Jes Kirkwood, Content and Community Marketing Manager at Autopilot

Anne Fleshman, Director of Marketing - Demand Generation at Autopilot

Lesson 4: Measure Your NPS® and Automate Reviews

With one question, the Net Promoter System® helps you activate brand enthusiasts, spot churn risks, and gauge customer satisfaction.

The Net Promoter System® is a one-question survey that measures overall customer satisfaction while pinpointing three crucial customer segments: promoters, passives, and detractors. Once you’ve collected this data, you can automate follow-up journeys for each segment based on their unique needs. In doing so, you’ll increase satisfaction, reduce churn, and boost revenue.

In this lesson, you’ll learn:

net promoter score
What's your Net Promoter Score?

What is the Net Promoter System?

Chances are that you’ve already heard of the Net Promoter System. This simple yet effective way to gauge customer satisfaction has quickly become the most popular customer feedback mechanism on the market.

Three trends have fostered a shift in control from brands to customers, helping the Net Promoter System gain momentum:

  1. Technological advances have become routine, causing customer expectations to rise
  2. The shift to constant connectivity has raised the stakes for brands, who must now respond when and where customers demand
  3. Subscription-based businesses, which come with shorter-term contracts and lower switching costs, have exploded in the last decade—increasing the amount of risk brands must manage

Now that you understand how the Net Promoter System became popular, let’s dive into how it works.

How to measure your Net Promoter Score

You can measure your Net Promoter Score in three easy steps.

3 easy steps to measure your NPS: pop the question, collect responses, and calculate your score

Step 1. Pop the question

You first need to ask your customers the Net Promoter Score question: How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend?

While it’s possible to send this email using Autopilot, we recommend using a best-of-breed solution, like Delighted or Ask Nicely. In fact, Autopilot uses NPS software to send our own Net Promoter Score surveys, then we create a Zap to push data into Autopilot. Here’s the email our customers receive:

Autopilot's NPS survey email powered by Delighted
Autopilot's NPS survey email powered by Delighted

Step 2. Collect responses

After receiving your survey, customers respond directly from their inbox by clicking on a number between zero (very unlikely) and 10 (very likely).

Step 3. Calculate your score

Once you’ve collected enough responses, you can calculate your company-wide score. Simply subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters.

The formula for calculating your Net Promoter Score
formula for calculating Net Promoter Score

Let’s say you received 100 responses from your NPS survey. If 10 responses were Detractors, 30 responses Passives, and 60 responses Promoters, the percentage for each group is 10%, 30% and 60% respectively. Subtracting 10% (Detractors) from 60% (Promoters) gives you 50%. Because NPS is always presented as an integer, your NPS would simply be 50.

How often to send NPS surveys

In terms of cadence, our experts recommend experimenting with both time- and event-based triggers.

AskNicely CEO Aaron Ward expanded on this point in an interview:

“High-volume, experience-based services like Uber ask for a rating after every ride, because it’s critical for them to make sure every experience is great. Professional services firms focused on building long-term, profitable relationships with their clients might send an NPS survey every month—as a temperature check. SaaS businesses like to check in with their users 4 times per year on average.”

Certain points in the customer journey are more effective than others. Krishna Reddy, Autopilot’s VP of Customer Success, recommends that SaaS companies send NPS surveys either 90 days after customers sign up or 90 days prior to their renewal dates.

Whatever you do, don’t send your NPS survey to every customer at once. Otherwise, you’ll be unable to react to customer feedback in a timely manner.

The importance of benchmarking your Net Promoter Score

Benchmarking your Net Promoter Score against industry averages helps you assess your performance and set expectations for the future.

In October 2016, Temkin Group analyzed NPS data from 10,000 U.S. consumers belonging to 315 companies across 20 industries. As you can see, scores between 30 and 40 are quite common:

Analysis of NPS data from 315 companies
Source: Temkin Group
Analysis of NPS data from 315 companies

Keeping track of your Net Promoter Score also helps you assess the success of your efforts. If your score gradually increases over time, you can be confident that what you’re doing is working. If your score gradually decreases over time, you should reevaluate.

Similarly, when you make significant investments in product or service improvements, you should see these reflected in your Net Promoter Score.

Three benefits of using the Net Promoter System

Conducting NPS surveys comes with at least three benefits:

  1. Increased revenue. Once you’ve identified your promoters, you can encourage them to share their experiences with others in the form of testimonials, referrals, and case studies—activities that typically result in increased sales.
  2. Reduced churn. By identifying your detractors, the Net Promoter System enables you to save at-risk accounts before they churn by proactively resolving issues and reducing frustration.
  3. Increased satisfaction. Being able to identify your passives enables you to deliver programs geared towards educating them about your product and/or service. By helping this group of customers get more value from your solution, you increase their satisfaction.

Who are your promoters, passives, and detractors?

Based on the score they give your company, survey respondents are divided into three customer segments or groups: promoters, passives, and detractors. We expand on each below.

NPS promoters passives detractors
NPS survey respondents are categorized as promotors, passives, or detractors depending on their response

Promoters are customers who respond with a 9 or higher. Because they’re satisfied with your product and/or service, they’re willing to advocate on your behalf. In other words, they’re your brand evangelists.

Responsible for 80% of your referrals, promoters accelerate the growth of your business. They tend to spend more and cost less to serve than other customers, resulting in higher profit margins. Because they recognize the value you deliver, they’re also less sensitive to price increases.

Passives are customers who respond with a 7 or 8. They’re neither likely to recommend your company, nor speak ill of your company.

Passives cost less to serve than promoters and detractors, but they also deliver less revenue, resulting in minimal profit. While passives are sufficiently satisfied, they remain open to competitive offers.

Detractors are customers who respond with a 6 or lower. Because they’re unhappy with your product and/or your service, they’re likely to discourage others from becoming customers.

Many detractors have had negative experiences, resulting in ongoing issues. For example, detractors are resistant to price increases and tend to complain more often, increasing your service costs. They’re also two times more likely to churn.

For this reason, detractors require your immediate attention. If ignored, detractors can cause irreparable harm to your brand. In fact, some sources suggest they’re responsible for 80% of your negative word-of-mouth.

How to create data-driven customer segments with NPS data

Because the Net Promoter System identifies three distinct types of customers (promoters, passives, detractors), it also aids in your segmentation efforts.

When creating smart segments based on NPS data, don’t forget to add online behavioral and transactional data to the mix:

  • Activity. How active or engaged is the customer?
  • Recency. When did the customer last buy?
  • Frequency. How often does the customer buy?
  • Value. How much money does the customer spend?

Pairing your NPS data with other customer data can help you define more granular customer segments.

Remember: The more targeted your segments are, the easier it is to craft relevant messaging.

Consider how a journey focused on high-value promoters might differ from a journey focused on low-value promoters: After responding to your NPS survey, you can send both segments an automated email requesting a review. But from that point forward, you should tailor your messaging to suit each segment.

Because high-value promoters take full advantage of your solution, they’re especially suitable for case studies. For this reason, you should send this segment an email requesting a follow-up interview (for qualification purposes).

Low-value promoters are already brand enthusiasts but may need encouragement to upgrade their accounts. For this reason, you should focus on earning an upsell or cross-sell in emails sent to this segment.

Consider these other examples:

  • sending educational emails to inactive promoters and passives who’re new users on an account
  • offering high-value detractors compelling, but temporary, financial incentives to continue doing business together while you work to relieve frustrations

How to follow up with NPS respondents using Autopilot

You can use Autopilot to automate your NPS follow-up emails by creating journeys that route contacts based on the score they give you and/or individual journeys that cater specifically to promoters, passives, and detractors.

Below you’ll find an in-depth look at what your NPS routing and follow-up journey might look like.

NPS follow up journey
Net Promoter Score follow up journey

Step 1.  Create a custom field for NPS

In this example, we assume you are using a best-of-breed tool to collect NPS survey responses and pushing this data into Autopilot by creating a Zap. In order for the Zap to work, you’ll need to create a custom field in Autopilot for NPS to map responses to. Custom fields can be created in Settings > Custom Fields > New Custom Field, like so:

How to create a custom field for NPS in Autopilot
How to create a custom field for NPS in Autopilot

Step 2.  Create smart segments for promoters, passives, and detractors

Create a smart segment for each NPS segment: promoters, passives, and detractors. Here what the configuration criteria might look like for your three smart segments:

Smart segment criteria for NPS Promoters
Smart segment criteria for NPS Promoters
Smart segment criteria for NPS Passives
Smart segment criteria for NPS Passives
Smart segment criteria for NPS Detractors
Smart segment criteria for NPS Detractors

Step 3.  Build your journey

Contacts enter journeys via triggers, so the first thing you need to do is add triggers for the three smart segments you’ve created to the canvas. In this example, we’ve chosen to “Add all contacts in this segment, and any contacts that enter it in the future.”

Add smart segment triggers to the canvas for NPS Promoters, Passives, and Detractors
Add smart segment triggers to the canvas for NPS Promoters, Passives, and Detractors

From this point forward, create tailored paths for your promoters, passives, and detractors.

NPS Promoters

Once you’ve identified your promoters, an easy way to leverage their enthusiasm for your brand is to automatically ask them to write a public review about your company. This exact approach helped LiveChat earn 184 best-in-class reviews and a 4.85 rating on GetApp. Pretty amazing, right?

In your journey, add a short delay after your NPS Promoters smart segment trigger. A 30 minute delay is enough of a time so it doesn’t feel like a robot sent it, but not so late that the person forgot they even completed the NPS survey. Then, use the send email action to send your promoter an email prompting them to write a review on the website of your choice, e.g. G2 Crowd, GetApp, Capterra, Yelp, or Trustpilot.

Generate customer reviews from NPS Promoters, automatically
Generate customer reviews from NPS Promoters, automatically

Need a little bit of inspiration? Check out LiveChat’s review request email:

Review request email example from LiveChat
Review request email example from LiveChat

It’s a text-based email from Daniel, one of LiveChat’s marketing specialists.  Since launch, the email has averaged a 61% open rate and a 13% click through rate.

If a promoter clicks the link to leave a review, add an internal Slack message or email notification to your team to celebrate the win and stay in the loop. Here’s an example of Slack message configuration you could replicate:

Autopilot Slack notification
Create a Slack notification when a user has clicked to write a review

At this point, your journey should look something like this:

NPS Promoters follow up journey
NPS Promoters follow up journey

NPS Passives

How you engage with passives greatly depends on the information you track. The more information you track about each contact, the more targeted you can be with your messaging. For example, you could track the number of days since the customer converted, the number of days since their last purchase, or the number of days since they became the primary user.

By segmenting passive users into categories that are meaningful to your business, you can tailor the content they receive by routing each group of passives down a personalized path.

In this example, we’ve routed passives down two separate paths:

  1. If the contact has been a user for less than 90 days, add them to a “Needs Education” list that triggers an educational journey. This journey could highlight key features and compile other educational resources, which may be beneficial for users who may not yet understand how to get the most out of your solution.
  2. If the contact has been a user for greater than 90 days, add them to a “Need Social Proof”  list that triggers a social proof journey. This journey could showcase 3-5 case studies in a series of drip emails, preferably from companies in the same industry as your contact. Demonstrating how similar companies use your product to achieve results can help inspire customers, who may not be aware of the capabilities of your solution, while simultaneously improving their perceptions of your brand.
NPS Passives follow up journey
NPS Passives follow up journey

Regardless of the paths you design, the key is to improve satisfaction by facilitating customer impact. Only a profound improvement in the way your customer operates (e.g. less time or money spent doing something) and/or what your customer achieves (e.g. increased revenue) will suffice. Your goal should be to make your company indispensable.

NPS Detractors

Once you’ve identified your detractors, it’s a best practice to follow up with them right away. After a short delay, send an automated email that expresses your disappointment, apologizes for any negative experience they may have had, and requests a one-on-one call to discuss how you can improve.

NPS Detractors follow up journey
NPS Detractors follow up journey

During the call, first strive to understand the customer’s concerns. View this as an opportunity to demonstrate empathy for what your customer has experienced while collecting information that could help improve your product and processes.

Next, come up with follow-up actions that will help transform the situation. Consider including one or more of these offers in your plan:

  • Free consulting hours to help a customer get unstuck or help them to realize value
  • Connect them with a promoter in the same industry, so they can develop an understanding of how other customers are successfully using the product
  • Free or subsidized passes to an upcoming workshop or user summit
  • Discount on their next purpose or renewal

Don’t forget to stay in touch with the client. After a certain amount of time has passed, check in to see if the help you offered improved their experience and/or changed their perspective about your company.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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