Net Promoter Score (NPS)

30 Jan 2024 By: Michael Kansky


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used metric in the field of customer service, particularly within customer service outsourcing companies. It is a simple, yet powerful tool that measures customer loyalty and satisfaction. The score is derived from a single question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (those who score 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (those who score 9-10). The result is a score that ranges from -100 to 100, with higher scores indicating greater customer loyalty and satisfaction.

History of the Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score was first introduced by Fred Reichheld, a fellow at Bain & Company, in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article titled “The One Number You Need to Grow.” Reichheld argued that traditional customer satisfaction surveys were too complex and did not correlate well with customer behavior. He proposed the NPS as a simpler, more effective alternative.

Since its introduction, the NPS has been adopted by many companies across various industries as a key performance indicator (KPI). It has also been the subject of numerous studies and research papers, which have generally supported Reichheld’s claims about its effectiveness.

Development of the NPS

Reichheld developed the NPS after conducting an extensive research project involving more than 4000 customers across multiple industries. He found that the single question about likelihood to recommend was the most predictive of customer loyalty and future business growth.

Reichheld also found that customers could be divided into three categories based on their scores: promoters, passives, and detractors. This classification system is now a fundamental part of the NPS methodology.

Adoption and Use of the NPS

Following the publication of Reichheld’s article, many companies began to adopt the NPS as a key performance indicator. Today, it is used by companies of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.

The NPS has also been adopted by many customer service outsourcing companies. These companies use the NPS to measure and improve their performance, and to demonstrate their value to their clients.

Understanding the Net Promoter Score

The NPS is based on a single question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” Customers who score 9-10 are classified as promoters, those who score 7-8 are passives, and those who score 0-6 are detractors.

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The result is a score that ranges from -100 to 100. A positive score indicates that a company has more promoters than detractors, while a negative score indicates the opposite.

Interpreting the NPS

The NPS is a relative measure, meaning that it should be compared to the scores of other companies in the same industry. A score of 50, for example, is considered excellent in most industries, but may be average or below average in industries with generally high customer satisfaction.

It’s also important to note that the NPS is not a perfect measure of customer satisfaction or loyalty. It does not take into account other factors that may influence these things, such as price or product quality. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with other metrics and data sources.

Using the NPS to Improve Customer Service

The NPS can be a valuable tool for improving customer service. By identifying detractors, companies can reach out to these customers and address their concerns. This can lead to improved customer acquisition, experience and loyalty, and ultimately, business growth.

Customer service outsourcing companies can also use the NPS to demonstrate their value to their clients. By showing that they can improve the NPS, these companies can make a strong case for their services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Net Promoter Score

Like any metric, the NPS has its strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these can help companies use the NPS effectively and avoid potential pitfalls.

One of the main advantages of the NPS is its simplicity. The score is easy to understand and communicate, making it a powerful tool for rallying employees around a common goal. The NPS is also highly actionable, as it identifies specific customers who can be targeted for follow-up actions.

Advantages of the NPS

Another advantage of the NPS is that it is a standardized measure, which makes it easy to benchmark performance against other companies or industry averages. This can provide valuable insights into a company’s competitive position.

The NPS can also be a powerful driver of business growth. Research has shown that companies with high NPS scores tend to grow faster than their competitors. This is because promoters are more likely to stay loyal, make repeat purchases, and refer new customers.

Disadvantages of the NPS

One of the main criticisms of the NPS is that it oversimplifies the complexity of customer loyalty and satisfaction. By reducing these concepts to a single number, the NPS may overlook important nuances and details.

Another criticism is that the NPS can be easily manipulated. For example, companies can artificially inflate their scores by only surveying their happiest customers. This can lead to a false sense of security and complacency.

Best Practices for Using the Net Promoter Score

Despite its limitations, the NPS can be a valuable tool if used correctly. Here are some best practices for using the NPS.

First, it’s important to use the NPS in conjunction with other metrics and data sources. The NPS should not be the only measure of customer satisfaction or loyalty.

Survey Design and Administration

When designing and administering the NPS survey, it’s important to follow best practices. This includes using a consistent scale, avoiding leading questions, and ensuring that the survey is easy to complete.

It’s also important to survey a representative sample of customers. This can help ensure that the NPS is an accurate reflection of overall customer sentiment.

Follow-Up Actions

Once the NPS survey has been administered, it’s important to take follow-up actions based on the results. This includes reaching out to detractors to address their concerns, and leveraging promoters to generate referrals and positive word-of-mouth.

It’s also important to track changes in the NPS over time. This can help identify trends and evaluate the effectiveness of customer service initiatives.


In conclusion, the Net Promoter Score is a simple, yet powerful tool for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction. While it has its limitations, it can provide valuable insights and drive business growth when used correctly.

For customer service outsourcing companies, the NPS can be a key performance indicator and a way to demonstrate value to clients. By understanding and applying the principles of the NPS, these companies can improve their performance and contribute to their clients’ success.

Customer Service
Michael Kansky

Michael Kansky, CEO of LiveHelpNow and HelpSquad, has leveraged his 20 years of industry experience and innovative support strategies to revolutionize customer service approaches, making LiveHelpNow a leading customer service software provider, and establishing HelpSquad as a bridge between businesses and customer needs. You may contact Michael on LinkedIn: