Net promoter score in action

Net Promoter Score: A metric for love?

A client of mine recently wanted to do a written customer survey. I’m usually allergic to these generic and prosaic insight-free-zones. But Jeremy Moon from Icebreaker recently put me onto a metric called the “Net Promoter Score” that might actually be worth testing for in a customer survey.

Net promoter score in action
Icebreaker prides itself on measuring and managing word of mouth.

Jeremy is an independent advisory board member of Better By Design which is the design and innovation team within New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. He has always been a real inspiration to me because of the integrity of the Icebreaker merino products and the passionate tribe of fans that the brand attracts.

The “Net Promoter Score” is a test of how many people love your product enough to tell other people about it. It is important because if you are building a tribe of people that love your brand then what people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

I’ve always believed that “Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.”The version of the net promoter score below is a simplified version that I’ve used in customer surveys and differs from what Jeremy suggested and the official Net Promoter score. I’m sharing it here because it’s worked for me. If you want to check out the official version you can take at look at the Net Promoter Score on wikipedia.

The calculus of love
The most common NPS survey runs from 0 to 10. My simplified version of the NPS score is calculated by asking the question “How likely would you be to recommend our product to a colleague, friend or family member?” and rating the answers:
  • 5 equals “I have already recommended your product.”
  • 4 equals “I would recommend your product.”
  • 3 equals “Not likely to recommend or discourage your product.
  • 2 equals “I would discourage people from using your product.”
  • 1 equals “I have already discouraged people from using your product.”
You then subtract the passionate critics (1’s) from the raving fans (5’s) this gives you a “Net Raving Fans Score”. Next, subtract the malcontents (2’s) from the advocates (4’s) this gives you a “Net Advocates Score”. Ignore the neutral (3’s) because they are boring people who will passively consume your product without generating word-of-mouth for better or for worse. Finally, add the Net Raving Fans to the Net Advocates and rate them as a percentage of the total. This gives you the “Net Promoters”.

The maths reads:((5’s – 1’s) + (4’s – 3’s) )/ (5’s + 4’s + 3’s + 2’s + 1’s) = Your score

Strategy Benchmarks

The results are vulnerable to local expectations of personal customer service (which heavily influences the likelihood of recommending a service), and to cultural  attitudes towards recommending products to friends. Even so, it’s a metric that drives the right sorts of follow-up questions in a survey and is the right sort of metric to be chasing in a customer centred business.

What gets measured, gets managed

In the end, the Net Promoter Score is interesting because it tells you “of those who buy my products, how many love it enough to generate buzz and build a community”. If you are trying to create a powerful brand I’d want to know the answer to that question. And be working to increase the score.

3 thoughts on “Net Promoter Score: A metric for love?”

  1. Hi Peter,

    I’m glad you like the concept of Net Promoter. I manage Net Promoter at Satmetrix, one of the developers of the concept, and I just wanted to clarify that the scale is different from what you show here. The official scale is an 11 point scale from 0 to 10. You can get information at our community website Let us know if you’ve got any questions.

  2. Yeah, that’s just not how you do NPS.

    I hope Jeremy remains an inspiration for “the integrity of the Icebreaker merino products and the passionate tribe of fans that the brand attracts”, and not for his research skills.

Comments are closed.