5 More Best Practices for Net Promoter® Implementation

At the recent CustomerGauge User Group meeting I hosted a best practice session to identify and share the very best ideas from the participants. The group came up with literally pages of great tweaks that have been tested and are working in their organizations.

I published some of these ideas the other day (6 Net Promoter Best Practices You Can Use Today) but below are some more of the best ideas so that you can use them in your business.

1. Don’t Compare Data That Is not Comparable

The urge to graph and compare scores for all the different parts of the organization can be very strong but you need to ensure that you only compare (in absolute terms) suitability similar parts of the company. For instance you should generally not compare the absolute score of different countries because there are cultural differences which mean scores for different countries will be different for the same organization.

Also consider whether it is useful to compare directly, say, sales and customers service areas of your organization.

In summary, take care what you compare in absolute terms.

2. Focus on Trends

While you need to take a great deal of care in in comparing absolute scores you can and should look very carefully for trends in the data. As I have noted many times (and it was the view of those at the conference) the most important benchmark is the score for the last month or quarter for the same part of the business.

The trend is your friend. Look to it for confirmation that what you are doing is driving real change it the score. When doing this you should ensure that the change you see is statistically valid.

Net Promoter for instance can be difficult to identify statistically valid changes in the score because of how the score is derived. To make it easier we have a free Excel download Net Promoter Comparison Tester that you can use to determine if the change between two NPS® is likely to be statistically valid.

You can also use the rule of 7 from control chart theory to say that if the score rises or falls in a run for 7 more more data points then there is a real change occurring in the data.

3. There is more than just NPS

NPS is a very good metric but you should ensure that you also provide other business targets: NPS is not everything. This makes sense is you consider what would happen is you decided to just focus on NPS to the exclusion of profit. It is very easy to have very happy customers if profit (or cost) is no object.

As a result you need to provide staff with other goals (generally cost or profit targeted) that build a creative tension in the identification and implementation of solutions to improve NPS. This can be, say, average handle time in call centres, or gross margin in sales organization, etc.

4. Leverage Quality System Processes

At the conference we uncovered that organizations with a manufacturing focus often also had a good understanding of one of the several breeds of quality systems: 6 Sigma, Lean 6 Sigma, ISO9000, Total Quality Management, etc. Those organizations were also very effective in leveraging the information supplied by Transactional NPS to drive continuous improvement in their business.

The best practice here is to implement the core elements of one of the quality systems in your business to make sure that you able to consistently drive continuous improvement. You should not feel the need to, for instance, implement the full Lean 6 Sigma process across the company. However, you should certainly obtain training in some of the core tools of quality systems in the root cause analysis and action planning.

For instance you can implement Plan/Do/Check/Act, the five Whys, etc. There are many other quality tools that you can seek out to give the staff in your organization the tools and techniques they can use to extract the maximum value from the NPS information.

5. Know the Value of a Promoter

The last key best practice to be covered is that of understanding the value of a Promoter, Neutral and Detractor in your business. These calculation can be simple or complicated but can almost always be done after a few months of data collection.

For example see this case study for one of our Australian customers: nib health funds . In this case study we were able to determine the impact a 1 point change in the “would recommend” response had on the attrition propensity of a customer. With this information plus knowledge of the average customer life-cycle and revenue/profit per customer gives you a very accurate understanding of the value of a Promoter.

This information is vital when you need to develop business cases or establish proof cases for management that demonstrate the value generated through your Net Promoter activities. If you never calculate this information you will forever be arguing IF Net Promoter dives any business value, rather than HOW MUCH value it drives.

Over to You

Do you have any more Net Promoter best practices that you would like to add to this list? Please comment below so that the entire Net Promoter community can benefit.

[ssba] introduction-to-net-promoter


Adam Ramshaw has been helping companies to improve their Net Promoter® and Customer Feedback systems for more than 10 years. He is on a mission to stamp out ineffective processes and bad surveys. Download his free report: 10 Big Mistakes People Make When Running Customer Surveys.


  1. Silvia says

    I think it’s a great article and definitely complements your previous one. What I would add though is a point on how to best choose an area for NPA within your organization.

    Not always an organization has sufficient ressources to run NPA for all customer touchpoints. Therefore, many organizations select NPA areas based on overall Market Research results or on leaders from particular departments driving their involvement in the survey.

    As a result, scores and findings from some touchpoints could give us an incomplete or misleading picutre. This is because they are being surveyed in disconnection to touchpoints that complement or influence their performance which could in return lead to missing out on the bigger picture.

    • Adam Ramshaw says


      Thanks for your comments.

      You make a good point. Selecting the touch-points to be included in the process is an important decision.

      We prefer an automated data collection and reporting system like CustomerGauge and email data collection to keep the incremental per touch-point costs down. However, even then there can be touch-point data collection and extraction issues and associated costs, unrelated to the survey itself.

      While I agree that a misleading picture is a poor outcome because it may lead you to do the wrong thing. I am an advocate for pushing forward with a non-perfect or incomplete solution on the basis that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing while waiting for the perfect solution.


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