Product Management

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?
Definition of Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The net promoter score (NPS) is a customer loyalty and satisfaction metric used to determine how likely users are to recommend a product or company to friends or colleagues. It is measured through responses to a single question survey that asks users to rate the likelihood they would recommend something, on a 0-10 scale. Based on the scores, users are grouped into Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8) and Detractors (0-6), and the NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from Promoters.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key metric used in product management and operations to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is a simple yet powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into a product's performance and the effectiveness of a company's customer relationship strategies.

This glossary article will delve into the intricacies of the NPS, exploring its definition, the methodology behind its calculation, its significance in product management and operations, and how to interpret and utilize the results. We will also provide specific examples to illustrate these concepts in a real-world context.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): An Overview

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer's overall satisfaction with a company's product or service and the customer's loyalty to the brand.

NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question: On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale.

Categories of Respondents

Respondents to the NPS question are grouped into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth. Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings. Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Understanding these categories is crucial as they form the basis for calculating the NPS. Each category represents a different level of customer sentiment towards the product or service, and thus, they have different implications for the company's growth and reputation.

Calculating the Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. It is not the percentage of customers who are Promoters minus the percentage who are Detractors, nor is it the percentage of Promoters out of the total number of respondents.

The resulting score can range from -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to 100 (if every customer is a Promoter). A positive NPS (i.e., greater than zero) is generally deemed good, a NPS of +50 is excellent, and anything over +70 is considered world-class.

Example of NPS Calculation

Let's say a company surveyed 100 customers and received the following responses: 60 Promoters, 30 Passives, and 10 Detractors. The NPS would be calculated as follows: (60/100 - 10/100) * 100 = 50. Hence, the company's NPS is 50, which is considered excellent.

This example illustrates the simplicity of the NPS calculation. However, it's important to remember that while the calculation itself is straightforward, interpreting the score and translating it into actionable insights requires a deeper understanding of the metric and its implications.

Significance of NPS in Product Management & Operations

In product management and operations, the NPS serves as a valuable tool for understanding customer sentiment and identifying areas for improvement. It provides a clear and quantifiable measure of customer loyalty, which can be a strong indicator of product success and future growth.

By tracking the NPS over time, product managers can monitor changes in customer sentiment, identify trends, and gauge the impact of product updates or changes in strategy. This can inform decision-making and help guide the direction of product development and operations.

Using NPS to Improve Products

NPS can be used to identify weaknesses in a product that may be causing customer dissatisfaction. For example, if a company's NPS is low or declining, this could indicate that customers are not satisfied with the product and are unlikely to recommend it to others. This feedback can be used to pinpoint areas for improvement and guide product development efforts.

Conversely, a high or improving NPS can indicate that customers are satisfied with the product and are likely to recommend it to others. This can provide validation for product strategies and serve as a positive signal to stakeholders.

Using NPS to Guide Operations

From an operations perspective, NPS can be used to identify inefficiencies or issues in the customer journey that may be impacting customer satisfaction. For example, if a company's NPS is low, this could indicate that customers are encountering problems with the product or service delivery, which could be addressed through operational improvements.

Moreover, by segmenting the NPS by different customer groups or operational areas, companies can gain more granular insights into where improvements are needed. This can help prioritize operational changes and allocate resources more effectively.

Interpreting and Utilizing NPS Results

While the NPS provides a simple, numeric representation of customer sentiment, interpreting the results and translating them into actionable insights can be more complex. It requires understanding the context of the score, including industry benchmarks, historical trends, and the specific feedback provided by respondents.

Furthermore, while the NPS can provide valuable insights, it should not be used in isolation. It is most effective when used in conjunction with other metrics and qualitative feedback to provide a more comprehensive view of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Comparing NPS to Industry Benchmarks

One way to interpret the NPS is by comparing it to industry benchmarks. This can provide context for the score and help companies understand how they stack up against their competitors. However, it's important to consider that benchmarks can vary widely by industry and region, and they should be used as a guide rather than a definitive standard.

For example, a NPS of 30 might be considered excellent in one industry but only average in another. Therefore, companies should consider their NPS in the context of their industry and strive to improve their score relative to their competitors.

Tracking NPS Over Time

Another important aspect of interpreting the NPS is tracking it over time. This can help companies identify trends and monitor changes in customer sentiment. For example, a rising NPS could indicate that recent product updates or operational changes are resonating with customers, while a declining NPS could signal potential issues that need to be addressed.

By monitoring the NPS over time and correlating it with specific actions or events, companies can gain insights into what is driving changes in customer sentiment and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Using NPS to Drive Action

The ultimate goal of measuring the NPS is to drive action. This means using the insights gained from the NPS to make improvements to the product or service, enhance the customer experience, and ultimately, increase customer loyalty and advocacy.

This could involve making changes to the product based on feedback from Detractors, implementing operational improvements to enhance the customer journey, or leveraging the advocacy of Promoters through referral programs or testimonials. The key is to use the NPS as a tool for continuous improvement and customer-centric decision-making.


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a powerful tool in product management and operations, providing a simple yet effective measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty. By understanding the NPS, how it's calculated, and how to interpret and utilize the results, companies can gain valuable insights into their customers, improve their products and services, and drive growth.

While the NPS is a valuable metric, it's important to remember that it's just one piece of the puzzle. It should be used in conjunction with other metrics and qualitative feedback to provide a comprehensive view of the customer experience. By doing so, companies can make informed, customer-centric decisions that drive satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, success.