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Determining customer satisfaction using Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score PC

What is the Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

The Net Promoter Score is an index which indicates a direct willingness for recommendation and indirect customer satisfaction with an organisation, a product or a service. It provides alternative insights to traditional means for determining customer relationships as special emphasis is placed on the aspect of word-of-mouth distribution. It is said that the NPS value is heavily linked with revenue growth and therefore a key metric to establish customer loyalty by a provider of a product, service or any other transaction.

The Net Promoter Score consists of a single powerful question that simply asks “How likely is it that you would recommend company/product/service XYZ to a friend or a colleague?”. Thereby, it offers an array of answer options ranging from values 0 (“Not at all likely”) to 10 (“Extremely likely”).

Net Promoter Score Scale

It was developed by Fred Reichheld and introduced in 2003.*

How to calculate the Net Promoter Score

Firstly, your survey respondents are subdivided into three different groups:
  • Those that chose answer options 0 to 6 are categorised as detractors, i.e. people who are not particularly satisfied with what you’re offering them

  • Respondents who chose 7 or 8 are labelled passives who are neutrally motivated users and later ignored when calculating the Net Promoter Score

  • Lastly, those who chose 9 or 10 are your promoters, i.e. your loyal and satisfied customers who would gladly recommend you or your offers to other people

The actual NPS calculation is done in two steps. First, you need to determine the percentage of promoters and detractors:
  • Number of promoters / Number of total respondents * 100

  • Number of detractors / Number of total respondents * 100

Example: you have received a total of 100 responses on your survey. 30 respondents (detractors) chose 0 to 6, 30 respondents (passives) chose 7 and 8 and 40 respondents (promoters) chose 9 and 10.
  • 40 promoters / 100 total respondents * 100 = 40% promoters

  • 30 detractors / 100 total respondents * 100 = 30% detractors

The second calculation step is the respective NPS equation:
  • % promoters - % detractors = Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score can hereby reach a maximum value of +100(%) if you receive 100% promoters and 0% detractors and passives or a minimum value of -100(%) if you receive 100% detractors and 0% promoters and passives.

Let’s take a look at our previous example and calculate the Net Promoter Score.

Example: we had 40% promoters and 30% detractors.
  • 40% promoters – 30% detractors = 10(%) Net Promoter Score

Remark: there is broad uncertainty about whether the Net Promoter Score is displayed as a percentage or not. The fact is, there is no specific evidence about this so far. However, there are publications by the inventor of the NPS himself, Fred Reichheld, who specifies the NPS in percent, for example, see here which is why I decided to stick to percent.

What is considered a good Net Promoter Score?

This question is not easily answered or assessed in a standardised way despite being purely numeric in determination.

As mentioned before, the NPS can range from -100 to +100. If you have an equal amount of promoters and detractors, you will always end up with an NPS of exactly 0. Therefore, it makes sense to treat 0 as the mean NPS making it an average score, neither very good nor bad. Anything below 0 ought to sound alarm bells since it indicates customer satisfaction levels are tending towards negative values and an organisation’s products, services or processes require considerable improvement to avoid substantial customer churn.

Obviously, the strategy and efforts ought to be aimed at achieving a positive NPS score which is as high as possible. According to global NPS standards, a score from 0 to 49 is considered “good”, a score from 50 to 69 is considered “excellent” while a score of 70 and higher is considered “world class”.

For benchmarking reasons, pages such as NPS Benchmaks offer great insights into well-known brands’ NPS results. For example, Tesla Motors currently reaches an NPS of 97 while Apple has an NPS of 89, Samsung however only manages an NPS of 70. Interestingly, the Apple iPhone has an NPS of only 55 and the Samsung Galaxy only 45, hence, making the overall brands more satisfactory from a consumer perspective than the companies’ products.

Tip: if you are able to retrieve information on competitors’ or industries’ Net Promoter Scores, this may give you a good starting point to work towards gaining a competitive edge.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Net Promoter Score

There are plenty of advantages of conducting a Net Promoter Score survey to gain knowledge on how satisfied your customers are:
  • Setup and processing are easy and fast due to user-friendliness

  • NPS question is intuitive for most respondents

  • Shortness of survey reduces survey fatigue and results in better response rate

  • Studies by Satmetrix and Bain & Company have shown that NPS and revenue growth are correlated

  • Good benchmarking possibilities

  • Customer classification can be undertaken easily

There are also disadvantages to the Net Promoter Score:
  • It is criticised as being too general and unspecific as it doesn’t reflect the reasons for low satisfaction of the detractors

  • It’s a snapshot of the general satisfaction level, but lacks natural motivation and plan what to do with the attained data

  • Fails to predict future loyalty trend

Tip: if you feel you are not getting enough information out of your NPS question data, simply extend your survey by questions such as ”Would you elaborate on why you chose {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10}” and ”Which changes would have to be implemented regarding company/product/service XYZ in order for your recommendation to increase by just one point?”, each with an open text box. These additional questions extend your NPS status quo by asking customers specifically for improvement areas and enabling concrete action to spur growth.



LimeSurvey offers a Net Promoter Score Survey Template which includes the aforementioned questions. Since it’s a template, it is fully editable and serves as a general survey framework.
It will be available soon in the course of the LimeSurvey 3.0.0 stable release and included for free in our Professional Basic, Expert and Enterprise packages as well as Premium 3 months, 6 months and 12 months packages.
Feel free to give it a try and find out your customer satisfaction and loyalty with the Net Promoter Score.

If you want to give us feedback, comments or suggestions regarding our Net Promoter Score survey template, feel free to send us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



*Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld

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