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One of the most common questions we hear from companies first embarking into Net Promoter Score (NPS) is “How do I know if my NPS is good?”

The short answer? It depends. 

There are two methodologies that explore what a good NPS score is. The first examines the strength of your NPS score regardless of industry. The second method determines what a good NPS score is with respect to your industry.

What is a good NPS score?

What is a good NPS score overall? The creators of the NPS metric, Bain & Company, say that although an NPS score above 0 is good, above 20 is great and above 50 is amazing. Anywhere above 80 is the top percentile.

However, it’s important to note that a good NPS score depends on whether you’re using the absolute or relative NPS method. As mentioned above, in an absolute sense, an NPS score over 50 is considered above average. If you are looking to benchmark your score with competitors through the relative method, an above-average NPS score can range anywhere from 0 – 40+ depending on the industry.

To take a step back, here’s a quick summary of both methodologies: 

  • The absolute NPS method involves comparing your score to a loosely agreed-upon standard for what a good score is, across all industries.
  • The relative NPS method involves comparing your score to other companies within your industry.

For the relative method, we’ve created a simple NPS benchmarking tool that allows you to compare your NPS score with others in your industry. Simply enter your NPS, select your industry, and we’ll show you how you stack up. 

Or, if you’re interested in tracking how your NPS compares over time, take advantage of Delighted’s in-app Benchmarks report. You get a bird’s eye view across 20 industries and can filter your own data by Trend and time frame.

Let’s dive deep into both the absolute and relative methods. Stick to the end, and you’ll see our take on how to decide if your NPS is good or bad.

The absolute NPS method

On a scale from -100 to 100, the absolute NPS method deems any Net Promoter Score greater than 0 as “good,” since it means your promoters outnumber passives and detractors. While 0 is a positive NPS, companies with scores of 0 probably aren’t providing a good experience in actuality — they’re doing the minimum. Your NPS score generally needs to be greater than 50 to be considered above-average in an absolute sense.

Here’s a breakdown that can help you approximate how well your business is actually doing with regards to the absolute method:

– 100-0: The majority of people interacting with your product or brand are having a bad experience. They are not happy with your company and are spreading the word that your goods or services should be avoided.

1-30: This an acceptable range to be in as you have slightly more promoters than passives and detractors. However, most companies in this range have a lot of opportunities 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 is generally delivering it with a solid group of promoters ready to refer others to your brand.

50-70: A company in this range is doubling down on customer experience — and it shows. Some of the most beloved brands have an NPS in this range, and it means that they have a larger than average group of promoters sharing their positive perception with their personal networks.

71-100: This is the Holy Grail of NPS, and rarely attainable. A company with a score in this range is considered to be among the absolute best in their industry.

The relative method based on industry average NPS score

The second way to know if your NPS score is good or not is to compare your number relative to industry benchmarks.

This helps you understand where you stand in the marketplace. Some companies have also been known to publicly advertise their NPS score with shareholders as evidence of their company’s success.

If you choose to benchmark yourself against others, be aware that 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 the average 2018 NPS scores collected by the Temkin Group for a variety of industries:

Auto dealers NPS benchmarks

GM, BMW, Honda, Cadillac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Nissan etc.

NPS benchmarks: Auto dealers

Software NPS benchmarks

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

NPS benchmarks: Software

Computers and tablets NPS benchmarks

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

NPS benchmarks: computers and tablets

Health plans NPS benchmarks

Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Coventry Health Care, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, etc.

NPS benchmarks: health plans

TV and internet service NPS benchmarks

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

NPS benchmarks: TV and internet service

How to tell if you have a good NPS score: What Delighted recommends

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.

“While it can be useful to consider the industry NPS benchmarks that can help compare your company to similar ones, it’s important to keep in mind that benchmarking with NPS can be difficult. Different companies measure at different parts of the funnel as well as different customer subsets. For example, customers who have been with your company for a year or more will have a typically higher NPS than those in a trial period.

Because of this, the most important Net Promoter Score benchmark is a company’s own score last month, last quarter, and last year. Driving to improve NPS within one’s own business is the most important point of focus, as the variables that impact the score (ex. customer subset, recent product changes, etc.) are more transparent and controllable. Using Trends, properties, and other Delighted features can help offer granular insight into the trending of NPS over time.

Along this vein, it’s important to not place too much focus on small or insignificant changes in NPS. This is why Delighted displays NPS calculated based on the last 30 days of responses, rather than a daily or weekly score. If you receive 10,000 responses a month, a 20-point change month over month would signal a significant difference. However, if you receive just 10 responses in a day, a 20-point change over the previous day isn’t necessarily something to sweat.”

— Ellie Peterson, Customer Concierge at Delighted

Acting on the feedback collected by NPS surveying is the ONLY way to turn detractors into passives, and passives into promoters. Ellie Peterson explains this and more on NPS benchmarking in ChurnZero’s blog post

Benchmarking brand loyalty aside, having a grasp on the trajectory of your NPS score is essential to making the business decisions needed to increase the perception of your brand or products.

A word of caution about NPS 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 to improve 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.

That said, here are a few things to take note of while putting together a comprehensive NPS strategy and drawing comparisons to your competitors:

How you collect NPS customer feedback can affect your score

The differences in survey delivery channels may impact your NPS score. While large brands can afford to pay an outside organization to collect data for them, the preferred way to survey customers for most businesses is to do it yourself via web, email, link, or kiosk.

Sometimes, these different survey methods can influence the responses of those taking your survey. For example, respondents to a phone survey may be more inclined to rate your company higher with a representative of your brand on the phone with them.

The important thing here, especially for using the second methodology above, is to try to measure your brand’s NPS consistently and correctly over time.

There’s nothing wrong with changing up survey distribution methods or timing of the surveys every once in a while (some of our customers, like Rakuten, have had some positive results doing this). However, you must understand that doing this on a whim can skew the results.

Moreover, since you don’t know exactly how your competitors are calculating their scores or if their scores are in fact accurate, the only true thing your brand can rely on is how you collect feedback from your customers and monitor these results over time.

Good NPS scores can be inflated in a niche industry

Niche industries tend to be dominated by a large incumbent with little to no competition. These businesses dominating the space tend to have inflated NPS scores because they are essentially the only player in that niche space.

Take Tesla for example. Their NPS score has been rated as high as 96. 96! That’s close to near perfect. Does this mean their cars and services are perfect as well? Not likely. It’s just that customers surveyed have no other long-range electric car builders to compare with.

Customer tolerance levels can drastically lower NPS scores

Different verticals have different tolerance levels. Customer tolerance is essentially the likelihood of your customers getting angry with your brand if you can’t address their needs on an immediate basis.

Healthcare, for example, has a low customer tolerance. Not being able to immediately meet the needs of sick patients with quality care every once in a while will have more impact on an NPS score than a streaming service with occasional connectivity issues.

Improve your NPS score today

Improve your Net Promoter Score with Delighted’s NPS tool. Collecting feedback from customers is the first step to establishing a baseline NPS score. From there, you can use the data obtained to address the areas that are lagging which, over time, will improve overall customer happiness.

Give your CX strategy a boost by acting on customer feedback with Delighted’s customer experience solution.