One of the most common questions we hear from companies first embarking into NPS is “How do I know if my NPS is good?” There are two methods you can use to help contextualize your score – the absolute method and the relative method. The absolute method involves comparing your score to a loosely agreed upon standard for what a good score is, across all industries. The relative method involves comparing your score to other companies within your industry.

We’ll go into both methods below, but for the relative method, we’ve created a simple tool that allows you to compare your NPS with others in your industry. Simply enter your NPS score, select your industry, and we’ll show you how you stack up. You can also get a bird’s eye view across all industries and see how they compare with each other.

The absolute method

The official NPS specification deems anything above 0 a good score. This means you have more promoters than passives and detractors. Anything under 0 means that you have more detractors and passives than promoters. But while 0 is considered a positive NPS, companies with scores of 0 aren’t actually providing a good experience in absolute terms. Here’s a breakdown that can help you approximate how well you’re doing:

-100-0: The majority of people experiencing your product or brand are having a bad experience and are spreading the word that you should be avoided.

1-30: This an acceptable range to be in, but there is a lot of opportunity to improve.

31-50: This is where most companies tend to live. A company in this range places value on a quality customer experience and are generally delivering it.

50-70: These companies are doubling down in customer experience and it shows. Some of the most beloved brands have an NPS in this range.

71-100: This is the Holy Grail of NPS, and rarely attainable. The range is reserved for the absolute best companies in the world.

The relative method

The second way to know if your NPS is good or not is to compare your score relative to industry benchmarks. Average scores vary widely across industries.

Some industries are notorious for providing less than stellar customer experiences, but they continue to thrive in spite of their low scores. This can happen when a company provides a critical service, or has very little competition – think utilities, cable providers, etc.

Other industries live and die by their NPS and could not exist without delivering a high-quality differentiated experience. These companies are either in highly competitive markets and must compete on a differentiated experience, or their core product is inherently experiential – think luxury consumer products, hotels, etc.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest and lowest average industry scores. To provide more context, we’ve also included the range of scores observed.

Here are some industries with the highest average NPS scores:

Auto dealers

GM, BMW, Honda, Cadillac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Nissan, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Audi, Chrysler, Subaru, Jeep, Kia, Dodge, Toyota, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus

Software

Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Intuit, Sony, McAfee, Activision, Apple, Symantec, Blackboard

Computers & tablets

Lenovo, Sony, Compaq, Gateway, Dell, eMachines, Barnes & Noble, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Amazon, Apple

Here are some industries with the lowest average NPS scores:

Health plans

Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Coventry Health Care, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Highmark, CIGNA, Medicare, United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Medicaid, TriCare

Internet service

AOL, AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications

TV service

Comcast, DirecTV, AT&T, Cablevision Optimum, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Verizon, Dish Network, Cox Communications

A word of caution about benchmarks

NPS industry benchmark comparisons are great for knowing how you stack up against your competition, and can help you understand the amount of incremental investment you should be making into improving the customer experience. However, anchoring on your competitors’ scores will place an artificial ceiling on your potential.

Breakthrough companies often compete on a differentiated experience, allowing them to grow through word of mouth while stealing market share. If you stop improving your customer experience, a competitor will inevitably seize the opportunity to surpass you. Just because customers have tolerated a poor experience to date, doesn’t mean they will forever.

No matter your industry, we believe it is worth striving to deliver a perfect experience to every customer, turning them into avid promoters of your company. The best companies focus on continually improving their own customer experiences – benchmarking against themselves vs. peers or industry standards.