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Learn how to create effective Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys that capture insightful feedback and improve your customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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Net Promoter Score (NPS®) surveys are a cornerstone of customer feedback. They revolve around a single question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” While the NPS question may be deceptively simple, it has the power to give your company rich and valuable insights into your customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

There are a few different types of NPS surveys that you can leverage in different ways to achieve your goals. For example, NPS surveys can request feedback from customers about your business as a whole, which is sometimes referred to as relational NPS or rNPS. NPS surveys can also be used to request feedback on a specific interaction or transaction, like visiting your website, making a purchase, or submitting a support ticket. These are examples of transactional NPS surveys, or tNPS. 

Many organizations use a combination of both relational and transactional NPS surveys to gain insight into the customer experience and make smart decisions to improve the customer journey across every touchpoint. 

Even though NPS surveys are simple by design, it’s still very important to take a strategic approach to make sure you’re getting the most out of this valuable feedback channel. Here are 10 tips to help you improve the effectiveness of your NPS surveys and capture the insights you need to improve your business.

Define specific objectives for each survey

Always start by establishing clear, measurable objectives for your NPS survey. This step is crucial as it directly influences the questions you ask and the audience you target. For example, if your goal is to evaluate customer satisfaction with a recent software update, your survey should be tailored to gather feedback specifically about that update.

Tie your objectives to the broader business goals 

The goals of your NPS survey should also be aligned with your organization's broader business objectives. This alignment helps ensure that the insights you extract from your NPS surveys are relevant and actionable. If you have an organizational goal around long-term customer retention, for example, focus your NPS surveys on aspects of your customer experience that contribute to ongoing loyalty. 

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) 

Decide which metrics you'll use to assess the success of your NPS surveys. Beyond the NPS score itself, consider tracking metrics like survey response rates, customer churn rate, or repeat purchases. These metrics can offer a more holistic and nuanced understanding of customer sentiment and behavior.

Segment your audience

Sending out NPS surveys to everyone on your customer list can give you a lot of data about your customer satisfaction, but that data is even more powerful and actionable when you segment the responses by different audiences. For example, you might find that your more recent customers have different feedback compared to your long-standing customers. 

Your customers’ time is valuable, and a survey that takes too long to complete will hurt your response rates. Here are a few tips to keep your NPS surveys brief and easy to complete: 

Limit the number of questions

The strength of an NPS survey lies in its simplicity. While follow-up questions can add more detail and color to your NPS responses, don’t get carried away! Keep your NPS surveys limited to just a few essential questions to maximize your response rate.  

After the primary NPS question, include just one or two follow-up questions that probe into the reasons behind the score. This approach allows you to gather qualitative data without overburdening the respondents. The standard open-ended NPS question is, “What is the primary reason for your score?” However, you can certainly modify this question to meet your needs. 

Focus on actionable questions

Follow-up questions should be designed to prompt customers to give you feedback you can actually act on. Instead of vague or generic questions, ask for specific feedback that will guide improvements in your product, service, or customer experience.

For example, consider asking follow-up questions like:

  • What is one thing we could do to make you happier? 
  • What was missing in your experience with us? 
  • What features of the product did you like best/least? 

Ensure clarity and relevance

Customers shouldn’t have to spend time trying to understand what you’re asking them. Every question in your NPS survey should be clear, concise, and directly related to your objectives. Use jargon-free language that is accessible to all your customers, regardless of their familiarity with your product or industry. You’ll not only improve your participation rate, but you’ll also ensure you’re getting good data you can feel confident using to take action. 

Choosing the right timing and frequency for your NPS survey is crucial to maintaining high completion rates and getting good data. You’ll want to send transactional NPS surveys, for example, when the customer’s experience with your brand is still fresh in their mind. Conducting NPS surveys at regular intervals, without being too frequent, enables you to track changes over time and create a cycle of continuous improvement based on the feedback. 

Timing is everything 

For transactional NPS surveys, the ideal time to send out a survey is shortly after a customer interaction or experience with your product or service—for example, after a purchase or customer service call. This ensures that their experience is fresh in their minds, leading to more accurate feedback.

Avoid survey fatigue 

While regular feedback is valuable, too many surveys sent to the same audience can lead to lower participation rates. Establish a balanced frequency, such as quarterly, depending on the nature of your service or product and the frequency of customer interactions. This also gives you enough time to take meaningful action and leaves time for customers to experience and react to improvements.

Monitor and adjust based on response trends

Be sure to keep a close eye on response trends and feedback quality. If response rates drop or feedback becomes less insightful, it might mean you’re sending too many surveys or sending them at the wrong time. Monitor and adjust your frequency or distribution strategy accordingly.

Incorporate your company’s fonts, colors, and logo in the survey. This not only helps reinforce your brand recognition but also instills a sense of professionalism and trustworthiness in the survey process. 

Send surveys from your domain

Make sure your NPS surveys come from your domain instead of a generic one (e.g., person@yourcompany.com vs. person@outlook.com). This adds authenticity to your email, improves delivery and open rates, and builds trust with your recipients. It also decreases the likelihood of your surveys being flagged as spam. 

Balance branding elements with clarity and simplicity

While branding is important, it should not overshadow your survey's content. Use colors, logos, and fonts that reflect your brand without distracting from or complicating the survey experience. Your primary goal should still be to make the survey easy to read, understand, and complete.

Optimize for different devices

Make sure that your branded survey is optimized for all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This makes it easy for your customers to share their feedback from wherever is most convenient for them. Ensure your survey design and branding elements render correctly and remain functional across all platforms.

Use the customer’s name

People are more likely to open an email and respond to a survey when they feel a personal connection. When sending out your surveys, incorporate email personalization, including using your recipient’s first name, to make the communication more individual and engaging.

Mention recent interactions

Tailor the survey to reflect the customer's latest engagement with your brand. For example, if you’re sending them a survey after a recent purchase, make sure the context is clear from the email. 

Customize follow-up questions

Ask different open-ended questions depending on the respondent’s rating. SurveyMonkey makes it easy to use sophisticated skip-logic to get more nuanced customer feedback. 

For example, you might ask detractors and passives (those who responded with an 8 or below) what you can do to improve their experience. Meanwhile, you can ask promoters (those who selected 9 or 10) to elaborate on what they liked most about your product or company. 

Pilot testing your survey with a small group can help you identify any issues and ensure the questions are clear and effectively structured before deploying the survey to a broader audience.

Assess question clarity

The pilot test helps in determining if your audience will easily understand your questions. Respondents must interpret the questions in the way you intended to avoid skewed or misleading results.

Evaluate time to complete

It’s important to know how long it takes to complete the survey. If it’s too long, respondents might lose interest and abandon the survey without finishing it. With a pilot test, you can see how long it took your test group to answer your survey and adjust the survey length if necessary.

Refine the survey accordingly 

Based on the feedback and observations from the pilot test, refine your survey. This could involve rephrasing questions, altering the order of questions, or even adding or removing questions. 

Adding open-ended questions to your NPS surveys is a must. They help you get more nuanced insights because they allow customers to provide context for their rating. This can reveal underlying issues or sentiments that might not be captured through rating scales alone.

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Capture rich, qualitative data

Open-ended questions help you understand the “why” behind NPS. Unlike rating scales, open-ended questions allow customers to articulate their thoughts in their own words. This provides a wealth of qualitative data, giving you a more comprehensive view of your customers' experiences and perceptions.

Create a dialogue with customers

You can also use open-ended questions to signal customers that you value their detailed feedback and are willing to listen. This can foster a sense of engagement and loyalty, as customers feel that their opinions are being heard and considered.

Analyzing NPS survey results is just as important as conducting the survey. Interpret the scores and comments to identify trends, understand customer needs, and make informed improvements to your business.

Identify trends and patterns 

NPS surveys capture customer sentiment from a moment in time. Be sure to look for patterns over time. Are scores improving or declining? Are there recurring issues mentioned by customers? Segment the data based on different customer demographics or behaviors to identify specific needs or issues within different groups.

Prioritize improvements 

Based on the feedback, prioritize areas for improvement. Focus on issues that are most impactful for customer satisfaction and loyalty, and develop a clear action plan with timelines and responsibilities for addressing these issues.

Measure the impact 

After implementing changes, measure their impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. For example, conduct follow-up NPS surveys to see if scores have improved and to get feedback on the changes you made.

If a respondent takes the time to provide detailed feedback, it’s a great idea to acknowledge it and continue the conversation. Personalized follow-up on their comments shows that you value their input and are committed to improving. 

Here are a few ways to tips to follow up effectively with open-ended NPS questions: 

Ask for clarification

If the feedback is unclear or you need more details to take action, reach out to the customer for further clarification. Your message should be respectful and convey that you want to better understand their perspective. Here’s an example of how to follow up and get more details from a detractor:

Thanks for responding to our NPS survey. We’re sorry to hear that you wouldn’t recommend us, and we’d love an opportunity to learn more about what we could do to improve. What could we be doing better?

Address specific concerns 

If the feedback includes specific concerns or issues, address them directly. Share any details about how these issues are being handled, or your plans to address them. If immediate resolution isn't possible, explain the steps being taken to find a solution. And don’t forget to follow up again when the issue is resolved!

Invite ongoing dialogue 

Encourage ongoing communication. Let customers know that their input is always welcome and valued. Offer channels for them to provide further feedback or stay updated on changes and improvements.

Encourage customer advocacy 

If the feedback is exceptionally positive, con