What is a NPS survey question?
A Net Promoter Score is a metric used in customer experience programs and it measures how loyal customers are to a company.
It is a single, simple question that is asked to establish your customers’ perception:
How likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X] to a friend or colleague?
Respondents give a rating between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely) and, depending on their response, customers fall into one of three categories to establish a NPS score:
- Promoters respond with a score of 9 or 10 and are typically loyal and enthusiastic customers.
- Passives respond with a score of 7 or 8. They are satisfied with your service but not happy enough to be considered Promoters.
- Detractors respond with a score of 0 to 6. These are unhappy customers who are unlikely to buy from you again, and may even discourage others from buying from you.
Based on this, the company’s NPS score will be a number from -100 to +100. A higher score as close to +100 is desirable.
(score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth
(score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
(score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and fuel growth by referring others.
What are the benefits of NPS?
NPS can best help you to measure the relationship with a customer – are they likely to recommend, are they likely to put other people off the brand? This can help you to ascertain how satisfied the customer feels toward the brand.
- Track progress of your experience improvementsIt will help you understand your target market better and see how they respond to your product or service, social media campaigns, and customer service agents.
- Segment your customers according to loyalty
By looking at customer loyalty as a guide, as represented by the NPS score ranges, you can segment your customer base and look for trends in performance. If there’s a particular group who are not happy with the brand, you can dig deeper to find out why that is and what you can do to connect with them.
- Identify customers at risk of churn so you can take steps to win them back
A low NPS from a customer gives you the signal that they’re not happy. Knowing when your customers are on the brink of leaving can help you intercede quickly and help close the loop on issues.
- Close the loop with dis-satisfied customers, turning poor experiences into great ones
Having these insights helps you to take the right actions, and improve customer experiences. They also help you to create your next products or services with this information in mind, so you never stop learning about what your customers need and want.
- Measure almost anything with the NPS survey question
The scope of what can be measured is almost limitless. You can find out how satisfied your customers are, though you can also apply it to anyone or anything – for example, you may want to use it to track satisfaction about individual products, company stores, web pages or even employee satisfaction levels. However, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. NPS is most effective to measure – and improve – relationships over time.
What are the limitations of using it?
- Tracking improvements can be hard
NPS has a lot of lag, and so actions the organization takes don’t reflect in NPS improvement for a long time.
- The NPS can cover a lot of interactions at once
The NPS can cover a lot of experiences and touchpoints in one answer, so getting to the key interaction that helped or hindered a score can be difficult. This is where planning when to use a NPS question is crucial, and understanding which interactions are going to be covered by the survey.
- The NPS is only relevant to your organization
If you’re looking for data to compare against other organizations in your industry, the NPS will only give you a benchmark for your own performance over time. If you want to see how you’re doing compared to other organizations, you can carry out surveys finding out about products across a market of competitors, or explore benchmark tools like the Customer Ratings Benchmark Solution.
- The NPS doesn’t give you a complete picture
The NPS is a single question, which lacks the complexity of a longer engagement survey. To gain a complete picture of employee health, you can use follow-on questions to help you explore important moments and get you more detail.
The types of NPS survey questions and when to use them
A good customer experience program would try to get a mix of broad detail and more granular reasoning to help explain the data. There are two main types of NPS survey questions:
Relational NPS provides a score based on how a customer feels about their relationship with your company. This is done on a macro level: as the question covers a long period of time, the customer considers all interactions they’ve had and provides an ‘overall’ score’.
The relational NPS survey question is usually done at regular intervals, on a yearly, bi-annual or quarterly basis. This can be done at the start of the year, or to end the year, to see the year-on-year progress.
It provides a general metric on customer loyalty that gives comparative data to see if results have improved. In this way, relational NPS scores provide a benchmarking figure that is simple to compare and track.
As relational NPS only gives a broad overview of customer satisfaction, it is helpful to include follow-up questions that ask the customer to expand on their decision-making process.
Transactional NPS is similar to relational NPS, in that it also measures customer satisfaction. However, transactional NPS addresses satisfaction at a more granular ‘micro’ level.
The question is provided to the customer after specific transactions occur, like directly after a support call or after product installation. This means that feedback from customers is limited to the transaction scope, giving clear insights on the performance of that individual transaction.
If a customer is willing and happy to recommend your product or service to a friend at this stage, it’s a highly positive indication that the experience they just went through ticked a lot of their ‘satisfaction’ boxes. However, if the result isn’t positive, you’re able to narrow down where the issues are quickly.
We do not recommend solely using this type of NPS, as results are based on one-off transactions, which are specific to one scenario. This makes comparing data difficult, as the results are tied to the customer, the organization agent and the interaction.
What follow-up questions can you use for a relational NPS?
Once you have asked the question, you can also take advantage of your audience’s attention and ask related follow-on questions, such as:
- A free text box question like ‘Please tell us why you gave that rating’ can give customers the opportunity to elaborate more on their answer, giving you the right information to evaluate why they responded in the way they did.
This will help you discover the drivers for promoters and detractors in your responses. Going through the open text feedback can be a time-consuming process, so consider using a text analysis tool like Text iQ.
If you want to be more specific, you can ask tailored questions to your internal goals. For example, if you’re trialling a new product and want to get information on what people liked, you can ask a follow-on question like ‘what features do you value the most?’.
- A question asking for a customer’s negative review, like ‘Is there anything specific that [brand name] can do to improve your experience?’ gives the respondent a chance to share their feedback. The respondent’s suggestions to improve the experience can really give you actionable next steps to carry out when you look at ways to ‘close the loop’ with detractors or in planning your next experiences.
- Ranking survey questions that go into more specific areas, such as ‘How satisfied are you with the [specific] experience with our company?’, followed by a ranking scale between ‘extremely satisfied’ through to ‘extremely unsatisfied’.
- A request to follow up with the customer, such as asking ‘would it be okay for us to follow up with you on your responses?’ with a ‘Yes/No’ answer box. This gives you a future opportunity to clarify with the customer on any points that need elaborating, to dive deeper into their answer and to engage with detractors to improve their standing with them and resolve the issue.
Provide a text field to request their email address or a telephone number, so that information is captured in the form, especially if your survey is anonymous and doesn’t collect personal data.
NPS Question wording variations
The NPS question is a great tool in itself, but you can consider changing the wording of the question to achieve different results.
For example, instead of using the original NPS question:
How likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X/Product Y/Service Z] to a friend or colleague?
Try one of these variations:
- How likely is it that you would recommend [Product Y/Service Z] to a friend or colleague?
By replacing the focus of the NPS question from the organization to a product or service, you can gain a general impression of how satisfactory these are in a similar way to the organization.
- How likely is it that you would recommend [Person] to a friend or colleague?
In customer service departments, employees can be ranked according to the feedback they receive from customers. Identify how satisfactory a customer agent’s service was by asking this question after each customer support interaction, for a quick reference score.
- “How likely are you to recommend [Organization X] as a good place to work, to your friend or colleague?”
This is an example of an internal question for an employee survey. In this question, extending the question to include a topic (such as how satisfactory the organization workplace is to work in) helps narrow down the scope being evaluated by the employee. This question will give insight into how other employees perceive the organization’s culture and how satisfied they are with it themselves.
- Personalize your survey by segmenting your messaging by the customer’s past NPS score
If they are a promoter, praising their enthusiasm and role in making the company a better place, can make them feel part of the team and want to become an ambassador for the brand. For detractors, explaining the relevance of the survey question in solving their issues and being a step in the right direction, can position the survey as a tool to give detractors better service and support.
- Keep the survey user-friendly and short
Shorter surveys get more respondes. While it’s tempting to ask lots of follow-on questions to learn more, limiting your total questions to 3 or 5 questions can help the respondent want to complete it (A long survey on the other hand may take too long to fill out). You want to gain responses to the main NPS question, and if you want to learn more, request permission to speak further about the results over the phone or by email.
- Add a thank you message
Never underestimate the power of the words ‘thank you’. A simple thank you at the end of completing the survey can leave respondents happy that you’ve valued their time and input.