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15 NPS survey best practices for businesses

Alia Paavola
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Net promoter score (NPS) surveys are a great way to gauge customer loyalty and uncover weaknesses in your organization. However, they must be designed, administered, and analyzed properly to be effective.

In this article, we’ll break down critical NPS pitfalls to avoid and 15 NPS best practices to ensure actionable and accurate results. 

<h2 id="design">Best practices for NPS survey design</h2>

When designing NPS surveys, keep the following tips in mind to ensure customers take your survey and your business gets non-biased survey data.

Choose the right NPS question

You must pick the right survey questions and phrasing for your business. The typical NPS question is: “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10.”  From there, businesses often ask an open-ended follow-up question to understand better why a customer picked a particular score. 

It’s a best practice to ensure these survey questions fit your brand voice and customer base. For example, you could:

  • Replace company with product or service to gauge how customers feel about a particular offering.
  • Replace friend or colleague with a specific target audience, like other C-suite leaders or marketers.
  • Ask your customers to rate your product after a specific experience.
  • Tailor the follow-up question to get the qualitative data you’d find most helpful. For example, you could ask why they picked a particular score, what would make them happier, what disappointed them, etc.

Determine the ideal frequency 

While the ideal NPS frequency will vary depending on your business and goals, ensure you aren’t over-surveying customers. You don’t want customers to get an NPS survey each week, but you will want to send out an NPS survey regularly to understand the health of your NPS score.

It’s best to test different frequencies to understand what works best for your business.

Create an effective survey design

For best results, make the survey visually appealing and easy to take. Design impacts response rates, user experience, and company perception. As a result, pay close attention to color, typeface, font size, and survey layout. Don’t lose out on survey responses because of lackluster design. 

The format of the survey should be straightforward and optimized for desktops as well as mobile phones. Don’t make your customers click through many links to access the survey. They should be able to click a numerical button or type in their score without hassle. 

Use appropriate scales and language

NPS should use a numerical scale of 0 to 10. This allows you to categorize users as promoters, passives, and detractors. Using a different scale could cause inaccuracies.

  • Promoters are those who gave a score of 9-10. They’re your loyal customers who are satisfied and most likely to recommend your business to others.
  • Passives are those who gave a score of 7-8. They’re generally satisfied customers but vulnerable to competitive offers or services.
  • Detractors are those who gave a score of 0-6. They’re customers who are unsatisfied and unlikely to recommend your brand.

At the same time, survey language is just as important as the numerical scale. Don’t add confusion with jargon or poorly worded questions.

Avoid bias in survey design

You must avoid encouraging customers to select a particular score. For survey design, this means:

  • Don’t frame questions in a way that influences responses
  • Do keep the language simple to avoid misinterpretations
  • Do survey a representative sample, not just customers who had positive experiences
  • Do try to survey non-respondents again

<h2 id="administration">Best practices for NPS survey administration</h2>

These best practices will help you improve your NPS survey response rate, which typically leads to more accurate scores.

Identify the right target audience

A critical step in survey administration is deciding which customers will receive the survey. This allows you to tailor the NPS question accordingly. This could include:

  • Customers who recently purchased a particular product
  • Customers who recently made repeat purchases
  • Customers who recently tried a new product or service
  • Customers who visited your store in a particular month

We don’t recommend sending the NPS survey to all customers at once. In the same manner, don’t cherry-pick your survey contact list.

Determine the right channel to administer NPS surveys

To get more survey responses, choose the right communication channel. Surveys can be delivered in several ways, including via text, email, phone call, or in-app. To select the best method, consider:

  • Customer convenience
  • Customer preference
  • What channel will yield the best response rate

Read more: Tips and benefits of sending surveys via SMS

Appropriately time survey administration

The timing for NPS survey administration will differ based on your business and goals, but it matters. The general rule of thumb is to ensure NPS surveys are integrated with the customer journey. In other words, don’t NPS surveys to your customer at random intervals.

For example, you may want to survey customers a month or two before contract renewal to predict customer churn. If you just released a new feature, you’ll want to wait a week or two, so customers have had time to interact with the new product. 

The timing will also depend on if you’re using a relational NPS survey or a transactional NPS survey. The relational NPS survey measures a bigger-picture view of customer loyalty to a company, product, or service. The transactional NPS survey measures satisfaction after a particular event, like a customer service interaction. You’ll want to send transaction NPS surveys shortly following the particular exchange.

Use reminders and follow-up messages

If customers don’t complete the NPS survey after your initial invite, don’t be afraid to follow up. Send a quick reminder to encourage more customers to take the NPS survey. These reminders help capture customers’ attention and can result in more survey responses.

Keep the survey short and concise

Generally, the shorter the survey, the higher the completion rate. As a result, keep the survey as brief as possible without compromising data quality. For the NPS survey, this means asking the numerical question and one or two follow-up questions at most. This will provide the needed data: the NPS score and qualitative context. 

<h2 id="analyzing">Best practices for analyzing and acting on NPS feedback</h2>

Implement these survey best practices to help your business improve after collecting NPS data.

Analyze NPS feedback

It’s essential to analyze NPS results to gain valuable insights. Customers’ responses tell companies what’s working and what needs improvement. Analyzing the data and discovering patterns will help you turn feedback into action. 

Identify key drivers of customer satisfaction

Customer responses to open-ended questions are a goldmine. You can categorize responses from promoters and detractors to better understand key drivers of customer satisfaction. Your promoters will tell you why they are satisfied, while your detractors can identify key pain points. With this qualitative data, you can make better business decisions. 

Prioritize actions based on feedback

It’s not enough to just measure NPS; you also need to act upon the feedback. While there may be several suggestions from customers for improvement, prioritize the steps that will move the needle most for your business. This means working to solve the most common problems identified by your detractors.

Communicate actions taken based on feedback

Every business wants its customers to feel heard. This means communicating the solutions your business implemented to address their feedback. There are several ways you can communicate this to customers:

  • Send a newsletter
  • Share an email
  • Write a social post
  • Jump on a phone call
  • Send a follow-up text message

You should also communicate actions taken with employees so they understand why certain changes are being made. 

Follow up with customers

Whether your customer is a promoter, passive, or detractor, it’s important to close the loop. In your follow-up, you could:

  • Work to remedy a negative customer experience
  • Thank customers for taking the survey
  • Ask promoters to leave a review

<h2 id="pitfalls">NPS survey pitfalls to avoid</h2>

Here are some common mistakes people make when administering, designing, and analyzing NPS surveys.

Survey fatigue 

Don’t over-survey customers. They will lose interest in taking your surveys because of the large number of requests or the intense effort required to complete them. Instead, pick strategic times to send surveys and keep them brief. 

Ignoring feedback with inaction

NPS surveys provide valuable insights into business strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is not taking action on negative feedback or ignoring it altogether. Customers are handing you ways to improve on a silver platter; take advantage of this to improve loyalty and NPS over time. 

Only seeking quantitative results

While the numerical score is important, you also want to seek qualitative feedback to understand why customers selected a particular score. This supplemental information helps you solve pain points and identify drivers of customer satisfaction.

Always provide a simple follow-up question for customers when sending an NPS survey.

Collecting biased feedback

The goal of an NPS survey is to understand how customers feel about your business. If you’re collecting partial feedback, it could falsely drive up your score and prevent you from uncovering weaknesses and improving.

Here are a few tips to avoid collecting biased feedback:

  • Don’t cherry-pick your survey contacts
  • Don’t include survey incentives as they could sway your score
  • Don’t use confusing language or leading questions
  • Don’t settle for a low response rate

Using NPS instead of a CSAT

Another common mistake is using an NPS survey instead of a CSAT survey. While they are both customer satisfaction surveys, they serve different purposes. 

Generally, a CSAT survey should be used to understand short-term satisfaction with a specific business area or how your business performed. For example, you’d want to use CSAT to ask how satisfied a customer was with a support call. On the other hand, NPS measures general and longer-term satisfaction with a company, product, or service. 

Read more: CSAT vs. NPS: Best uses.

Send text NPS surveys with Textline

Textline makes it easy to send NPS surveys to customers via text and analyze the results. In fact, Textline has a built-in NPS survey that allows businesses to send the survey in just a few clicks. After customers return completed surveys, Textline automatically calculates your NPS score, tracks your response and completion rates, and allows you to break down the number of promoters, passives, and detractors.

See why thousands of customers trust Textline to deliver text message NPS surveys firsthand. Try our platform free for 14 days.

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