Net Promoter Score (NPS): it’s the one metric businesses use to measure a snapshot of customer loyalty. You have probably encountered the basic NPS question (“how likely are you to recommend us on a scale from 0 to 10?”) as a customer yourself, but now you’re the one doing the asking—so we want to show you how to get maximum value out of your survey.
To help you get started, here are some NPS question examples and sample NPS surveys from ourselves and other companies, plus ideas for tailored follow-up questions: you can use them all as a template to run your own NPS surveys and find out how many happy customers you really have, and how to create more.
Where and when should I ask my NPS survey questions?
An on-page NPS survey from Booking.com
You can ask NPS questions online in two ways: by emailing a survey to your customers, or presenting them with a survey while they’re on your website (more on this below).
As per when you should ask customers the NPS question(s), there’s no right or wrong answer, but there are some guidelines to look at depending on your business type—for instance, if you are a marketplace (think Booking.com) that owns the buying process but not the end product (the hotel), you can ask customers an NPS question straight after a transaction has taken place. If you manage an e-commerce website and also own the product/service people purchase, you can wait a bit longer and ask the NPS question after it has been delivered.
An in-app NPS survey from Asana, a project management software company
On-page surveys are a great way to get customer feedback in real-time, right when people are interacting with your website.
If you’re managing a SaaS product (like us!), you can use in-app surveys to present the NPS question while people are using the product and the experience is fresh in their mind; if you own or manage an e-commerce website, blog, or magazine instead, you can trigger NPS surveys on specific website pages (such as a landing page or article) or at certain times, for example, as an exit survey before users leave the site.
An example NPS survey email from Soapbox (part of video software company Wistia)
You can also send an NPS survey to your customers via email. Be warned: this method requires customers to put in more effort upfront (they first have to open the email, read it, and click through to the survey), which could lead to a lower response rate.
On the plus side, email surveys sent after a specific timeframe allow users to spend longer using your product or service and reflect on the customer experience as a whole, so what you might lose in response rate, you can gain back in detailed answers.
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The standard NPS question is “how likely are you to recommend us on a scale from 0 to 10,” but you don’t need to limit yourself to just asking it verbatim.
You can use your own ideas and optimize the NPS question depending on when in the user journey you’re sending the survey, ask it more than once, and pose follow-up questions to gain more insight into why customers feel the way they do.
We’ve split these sample survey questions into two groups: quantitative and qualitative. Use them as a template to write customized NPS questions that match better with your business.
🏆See it in action: take a look at this simple NPS survey example that uses the standard NPS question and two follow-up qualitative open-ended questions. I built it in Hotjar so you can see how it works… and if you add a score, we’ll see it ;)
Sample quantitative NPS questions
The standard NPS question is quantitative, meaning it has a numerical response.
The standard NPS question
There’s not much wiggle room with this question, but you can make a few small tweaks to tailor it to your audience and the type of data you want to collect.
Considering your experience with us so far, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? (0-10)
This simple re-wording of the standard question allows you to pose it earlier in the customer journey. For example, you can ask for customer feedback when an order is placed, and again when it has been fulfilled.
Now that you’ve received your [product], how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? (0-10 )
An NPS survey from bespoke jewelry e-commerce site Taylor & Hart
Asking about the complete experience will help customers rate you based onall aspects of your service. For example, for an e-commerce business that might include website usability, product range, the delivery process, and the actual product.
How likely are you to recommend… to someone like you?
Sometimes, asking about a recommendation to ‘family or friends’ or a ‘friend or colleague’ is not relevant, for instance, if the product or service does not have mass-market appeal… and family and friends would never be interested in it in the first place!
My favorite example of an alternative solution is from MasterClass, an e-learning platform, which occasionally asks for my likelihood of recommending a class to ‘someone like myself’.
NPS is a numerical benchmark—a great snapshot of your current success, but less useful when it comes to knowing what changes to implement. This is where follow-up qualitative questions come in handy to help you find out the why behind your customers’ numerical rating.
You can ask follow-up questions based on answers to the standard NPS question: if a customer scored you 8 or below, you need more context to learn what you can do to improve the score; if they scored 9 or 10, you’ll want to understand what you need to do more of.
Why would you (not) recommend us?
This open-ended questionallows customers to justify their numerical grade with more contextual information so you can find out the specific actions that led to their happy or unhappy response.
What did we do well?
An example NPS follow-up question with multiple-choice from MasterClass
Multiple-choice questions like these examples from MasterClass can make it easier (and quicker) for respondents to give you feedback. Warning: they may also lead to false results if your options don’t cover everything—which is why, if I were to tweak this form, I would add an ‘other’ field that people could fill in with their own thoughts.
What can we improve on?
An example question about improvement from MasterClass
You can ask for improvement suggestions from all customers, or just those that gave a score of 8 or below (your NPS detractors and passives). As in the previous example, if you go with a multiple-choice format, bear in mind that you might get an incomplete picture because you’re forcing people to choose from a limited range.
What can/should we do to WOW you?
An NPS survey we ran for our customers at Hotjar
You can ask what would WOW or impress your users the next time around. It’s still asking for improvements, but the change in wording makes the question about the customer, not your business.
We asked our users this single question: How likely are you to recommend Hotjar to a friend or colleague on a scale of zero to 10? (with 10 being extremely likely).
To work out the results, we took the percentage of promoters (who gave scores of 9 or 10) and subtracted the percentage of detractors (who gave scores of 6 or less). Those who scored us 7 or 8 are passives and not part of the calculation.
For example, in an NPS survey with 456 total respondents, 292 promoters rated us 9 or 10 (64%), but 22 detractors rated us 6 or less (5%), giving a Net Promoter Score of 59 (64 minus 5).
Funnily enough, NPS is given as a straight number, not a percentage.
Not every customer you ask will fill in your NPS survey. Not exactly a shocking fact—how many survey requests have you ignored over the years?—but here are a few pointers to help improve the response rate and get more customers sending you that all-important feedback.
Segment your audience
If you’re sending an NPS survey by email, segment your audience and tailor different questions to each group. By triggering surveys at certain key stages of the customer journey (e.g., after placing an order, one week after product delivery, after abandoning a shopping cart), you’ll gain a better understanding of why they are making their scoring choice.
Keep it simple
Ask questions using a single sentence and use simple, everyday wording. You want to make answering your questions a pleasure, not a chore.
Keep it short
Less is more: keep questions short and the number of questions down to a minimum. You’ll get valuable insight from just three questions and your response rate will go up if everyone on the survey sees it through to the end.
🏆Pro tip: you may have heard about using incentives (like a 10% off coupon, prize draw or freebie) to increase survey response rates. In most cases, this is going to introduce bias into your NPS responses, due to the nature of the incentive or customer motivation. If you value the integrity of your NPS data, stay away from incentives unless absolutely necessary.
Net Promoter Score in a nutshell
What is NPS (Net Promoter Score)?
NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is a customer experience benchmark that businesses use as a growth indicator and to measure customer loyalty. NPS is measured on a scale from -100 to 100, calculated from responses to a single question (“on a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us?”).