The NPS flip


We like to switch things up a bit here at Bazaarvoice. When it comes to Net Promoter Score, most companies give a survey, in which each responder rates the company once on a scale of 0-10 as to whether or not they would recommend this business to a friend.  At Bazaarvoice, we use our review submission process to accomplish this task. Each time a contributor submits a review, they are asked, “Would you recommend this company to a friend?” So, if they submit multiple reviews, they have the opportunity to give multiple Net Promoter Scores.


In this way, we have a unique and powerful case where we can get multiple NPS from one contributor, and track it over time. This individualized information can be super insightful when paired with net promoter comments , which are collected along with the NPS to give contributors an opportunity to explain their rating. Our recommendation to handle multiple Net Promoter Scores:

  1. Determine a timeframe for your NPS. (ie. Holiday NPS from Nov – Jan, or your company’s Q1)
  2. Look at all NPS within that timeframe
  3. If any contributors have submitted multiple NPS, take the most recent NPS for each contributor
  4. Calculate your business’ NPS by subtracting percentage of detractors from percentage of promoters
  5. Ta da! You have your NPS. Now trend this over time and see if customer sentiment towards your company is going up or down. Or you can compare yourself against others in the industry.

What’s our reasoning behind taking the most recent NPS? We assume you want to know how your customer’s would rate you right now and if they would recommend you to others. Perhaps they had a bad experience three months ago, but you reached out to them and now they would promote you to their friends and family. It only makes sense to use that last score as a way to determine their sentiment.

Other interesting stats and facts about NPS:

  • Good: Two-thirds of contributors are promoters, rating the likelihood to recommend your company a 9 or 10 out of 10
  • Bad: Only 16% are detractors, rating 6 or below
  • Ugly: Detractors rate their product 46% lower than promoters
  • Random: Detractors write 14% more than Promoters. Complaints are wordier and more detailed than praises

The million dollar question

“What can I do to improve my NPS?” I don’t want to point out the obvious, but NPS decreases as your product or service rating decreases. In other words, your company’s reputation and WOM is directly related to how people view your products, so improve those products and services! “Service” and “products” were some of the most frequent words in net promoter comments.  If you have great products and service, you will have a rocking Net Promoter Score, and thus be more profitable. In the words of Satmetrix:

“The Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is a straightforward metric that holds companies and employees accountable for how they treat customers. It has gained popularity thanks to its simplicity and its linkage to profitable growth.”

Well, duh. Great Products + Awesome Customer Service = High NPS and High Profitability.

But there’s more you can do

Analyzing a sample of 30,000 net promoter comments from over 550 brands, we found that the store experience, especially having friendly and helpful staff, is crucial.

Promoters also rave about:

  • prices
  • delivery
  • value
  • selection/variety
  • shipping,
  • speedy service

What Promoters are saying:

What promoters are saying

Detractors are unhappy about:

  • store experience
  • online orders
  • shipping
  • and delivery

But poor customer service and product quality were still the largest offenders.

What Detractors are saying:

What detractors are saying

For a sky-high NPS, focus your resources first and foremost on products and service, and then on store experience, delivery, selection and shipping.

5 Responses to “The NPS flip: how to turn detractors into promoters”

  1. Rachel Eng
    Rachel Eng


    Thanks for your comment. You touch on some very valuable points. When NPS is integrated with a company’s user-generated content, online revenue, and maybe even CRM, a company can get a 3D movie experience, instead of just a snapshot in time.

    Thanks again,

  2. Rachel Eng
    Rachel Eng


    Thank you for your comments. You bring up a great point that NPS is an emotional decision and part of it may be based on the service interaction the customer receives. Perhaps, I should emphasize that even if a company sells tangible products, they must not forget they are also in the business of customer service. Whether a product or service company, everyone must focus on the customer interaction, if its face-to-face, phone, email, or online chat experience; it all makes a difference.

    HOWEVER, the product is an important (arguably the most important) factor behind the NPS score. If I go to a restaurant, order the house special, and it tastes horrible, I’m not going to recommend it to a friend, even if the waitstaff is 5-star. My point is that a company must have a great product that they firmly stand behind and follow up with great customer service.

    Thanks again,

  3. I talk to a lot of reps who are measured by NPS, and one comment I hear frequently goes something like this: “My NPS would be higher, but the customer will often ding me on the survey because they’re upset about the product.  There’s nothing I can do about that.”

    There is no question that the quality of the product can affect the customer service portion of NPS.  Some customers simply will not give a 9 or 10 on the survey if they don’t get their practical issue resolved the way they want, period.

    BUT (and there’s always a “but”, right?), NPS is an emotional score.  A person’s decision to recommend a company’s product or service to someone else is an emotional decision.  In order to improve NPS, you have to improve how your customers are made to feel about your company, brand or products during their service interactions with your company.

    What is often overlooked in the quest to improve NPS are the skills and behaviors of the reps, the very people charge with solving customers’ problems and delighting them during the experience.

    What does the rep say?  How does he say it?  What does he say that adds value?  What does he say that adds no value or detracts value?  Is he creating a high-effort experience for the customer, or is he making the company easy to do business with?  Is he truly listening to the customer’s story?  Is he assessing where the customer is from an emotional standpoint with the product and attempting to overcome emotional barriers to gain emotional buy-in from the customer?

    Remember that based on how NPS is calculated, NPS goes up even if a would-be detractor is turned into a passive (i.e. not just by turning passives into promoters).  The key is creating upward pressure.  And a rep can create upward pressure on NPS through the right kinds of behaviors during the customer interaction, even if the customer is ultimately dissatisfied with the practical outcome due to no fault of the rep (for example, a product is out of warranty).

    When the rep handles the interaction using the right set of skills, the rep can successfully separate the product issue from the quality of the customer service in the mind of the customer.  Not every time, of course.  But again, the goal is upward pressure.  Reducing the number of detractors, increasing the number of promoters, and most importantly, creating loyalty.

    Scott Heitland
    Principal | Pretium Solutions

  4. Kent White

    To me, one of the key values of getting NPS information along with reviews is that you not only see changing trends, but you can actually track the contribution of net promoters.  The assumption behind the concept is that net promoters will tell more people about your services/products; this lets you prove it out.  As you track net promoter contributions on your website, you can actually see how their content is influencing behavior and conversions, and quantify the value of net promoters’ advocacy.

    Input from both promoters and detractors is very valuable – both will give you clear signals on where to make improvements and how.  When you implement improvements, you can track not only the overall effect on your bottom line, but also the change in satisfaction scores – all a lot faster than with a standard survey approach.  Surveys can give you a snapshot, but a steady stream of input gives you the whole movie. Powerful stuff. 

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