The Peer Pressure of a Net Promoter Score

Survey Tips
February 6, 2013

C’mon. You know that you want to do it. Everyone else is doing it. Even the cool kids are doing it, so you should too. Right? Or, maybe not.

As with so many market research questions, the answer is, “it depends.” What are we talking about? Net Promoter Score, of course. Net Promoter Score, also referred to as NPS or the Ultimate Question has been growing extremely popular over time, and can be found on most surveys encountered.

Net Promoter Score Methodolgy

The basic methodology of the Net Promoter Score is simple. You ask a question, always in the same format, intended on measuring your customers’ likelihood to recommend an experience, service or product.

Here’s an example:

Based on your recent experience, how likely are you to recommend Alchemer to a friend or colleague?

An 11-point scale from 0 to 10 follows the question. The NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors (those who scored your product or service as a 0-6) from Promoters (those that scored your product or service as 9-10). This generates your Net Promoter Score:


Calculating Your Net Promoter Score

Understanding your Net Promoter Score can be a bit tricky. We recommend reading the book Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. However, in summary, the way you understand your score is as follows:

  • A negative score means you have more Detractors than Promoters and your organization is unlikely to grow.
  • A NPS score of 0 or above is considered to be good.
  • A NPS score above 50 is considered to be exceptional. This also indicates that awareness of your organization will grow through word-of-mouth marketing.


Another typical component of Net Promoter Score is to ask an open-ended, essay-style question following the NPS question to collect details about why the respondent rated their likelihood to recommend as they did.

This means that the Net Promoter Score question, when implemented as recommended, is a form of both quantitative and qualitative data collection.

When asked why he uses Net Promoter score questions in surveys. Christian Vanek, Alchemer’s CEO said,

NPS is like crack for executives that do not know better. It is metric that can provide measureable results. But, it is not right for every industry or service.

It is a tool, just like a hammer is a tool. I do not love hammers, but they are a great tool to use to pound in a nail. They are not good for screwing in screws or installing doors, but it does the job when hammering in a nail. Just the same, the NPS question is a tool. When used correctly and in the right situation it provides valuable information that is great to measure over time.

Though there are some imperfections to the NPS measurement, it is a market research industry standard and I do like it better than measuring customer satisfaction. I do not want out customers to be satisfied or even extremely satisfied, I want them to be elated and in love with Alchemer. NPS is a better measurement for that. I can tell you that we do measure likelihood to recommend, and when our NPS goes down, our trial sign-ups, in turn take a downward tick.

Whether you give in to peer pressure or not, remember to use your survey questions correctly and in the right context.

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