What your Net Promoter Score results mean and how to take action

Daniel Scheltinga explains the most important aspects of Net Promoter Score surveys and how to create an action plan around your company’s results. Check out his first article on the topic, Getting the most out of Net Promoter Score surveys.


In my previous article I explained what NPS is and how it can help your business and shared some tips on the most effective way to send NPS surveys.

In a nutshell, NPS is a measure of your customer’s overall happiness and loyalty to your company and can be tracked over time. Promoters are your loyal customers and will spread the good word about your company. Passives may be happy but not quite happy enough to recommend you. Detractors are at risk of taking their business elsewhere – and telling others to do the same. Your NPS, ranging from -100 to 100, is calculated by subtracting your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters.

This article will explain what the most important aspect of NPS surveys are, how to understand them and how to create an action plan to improve.


Understand what your NPS results mean

How do you know whether your NPS is good or bad? Just because you have a negative or 0 score does not mean you’re doing poorly. In some industries, a score of 0 could be much higher than your competitors. Instead, treat your first set of NPS results as a benchmark and work to improve your NPS over time.

Study the results of your NPS responses carefully, especially the customer feedback you receive, and use data analytics to dive deeper into the findings. The more you slice and dice your NPS results, the more customer insights you will uncover. Zendesk’s NPS platform, for example, allows you to use pre-built reports to drill down on a specific score or customer segment for more meaningful analysis, such as finding out how different types of customers feel about your company (e.g. prospect, partner, freemium customer, paying customer, high-value customer).

No matter how great your NPS reports are, customer satisfaction does not improve with knowledge alone. Armed with meaningful reports and relevant insights, it’s time to take action and improve the customer experience (and your NPS).


Share your NPS results

Sharing honest customer feedback internally can be scary but it’s the first step towards improvement. At Zendesk, we share our NPS results with the entire company and let people read through every line of feedback. Chances are the concerns your customers have raised stem from every department within your organisation. Sharing this feedback enables the whole company to develop more customer empathy and reflect on how they can individually improve the customer experience.

Keeping your customer happy is a team effort – from how you build your product, to the conversations your sales team has, to how you communicate via your website and social media sites. After you’ve shared customer feedback from your NPS surveys, you should set up a cross-departmental taskforce to create an action plan to resolve customer pain points.


Create an action plan

Based on the analysis you have uncovered, you should have a better understanding of why your detractors are churn risks, what’s keeping your passives from recommending you, and why your promoters love your business. Find the common denominators and map out an action plan.

With your cross-departmental taskforce, you can work to improve your product, boost your customer care, or resolve whatever other issues are impeding the customer experience. Lastly, do not forget about your promoters. Understand why they love your business and make sure they, and others, continue to receive that same experience.

NPS results can help companies to prioritise areas for investment and justify why it’s worth spending money to solve a problem. For example, Australian daily deal website Catch of the Day, which has deployed NPS surveys through its Zendesk customer support system, found out that a major customer gripe was that it was too slow dispatching its goods. This was the push needed to convince its management team to invest in major works at its warehouse to improve distribution times before the Christmas season began.


Perform preventative maintenance

Sometimes it might not be impossible to turn a customer who rates you a 0 into a promoter. Instead of losing hope and giving up on these customers, you can perform what we call preventative maintenance. While there might not be anything you can do to turn a 0 rating around, you can prevent other customers from becoming a 0 from the start. There is huge value in understanding why your detractors give you a poor rating so you can prevent future occurrences.


Keep at it

Investing in the measurement of NPS is a long-term commitment. Improvements do not happen overnight but over time great customer service can directly impact your bottom line.

If you conduct regular NPS surveys on your customers, do your due diligence in analysing their feedback, share the results with your whole organisation, and actively work as a team to improve, your business will reap the benefits of long-term customer retention and loyalty. Given the cost and difficulty of acquiring new customers, finding ways to keep your customers happy and returning to your brand has never been more important.


Daniel Scheltinga is director of services and support at Zendesk.