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What is a good Net Promoter Score? And how it varies across industries

What is a good Net Promoter Score? And how it varies across industries

Your responses are in! 

You skip towards your survey’s Analyze tab, and almost immediately, you spot your Net Promoter Score®. Suddenly, you panic. You’re confused about how it was calculated and you don’t know whether the score is good or bad.

Worry not! You’ve landed on the right blog post. We’ll show you how the NPS is determined and answer the long-held question, “What is a good Net Promoter Score?” so that you can easily contextualize your rating.

How the NPS is calculated

The Net Promoter Score is the world’s leading metric for measuring customer loyalty. It comes from the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend (insert company or product/service) to a friend or colleague?” 

The respondent is asked to select a rating on a 0-10 scale, with 0 being the least likely to recommend and 10 being the most. Once the responses come back, you’d segment each respondent into one of three groups, based on their rating: Promoters (9 or 10 rating), Passives (7 or 8 rating), and Detractors (0 through 6 rating).

You can then calculate your NPS using the following formula:

NPS= % of Promoters — % of Detractors 

Note: You can get the percentage of Promoters by taking the total number of Promoters, dividing it by the number of respondents, and multiplying the result by 100. You’d do the same to get the percentage of Detractors, only you’d use the total number of Detractors instead of Promoters.

The resulting score can range from a low of -100 to a high of +100.

What a good Net Promoter Score looks like

According to our global benchmark data, which accounts for the NPS of more than 150,000 organizations, the average score is +32. 

SurveyMonkey Global Benchmark NPS and source information.

Here’s a closer look at the global benchmark numbers:

  • The lower quartile of organizations (or the bottom 25% of performers) have an NPS of 0 or lower.
  • The median NPS is +44. (Half of organizations have an NPS below this score, and the other half have a score that’s higher.)
  • The upper quartile of organizations (or the top 25% of performers) have an NPS of +72 or higher.

Comparing yourself to all of the other organizations isn’t always the best representation of how you’re doing, since the customer experience can vary (a lot!) by industry. For example, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, subscription television service providers offer a significantly worse customer experience than internet retail businesses.  

So what is a good Net Promoter Score for organizations in your space? Here’s a breakdown across 3 common categories: professional services (legal, financial, etc.), technology (telecommunications, computer manufacturers, etc.), and consumer goods and services (retailers, restaurants, etc.):

IndustryProfessional servicesTechnology companiesConsumer goods and services
Average NPS+43+35+43
Median NPS+50+40+50
Top quartile+73 (or higher)+64 (or higher)+72 (or higher)
Bottom quartile+19 (or lower)+11 (or lower)+21 (or lower)

Note: You can scroll through the table to see the scores across every industry.

As you can see, organizations categorized as professional services and consumer goods and services tend to deliver a similar customer experience—minus subtle differences in their top and bottom performers–but technology companies are slightly behind in every NPS calculation.

Whether you need to catch up to your industry’s average NPS or keep a leading position, there are several ways to raise your score.

3 ways to improve your Net Promoter Score

1. Develop a systematic process for tracking your NPS and reacting to it.

The customer experience is constantly evolving. If you can keep your finger on the pulse of your customer sentiment and take steps toward addressing their feedback quickly, you’ll be more likely to have loyal, happy customers. 

Learn how surveys can help you track—and act on—your NPS by reading our ultimate guide to running a customer feedback program.”

2. Give the entire team a chance to engage with customers.  

Whether your colleagues know it or not, their work can influence the customer experience. The better they understand their impact, the more likely they are to tailor their work to best benefit customers—and your NPS. 

You can empower your team to learn from customers by adopting customer interaction reports. They involve asking employees to have a conversation with a customer (as short as 5 minutes) and then fill out a survey to summarize the conversation. Sharing these results on a platform any employee can access can inspire the team and give them insight into what customers care about.

3. Invest in your customer-facing employees.

Every customer interaction shapes the client’s perception of your organization. In fact, roughly a third of customers, on average, plan to switch to an alternative company after a single case of poor customer service.

Prevent your organization from losing customers by building a first-class customer-facing team. Invest in trainings and product/service-related resources they can refer to in order to answer customer questions as quickly and effectively as possible. 

Take another look at your NPS. Now that you understand how it’s calculated, compares to other organizations, and what you can do to improve it, you can let your initial panic melt away!

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