Best Practices for Implementing NPS Surveys

by Janet Choi

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one simple metric that helps steer businesses forward. For Slack CMO Bill Macaitis, NPS is a vital indicator of health and long-term growth for a company — a “north star”. He explains:

It’s a great gold bar. We’re not satisfied if someone signs up and starts using Slack. We’re not satisfied if they become a customer. We’re not even satisfied if they renew. Our bar is ‘Are they going to recommend us?’ And that’s a much higher bar.

This high-bar question provides meaningful feedback, not just to understand how you’re really doing but how you can improve. As SatisMeter cofounder, Ondrej Sedlacek, told us, the point of NPS isn’t the score but what good you do with it:

Your whole company should be focused on your customers, and NPS is a great way to make it happen. Don’t just run a business or sell products. Aim to create an experience your customers will never forget.

NPS does wonders for customer-centricity

We’ve already covered some of the basics of net promoter score and ideas for following up with your respondents. Here, we’ll go over 5 practical considerations for running your NPS surveys to best find and follow your north star metric.

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How To Use Your NPS Survey Results to Boost Retention

When Jim Bush took over customer service at American Express in 2005, most companies were evaluating their support efforts on one metric: how quickly reps could use their canned scripts to get customers off the phone. He had a hunch that treating customers like human beings, even if by a little, would be a huge boon to the company.

Viewing customer service as an opportunity to build amazing relationships with customers rather than a cost of doing business led him to institute the net promoter score (NPS) system developed by Fred Reichheld at Bain & Company in 2003. NPS is a simple survey that asks, “How likely are you to recommend our company?” Answering on a scale from 0-10, respondents are then categorized according to their rating as detractors, passives or promoters.

The net-promoter concept transformed customer support. Instead of asking “How can I resolve this call?”, reps started thinking in terms of “How can we get the customer to want to recommend American Express to friends?” Both attitudes are geared towards fixing problems, but the latter builds incredible long-term value: customer loyalty and engagement.

That long-term view worked. Bush found that promoters — those most likely to recommend American Express to others — were spending 10-15% more than others, and were four times more likely to stay with the company.

As Jim Bush told Fortune:

we moved from being transaction-oriented — the investment and training had been all around how to complete the transaction — to building on the relationship with the customer.

Building relationships and fostering that sense of advocacy in customers relies on following up and continuing conversations. Here are some ideas for how to use NPS surveys to build stronger relationships with your customers and increase engagement, reduce churn, and strengthen retention in the long run.

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