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Customers have more options than ever before when buying products and services. Businesses have to satisfy their customers across every touchpoint to stay competitive. That includes understanding why some customers are unhappy and helping to remedy their problems.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a customer satisfaction metric that uncovers how likely a customer is to recommend your business to a friend. Establishing an NPS is a useful way of understanding how happy customers are with your company, products, and services. 

Measuring and improving NPS can strengthen customer relationships and boost your company’s reputation.

In the context of NPS, detractors are customers who answer between one and six to your NPS survey. These individuals are usually unhappy with your services and would be unlikely to recommend your company to others. Additionally, they could publicly voice their negative perception of your brand, damaging your reputation.

NPS detractors will have typically had a negative experience with your business. Detractors may have had one of the following experiences with your business:

  • Customer support left a customer issue unsolved.
  • Your products or services didn’t live up to the customer’s expectations.
  • They experienced delivery or service delays. 
  • Your business was inconsistent across customer touchpoints.
  • They found better alternatives from your competition. 

Understanding the common reasons why customers become detractors can help pinpoint areas where you can improve. Plus, SurveyMonkey research has shown that 89% of customer experience pros say CX is a leading contributor to churn. With that in mind, making an employee’s experience as positive as possible is vital for success. 

Promoters are customers who give your business a score of nine or 10 on the NPS survey. They are delighted with your company. Due to their enthusiasm, they are likely to recommend your products and services to friends, colleagues, and family. Their satisfaction can convert them into a method of word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

NPS promoters can respond favorably to your business for several reasons:

  • Your customer success team provided an exceptional level of service.
  • Your products and services exceeded their expectations.
  • You were reliable and accessible across every stage of the customer journey.
  • You engaged positively with customers and made them feel special.

Promoters can become some of your biggest supporters and will likely repeatedly buy or engage with your business. Knowing what makes someone a promoter is useful for intentionally improving customer relationships.

The Net Promoter Score survey is a simple way of determining customer health. You can gather all the information you need by asking one question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Customers will respond to this question on a scale of 1-10. An answer of one means they are not at all likely to recommend your business. Contrastingly, an answer of 10 suggests they are extremely likely to recommend your products and services.


To calculate your NPS, you’ll need to use the following equation: Percent promoters –  percent detractors = NPS.

The NPS calculation will give you a number ranging from -100 to 100. If your customers were all promoters, you would score 100, while the opposite is true for detractors. 

A good NPS score is hard to pin down to one figure. We’ve published SurveyMonkey NPS Benchmarks, which suggest a good NPS score for certain industries. That said, above 50 is great, and above 70 is impressive. If you want a helping hand, we offer an NPS calculator to cut the work for you.

Improving your customer relationships will help to turn any detractor into a shining example of a promoter. With more promoters for your business, your brand reputation will improve. You’ll also experience increased customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and company growth.

Below are eight methods your business can use to improve your NPS

After calculating your NPS for the first time, you will better understand your business's total number of promoters, passives, and detractors. Once you have a baseline, you can determine an achievable goal. 

The first step to improving your NPS is to determine a goal for the future. As NPS offers a clear number, you can easily set a benchmark to work toward. Your business could focus on improving your overall NPS or reducing the number of detractors. 

Both approaches will increase customer satisfaction and help you build stronger customer relationships. Once you have a clear goal, you can start working toward improving. 

Another valuable part of the NPS survey that you can add is a second, optional follow-up question. These secondary questions can ask for open-ended customer feedback. An opportunity to explain why detractors feel the way they do will uncover pain points. 

If your business understands why a customer feels dissatisfied, you can work toward remedying the problem. After collecting NPS survey feedback, you may notice a commonly occurring complaint. From there, you can improve that area and help to improve people’s interaction with your brand.

Discovering and fixing pain points is a phenomenal way of improving customer relationships and boosting your NPS.

Gathering customer feedback from brand promoters is also a powerful way of better understanding your customers. In the optional open-ended NPS question, happy customers will explain what made them positively rate your business.

Knowing what made your customers build loyalty with your business will help point you toward your best practices. Maybe your promoters repeatedly highlight your speedy customer service team. Alternatively, they could comment on your excellent product quality.

Whatever the reason for someone identifying as a promoter, it’s a good idea to note them down. Understanding why your customers stay with your business will allow you to sustain efforts in these areas and see the benefits of your hard work. 

When someone responds negatively to your NPS survey, they will likely feel your business doesn’t take them seriously. A fantastic way to change an NPS detractor into a promoter is to show them how much you care.

Taking a personalized approach can be very impactful. In fact, according to SurveyMonkey research, 72% of consumers say personalization is important when thinking about brands they like. 

Reaching out to a detractor with a personalized follow-up is a winning strategy to improve their perception of your brand. You can highlight their concern and demonstrate how to improve the problem. Always include actionable strategies that you will use to remedy their issue. 

Sometimes, just showing a customer their voice is essential to your business is all it takes to win a new promoter. Learn more strategies to put the voice of the customer at the forefront of your business operations. 

At its core, a good NPS score reflects your customers’ loyalty to your brand. High NPS scores translate to businesses with a large base of loyal customers. Offering loyalty programs and incentives can effectively increase the number of promoters your business has.

Loyalty programs allow customers to benefit more from repeatedly purchasing from your business. Equally, offering special promotions to return customers will make them feel appreciated. By focusing on rewarding loyalty, you will show your customers that your business genuinely cares about their support.

Building these programs can help to forge stronger customer relationships. When it comes time to fill out an NPS survey, these loyal customers will reflect their gratitude with higher scores.

As a metric that reflects customer satisfaction, it’s important to track your NPS score continuously. Over time, changes in your NPS will reflect the impact of your efforts. If you’re noticing an increase in promoters, your adaptations work.

Regularly tracking your NPS will also allow you to see if the number of detractors is increasing. Pinpointing an increase in detractors and the reasons behind this change will help you to fix any new problems in your customer journey. 

Continuously measuring NPS progress ensures you stay up to date with how your customers feel. You can combine NPS surveys with CSAT and CES surveys to more accurately trace the customer experience and follow evolving customer sentiments. 

Building a customer-centric culture means putting your customer experience at the heart of your organization’s DNA. Improving your customer relationships impacts almost every other area of your business.
There are numerous benefits to improving your NPS score:

  • Higher rates of customer satisfaction
  • Less customer churn and increased retention
  • Boosted sales
  • Increased customer lifetime value (LTV)

Try to understand your NPS detractors and their common pain points. You can create a customer-first culture filled with positive experiences by improving upon them. Improving customer relationships should be a priority for your business. Alongside NPS, you can calculate the overall Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to discover what your customers think of your company. 

One primary way to improve a customer’s experience with your business is through better training your employees. Your team represents your company and has the power to make a great impression on your customers. Employee training is vital, especially for customer experience and customer success departments.

If your NPS detractors often comment on poor experiences with your employees, training should be your first port of call. 

Turning NPS detractors into promoters isn’t only about boosting your NPS score. On the contrary, it’s about building a better customer journey by implementing a customer-centric approach. 

Possessing the willingness to adapt to customer expectations and demands allows you to forge lasting customer relationships. NPS surveys and the information they offer are a phenomenal way of understanding your customers. 

While creating better customer experiences won’t happen overnight, it’s one of the best changes your business can make. With SurveyMonkey, you can easily create custom NPS surveys that allow your customers to make their voices heard. 

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

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