The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is one of the business world’s favorite methods of analyzing customer satisfaction. By using a simple formula to calculate a trackable number and categorizing customers and their level of loyalty into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors, companies can follow whether or not their buyers are happy with their overall brand experience—and monitor if that number rises or falls.

But as a company who’s already integrated NPS into your strategy, this is all old news (And if it’s not, check out our article What is NPS? for the whole scoop). Maybe your Net Promoter Score has plateaued or even plummeted. Perhaps your score is solid, but who doesn’t strive for greater business growth and a more loyal clientele? Or could you move a few more of those ho-hum Passives over to the coveted Promoter camp?

No matter your company’s current NPS goals, with a few simple tips, tricks, and strategies, you’ll be boosting customer satisfaction and your Net Promoter Score to new heights in no time.

  1. Be Passionately Proactive

    Wish hard as you might, but that score won’t budge in the right direction if you don’t put serious effort into improving your customer’s overall satisfaction. Taking a proactive approach to brand loyalty is by far the most important step your business can make, and it plays a role in every NPS building strategy.

    Each employee from the top down must be dedicated to discovering how their own role can amplify customer satisfaction, then take charge in actually making it happen. Maybe it’s the CEO directly reaching out to new clients. Or customer service reps personally following up with past buyers. No matter the job title, taking enthusiastic initiative always wins.

  2. Your Score Is Just the Beginning

    Choosing to start monitoring your NPS is a fantastic first step—but don’t stop there. This number does provide an analytical marker to track the ups and downs of your customer’s personal satisfaction with your brand. However, without also thoroughly analyzing and understanding the comments and feedback, it’s nearly impossible to know how to improve.

    As described in our What is NPS? article, this is largely where the concept of “closing the loop” really comes into play. Once a customer has rated their experience, do more than simply record that number. Collect their personal feedback as well so you can integrate it into future strategies. Then, no matter their reaction, engage with each customer personally.

    For happy customers, engagement might be in the form of a thank you email, perhaps with a code for 10% off their next visit. For the disappointed, acknowledge their pain points, apologize for not meeting standards, and inquire about what you can do better next time. Again, this is where being proactive truly makes a difference.

    Engaging with customers to promote improved outcomes

  3. Ask Promoters to Share Their Experiences

    People are far more likely to spread news of a terrible experience online than a wonderful one. In fact, according to this fantastic customer service infographic from ZenDesk, 45% of all reviews on social media are negative and only 30% positive. For whatever reason, human nature pushes us to shout grievances from the digital rooftops while keeping positive experiences closer to the chest.

    This means businesses have to be proactive about convincing their Promoters to actually share their positive experiences. With a whopping 88% of customers admitting that online reviews have influenced buying decisions, ensuring ample positive feedback about your brand lives online is essential.

    First off, don’t be afraid to just ask and make sure leaving a review is incredibly easy. For example, in a follow-up email include a link directing people to leave a quick review.

    Example survey invitation to post a public review with the user's feedback to help spread the word

    Another popular tactic is to offer a small incentive for anyone leaving a review, like a discount code, entry into a monthly drawing, or a complimentary item with their next purchase.

  4. Make Your Customer Service More Human

    People like brands who treat them like people. Whether it’s physically in-store, digitally via social media and email, or encountering a disgruntled client on the customer service line, always inspire a personal, human connection. Nobody likes talking to a robot—literally or figuratively—so avoid making your own customers do it at any cost.

    One great real-world example is Southwest Airlines. The airline industry is notorious for paltry service and frustrated customers with an average NPS of 44. However, Southwest chose to stake their claim to fame on stellar customer service and it’s certainly paid off! With an NPS of 62 (compared to a score of 3 for American), they currently boast a staggering 45 straight years of profitability.

    Twitter feed from Southwest Air highlighting how they engage with their customers with a personalized touch

    So how do they do it? By offering a personalized touch as often as possible—no matter the distance. Avoid carbon copy emails or social media replies. Don’t make customers wait on hold only to “talk” to a machine. Actively address any issues with authenticity, not an automated response. Just be real.

  5. Be Open to Change

    Leave your ego at the door and trust what people are saying. If enough customers indicate that current tactics, products, employees, or services are subpar, seriously consider tweaking things or even getting rid of them altogether.

    Maybe you’re passionate about your pivot to dog vitamins from the human variety, but your numbers are suggesting otherwise. Or you love your nephew who works in customer service, but the actual customers—well—don’t. These words can be hard to hear, but growing a thick skin and adjusting the course is crucial.

    After all, in a world of choices, evolving to customers needs, desires and preferences can make or break a business.

    Employee engaging with costomer to determine their needs

  6. Officially Turn Those Passives into Promoters

    The point of an NPS score isn’t just about customers and clients leaving happy—it’s about making them forever loyal to your brand. One successful sale means nothing if buyers never come back or don’t brag to their friends about their amazing experience. This is where that all-important distinction of Passives vs Promoters truly comes into play.

    Back to “closing the loop”, find creative ways to encourage those Passive buyers to become more involved in your brand. Give them a reason to choose you rather than stray to a competitor. Obviously, impeccable customer service with a personal touch is fundamental, but there are other proven strategies as well.

    Creating a loyalty program is a hugely popular and whip-smart strategy to keep customers coming back. Whether a simple punch card where the tenth coffee is free, or a full-blown rewards program like Sephora’s wildly successful Beauty Insider, attaining special benefits and freebies can quickly flip an apathetic Passive into an excited Promoter.

  7. Listen to ALL of Your Customers

    Yes. This also means the Detractors that absolutely detested their time with your brand. It might be hard to hear, but this is some of the most valuable feedback any business can receive. Considering 55% of customers will avoid a company after a negative personal experience, even if you’ve lost that customer forever, maybe you’ll learn how to keep it from happening again.

    Listening with compassion and open ears not only benefits the company in terms of feedback, but also proves to customers that their experience matters—good or bad. Feeling legitimately heard may not bridge that gap all the way from Detractor to Promoter, but it could at least guide them towards Passive, which is still a huge step forward.

Long story short—happy, engaged, loyal customers equal higher Net Promoter Scores and more Promoters. And when inevitable bumps lead to unsatisfied customers, a willingness to learn from mistakes plus a stronger culture of empathy and compassion will bring even the most stubborn Detractors back to your brand.