Beyond the NPS

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“On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Whatever side of the question you’re on—the buyer receiving the message or the marketing team that’s hoping you’ll answer it—it’s one we’ve all seen dozens of times. And for good reason: A net promoter score is one of the best market research metrics possible. It has quite literally become the standard by which many companies gauge customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. With this one metric, you can determine if a user is a potential promoter (or detractor) of your product, service or company. (Learn more about the benefits of the NPS in our previous post here.) But if this is the only insight you’re getting into your customers’ wants and needs, you’re missing other actionable data that could be of value in helping your company reach its goals.

Think about it this way: Customers don’t utilize just one source of information when making a purchasing decision. So why should a company focus exclusively on one metric? While obviously a beneficial tracking metric, the NPS does come with one significant drawback: the why. The NPS may inform the marketing team as to whether or not a buyer will (or won’t) recommend their business, but it doesn’t determine the reasons behind that answer.

So what is the missing piece of the customer satisfaction puzzle? Customer research. Incorporating customer research into the overall marketing strategy will provide a better understanding of what is truly driving (or detracting) your customers’ satisfaction and brand loyalty, leading your company to make stronger, more informed decisions.

Do Your Research

The NPS on its own can’t provide a complete picture of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, but it can be a great starting point. Build upon the information it does provide by putting time, energy and marketing dollars into customer research to uncover the driving factors influencing NPS responses. For example, what leads your company’s buyers to becoming promoters? Do they relate to your business’s brand values or do they simply like the design of the purchase page? Or perhaps a customer became a detractor because they feel the need for more employee interaction than your company provides.  This type of information can only be gathered through more in-depth customer research. This information can be gleaned via a variety of methods such as customer interviews and targeted surveys, and it delivers actionable insights to help your business improve.

Move on the Aggregate

Customer research helps a company understand the why behind its NPS score. When a company not only has its NPS score but also understands the reason why, it can be invaluable in the decision-making process. These metrics combined can provide an average consumer sentiment, around which decisions can be made and budgets can be allocated. 

Watch for Trends

Customer research can obviously reveal a lot of data: It could reveal how to fix the problem of detractors, please passives in a way that moves them to become promoters or share what must be done to keep the promoters in place. Throughout the process, trends should be revealed as to what could be done to increase customer satisfaction and promote brand loyalty amongst buyers. What marketing teams must remember, however, is that the data gleaned from customer research must be treated as an approximation, not an absolute.


When time, effort and marketing dollars are put where they should be, (i.e., customer research), a company can paint a much better picture of how it is viewed by buyers. This not only increases the likelihood of improving its NPS score, but it also provides the opportunity for the business to evaluate its current processes and ideate solutions. There’s always room for improvement, and customer research is the only way to gain comprehensive insight into not only if your company satisfies (or disappoints) its buyers, but also why. Market research is no longer a luxury afforded only by enterprise companies—it’s a tool every company needs to gain a better understanding of its audience and make data-driven, profitable decisions.

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