How to Use NPS to Improve Customer Experience For Different Types of Customers

nps customer experience

How can you use net promoter score surveys to improve every customer interaction and boost engagement?

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What the net promoter score is and how the net promoter system works?
  • How to calculate net promoter score with a simple formula.
  • How to build an NPS program to measure customer experience.
  • Ways to improve the customer experience for promoters, passives, and detractors.

Let’s get started.


  • The net promoter score is a metric used to track customer experience and satisfaction.
  • The net promoter score question that’s asked in surveys is: “How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or colleague?”
  • After asking this NPS question, you can divide customers into three cohorts based on their score: promoters (9 or 10), passives (7 or 8), and detractors (6 or below).
  • The product NPS formula is % of Promoters – % of Detractors = Net Promoter Score.
  • Transactional NPS surveys are sent after a milestone, like completing a purchase. Relational NPS surveys are sent in regular intervals to keep tabs on NPS over time.
  • To build an NPS program, follow this five-step process:
  1. Collect user sentiment data with in-app NPS surveys
  2. Ask follow-up qualitative questions to understand the “why” behind the score
  3. Tag answers to identify patterns
  4. Segment customers based on their score
  5. And then trigger contextual in-app experiences that improve the CX for each cohort.
  1. Always respond to negative feedback on 3rd party review platforms to clear the air and also close the loop
  2. Reach out to them and offer one-on-one help
  3. Create a resource center for seamless self-serve support.
  • To turn passives into promoters:
  1. Offer incentives such as free trial extensions, access to premium features, and gift cards
  2. Use in-app checklists and flows to help them adopt more valuable features
  3. Encourage feature requests and strive to create killer features that make them want to stay.
  • With promoters, you can:
  1. Reward them with gifts for their loyalty
  2. Invite them to do one-on-one user interviews to collect more in-depth feedback
  3. Ask them to leave positive reviews and drive word-of-mouth referrals.

What is the Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

Net Promoter Score is a customer experience metric that measures satisfaction and loyalty by assessing the willingness of customers to recommend your company to their friends or colleagues.

How does the Net Promoter Score system work?

You ask the question: “How likely are you to recommend this product on a scale from 1-10?”

Then based on the score, you divide your customers into three cohorts:


These are the enthusiastic customers that scored high (9-10) on the NPS survey. They’re loyal customers who’ve had a positive customer experience, leading to brand advocacy.

These loyal enthusiasts are more likely to make repeat purchases, leave positive feedback in reviews, and refer new users to the company.

Moreover, according to the Harvard Business Review, even if Promoters themselves have stopped using your products (as they no longer require it) they will still go out of their way to recommend it to others.

You should understand what they like most about your product and build on those strengths.


Passives fall in the middle ground, scoring either 7 or 8 in their NPS feedback. These are unenthusiastic customers who aren’t necessarily unhappy but not enthusiastic enough to recommend you to others.

These customers are at moderate risk of churning. If a better deal comes along, they’ll most likely opt out from you.


Unhappy customers are called detractors, scoring between 0-6 on the NPS survey. Their overall customer experience has been poor and they’re at severe risk of churning, which will impede growth.

In addition to leaving your business, your detractors will spread negative word-of-mouth feedback that will adversely impact your business growth.


How do you calculate NPS score?

The NPS formula is pretty straightforward.

To calculate the Net Promoter Score, you need to subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The scores can range between -100 and 100, with scores of zero and above considered good. We exclude passive scores from the calculation because they aren’t considered either helpful or harmful.

For example, if you survey 100 customers, 40 customers rate a 9 or 10, 30 rates a 7 or 8, and 5 rate you from 0 – 6, your net promoter score is 35.

If you don’t fancy doing all the calculations manually, why don’t you use our free NPS calculator?

Calculate your NPS score with Userpilot’s free calculator.

Transactional vs relational net promoter score surveys

Relational NPS programs are run continuously, asking customers the NPS question regularly (such as once a year). It’s good practice to get regular feedback about your customer’s experience so you can gather internal benchmarks and monitor if CX metrics are trending up or down.

On the other hand, transactional NPS surveys are triggered based on events in the customer journey, such as after a purchase or after reaching out to support. They’re important for measuring customer experience after these milestones, so you can make improvements if needed.

Collecting both relational and transactional NPS data gives you a complete picture of what’s going on, with a comprehensive view of customer satisfaction.

How to build an NPS program for measuring customer experience

Here’s the five-step process for building a system that measures NPS customer experience:

Gauge customer sentiment with in-app NPS surveys

You can use different channels for sending NPS surveys to customers, but sending them in-app is more effective. That’s because the experience is still fresh in their mind and the survey is contextual as it’s triggered in an environment the user was having the experience. Plus, in-app surveys make it easy to analyze data.

You can create customizable NPS surveys code-free with Userpilot:

Create in-app NPS surveys with Userpilot.

Ask a follow-up qualitative question to dig deeper

While the NPS is a benchmarkable metric and is an effective measure of customer sentiment at any given point, it still doesn’t tell you what’s working and what’s not.

Unless, of course, you follow up and gather more useful insights with open-ended questions.

Based on the NPS score, get back to customers and ask personalized questions to understand the reasons behind their rating.

Automate the process of asking customized follow-up questions with Userpilot.

You can always customize your questions to fit the survey channel and customer category. Here are some examples to inspire you:

examples of follow-up qualitative questions
Examples of NPS qualitative questions.

Tag answers to identify reoccurring patterns and trends

Set up tags and group customer feedback responses by theme. This makes it easy to see recurring themes in both the detractors’ and promoters’ feedback.

What do your loyal customers love most about your product? Is it your software’s easy UI that makes you a better choice for them? Once you understand your strengths, you can build your marketing strategy around these and increase your conversions.

Looking into detractors’ responses helps you understand the most common problems for survey respondents so you can prioritize resolving them. As you can see in the dashboard below, 100% of detractors cited missing features or the expensive price as the prime reasons behind their rating.

Combining this data with user research and product analytics could reveal the real cause of low NPS. Maybe you are attracting the wrong type of customers who come to your product with unrealistic expectations. Or maybe they have difficulty discovering and using your features so you need to revise your adoption strategy.

NPS response tagging in Userpilot.

Segment customers based on their NPS scores

Create segments based on NPS responses. Then, analyze the in-app behavior of each segment to recognize patterns. Is there a difference in how users with different NPS scores use your product?

You will only learn more about your users if you cross-reference NPS scores with user behavior data and combine them with other CX metrics.

Create user segments in Userpilot based on NPS survey answers.

Deliver personalized and contextual experiences for each cohort

After you’ve segmented your users based on their net promoter score, craft experiences that bring value to each cohort.

You obviously need different tactics to handle detractors as opposed to promoters or passives.

How to use NPS to improve the customer experience for detractors

There are different categories of detractors – some customers you may have already lost to churn, but there are others you still have a chance to retain.

Detractor scores range from 0-6, which is admittedly a large scale and can involve different types of people – from extremely dissatisfied customers whom you’ve lost to churn to those who had a single bad experience but still have hopes with you.

In fact, according to a study by LiveChat, 95% of NPS detractors will give businesses a second chance if their complaints are resolved promptly.


Here’s what you can do to improve customer satisfaction for detractors:

Always respond to negative feedback

Stop the lowest-scoring detractors from damaging your reputation. Even if you don’t manage to retain them, by correcting the problem, you may at least be able to defuse the situation.

Most importantly, you’ll stop them from dishing out negative word of mouth and leaving negative reviews.

responding to negative feedback
Example of a negative feedback response.

You can also learn from them and make improvements so other customers don’t find themselves in the same boat.

Proactively reach out to detractors and offer help

You have a chance to convert the highest-scoring detractors into happy customers.

If they haven’t explicitly stated why they were unhappy, contact them personally, ask more questions about their experience, and express a sincere interest in addressing, and fixing, the situation.


Offer self-service support through a resource center

Poor service is one of the three leading reasons why a company loses customers – things like long wait times, generic answers frustrate customers immensely.

To avoid this issue, create a self-serve knowledge base that provides users with quick access to in-app help that doesn’t interrupt product use. You can play interactive walkthroughs and video tutorials from within the help center.

This is a proactive tactic that aims to prevent users from becoming detractors by removing the friction from the customer experience.

Userpilot enables you to offer self-service through a knowledge base.

How to use NPS to improve the customer experience for passives

Passive customers should be considered as being “on the fence” regarding your company. Your objective is to get them onto your side and turn them into promoters.

They are this way either because you don’t meet their expectations fully or because they had a frustrating experience at some point during their user journey. You need to research them, then refine and improve your product according to their needs.

This can mean improving your service, simplifying an overly complex interface, expanding your knowledge base to cover more questions, coming up with killer features your competitors don’t offer or revising your pricing based on the competition.

Offer incentives that could tip passives more toward your side

Passives are very price sensitive, so if competitive offerings are slightly cheaper, they’ll be tempted to take that offer.

To counteract this, you can lure passives with some extra offerings like trial extensions, access to premium features, pricing discounts, and other special offers.

Create modals and other in-app messages code-free with Userpilot.

With this practice, customers experience delight, so you can successfully turn your passives into promoters.

Analyze your promoters’ journeys and replicate them on your passives

Different customers can have vastly different experiences with the same product. That’s not surprising, people explore and use the product in their own they. So why not analyze product usage and understand what’s driving loyalty among your promoters?

To do this, you can tag UI elements to understand how different segments interact with them.

Userpilot allows you to tag UI elements and analyze product usage among different segments.

Then, visualize product usage on a dashboard to understand which events and interactions led them to become promoters.

product usage dashboard in userpilot
Example of a product usage analytics dashboard in Userpilot.

If you can see that your promoters are getting lots of value from certain features but the detractors don’t use them at all, develop an adoption strategy.

Use in-app prompts such as checklists and tooltips to help them discover and adopt these features, so they can become promoters too.

Guide users to adopt new features with tooltips. Create them code-free with Userpilot.

Collect customer feedback and close the loop

Maybe your passive customers are unhappy not because of a poor experience, but because you’re missing a specific feature they want. Give them the chance to give you feedback in their own words so you can make informed product improvements and boost customer loyalty.

Sometimes it just takes a minor edit to an existing feature to turn their frown upside down.

Also, they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re taking their feedback on board, which boosts customer satisfaction even further.

You can collect feature requests in different ways – public roadmaps, emails, feedback widgets, and of course, targeted in-app surveys.


Once the feature is ready, announce it to them with a modal or by email. This closes the feedback loop so customers are aware that you’re acting on their requests.

How to use NPS to improve the customer experience for promoters

Promoters are already happy – why should you invest in improving their customer experience even more? Because they’re your best opportunity to push your business forward with feedback, referrals, and positive reviews.

Show appreciation for their loyalty

Just because promoters are already happy with you and your offerings doesn’t mean you should stop investing in them. Remember, NPS scores can change not only for the better but also for the worse. There is always a chance your next software update can cause a bug and result in a bad UX for the customer, thus – a lower NPS.

That’s why it’s important to go beyond business and nurture personal relationships with loyal customers. Once you have an emotional bond, your small mistakes will be forgiven more easily.

To do this, occasionally show appreciation for your loyal customers with small incentives like gift cards, a discount, or swag.

You can also recruit them into affiliate and referral programs, offering them bonuses for bringing in more customers.


Invite promoters to one-on-one interviews and in-depth surveys

Loyal customers are a great source of feedback. They can give you detailed and genuine advice, as well as insights into their consumer behavior that makes them so successful with your product.

Invite them to beta tests and get them to test and help you improve the product and have one-on-one user interviews with them to get in-depth insights into their experiences.


But don’t take their generosity for granted – also give them a small incentive for their efforts so they feel appreciated.

Drive social proof and reviews from your loyal customers

Don’t miss the opportunity of gathering reviews on popular 3rd party platforms or your website.

Social proof is a powerful tool, you can later use it in your marketing materials, case studies, and landing pages to drive more conversions.

Reach out and encourage your promoters to spread positive word of mouth, directly asking them to leave their feedback on sites like G2 or Capterra.



The net promoter score is a great way to measure customer experience so you can start making better product improvements that lead to business growth.

Want to get started with tracking your NPS score to improve customer experience? Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can create an effective NPS program and deliver product experiences code-free for the entire customer journey.

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