Last Updated Jul 18 2019

Tracking your NPS®: why it matters and how it’s done

Just as a single snapshot of a tennis match won’t help you predict a tournament winner, you can’t get a lot of context from a single NPS survey result. One score tells you where you stand at the moment, and you can compare it against the industry average... but that’s about it!

The power of NPS as a metric comes from collecting and tracking it over time. It’s all about observing trends and evaluating the impact of your efforts so you can double down on what works.

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3 ways tracking NPS can help grow your business

When Fred Reichheld and his team at Bain & Company developed the Net Promoter System, they tested out all sorts of questions related to customer loyalty and engagement and found that NPS had a greater correlation to growth than any other metric they studied. In other words, if some other question showed a stronger correlation to growth, they would have used that question as the foundation for their system.

With this in mind, here are three ways that tracking NPS regularly can help your business thrive.

1. NPS is a benchmark for improvement

You can’t work to improve what you don’t track, and tracking your NPS over time can show whether the changes you implement in your business are working. Plus, you can track NPS to see how it varies across different segments, such as:

  • Major customer demographics or psychographics
  • Cohorts of customers who responded to specific messaging
  • Customers who deal with different divisions within your company
  • All customers who dealt with individual Sales or Customer Support reps
  • Customers who use certain product lines exclusively

Armed with this data, you can identify areas that need improvement, make changes, and measure what works and doesn’t.

2. NPS unites everyone around a single metric

When leaders focus solely on revenue and profit, employees tend to follow their lead. If jobs are tied to revenue or profit, people can naturally tend to prioritize earnings over the customer experience. Needless to say, this is not a recipe for long-term growth.

NPS unites everyone around a common goal—customer centricity—and this leads to greater, more sustainable growth year over year.

3. Tracking demonstrates the relationship between NPS and success

Even if you’re already sold on the value of NPS, you might get pushback from colleagues who are more focused on immediate return. Fortunately, you can win over skeptics (especially CFOs) by calculating the economic return on your NPS projects.

The following example is taken from Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World.

Tracking NPS: how Apple boosted revenue by $25 MM (USD) in one year

Apple retail stores tracked NPS on a 0-10 scale, and customers who rated their experience 0-6 (detractors) received a follow-up call from the store manager. In some cases, managers weren’t able to get ahold of the customer, so Apple also tracked the difference between the customers who spoke with the manager and those who didn’t.

Over the next two years of detractor-tracking, it turned out that people who had spoken with a manager spent substantially more than those who didn’t. In fact, every hour the store manager spent on the phone translated to $1,000 in extra revenue—which came to $25 MM (USD) after one year.

How to track your NPS

Remember: NPS consists of more than one question:

  • “How likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague on a scale from 0 to 10?” (the standard NPS question)
  • “What’s the main reason for your score?"
  • “What could we do better?”

You’ll notice that the first question is closed-ended, while the others are open-ended. Here’s how to track both the closed-ended and open-ended data.

Tracking answers for a closed-ended NPS question

Hotjar-tracking-NPS

Tracking the closed-ended question is relatively simple and is usually done automatically by the NPS tool you choose to set up your surveys. As the tool collects the data, it offers you a visualization like the one above, which helps you look at trends over the course of a set period of time.

In the case of Hotjar’s NPS tool, you can filter by the last 7, 15, 30, 90, or 180 days or even take a 12-month visualization to get a wider look at how your NPS is trending over time. Similarly, you can zoom in and get a closer look at how scores are distributed by charting weekly or even daily data points on the graph.

Tracking answers for open-ended NPS questions

Tracking the data from the other NPS questions is a bit more challenging since it comes from open-ended questions, but this data is key to your improvement efforts—if you don’t know what went wrong, you’ll never be able to fix it.

The good news is that we’ve created a guide to help you analyze open-ended data in 5 simple steps, and we promise it’s easier than it sounds! All it takes is a Hotjar account and a working knowledge of Excel or Google Sheets.


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.