The best way to gauge your relationship with a customer is with a Net Promoter Score, or NPS®. In fact, research shows that customers who leave a positive NPS are four times more likely to buy from your company again and seven times more likely to buy an upgrade or new product. Using NPS, you can quickly identify these happy customers and capitalize on the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell.

But, that's not the only benefit of NPS. You can compare promoter scores to the customers who leave a negative NPS, or detractor score. These customers are 90% as likely to churn and twice as likely to share their negative experience with other customers. Since only 4% of your unhappy customers are willing to provide your company with feedback, analyzing and responding to these Net Promoter Scores is crucial to retaining business and improving customer retention.

Additionally, studies reveal there's a direct correlation between NPS and revenue growth. On average, if your NPS score rises by seven points your business can expect at least a 1% increase in annual revenue. This makes NPS an extremely valuable metric for proving how your customer service offers are positively influencing your business.

If you're new to NPS, you may be wondering how this powerful feedback tool works. And, you might be surprised to find that it's just a simple one-question survey. But don't be deceived, crafting the perfect NPS question is easier said than done.

In this post, we'll break down how to create an effective NPS question and provide some tips you can use to optimize its performance for your company.

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NPS questions should be neutral and never try to persuade your customers to leave a promoting score. After all, your company benefits from hearing both positive and negative feedback from your customers. Disingenuous scores may make your customer service team feel good, but they won't help your business grow and develop.

Instead, your NPS score should be simple and to the point. Start with something brief like, "How likely would you be to recommend our product?" Then, make minor changes to the question to make it specific to your industry or focused on a particular product or feature. For example, a HubSpot NPS survey could ask, "How likely would you be to recommend HubSpot's ServiceHub?" Net Promoter Scores for this question would provide our marketing, sales, and customer service teams with useful information about how our customers feel about this product.

Once you have created a baseline for your NPS question, take a look at the next section for a few tips to perfect it.

5 Ways to Improve NPS Questions

NPS surveys can provide your company with an astonishing amount of information about your customers. However, since it's a one-question survey, you only get one chance to ask the right question. Make sure your NPS question motivates customers to respond and ensures a reliable feedback loop moving forward. Below are a few tips to improve your NPS questions and obtain productive feedback from your customers.

1. Keep It Short

After a customer completes a purchase or service request, it's likely they'll immediately shift their thinking to the next task in their day. Unless their experience is remarkable, most customers won't be focused on providing your company with feedback. That's why NPS is so effective with customers. Customers only have to answer one quick question then they can carry on with their day.

However, they'll be less inclined to answer that question if it looks more like a detailed paragraph. Remember, your customers are busy and once they've gotten their value from the transaction, they won't be eager to give you more of their time. This is where it's beneficial to have a short and simple NPS question that gets directly to the point. Keep it to one or two lines of text so customers won't be intimidated by its length.

2. Use a Simple Scale

Many NPS survey providers will allow you to customize the survey and choose the scale that customers will use to respond to your question. When deciding on the scale to provide, choose one that does not give your customers too many options. Having too large of a scale is more confusing for your customers and gives your team more varied responses that will be harder to categorize and report on.

The best NPS scales are either 1-5 or 1-10. Customers are most familiar with these ranges and will have an easier time filling out the survey. These scales make it simple for the customer to gauge their experience as well as for your team to analyze the survey results.

3. Be Specific

Even though your NPS question should be short, it should still be specific. Include certain products or features in your NPS question to get direct feedback. Vagary won't necessarily hurt your survey, but you won't get as much value from the feedback because it will be hard to determine what your customers are happy or unhappy about.

Instead, intentionally highlight the product or feature you're referring to when asking customers to provide an NPS. This not only gives your team direct feedback, but it also presents the opportunity for you to further customize your NPS surveys. Rather than presenting the same NPS survey for each product or service, create unique NPS surveys that each derive unique feedback about specific offers. This gives you a more complete picture of the customer's experience with your business.

4. Include a Comments Box

Many traditional NPS survey tools only include the NPS question and the scale that customers use to respond with. However, when you're selecting your customer feedback tool, choose one that lets you include a comments section beneath the scale. Customers can use the comments section to further explain the reason for their score.

By including a comments section on your NPS survey, you can gather qualitative data about your customers' experience with your company. This helps with responding to negative scores because your customer service reps know exactly why the customer is upset. They can craft a personalized response highlighting the customer's distress and provide a follow-up solution or workaround. That type of insight pays off in dividends when reducing customer churn at your company.

5. Add a "Thank You" Message

This, admittingly, has nothing to do with crafting your NPS question. However, it is a vital part of the NPS survey structure that is often overlooked. You should always include a "thank you" message at the conclusion of your survey to thank customers for their participation. Remember, they don't get anything from filling out your survey so the least you can do is thank them for their time.

When crafting your "thank you" message, don't need to overdo it. A simple, "thanks for filling out our survey," should do the trick. If you want to go above-and-beyond, some brands like to highlight how your feedback will help them improve their customer experience moving forward.

A successful NPS survey should provide your organization with incredibly valuable insights regarding customer satisfaction, and these tips should help any business create an effective NPS survey question.

Now that you know how to create an NPS survey, read on to learn how you get the most from your Net Promoter Score results.

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.

customer service metrics

 Customer Service Metrics

Originally published May 20, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated December 02 2021