Net Promoter score

I was thinking about Net Promoter scores today because of Bernd’s video from LAST Conference about the Net Promoter System for Agile Companies (link below), the NPS data we collected from LAST Conference, and also because the training session that Neil and Craig’s ran yesterday got a pleasing NPS. I was glad to hear this news, because it was the first training day in my new Guerrilla Training series.

What is Net Promoter®?

To recap, NPS is a method for gauging peoples’ satisfaction with a product, service, activity etc. You ask people the question, “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues?” Most commonly asking for a number between 0 and 10, with 0 being not likely at all, and 10 being definitely. Those that respond with 9 or 10, are Promoters, those who respond with 6 or lower are Detractors.

The score is worked out by subtracting the % of Detractors from the % of Promoters, to give a number between -100 (everyone is a Detractor) to +100 (everyone is a Promoter). A score of +50 or above is considered to be pretty good, according to the Wiki that knows.

You would commonly ask a second, open ended question asking why people gave their score, so that you can identify what you’ve done well and what can be targeted for improvement.

An example that I’m proud of, can be seen in the embedded tweet at the top of this post. It’s one of the responses from a Product Inception workshop that I co-facilitated with Cheryl, a couple of months ago. I was pretty happy with an overall Net Promoter score of 76.9!

I think Net Promoter is generally a pretty useful tool to use on a variety of things. What do you think?

Further reading/watching

Net Promoter on Wikipedia

Video of Bernd’s Net Promoter System for Agile Companies talk at LAST Conference.

Official Net Promoter website.

3 comments to Net Promoter score

  • Kelsey

    I recently (in the last two months) bought a new telco product and came across this term for the first time, the lady who looked after me explained how this worked in her organisation and went to some lengths to explain that anything less than 10 was the equivalent of damming with faint praise, at least in the organisation she worked for. If this is true in a wider context, I wonder how many people are filling these things in and awarding 6 to 8’s for excellent service when they really meant 10.

  • Hi Kelsey, your observation raises a couple of potential issues. One is that there is variability in how respondents interpret the 11 point scale. Another is that organisations/or individuals can subtly (or overtly) affect the responses, in the way you describe above.

    I came across this blog post which runs through a few of the criticisms. The recommendation that a 7 point score, seems to make sense, and might address the issue you identify.

    Extremely likely to recommend against
    Moderately likely to recommend against
    Slightly likely to recommend against
    Neither likely to recommend nor recommend against
    Slightly likely to recommend
    Moderately likely to recommend
    Extremely likely to recommend

    What do you think?

  • Kelsey

    Hi Ed,

    Thanks for the linked blog post, it’s good to read some empirical research on this I think it’s important to be aware that there is some support for the argument that that this approach is so popular simply because it’s easy to use and has been well marketed rather than because it is a more meaningful measure than many others. There is a follow up post which can be found at and which really does highlight the issue in its first couple of paragraphs. The alternative scale proposed, and the one you have quoted seems more useful, if it is combined with the recommended change to interpretation. It would be nice to see some empirical research on this too.

    I don’t want to take anything away from the pleasing score Craig and Neil’s course got, (I found the day invaluable and will be recommending it) except to say, that having read something on this topic, I already knew that to express what I wanted I needed to give a score of 9 or 10. This is because anything less may get interpreted as a negative.

    This is particularly a problem when you consider people’s natural disinclination to give 10/10 for anything, giving a 7 or 8 would generally be considered a good score (by the giver) but may not actually be interpreted this way.

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