See how CustomerXM works

Watch On Demand Demo

Perfecting the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question: Examples and template

9 min read
Learn what a NPS questions is, the types of NPS question, question wording variations and how to follow up with customers.


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 [Organisation 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.

Detractors

(score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth

Passives

(score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.

Promoters

(score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and fuel growth by referring others.

 

Get started with our free NPS survey template

Access now

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

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

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 organisation agent and the interaction.

Learn more about relational and transactional NPS

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 [Organisation 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 organisation to a product or service, you can gain a general impression of how satisfactory these are in a similar way to the organisation.

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 [Organisation 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 organisation 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 organisation’s culture and how satisfied they are with it themselves.

Other tips

Personalise 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 responses. 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.

Get started with our free NPS survey template