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Customer Experience

NPS And CX Success: What Your Net Promoter Score Is Really Telling You (And 3 Follow-Up Questions To Ask)

NPS is a key CX metric -- but are you getting the most out of your NPS survey data? Read to find out how to take action on these valuable insights.

On a scale of 0-10, how much do happy, loyal customers mean to you and your business? 

Most businesses would answer with a solid 10. But can your customers say the same in a survey about how satisfied they are with your brand? What are you doing to ensure customers rate you highly? And more importantly, are you digging in deeper in your follow-ups to find out why, or why not? That’s where your Net Promoter Score (NPS) comes in as a key part in CX success.

Harvard Business Journal has long touted NPS as “the one number you need to grow." But while it is helpful to understand general scores, it’s not always the full picture. It’s not enough to just collect NPS data and identify your promoters and detractors. A thoughtful approach to how and where NPS surveys are administered and asking the right follow-up questions are key in gleaning the most valuable and actionable insights from your NPS program. When administered correctly, you can inform and improve your CX strategy with real customer feedback. However, the wrong approach to NPS will leave you with inaccurate data and, in turn, unhelpful and unreliable advice for your brand.  

Read below for insights on how to best leverage NPS as part of your CX program, and what follow-up questions you should be asking to make the most of your customer feedback data.

A Refresher on NPS Scoring

In case you’ve been using other metrics, here’s a quick guide to how NPS is measured.

After a survey comes in, CX teams put responses into three buckets:

  • Detractors. Customers who answered using a 0 to 6. They are the least likely to return to or recommend your brand.
  • Passives. Customers who answered using a 7 or 8. They may come back and recommend you, but they’re more neutral.
  • Promoters. Customers who answered using a 9 or 10. These customers are most likely to make a repeat purchase and recommend your brand to others.

Then, you’ll calculate your NPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. You don’t incorporate passives since they’re neutral and, frankly, may not even be tempted to make a similar purchase from a competitor.

A good NPS will vary based on industry, but we can make some generalizations.

  • Below 0. Your customer experience needs work. Evaluate other data points, such as average abandonment rate and call transfer rate, to see where your customers are getting hung up—figuratively but potentially literally as well.  
  • 0 to 30. Customers are mostly satisfied with their experience, but you may be able to elevate it. Once again, dig into the data to find trouble spots.
  • 31-70. Your customer experience is very good, but you can still tweak a few items to make customers even happier.
  • Above 70. Customers are very satisfied. This isn’t the time to take the foot off the gas, though. Continue to monitor data to ensure it doesn’t change and stress a customer-obsessed culture within the company, and keep your eye on current trends to improve CX within your brand.


How To Leverage NPS

NPS is only a useful tool for CX if it's used to understand the customer better and respond to feedback and pain points. To hit this target, you need to:

Ensure It’s Customized To Your Brand

The definition of and formula for NPS is standard, but there’s no cookie-cutter approach. Instead, it’s best to customize it to your brand’s needs and customers’ preferences to maximize the responses to and benefits of your NPS survey.

  • Consider channels. You likely have a multi-channel, omnichannel approach to CX, giving you plenty of options for where to ask for customer feedback via an NPS survey. But where are your brand’s unique customers most likely to respond? If you’re new to sending out NPS surveys, this process may be trial and error. Start sending surveys and see where you get the most responses over time. Then, optimize those channels when sending out future NPS surveys.
  • Consider type. Transactional NPS surveys prompt a customer to take the survey after they engage with a specific touchpoint. These surveys gain immediate insight and work well for B2B brands. B2C brands typically benefit best from relationship NPS surveys prompted at specific intervals. These surveys give sum-total looks at customer experience, which is beneficial to brands with high transaction volumes. 

Carefully Balance Desire for Feedback vs. Customer Fatigue

CX leaders want feedback and data—it helps them shape the future of the customer experience. But it’s possible to wear customers out by asking them for feedback after every interaction with every touchpoint. They may stop responding or not put as much thought into their ratings. If they do respond, the deluge of data can actually water down the insights.

But in certain circumstances, taking a campaign-style approach to NPS surveys can be highly beneficial. It should be for a very specific reason, though, such as gleaning insights on a customer’s thoughts on a recent update or a pain point your brand finally shored up. Gaining this feedback can give you insights into what your customers thought about a specific, high-level initiative, perhaps one that pulled together multiple teams within the company.

Address Feedback

All this data is great, right? It actually doesn’t mean much if you don’t do anything about it. In fact, if customers provide constructive feedback and it goes unaddressed, it could feel like a betrayal—you asked their opinion, they took time to give it, and now there’s no resolution. Incorporating feedback into product releases, bug fixes, and updates is essential to building higher levels of trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Part of the issue with NPS is that it’s simply a number. It doesn’t give you much information on why. Following up with promoters and detractors can provide insight into why they gave the score they did and help shape CX strategy. (More on that shortly.)

Share NPS Feedback With the Other Teams

One way to ensure customer feedback gets addressed—and issues are not only diagnosed but cured—is to nix siloes within a CX team and the entire company. Agents may not be privy to feedback. Sharing it with them can promote buy-in and allow them to fix sub-standard customer interactions.

What’s more, CX teams aren’t developing products and releases or fixing bugs. Providing customer feedback company-wide, particularly with product and engineering teams, can keep important insights from falling through the cracks. Some ways to integrate customer feedback into company-wide communications include:

  • Slack channels
  • A centralized data hub
  • Presentations at all-hands meetings

What NPS Doesn’t Do (And a Way Around That)

NPS gives valuable insights into what your customer thinks about their experience with their brand. But the straightforward nature of the questions, while efficient, lack an even more valuable insight: Why do you feel like that? There’s a way to fix that: Ask a follow-up question.


3 Follow-Up Questions to NPS Surveys

To learn more about your customers’ preferences and pain points, ask them to provide more information. These follow-up questions can be intuitive and programmed to pop up after a specific rating is even. They should always be optional, though. As valuable as the option is, it may have been a time commitment even to answer the initial questions.

Here are three follow-up questions that dig deeper into a customer’s thought process:

  • Why did you give that rating?
  • Name one thing we could have done differently.
  • Would you like to refer us to a friend?


NPS is a common way to measure customer satisfaction—and for good reasons. It’s straightforward and not too time-consuming for a customer. It gives brands a gauge of how customer experience initiatives are doing. But it doesn’t tell you why your customers are happy or unhappy. To do that, you’ll want to ask follow-up questions.

You’ll also want to ensure you’re leveraging the responses you do get—to initial surveys and follow-up questions—to shape your future strategy. Don’t collect data for the sake of it. Share it with other teams responsible for satisfaction, such as product and engineering, to promote a culture of customer obsession. Ensuring other CX team members, like offshore agents, also get feedback based on NPS surveys is also important. They can’t improve if they don’t know there’s a need. 


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