Tips & Hints

How to structure a killer NPS survey

Published on 18 January, 2021

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey is a metric used to measure customer experience, their loyalty and satisfaction. It is also an indicator of customer experience and can be used to predict business growth.

An NPS survey usually consists of a single question, the responses to which are scored on a scale ranging from -100 to 100. Your NPS campaign can be expanded to include more than one question, and this CX metric is used widely across the world to analyse trends and to improve the customer experience within a business.

The benefits of using an NPS survey

NPS questions are easy to understand and quick to respond to, and customers don’t have to put in too much effort to provide you with this feedback. Responses are also easy to understand by anyone in your organisation and can be used by all teams and departments. Studies show that NPS results and a company’s revenue run parallel to each other. Which means that if you see a rise in NPS scores, you can expect an increase in your annual revenue.

Because the NPS question is based on the likelihood of a recommendation, it is a good indicator of repeat and new business for your brand. It also provides a good overall picture of your business and your customer’s overarching relationship with you. The NPS survey is cost-effective to implement and does not require any complex code or analytics to track.

Even though the standard NPS survey consists of a single question, you can choose to adapt and expand it according to your business’ needs. Let’s now look at some common net promoter score questions and how you can structure your survey to yield the best results for you.

NPS survey structure

The Net Promoter Score survey can consist of a two-part questionnaire. The first part asks your customers to rate your business, product or service on a scale of 0 to 10. The second question is a follow-up, open-ended question to explain why the specific score was given.

The first question

An NPS survey starts by asking: On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend us (our product or service) to a friend or colleague?

The question is designed to capture a customer’s satisfaction with your company and opens the opportunity for their feedback. Under the question, a numerical scale should be provided so that the customer can provide their answer in the form of a measurement. The scale can go from 0 to 10, with 0 being ‘Least likely’ and 10 being ‘Most likely’. Customers who provide ratings can then be classified into these three categories:

0-6 = Detractor. These are customers who were unhappy with the experience they had with your brand and are likely to promote negative sentiments. They are not likely to return to your business and may discourage others from even trying you out.

7-8 = Passive. These are satisfied customers who are neither very happy nor upset with your brand. They are not likely to put in the effort to promote your business, may easily get swayed by your competitor and won’t likely think of you again unless necessary.

9-10 = Promoter. These are your happiest and most loyal customers. They will spread the word about your business, talk highly of you, come back to you for more and be enthusiastic about your brand.

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Calculating your Net Promoter Score

Subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters to get your NPS.

Company NPS = (% of promoters) - (% of detractors)

To get the number of promoters, subtract the passive responses and detractors from the total respondents. Let’s put this into perspective. If you get 100 responses in total with a breakdown of 50% promoters, 20% detractors and 30% passive, your NPS will be 50-20 = 30. You can then focus on targeting those detractors and see how you can convert them to promoters to get your NPS up.

Your NPS can also be used to benchmark against your competitors and leaders in your industry. You will be able to understand your target audience a bit better and even rate your customer service team, specific campaigns and products.

The second question

Now that you’ve got your core NPS question out of the way, it’s time to follow up with asking your customers for reasoning to justify their rating. A common second NPS question is: What is the primary reason for your score?

This is quite open-ended, so we recommend digging deeper into their score by asking what disappointed them or asking them to recommend ways you can improve. Both the rating and the open-ended questions have a standard format that most NPS services use. However, they can be customised according to your business specifics and the goals of your NPS campaign.

Let’s now look at ways you can ask better questions to get more accurate results you can act upon.

5 ways to improve your NPS campaign

We want our NPS campaigns to be engaging, on the other hand, we also want to collect relevant insights from the campaign so maintaining a balance of these two is crucial for your NPS survey to be successful.

1. Ask questions that are relevant and specific to what you want to find out

After a customer rates you, you'll have more chances to get down to the specifics of their experience. Ask questions like:

  • How easy was it to find the product you were looking for?
  • Which of our features did you like the most?
  • What made you buy from us today?

You need to get as much value out of this as possible to make it valuable for the customer as well. Obtaining an all-round picture of your customer experience will provide you with exactly which areas to improve on and how you can continue providing them with service they are happy with.

2. Be wary of the length of the NPS survey

You need to keep your questions short and to the point, and also make sure that your rating scales are not too vast and confusing. Keep your scale between 0-5 or 0-10. Anything more complex will put the customer off from responding.

Stick to 2 or 3 questions for your survey. One of the first things a customer will do when asked to complete a survey, is checking how long it will take them. A short and simple NPS survey is quick to fill out and customers will eagerly do so.

3. Take the design into consideration

If you are incorporating your NPS survey into an email newsletter or webpage, you need to make sure that it fits in with the overall theme and other aesthetic elements on the page. Some scales are colour coded from red to green to indicate satisfaction levels. Others are monochrome to go with a simpler and contemporary design.

Instead of just a scale, some businesses use smiley faces to indicate the customer’s feelings - A happy smile to show good service and an unhappy face to indicate unsatisfactory service.

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4. Leave space for additional comments

Use comment boxes to keep questions brief while providing the customer with extra space for them to expand their thoughts in. A scale rating is not always conclusive of what the customer truly feels, and by giving them an additional space they are encouraged to be more open and specific with their feedback.

Comments can offer deeper insights into your customer’s sentiment, motivation and future plans especially when negative scores are given. It's important to get qualitative data to complement your quantitative data to learn the exact distress points you need to work on.

5. Incorporate reviews

People are more likely to engage with customer reviews that are integrated with your NPS survey after having tried your product or service. Keep track of which customers completed a transaction successfully and then ask them to leave a detailed review in exchange for a discount on future purchases or a referral code. This will entice them to spread the word as well as come back for more.

Using NPS for your business

An NPS campaign can also be used to evaluate the performance of your staff, as well as collect data about employee sentiments. Some companies ask employees to fill out an exit interview when leaving to see if they would recommend it as a place of work to others. You can also identify pain points for your employees that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Use your NPS data wisely to make the most of it. Segmentation is a great way to identify patterns and look for areas you can improve over time. Compare results to each question over time to see if there has been any growth. Remember to incorporate NPS surveys within the appropriate channels to get the response you required from a customer. A successful NPS campaign should provide you with valuable customer experience insights and a clear action plan for the future.


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