detractor-iconDetractors (0 to 6)

Detractors are unhappy customers. They account for more than 80 percent of negative word-of-mouth. They have high rates of churn and defection. Some may appear profitable from an accounting standpoint, but their criticisms and bad attitudes diminish a company’s reputation, discourage new customers and demotivate employees.

Net Promoter Score℠

Your Net Promoter Score is simply the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. It’s a number you can compile and track regularly, not only for a whole company but also for each business, product, store, or customer-service team. You can also track it for customer segments, geographic units or functional groups. It helps everyone focus on the twin goals of creating more promoters and fewer detractors. It is, quite simply, your customer balance sheet.

There’s more

The Net Promoter System is much more than just the score. Net Promoter System practitioners ask customers the reasons for their ratings using an unstructured, open-ended question. This provides employees throughout the organization the opportunity to hear comments from customers every day—in their own words. These leaders build that feedback into their operating systems, using it both to address customer concerns and to fuel the innovations that generate more promoters. They use this closed loop to learn more about how they can improve their processes, people, products and pricing for the long term.

In this short video, Rob Markey explains why reliable, consistent data is central to the Net Promoter System.

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