There’s much more to NPS than sending users a customer feedback survey. If you want to measure customer loyalty and user sentiment in general, following NPS survey best practices is a must.
This article goes over what Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey is, how to calculate it, industry benchmarks, and the best practices to follow for optimal results.
Continue reading or use the table of contents to jump right to the sections you need.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric measured on an 11-point scale. It’s obtained by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your product to others.
- Scores between 0 and 6 are detractors—people least likely to recommend your product. People that rate you 7-8 are passives. They’re not sure if they will recommend you or not. Those that rate you 9-10 are promoters. They’re satisfied with your tool and most likely to recommend you.
- NPS scores are calculated by deducting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. For example, if you have 50% promoters and 20% detractors, your NPS is 30.
- The 2022 NPS benchmark for SaaS is 41.
- A response rate of 20% and above is considered good, but you can aim for more.
- NPS surveys are typically sent via emails or triggered in-app, but you could use a combination of both.
- Trigger your NPS surveys contextually and to the right user segments for greater responses.
- Collecting feedback at different stages of the customer journey helps you identify and address friction easily.
- Your NPS survey design should be easy on the eyes and must follow branding guidelines.
- Treat NPS scores more than vanity metrics. Always analyze the results you get and act on them. Here’s how: respond to complaints by detractors so you can meet their needs and increase your chances of retaining them. And, reach out to promoters to ask for reviews or recommendations.
- Offer incentives when asking people for surveys that will require an additional time commitment.
- Userpilot is a fantastic tool for creating and analyzing NPS feedback. Book a demo to see it in action.
What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey?
NPS is a type of user survey developed in 2003 by Bain & Company.
It typically involves two questions: the first is using a number scale to ask users how likely they are to recommend a product to their friends or colleagues and the second is a qualitative follow-up question to know why they chose their score.
NPS has evolved over time. Many people have criticized the approach, and some even suggest a 7-point scale works better than the 11-point method initially invented.
However, a short question with an 11-point scale (from 0-10 as seen below) is common today, followed by a qualitative question asking users the reason for their choice.
There are three categories of people in an NPS survey.
- The promoters: These are respondents who chose scores of 9 to 10
- Passives: The respondents who chose scores of 7 to 8
- Detractors: Respondents that rated the product 0 – 6
There are mainly two types of NPS surveys; relationship and transactional NPS surveys. The relationship survey measures your users’ overall loyalty whereas the transactional NPS survey tracks customer satisfaction and loyalty after certain interactions, like a new feature or help center.
How to calculate NPS survey scores?
The net promoter score is calculated by deducting the percentage of detractors from promoters—without including passives since they’re in the middle.
Let’s imagine you had 100 respondents. 45% were promoters, 25% were passives, and 30% were detractors. Your net promoter score will be +15 (45%–30%).
What is a good net promoter score? NPS benchmarks
It varies from industry to industry. But generally, an NPS score of 0-30 is considered good.
The benchmark for SaaS is higher, though. It used to be around 30 years ago, but that figure has risen dramatically, thanks to the rise in customer experience.
According to NICE Satmetrix, the average NPS score for SaaS is now at 41.
You shouldn’t be comparing yourself to others, but strive for higher NPS than you already have. Don’t also camp at the industry average because that figure changes every year. Be committed to constant improvement instead—the surveys will typically show areas of your product or customer experience that need to be worked on. Take note of the customer feedback and see what you can do.
What is a good NPS survey response rate?
Several factors influence NPS survey response rates, the top of which are customer engagement and the ease of responding to the survey. If these two are very high, you can get 70% or more response rates. However, according to Genroe’s research, the average for NPS surveys is anything around 20% or more.
17 NPS survey best practices to implement in your SaaS
You’ve known what NPS surveys are and key things to consider when rolling yours out. Now it’s time to go over the best practices to ensure you get only the best results from your efforts.
1. Send NPS surveys both in-app and via email
There are two ways to send NPS surveys—do it in-app or send them through email.
The upside of sending NPS surveys in-app is that you get to trigger users contextually. Additionally, an in-app survey (like the one below) enables you to understand how users feel after engaging with your product instantly.
Email surveys help you understand user sentiment after interactions with the customer support team or using your tool. An NPS email is a great opportunity to catch users that don’t visit the app often.
But the downside of this approach is the low response rates you get compared to in-app surveys. And the significant advantage is that it’s less intrusive (customers open their emails at their discretion, but in-app surveys can sometimes show up when users are least ready).
Wise sends this email survey after users make their first transfers.
You can combine both in-app and email surveys. Gathering data in multiple situations will give you a more holistic view. If you’re unsure about when to trigger the NPS surveys in-app or by email, refer to the below helpful image.
2. Trigger NPS surveys contextually
NPS surveys are best triggered contextually. This means sending your surveys after the action you’re surveying for has been performed.
Here are some situations when you might want to trigger the NPS survey in-app.
- After engaging with a particular feature several times
- After contacting support
- After completing primary onboarding
- After engaging with an in-app experience
- After the user upgrades their plan
The only caution here is to be mindful of your frequency. You don’t want to ask the same questions multiple times in a day or week, so it’s best to segment customers and only send triggers when necessary.
Userpilot is one of those tools that allows you to segment and trigger NPS on specific pages and even set specific conditions for the surveys to be triggered.
3. Conduct NPS surveys frequently for gaining valuable insights
When you measure NPS regularly, you’ll be more positioned to prevent customer churn and increase the number of satisfied customers because you’ll see frustrations quickly. It makes sense to run NPS surveys multiple times a year. If you have a large customer base, then do it quarterly. But if you’re a small to mid-sized company, aim for once or twice a year.
Don’t just run these surveys for the sake of it. Analyze your customer data and improve, aiming to make future scores higher than the previous ones.
4. Use NPS surveys at multiple stages of the user journey
If you’re anything like other SaaS companies, your ultimate goal is to drive product adoption and ensure customers use your product for life. No doubt, some will churn along the way. That’s just normal for every business. But with extra effort, you can help many users become product advocates.
NPS surveys are one of those ways you get that done. By tailoring your surveys to every journey stage, you get to identify and remove friction quickly.
Let’s consider some important product milestones to ask for a customer’s feedback:
- During onboarding. You can’t have loyal customers if they don’t understand your product. Triggering NPS during onboarding helps to measure its effectiveness. A good example is of HubSpot below:
- When users have reached an activation milestone. This milestone varies depending on your product, so decide what’s important to you. For instance, a good milestone for a productivity tool could be crossing off your 10th to-do list.
- After adoption. This is the point when customers have tried your important features and become regular users.
- Unique date-set. NPS surveys can also be sent on days unique to the users for the journey stage they’re in. This could be 2-3 days before their trial expires for a trial user. For existing users, it may be seven days after rolling out new features.
5. Always include a follow-up qualitative question
Follow-up questions provide you with richer information you can use to improve in the future. They help to answer the why behind a user choosing a specific score. Remember, the net promoter score without qualitative insights is just a vanity metric.
You can always customize your questions to fit the survey channel and customer category. Here are some examples to inspire you.
6. Personalize NPS surveys for different customer segments
Businesses all over the world are getting smarter with personalization and contextual messaging. Customers have been educated, and they expect nothing short of every other brand. As proof, Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report shows that 66% of customers “expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.”
This points to one fact: personalization is how you win the customer over.
Fortunately, there are many ways to go about that. Here are two examples:
- Personalize your survey emails. Use personalized subject lines and always refer to users by their names.
- Add a personal message as Slack does in the image below. People relate to people, so adding some personal information can dramatically increase your response rates.
7. Create a good NPS survey design
To avoid survey fatigue and low response rates, you must create an attractive NPS survey design. Now, we don’t mean you fill the survey with all kinds of emojis or GIFs. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Your net promoter score survey should look like a part of your user interface. Use brand colors, fonts, and styling elements.
- Keep the design clean and easy on the eyes.
- Write NPS survey questions in easy language.
- Add a progress bar to encourage users to complete the survey.
8. Localize your NPS survey questions
For boosting NPS survey responses, consider localizing the survey to your audience’s native language. Going this extra mile and taking into consideration their language will encourage your users to fill out your survey.
This might appear as tough but with an NPS survey tool like Userpilot, you can translate surveys automatically and that too within minutes.
9. Send NPS surveys to the right number of customers
The sample size is important when conducting a bulk survey without context. In cases like this, you generally want to target a moderate size to be safe.
If your group is small, any slight difference in response—like having more promoters than detractors will affect the net promoter score and skew your judgment. The opposite is also true for large audiences.
But if your surveys are context-driven, you have nothing to worry about. That’s because you can always trace the response to a specific context and use product analytics to understand the result better.
10. Offer an incentive to your respondents’
Incentives are known for producing inaccurate data—respondents will act just because of the promised reward.
But you don’t have much choice if you’re still getting low response rates after trying different engagement tactics.
Your incentive doesn’t have to be something big, but make sure it’s valuable to the user. A good incentive can be anything from an ebook to a trial extension or free credits.
11. Act on feedback received from NPS surveys
Your surveys will be useless if you don’t analyze the data and do something with it.
So instead of treating NPS data as a vanity metric, analyze your promoters to see what they’re doing differently. Perhaps they’re using a feature that detractors aren’t using? Or maybe they’re more active on the platform than the other user segments.
Take note of both the positive trends (from promoters) and negative trends (from detractors). Then see how you can increase the positive trends and drive down the negative ones.
For instance, if promoters use a specific feature more than others, you could create campaigns that will enhance usage for such features. You can use product usage analytics data for such insights.
12. Look for patterns in qualitative NPS responses and tag them
This is time-consuming, but the process is well worth it as it will help in retention, among other things.
Tagging is simple when you use a tool like Userpilot. Just manually go over the qualitative responses and tag the recurring ones. You could have tags like missing features, UI updates, and so on.
After tagging, your next task is to identify patterns that will help you improve (more on that shortly).
13. Always acknowledge feedback received from customers
Irrespective of the feedback you receive, it’s important to acknowledge your customers’ efforts in filling out the surveys. While you must take it a step further and implement feedback, thanking users for their time is a good start.
Your customers would feel appreciated and as if their opinion holds some weightage. All you need to do is to add a thank you message to the NPS survey you create, just like in the image below.
14. Follow up with detractors and resolve negative feedback
We talked about response tagging previously. This section covers how you can leverage that to improve customer experience.
For instance, you notice recurring feedback of “Instagram direct posting missing” by six users.
What you can do in this case is add the missing feature and contact detractors through email or an in-app announcement. Sometimes it won’t be a missing feature. It could be a bug, product complexity, etc. Just fix it and follow up with detractors to close the loop.
As in the example below, you can always ask for more details when you don’t understand a detractor’s qualitative feedback.
15. Learn more from your promoters and drive word-of-mouth
If someone gives you an NPS score of 9/10 or 10/10, then chances are they will be open to providing more in-depth feedback.
Reach out to them for that. This feedback could take the form of an interview or a more extended survey. It’s always good to attach an incentive when asking for something that will take some of their time. A best practice is usually an Amazon voucher or extended subscription.
Also, leverage promoters to drive word of mouth by asking them to recommend you. See how the customer success team at Barametics does it:
One other thing you could ask for is an in-depth review on G2 or Capterra. Your customers are likely to offer this if they’re happy with your product and customer support.
16. A/B test your NPS surveys to increase response rate
A/B testing is always a good idea. And it’s the only way to know if your ideas will work or not.
Apply A/B testing to both email and in-app surveys. You can play around with different subject lines, word counts, and formatting for the email surveys. Stick to the ones with the highest open rates until another idea comes along.
17. Use other survey types to gauge customer loyalty and customer satisfaction
While NPS surveys are great for tracking customer loyalty and satisfaction, you might want to use them in conjunction with other survey types. This is to ensure a more holistic look into the product experiences you create and what your users feel about them.
Some surveys you can use are:
- Customer satisfaction surveys: for measuring how content users are with your product.
- Customer effort score surveys: for analyzing how easy (or difficult) it is to complete a task.
- Product-market fit surveys: for measuring whether your product fulfills a market need.
How to leverage Userpilot for NPS surveys?
Now that you know the best practices to follow, here’s how you can use a tool like Userpilot to apply them.
Customize survey questions and appearance
Userpilot allows you to create in-app NPS surveys and personalize them with your preferred look and feel to match your brand identity – all without coding or using CSS.
You can also customize your content effortlessly. This is especially important when A/B testing.
Set audience and triggering conditions
The next step is to set your audience and determine triggering conditions based on what you want to achieve.
You could choose to target all users or a specific segment. Userpilot’s advanced targeting also lets you decide which pages your NPS surveys will show up on.
Analyze NPS results and follow up
Our rich analytics provides you with an overview of how your score changes over time. You can also dive deeper into responses, add tags and set automatic replies, as discussed in this article.
NPS surveys are useful for knowing what customers think about your tool and understanding how well you’re performing.
But the scores become a vanity metric if you don’t analyze them and take action. No matter the size of your business, it’s always a good idea to perform NPS surveys at least once or twice a year. You could do more, just be mindful not to inundate users with surveys.
Want to start implementing the NPS survey best practices learned in this article? Get a Userpilot Demo to begin.