Answering the Ultimate Question: What’s a Good NPS Score?

The Promoter team recently got together for a team outing — we went and saw the movie “Snowden”. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend you do.

Following the movie, we all had our opinions. Some of us looked at the story that was told, others looked at how the story was told.

It was a brief reminder that no matter what you do as a company, you can’t please everyone.

[bctt tweet=”No matter what you do as a company, you can’t please everyone. Optimize on those you can. “]

Honestly, the best you can do is optimize for one of the groups that you can please the most.

As nice as it might be, some of your passives and detractors will just simply never come around to giving you anything higher than an 8 on an NPS survey. The honest truth is that, as a company, you should be ok with that.

As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane, flying back to my home state of Minnesota. And, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you could probably guess which airline I’m on — Southwest.

I’ve openly confessed my unbridled love for this company and brand. I’m a promoter of Southwest Airlines in every sense of the word.

But guess what? Not everyone is.

Some people don’t care for their cattle call seating. Other people are turned off by their lack of First Class. And others don’t appreciate the personality, and laissez-faire attitude (personally, I love it).

Recently the CEO of Delta Airlines stated that he couldn’t understand how any air traveller would appreciate the Southwest Airlines approach, let alone how anyone could actually fly with them.

Because everyone has unique tastes and opinions, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have a perfect NPS score of 100 (actually there isn’t a company in existence that I’m aware of that does).

top nps scoresDon’t get me wrong, Southwest is no slouch when it comes to their Net Promoter Score. It’s in the 60’s, which is still excellent by NPS standards (and the highest among all airlines).

Of course they would love a score of 100, but they understand, just like any other business on the planet, that an NPS score of 100 isn’t a realistic goal or expectation.

Doing so would mean that they would need to appeal to all customers … making changes in the very same approach that has brought them to be considered one of the top companies in customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

Simply put, going after a perfect NPS score would actually give them the opposite result.

Does that mean that Southwest, or any other company for that matter, should ignore their detractors?

Absolutely not.

But, it does mean that it’s largely unrealistic to expect that 100% of your detractors can be converted into passives or promoters.

Detractors come in many different varieties. Some are very pliable and only a few degrees away from becoming a happy customer. Others, for whatever the reason, will never come around no matter what you do.

Your job is to identify and optimize on the former.

So you might be left wondering … if the goal isn’t to get to 100, then what is the goal?

In other words, what is a good Net Promoter Score? Or, the question we hear most often, “Do we have have a good score?”.

And, if you’re asking this question, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is one of the most often asked questions by those that employ the methodology.

The most honest and straightforward answer is that, by itself, the score is largely meaningless. However, I do recognize that people enjoy using it to measure their overall progress and to compare their performance in a competitive landscape.

With that in mind …

What’s a good Net Promoter Score

Based on the global NPS standards, any score above 0 would be considered “good” (50 and above being excellent while 70 and above is considered “world class”).

Global NPS scale

Simply put, any positive score means that you have more promoters (advocates willing to recommend you) than detractors (unhappy customers and potential negative word-of-mouth).

The more word-of-mouth and advocate mindshare that you control in your industry at any given time will have a very direct impact on your bottom-line growth and overall retention.

With that in mind,  you could use your competitor’s score as a benchmark. More specifically though, you need to take your industry into consideration as well.

The cable or telecom industry is a perfect example where the average score is at or below zero.

Another example would be a project we’re working on currently called Net Presidential Score, using NPS to measure the sentiment of the voters as it relates to each US presidential candidate. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have NPS scores well below zero. In the world of politics, a “good” NPS score, as unfortunate as it may be, is still negative.

Net Presidential Score

The bottom line is, your overall score is a result of your efforts, not the goal itself.

Even if the bar is set lower within your respective industry, your focus should be on listening to the needs of your customers and making continual improvements to serve those needs in order grow the overall sentiment towards your brand. A “good” score will follow.

Download our FREE eBook — The NPS Playbook: Best Practices, Strategies, and Tactics for Masting Net Promoter. 

3 thoughts on “Answering the Ultimate Question: What’s a Good NPS Score?”

  1. What is a good NPS? Great question followed by is my NPS too high and how does a company “realize” a return on NPS?

    I’m an airline consultant and I hear the follow on questions more than the first given NPS scores for US majors (who have opted in) are published.

    Outside of Southwest, there is not a correlation between NPS and change in NPS – and – revenue / revenue growth / or profitability.

    Virgin America and Jet Blue share the top three spots with Southwest but struggle financially. Matter of fact, the year after Jet Blue up seated Southwest for the #1 NPS spot, CEO Dave Barger was let go for “over serving” customers at the expense of shareholders.

    During the same period Delta’so NPS declined even as their revenues and profits grew.

    And at the bottom of the airline NPS barrel – Spirit Airlines the ULCC is consistently profitable.

    Maybe the right question is – how do we use NPS as part of a “stakeholder” (customers, employees, shareholders) management tool?

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