Insights for Branding from Your Net Promoter Score

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using your net promoter score to get actionable insights

The Net Promoter Score has been– and continues to be– one of the most trusted metrics to measure how healthy your customer relationships are. It’s become the industry standard for measuring customer loyalty and serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research. The Net Promoter Score has been widely adopted by more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies.

how your net promoter score works

With a name like “Net Promoter Score”, you’d expect it to be complicated to understand. Actually, it’s pretty easy. You can calculate your score based on the response to a single question: how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? People answer this question typically on a scale of 1-10.

Customers who answer with a 9 or a 10 are given the moniker “Promoters”. They’re considered to exhibit value-creating behaviors (buying more, acting as brand advocates, remaining customers for longer, or referring friends). If someone answers 6 or under, they’re labeled “Detractors”. These detractors are less likely to exhibit value-creating behaviors. Customers answering 7 or 8 are labelled “Passives” and fall in the middle of Promoters and Detractors in terms of behavior.

The actual score is found by taking the total percentage of Detractors from the total percentage of Promoters. Passives are used only to calculate the percentage and push the net score towards 0.

For example:

Company A has 1,000 respondents. 825 are labeled as “Promoters” (82.5%), 116 are labeled as “Detractors” (11.6%) and 59 are labeled as “Passives” (5.9%). We take 82.5% Promoters and subtract our 11.6% Detractors to get 70.9. That means Company A has a Net Promoter Score of +70.9.

Company B also has 1,000 respondents except they only have 200 Promoters (20%), 450 Passives (45%) and 350 Detractors (35%). Company B only has a Net Promoter Score of -15.

A score over 0 is generally considered “good”, +50 “excellent”, and above 70 is “world class”. Any score under 0 means a company needs to start understanding and improving your customer satisfaction levels.

At the end of 2017, several companies were considered “world class”. Tesla ended 2017 with a score of 97. Apple has an 89. Comcast, unsurprisingly to many, received the lowest score for the third year in a row coming in at a -9. Industries even have an average Net Promoter Score.

But what does the Net Promoter Score mean for your brand?

The Net Promoter Score is much more than just a score. The entire system allows customers to give reasons for their ratings using an unstructured open-ended question. It’s an opportunity for you to hear exactly what your customers have to say about your brand.

asking the right follow up questions

When you’re talking to detractors, the important question is why they don’t feel like your brand is worth recommending. It’s important to remember that a bad experience isn’t the only reason someone may give your company a low Net Promoter Score. Maybe you gave amazing service but, unfortunately, your products are too niche for anyone they know. Or, it could be that your respondent doesn’t know anyone who would be interested in your product. That doesn’t mean you have a bad company.

There’s an ideal opportunity to follow up with detractors. You could follow up with:

“We’re sorry to hear you don’t feel able to recommend our product. We’d love to know what we can do to improve. What was missing or disappointing in your experience?”

You might hear how your tracking system was broken and no one could update them on where their package was. Or that no one ever emailed/called/messaged them back. Maybe your emails were annoying. All are answers you can draw actionable conclusions from. Upgrade your tracking system, train your customer service staff better, scale back your email marketing.

Your passives would need a different question.

“Thank you for sharing your feedback with us! If we could do just one thing better for you to be more likely to recommend us, what would it be?”

That’s a pretty easy question. Maybe it’s a wider product range. Or your website got a bit confusing here or there. It could even just be better coupons. Let them know you’re developing a new product. Re-design those web pages. Send out a 15% off coupon instead of your usual 10%.

Promoters need an even different set of questions to explain their reasoning behind their score.

“Thanks for your feedback! We’re very happy to hear you would recommend us to your friends. If you were recommending us to a friend, what’s one reason you would give them to try us?”

You’ll learn exactly what you’re doing right. Some of the answers may surprise you.

Perception is very individualized, but, when you see the same answer over and over again, you can begin to nail-down your biggest value proposition.

you know how to divide your attention

With the score and the follow up questions, you’ll have the data to understand the why behind it. What is causing your Promoters to give you a 9 or 10? What do your Detractors think your company could do better? How can you push your Passives into becoming Promoters? What drives a promoter is likely to be very different from what drives a Detractor. They have different needs and your brand needs to understand what drives them both. But you can’t just focus on fixing the detractors (for one, some detractors don’t want to be fixed).

By focusing on what causes promoters– what experiences they had, what questions they asked, etc.–you have the opportunity to engage with your customer base in a more uplifting conversation that doesn’t revolve around the negatives.

Navigating customer loyalty can be tricky but your Net Promoter Score can be a great tool to understand your brand’s pros and cons to help build that loyalty.


Discover how we can help you build loyal clients for your brand.

Looking for actionable insights about your brand? Needing help understanding your customers’ voices? We love working with enthusiastic clients who are as passionate about their business as we are about brand strategy, design and development. If that sounds like you, we should talk. Schedule a call with one of our creative branding professionals to see what Hummingbird Creative Group can do for you. Contact us today!