• Net Promoter Score
  • Reading the NPS chart
  • How NPS charts shift
  • Benchmark by question
  • Benchmark by category
  • Operationalizing Feedback

What the Net Promoter score means

Understanding the context of the Net Promoter score.

What is a Net Promoter Score? Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a way to measure constituent loyalty. Simply put, it gives you a realistic expectation of whether or not your constituents are going to rally for your organization or look to your peers to provide the solutions they need.

How does NPS do this? Net Promoter Scores take into account the effect of conformation bias. You know that many people are going to say they like you if you asked them, even if they don't quite love everything about you. Scores like this are removed from the score calculation; leaving positive scores subtracted by negative scores. The result is the net score of promoters.

There are ways to get more context out of the Net promoter score charts on Feedback Commons. We will get into greater detail on how to access these different charts in another tutorial, but for now, here are a few ways to compare your scores using Feedback Commons.

  • Use benchmarks to compare your scores with similar organizations.
  • Compare questions within the same topic category to better grasp areas of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Break down responses with filters such as gender, location, or relationship to your organization.
  • Survey the same constituents over time, using the same question to gain insight on whether or not you are improving.


Net promoter score layout

Net promoter score charts on Feedback Commons look like this.

Let's assume you asked 90 people, "On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this organization to others?"

41% of the responses were "positive", 32% of the responses were "okay", and 27% of the responses were "negative". The net promoter score is 41% - 27%, which is 15, with 32% of "okay" answers being ignored.

Therefore, 15 is your net promoter score on a scale of -100 to +100. Is 15 a good score? Context matters a lot, and we can help you determine what this score means to you.

Lets take a look at the same score of 15 on this horizontal bar chart. Reading from left to right, the percentage of low, middle, and high scores appear in red, yellow, and green, respectively. The gray circle with a number in it is the net score.

As you can see in this example, it's much easier to get the context of what a score of 15 means. In this single question context, it can be clear that while the majority of respondents had positive scores, the number of "okay" and "negative" responses keep this net promoter score neutral.


Net promoter score layout

NPS charts shift left to right on a -100/+100 score axis

Responses to all 0-to-10 scaled questions we use on a survey are displayed in a horizontal bar chart.

The spot where the score appears on the bar represents the point along a -100 to +100 line that this value falls. Likewise, the orientation of the bar on that same -100 to +100 axis represents the spread of values in the underlying data. If a lot of scores are negative, the whole bar will be shifted to the left, and vice versa if a lot of positive scores are in the set.

Benchmark by Question

How does your organization stack up?

This example shows the benchmark comparison for an individual question.

The top bar is the score for a single question for this particular survey. The bar on the bottom shows the benchmark average of the same question for all organizations within the same neighborhood.

As you can see with this example, the individual score for this question is just two points lower than the benchmark average.

The takeaway here is that while this organization is within the benchmark average, they should take steps to improve their relationship with their respondents to become a leader among their peers.



Benchmark by Categories

The example below is a score chart that displays both your net promoter scores by category and the comparable benchmark. The benchmark scores on the chart apply to organizations that have questions within the same topic/context categories (e.g., Service Quality, Relationship, Network Influence)

Scores in green are positive scores, and some of those green scores strongly outperform benchmark average scores (in light blue), while others may be average or weaker compared to the benchmark.

The same applies to the negative scores in red. Some negative scores show slightly better scores than the average benchmark (in peach), while others show significant under-performance.


In this context, a pattern shows that while this organization is stronger in the categories of Relationship and Service Quality, they have trouble with Network Influence, and their weakness in Voice and Monitoring Reporting may be part of the problem.


Operationalizing Feedback

Use these scores and contexts to plan corrective action

The high value of Net Promoter analysis through Feedback Commons is in connecting scores, and context, to your own measures of success and internal logframe/theory definitions of change. We offer you external standards, so you can set goals and measure them honestly. You decide which context best fits the standard you want to use.

To Summarize Net Promoter Analysis:

  • Use the NPS charts to breakdown your scores: proportion of high, moderate, and low.
  • Compare to similar organizations, but keep in mind that benchmark scores are one way of understanding your score.
  • Filtering/segmentation is an equally important context to study when reviewing your scores.
  • Use all of these contexts to really understand why you received the scores you did.
  • Approach your results operationally minded - by understanding relationships so you can take action, then follow up and see if those relationships improve.

Even if other data tells you your work is great, low scores on these questions mean that people generally don't see the value of your work the same way you do. Every local person who believes in your work is an asset. Local support makes good work cost effective, and more successful, as no amount of money can replace the eyes and ears of engaged constituents.

Next, we'll show you how Constituent Voice™ can further refine this process