Too many ecommerce marketers call it a day when the register rings and the customer completes the transaction. Smart marketers know that developing long term customers is key, but we treat people who have finished a transaction like they're brand new customers. It's always struck me as odd that people claim to get so much business from "word of mouth", yet ignore tracking it as a metric and working to improve it.

Neither the Net Promoter Score concept nor the idea of customer satisfaction surveys is completely new, but combining these two activities and triggering interactions with customers in a scalable, B2C ecommerce environment is a dramatically underutilized application.

While the internet marketer has a wealth of hard data available, the key to long term ecommerce success is going beyond a transaction into building a brand is raising the lifetime value of a customer. For most ecommerce businesses, this means up-selling, cross-selling, and re-selling activities. Yet for our business model we don’t really want repeat customers. Our direct to patient, B2C ecommerce store provides solutions to people recovering from surgery or injury. Since most people hope to only need our service once in their life, in order for us to raise lifetime value we must ensure every customer is an advocate, a promoter, a walking billboard to drive new customers.

There are many metrics that can give the ecommerce inbound marketer a sense of customer engagement and satisfaction: Email opens, click thru rate, unsubscribe rate, etc. Yet for a solid customer driven metric, the Net Promoter Score, NPS® is the industry standard for measure customer loyalty.

What is the NPS?

The Net Promoter Score is a simple customer loyalty metric. It was first introduced in the Harvard Business Review by Fred Reichland in his article “One Number you Need to Grow

The concept is that every company has 3 categories of customers:

  • Promoters: The loyal champions who will keep buying and referring others
  • Passives: The satisfied by unenthusiastic customers who maybe open to your competitors offer
  • Detractors: The unhappy customers who can damage your brand, especially on social media.

To find out what category they fall, you ask the very simple question “How likely is it that you would recommend (your company) to a friend or colleague?" and give them a scale of 0 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely). You start at zero instead of one to avoid any possible confusion on the recipient's end that "1" is the highest positive rating.


How is NPS Calculated?

NPS = % of Promoters (those who answered 9-10) - % of Detractors (those who answered 0-6)

If everyone loathes you it’s -100

If everyone absolutely loves you it’s +100

The reality is usually somewhere in the middle. For 2013 the top 5 reported NPS scores were:

  1. USAA Insurance = 80
  2. USAA – Banking = 78
  3. Costco = 78
  4. Apple = 76

Setting up NPS in HubSpot

The marketing automation in HubSpot makes asking this important question easy, while calculation is more manual it is none the less straight forward:

1) Create the Email

Because this is not a marketing email it should be a clean and generic as possible. Leave out the banner, the pitch, and the images - just leave in the personalized references like their first name. Instead just ask one simple question ““How likely is it that you would recommend (your company) to a friend of colleague?

Below it provide the possible answers 0 to 10 stacked side-by-side (to show progression) and link them to the appropriate thank you page


2) Build the Thank You Page

You will need to build 3 separate pages. I suggest using a static Thank You page so as to not interfere with the metrics associated with Landing Pages:

  • Answers 0-6 are directed to the NPS Detractor Static Page
  • Clicking 7-8 sends the customers to the NPS Passive Static Page
  • Answers 9-10 takes them to the NPS Promoter Static Page

Note: please don’t call the pages "Detractor Page" or anything in the URL or anywhere the visitor can see.


3) Set up the Lists

Make 3 smart lists that trigger off of the landing page being visited.

This is where you will go to calculate your NPS score. We calculate and track our NPS Score on a monthly basis.


4) Assign the Property

Knowing how people feel about you can influence how you nurture them going forward. For example you might be more likely to offer loyalty programs to Promoters. Conversely if someone has stated they are Detractor, it may actually be damaging to encourage them to send referrals or share their experience in social media.



Using Workflows to take action to drive sales

While knowing your NPS Score is powerful, the workflow automations we’ve set up allow us to take this information and use it to drive additional sales by taking detractors and turning them into promoters.


They made their displeasure known. The responses they get can further solidify their negativity or it might just be the last chance to save a customer (and potential referral business).

The landing page they are directed to has a clear apology “We are sorry we failed to meet your expectations”


It also includes a smart form that asks them opened ended questions on how we can correct it. Since HubSpot remembers them we do not inconvenience them more by asking them questions we already know like name, email, product purchased, etc.

The workflow also triggers an automatic email to be sent to them from the owner of the company (in this case, me) from my actual email address to which they can reply. You may want to build in a slight delay (1-3 hours) so that it doesn't look quite so automated.

The workflow also triggers an SMS text message to our department managers about the unhappy customer and assigned to make contact with them to better understand or rectify the issue.

You'll be amazed how often this simple act can take someone who was unhappy with you and turn them into a raving evangelist. Sometimes people just want to feel listened to.


When someone indicates they would recommend us to a friend or colleague they are placed in a separate work flow complete with referral bonuses, loyalty programs and easy ways to do what they said they wanted.

  • Click to tweet
  • Post on our Facebook Page
  • Share on Yelp


This aligns well with one of the fundamental principles of persuasion: Consistency. According to research by Dr. Robert Cialdini (author of "Influence: The Science of Persuasion" - good book, you should buy it), people are significantly more likely to complete an action if they've already committed to it. Since people reaching your Promoters page have already, in essence, committed to recommending your business, it's significantly more likely that they'll actually do it if you give them a chance right then and make it very easy.

Data Driving Sales

In addition to being a good, high-level metric that any business with customers should track, the Net Promoter Score can and should be used to trigger an immediate reaction from the company based on what they said. Don't let your customer interactions exist in a silo of simple data collection - act on them.

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Originally published Jan 15, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated January 18 2023