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10 Ways to Improve Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)


So, you’re running a Net Promoter Score (NPS) system? That’s great.

Now it’s your job to ensure you’re getting the best results.

Two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 are using NPS, but many won’t be using the customer experience (CX) system to its full potential.

You don’t have to be one of them. Improving your NPS demands two things from the modern B2B CX leader.

Firstly, you need to improve your NPS system. That’s the way that you conduct surveys, and benchmark and analyze results.

But, secondly, you must improve how you take action on the data you collect from customers. That means closing the loop with on both detractors and promoters, and doing everything you can to make sure you're tackling customer churn and accelerating referrals.

(Top tip: We coach our customers to monetize their Net Promoter program. Which provides results like the visualizations in section 4 of this article.)

Your CXM strategy is faulty without best practices in measurement, action and real revenue growth.

With that in mind, here are 10 tips to improve your NPS today:

  1. Ask the right questions
  2. Add cascading questions
  3. Optimize survey frequency
  4. Choose the right channels
  5. Understand your competitors
  6. Benchmark your progress
  7. Tie NPS to revenue
  8. Close the loop
  9. Conduct root cause analysis
  10. Embed CX company-wide

Improve Your NPS Survey Design and Delivery

Improving your NPS system starts with ensuring that you’re receiving accurate and reliable customer feedback. So, let’s begin by exploring how to optimize your surveys to ensure a high response rate and rich customer data.

1. Ask the Right Questions

The Net Promoter System is famed for its simplicity, scalability, and speed. And that comes from its commitment to the NPS question:

On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product / service / brand to a friend, colleague, or family member?

But asking this question alone is usually not enough to get all the insights you need. According to CustomerGauge research, organizations actually get the best response rates to their NPS surveys if they ask two to six questions.

That should definitely include a driver question—i.e., a question as to why the customer gave the answer they did. But it could also include:

  • A question about the customer. Asking for their age, interest, or occupation can help you understand your audience better.

  • A question about how they would like you to improve. Ultimately, this will make it easier for you to close the loop, while giving customers a direct say in how your business develops.

But watch out: for every question more than six, you’ll be reducing your response rate.

Find out more: The Net Promoter Score Question (+ NPS Templates to Use)

2. Add Cascading Questions

Cascading questions provide more specific details into subsets of your customer base. They are a type of survey question format which works by unlocking new survey questions based on the answer to previous questions.

This can have serious benefits:

  • You’ll keep your surveys brief—ensuring higher response rates

  • You’ll provide a simpler, more personalized survey experience

  • You’ll be able to analyze drivers and subdrivers.

In short, cascading questions make surveys easier for both you and your customers. And that means higher response rates. Make sure you use them.

Find out more: Why You Should Use Cascading Questions in Your Surveys

3. Optimize Survey Frequency

Customers don’t want to be relentlessly bothered by survey questions, obviously. But there’s an art to the timing of customer surveys—and they might demand higher frequency than you expect.

Here’s what we suggest:

  • For B2B relationships, survey customers every quarter. It sounds a lot, but our research shows that regular relationship surveys see a 5.2% increase in retention.

  • If you are surveying based on particular transactions:
    • If you are measuring the CX of your customer service, send an NPS survey ten minutes after a resolution has been reached on the phone. This way, the interaction will still be fresh.

    • Or, if you are investing the CX of your ecommerce store, a week after the transaction is usually the best time. It gives customers some time to test their products.

There are a lot of differences between survey types and your approach to them. Read our blog on the subject here: relationship and transactional surveys.

4. Choose the Right Channels

Your NPS survey response rate will also depend on which channel you send it through. While most businesses choose email—because it’s easier for them—it doesn’t always deliver the best results.

Instead, our analysis of response rates showed that mobile surveys, and web surveys too, are much more likely to get a response. But experiment for yourself—because what might be best for one brand might not be ideal for another.

Benchmark and Analyze Your Results To Improve NPS

Now that you’ve begun to optimize your survey process, it’s time to ensure you really understand what your results are telling you.

Follow these four tips to improve the insights you’re getting from your NPS survey.

5. Understand Your Competition

Your own company’s NPS score doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, your score won’t tell you very much at all unless you put it in context.

Understanding and optimizing your NPS system starts from understanding the competition. Now that customer experience is said to be the single biggest brand differentiator—even over price and product—knowing what others are doing is crucial.

Start by checking out our annual NPS and CX benchmarks report. It’ll help you understand what makes a good NPS score in your industry.

6. Benchmark Your Progress

But other brands’ performance is not the only reference you need. Instead, one of the most powerful data sets you should keep is a different benchmark: your own historic NPS performance.

This will be the basis upon which you grow—and upon which you set goals to help you grow further. By regularly collecting data on customer satisfaction, you can see how your performance is developing over time.

NPS benchmark download

7. Tie Your NPS to Revenue

According to CustomerGauge research, 70% of businesses don’t tie their CX data to their revenue. That means that they don’t have any idea how much their CX efforts are earning them—or how much they’re losing due to negative experience.

These companies are really missing a trick. Because by linking your CX to your bottom line, you’ll achieve greater C-suite alignment, make better decisions based on revenue, and make the case for expanding CX your program.

But you’ll also be able to identify your detractors and your promoters—or the value of your most loyal clients and how much revenue is at risk from churn. This is essential to your overall CX program, as it allows you to make better use of your resources.

When 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers, it’s not something you can afford to neglect.

Find out more: Tying Revenue to Your B2B NPS Program

Improve Your NPS Score and Drive Customer Experience

Finally, it’s time to act on what your customers are telling you. This is when your improvements to your NPS system will boost your CX overall.

Try these three key steps.

8. Close the Loop with Customers

Closing the loop with customers is one of the fundamental parts of your CX efforts. In short, it means acting on your customers’ feedback—whether positive or negative—and reaching out to tell them what you have done.

It’s a simple process that enables you to show your customers you care. But it’s also the real reason why you are running customer surveys in the first place. You’ll boost customer satisfaction, turn passives into promoters, and improve your business processes at the same time.

It’s said that 95% of companies collect customer feedback, but only 10% act on it and only 5% tell customers what they have done. But don’t underestimate the impact it can have on customer loyalty. By closing the loop companies can improve their customer retention by an average of 10%.

9. Conduct Root Cause Analysis

Closing the loop can also help with what’s known as root cause analysis. This is when you dig deep into a customer problem to understand its underlying trigger.

You can use the Five Whys technique to do exactly this. It may sound just too easy, but by simply asking “why?”, you can better identify problems that are causing you wider difficulties.

Start with your customer’s problem, and ask why that has happened. Whatever answer you have found, ask why that is the case. Then repeat the question “why?” three more times, with each answer forming the basis of the next question.

You can either do this with customers in a focus group, or as an exercise in your team.

Read more: Methods for NPS Root Cause Analysis

10. Embed CX Throughout Your Organization

Ultimately, to improve your NPS score, you’ll need to work to make CX everyone’s business. Your customer experience should never just be the concern of your customer service team. Rather, it should have active buy-in from everyone in your organization, from the CEO to frontline staff.

For example, there’s a good reason behind Nutanix’s NPS score. Each member of the C-suite responds to negative feedback. It’s a great way to show that you take your customers really seriously.

Improve Your NPS with CustomerGauge

At CustomerGauge, we can give you the tools and methods to reach new heights with your NPS program. With our customer experience management software, optimize your NPS surveys, track your customer sentiment over time, and easily close the loop with customers.

Read more about choosing an NPS software here.

Next Up: How to Improve Voice of the Customer

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The Most Comprehensive B2B NPS & CX Benchmarks on the Planet

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