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NPS surveys: your guide to unlocking customer happiness

You want to understand how happy (or unhappy) your customers are. Your customers, well, they’d just like to be happy. So how do you discover if they are—and delight them even further? That’s where NPS surveys come in. 

In the brick-and-mortar world, someone can stand at the door to ask people about their experience as they leave. An NPS survey plays a similar role in the digital realm but with an even more strategic focus. It asks a single, powerful question to find out how enthusiastic customers are about your brand. You can use this tactic to engage loyalists, re-engage dissatisfied customers, and uncover trends to drive strategic decisions for marketing, customer service, and your product itself.  

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is NPS?

A net promoter score (NPS) is a mathematical measure of customer loyalty. A net promoter score survey asks a single question: How likely are you to recommend this brand to someone else? NPS surveys are a simple yet powerful tool for improving both marketing and product strategies.  

NPS analysis provides a benchmark against which to measure your customers’ loyalty trends. Answers to the NPS survey question give brands insights into how likely they are to retain customers, where they’re at risk of churn, and future growth opportunities. Plus, you can react to the data in real time to improve retention by following up with individual customers based on their NPS survey responses. 

What’s the difference between an NPS survey and a CSAT survey?

NPS and CSAT (customer satisfaction score) surveys both ask a single question to determine how customers feel. But they approach the question differently, and the data has different use cases. 

  • CSAT survey: A customer satisfaction survey is focused on the short term. It asks about a specific interaction in the recent past, like “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with your support call?”
  • NPS survey: A net promoter score survey gives you insight into the overall customer relationship and level of loyalty moving forward. It asks a future-focused question about the big picture.

Many brands use both types of surveys in their voice of the customer analysis to identify needs for specific improvements and create big-picture product and marketing strategies.

How an NPS survey works

Your customers will respond to your NPS survey question by selecting a number between 0 and 10. You then categorize customers into three groups:  

  • NPS detractors = 0–6 rating. NPS detractors are unlikely to stick around and might even speak poorly of you to others. 
  • NPS passives = 7–8 rating. These customers are satisfied but not enthusiastic enough to promote your brand to other people.
  • NPS promoters = 9–10 rating. These are the brand advocates and cheerleaders you’re looking for! 

The NPS formula

The NPS survey packs a one-two punch: ease of use and depth of insight. Your brand’s net promoter score is as simple as the survey itself, but that one metric can power a wealth of business intelligence.

Here’s how to calculate NPS:

% of NPS promoters − % of NPS detractors = net promoter score

This NPS formula will give you a net promoter score between −100 (a contemptible company) and +100 (a truly beloved brand!). 

Notice that the NPS formula only factors in detractors and promoters; it doesn’t include passive customers. They’re effectively neutral, so not actually considered in the NPS formula itself. But that doesn’t mean you should discount them in your marketing strategy! They represent an opportunity to build relationships with targeted messaging that could bump them higher on the NPS scale. 

What’s a good net promoter score?

You might be thinking, “We’ve got to get to that +100 score!” But it’s not quite that simple. A +100 score means every NPS survey respondent is over the moon about your brand—and that’s just not realistic. Instead, focus on understanding what your score means in the context of your business.  

Broadly, you can break down net promoter scores like this:

  • −1 and lower is a negative score
  • 0+ is a positive score
  • 20+ is a favorable score
  • 50+ is really great
  • 80+ is world-class

Most brands fall somewhere in the middle. And what’s considered a “good” net promoter score varies significantly across industries. Case in point: CustomerGauge research reports the following median net promoter scores for these industries in 2023:

  • Healthcare: 58
  • Financial services: 44
  • Computer software: 36
  • Telecommunications: 31

Set your benchmark according to three relevant factors: 

  • Your industry’s median net promoter score
  • Your direct competitors’ net promoter scores
  • Your previous NPS survey results

How to design an NPS survey

The NPS survey itself is one question, but your NPS survey strategy must also consider where, how, and when to ask for that feedback. 

NPS survey channels

When deciding on a channel to send your NPS survey, consider your existing messaging strategy, your customers’ expectations, and where people are most likely to respond. Email and in-app messages both work well for garnering NPS survey engagement. 

NPS emails

A request for feedback is essentially asking a favor. NPS emails tend to get lower response rates than in-app messages, but there are also some notable benefits:

  • Reach: Email will reach everyone you choose to target, so you won’t miss people who aren’t very active in your app (which could skew your results by excluding less engaged people). And, a well-crafted NPS email subject line can help overcome the potential for low response rates. 
  • Accuracy: People aren’t actively using your product when they check their email, so their responses are less likely to be clouded by a single interaction. That produces a more accurate gauge of overall customer sentiment.

NPS in-app messages

In-app messaging connects with people while they’re actively using your product, so it can be a great way to deliver NPS surveys to engaged customers. While you won’t get feedback from inactive customers in this channel, you can benefit from the unique characteristics of in-app messages:

  • Engagement: Because you’re reaching out when people are already thinking about your brand, engagement rates tend to be fairly high. And customers don’t have to click through to a landing page, so they’re more likely to answer feedback survey questions. 
  • Immediacy: Customers are quite literally in your digital space, so you get in-the-moment feedback. Following in-app survey best practices allows you to identify when to send an NPS survey in the app without compromising customer experience.  

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one channel for NPS surveys. You might segment your audience based on app usage, connecting with active users in-app and using email to reach people who haven’t logged in recently. You can even start with an in-app message and follow up via email with people who don’t respond.

💡 pro tip

Microsurveys in Journeys is a powerful NPS survey tool. You can easily add survey components to any in-app message, automatically track responses, and even trigger follow-up messages.

NPS survey questions

Framing your NPS survey question around willingness to recommend is a strong gauge of loyalty. Simply asking about general satisfaction is a weaker predictor of growth and doesn’t elicit the level of honesty you get when people think about endorsing something to others.

Follow-up NPS survey questions 

The core strategy of NPS surveys is starting with a single inquiry, but your NPS survey questions don’t need to end there. You can include additional feedback survey questions, personalizing a follow-up message based on how an individual responds to the initial question.

Example follow-up questions for NPS promoters:

  • Would you leave a review on our Google profile to help others discover our product?
  • We’re interviewing customers to learn more about their experiences; would you like to participate? 
  • Did you know you can get a $100 gift card when you refer a friend?

Example follow-up questions for NPS passives:

  • What improvements or new features would make you more likely to recommend our product to a friend?
  • Are there any specific features or issues you’d like help with from a customer success representative? 
  • May we offer you a free upgrade to help you get more value from our product?

Example follow-up questions for NPS detractors:

  • What are the primary reasons for the score you selected?
  • What are you trying to accomplish with our product, and where is it falling short?
  • Would it be okay for a customer service representative to reach out to help you solve any problems you’re having with the product?

The real value of NPS surveys comes from how you digest and address survey responses and resulting conversations—whether it’s thanking customers for feedback, solving their problems, or delving further for more information. By closing the loop after the initial NPS survey question, you can improve retention and create loyal customers, as well as make a bid to save detractors from abandoning your product entirely. 

💡 pro tip

Journeys makes creating a complete NPS survey campaign easy, with automated follow-up messages personalized for each customer.

NPS survey cadence

A one-and-done approach to NPS surveys won’t give you much strategic insight. When to send NPS surveys depends on the milestones in your customer lifecycle, but what’s important is that you set a regular cadence. This creates a positive feedback loop for actionable growth so you can continually improve your strategies.

A batch-and-blast approach—sending an NPS survey email to every audience member every three months, for example—produces less precise results because everyone is at a different stage in their lifecycle, making it hard to pinpoint meaningful trends. Instead, approach NPS surveys like a behavioral drip campaign that triggers based on the lifecycle stage. That way, customers will respond to the NPS survey question at comparable points in their journeys so that you can compare apples to apples. For instance, if most of your customers are NPS promoters in their first quarter but NPS detractors in their second, you’ve identified precisely where you have a problem.

NPS survey templates

Your NPS survey should be short, sweet, and to the point. The goal is to create a message that doesn’t imbue bias and is easy for people to understand and respond to quickly. 

When you’re creating an NPS survey template for your brand, consider the following:

  • Simplicity: Keep the focus on the NPS survey question. Don’t add too much additional copy or distracting design elements.
  • Phrasing: Use language that doesn’t introduce bias either way. Keep the question as neutral as possible. 
  • Branding: Your NPS survey should reflect your brand’s look and voice so it feels like a seamless part of your messaging. If you’re using a third-party NPS survey tool, be sure you can customize fonts and colors to match your branding.
  • Consistency: Create a cohesive experience across all your NPS campaigns, including any follow-up messaging and the periodic NPS surveys you conduct over time.’s NPS survey template’s NPS survey template

This example embodies the core components of an NPS survey: a single question, 10-point scale, and clear branding. You can use this as a basis for your own NPS survey template; just change the branding and you’re good to go!

Slack’s NPS survey template

Slack’s NPS survey template

While Slack uses a very similar approach to’s NPS survey template, it includes a bit of additional messaging—just enough to set expectations without distracting from the survey itself. This can be particularly valuable for in-app NPS surveys since you don’t have the same amount of space to provide context as you do with NPS emails. 

How to craft your NPS email

A well-crafted NPS email is as important as the survey itself. NPS emails differ from other marketing messages because you’re asking customers to do something for you; you’re not giving them anything tangible in return. Pay careful attention to these four aspects of your message: 

  • Subject line and preheader: Catch people’s attention with something short, clear, and actionable.
  • Personalized body copy: People are more likely to offer their honest opinions when they think someone really cares. So make your NPS email feel personal! Speak directly to each customer by using their first name, and consider sending the email from a specific person at your company, including their name in the from address and sign-off.  
  • Call to action: Make it incredibly easy for customers to respond with a single, highly visible CTA. You can even boost response rate by using AMP for email to place an interactive survey directly in the email (instead of having people click through to a form). Just keep in mind that AMP for email isn’t supported by all clients.
  • Segmentation: Target the right customers at the right time based on your objectives. For instance, send an NPS survey at key milestones in your customer journey to gauge what causes spikes and dips in loyalty over time. And, you’ll want to exclude your newest customers; people who just came on board a couple of days ago probably haven’t had time to form an opinion about recommending your product. 

NPS email subject lines

Your NPS email’s subject line is crucial to a good response rate. Even the most enticing NPS email content in the world won’t perform well if people don’t open the message. Keep these best practices in mind to create a high-performing NPS email subject line: 

  • Be specific: People are more likely to take action when they know what to expect. Instead of something vague like “We need your feedback,” tell people exactly what they’ll encounter: “Can you take 30 seconds for a one-question survey?”
  • Get personal: Personalizing your NPS email subject line makes it clearly relevant to the customer. Use their first name, and consider including details like where they are in their journey and what product you’re asking about. For example, an NPS email subject line during onboarding might say: “It’s been two weeks, Blake! Tell us what you think of Data Pipelines so far.”
  • Convey the benefit: Let your customers know what they get out of taking your NPS survey—making the product they use even better. Example: “Quick survey: help us improve your experience with” 
  • Keep it short: If your subject line gets cut off in the inbox, customers might not see why the email is relevant. Be as concise as possible, and front-load the most important info.  
  • Avoid bias: For accurate results, the wording of your NPS survey question should be neutral. But suggestive language in your subject line can introduce bias. Avoid things like “Do you love Let us know!” Instead, try something like “Your opinion matters. Would you recommend”  

NPS email examples

Need a little inspo to get started? Take a look at these NPS email examples to see how leading companies approach their NPS messaging. 

Robinhood’s NPS email

Robinhood focuses on relationship-building—inviting reciprocity and ensuring customers know their input genuinely impacts the app. 

Robinhood’s NPS email

Insurify’s NPS email

As far as NPS survey emails go, Insurify is about as succinct as it gets. But that doesn’t mean it lacks warmth; the “thank you” in the subject line and the colorful branding make the message feel lively and inviting.

Insurify’s NPS email
Insurify’s NPS email example

Marriott’s NPS email

In this NPS email example, Marriott is making a second attempt at outreach and making it relevant with a high degree of personalization. The message reflects not just the customer’s name but also their experience: the exact dates and location of their stay and the last communication they received. 

Marriott’s NPS email
Marriott’s NPS email example

Squarespace’s NPS email

The epitome of simplicity, Squarespace ensures customers have zero friction with their NPS survey. The survey itself takes up the bulk of the visual space, so it’s impossible to miss, and they let the customer know up front that they don’t even have to leave their inbox to respond. 

Squarespace’s NPS email

Choosing the right NPS survey tool

Every NPS survey is an opportunity to improve customer relationships, capture valuable data, and refine your strategies. Journeys makes creating, managing, and analyzing your NPS survey campaigns fit seamlessly into your marketing processes—whether you run them in-app or go with NPS emails. And if you use a third-party NPS survey tool to administer survey forms and collect data for NPS analysis, it’s easy to integrate it with Journeys so you can easily use that data for your messaging campaigns.  

Journeys is a powerful marketing automation platform for multi-channel messaging. It is designed to slot right into your martech stack so you can more effectively execute campaigns, personalize interactions, and maximize your marketing ROI. With a free 14-day trial, you can start sending NPS surveys and sophisticated campaigns now.