B2B Customer Support | | Published February 24, 2017

Understanding the Net Promoter Score (NPS) in B2B Customer Support

In the competitive B2B world, companies are looking for any way to have an advantage over their competition. Given this, you may or may not have heard of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that some companies utilize to measure customer satisfaction. Let’s take a closer look at the NPS and more importantly its impact on B2B customer support.

What is the NPS?

Simply put, the NPS is a measure of a customer’s overall opinion on a company. Established by Bain & Company in 2003, it’s based on the response to a simple but powerful question – “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” – and uses a 0 to 10 scale (with 10 being “extremely likely”). Based on the customer’s response, they are assigned a label. “Detractors” responded with a score in the 0-6 range, “Passives” in the 7-8 range, and “Promoters" in the 9-10 range…


Based on these scores, the equation for calculating the NPS score is very straightforward…


Given how your percentage of promoters and detractors never stays the same, an NPS score is fluid and can change over time.

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What is the purpose of the NPS for B2B customer support?

This a common question that has a complex answer. With the NPS system being so simplistic, it is an easy metric for B2B customer support to understand and compare against their industry. This simplicity is naturally a benefit of the NPS, but it also has several purposes in the support industry…

  • It immediately identifies unsatisfied customers – Customers who aren’t happy with your company may not want to fill out a lengthy survey to tell you about their frustrations. By asking for a quick and easy NPS you can see what customers may be at risk of leaving and work to repair these relationships before it’s too late. This can boost not only important KPIs such as customer satisfaction but also your bottom line.
  • It helps increase customer loyalty – The NPS, when utilized properly, can increase customer loyalty through what you learn about your promoters. Look at how you treat them and compare it against how detractors are treated to see exactly where improvements need to be made. As a bonus, you can also reach out to promoters with strong referral offers or to get testimonials that appeal to new customers through marketing collateral.
  • Evaluate score trends and act fast – One of the best parts of the NPS is the feedback you receive and how it can be used to make quick decisions. Constantly evaluating your NPS will let you see if the changes you’ve recently made are resonating well with customers. Looking at score trends with the same customers can provide valuable information so you can act fast to reverse or alter any changes that have not been well received.
  • Drive additional revenue – While not specific to B2B customer support, it’s important to note when looking to get organizational buy-in to NPS initiatives that the score can benefit sales as well. For example, different sales messaging can be facilitated to targeted segments based on their NPS score. This can include offering bigger discounts to lower scoring customers who may leave soon or upselling to higher scoring customers.

In conclusion, understanding the Net Promoter Score (NPS) can be valuable to companies in a variety of ways. From increasing customer loyalty to communicating more intelligently, the score is a great way to easily obtain information on how customers feel about your company. An NPS score may not always provide the full story on a B2B customer relationship, but it can be a great initial indicator of how a customer feels about your company right now and how their opinion of you has changed over time.