What is the Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

The term Net Promoter Score describes a key performance indicator (KPI) that is used in marketing and especially in online marketing.  NPS reflects user or customer satisfaction . The term comes from English and means “adjusted conveyor ratio” or in technical jargon “promoter overhang”.

The term score suggests that it is a point system, which is not entirely correct. In fact, for the NPS, two percent values are subtracted from each other (see below), resulting in a value range of -100% to +100%.

The principle behind it is relatively simple. Fans and critics are counted. If the fans of a brand or product predominate, then the NPS is positive, the critics predominate, then the NPS is negative.

Basics of the Net Promoter System

Absolute basis of every Net Promoter System 1 Promoter Score. To calculate the Net Promoter Score, visitors to a website are asked whether they would recommend the product or the company. The charm of this satisfaction survey is that it is a simple, single question.

Typical examples of this question are:

  • “How likely is it that you will recommend company/brand X to a friend or colleague?” 2
  • “How likely is it that you will recommend this product to a friend or colleague?”

This type of data collection has been shown to have a high participation rate. It gives loyal customers the opportunity to reward good performance with just a few clicks. Dissatisfied customers just as easily have the opportunity to express their displeasure. Above all, however, such a 0-to-10 scale is ideally suited for evaluation, because a single standard key figure, the Net Promoter Score, can be calculated from it.

Calculation of the Net Promoter Score

This question is answered during the online survey with a value 0 – 10, where 0 corresponds to “unlikely” and 10 means “extremely likely”. From the set of responses continuously generated with such a simple survey, the Net Promoter Score can be calculated according to a simple scheme:

NPS = Promotoren (in % aller Befragten) − Detraktoren (in % aller Befragten)

Terms: promoters, detractors, indifferents

  • The term promoters represent the most loyal part of a target group and includes all participants who have indicated a satisfaction rating of 9 or 10. The value is expressed as a percentage and pulls the result towards the 100% mark.
  • The term detractors (critics or complainers) stand for the most dissatisfied part of the target group and includes all participants whose satisfaction is below 7. This value attracts the Net Promoter S
  • The term indifferent refers to the range between the promoters and detractors, i.e. the number range 7 to 8, which is only indirectly included in the calculation. The proportion of affects the ratio promoters:detractors and pulls the calculation result towards the 0% mark.

Numerical example 1:
100% NPS (positive Net Promoter Score)

A Net Promoter Score of 100% is hard to achieve for significant surveys. It would show that all participants in the NPS survey gave 9 or 10 satisfaction points. Such a result is most likely to be plausible with very low participation, but then no valid conclusions can be derived from it.

Numerical example 2:
0% NPS (neutral Net Promoter Score)

If the Net Promoter Score is around 0%, then promoters and detractors hold proportionately the balance. The absolute height of the promoter or detractor values is not important. It is also conceivable, for example, that there are no promoters and no detractors , but only undecided customers.

Numerical example 3:
-100% NPS (negative Net Promoter Score)

If the Net Promoter Score goes towards -100%, then customers are almost completely dissatisfied.

Method to optimize customer satisfaction

The Net Promoter Score as a key figure is therefore relatively easy to determine. For this purpose, there are now also a number of online tools that manage the survey process and transfer the collected data into other processes.

For example, NPS can be used alone to optimize customer and visitor satisfaction. It then serves as a pure performance indicator (KPI) and can be used in split testing and A/B testing. In this way, changes to an online offer can even be automatically optimized for customer and user satisfaction. However, this presupposes that sufficient user experiences can be measured.

In order to be more targeted, however, it is advisable to continue with at least one open question after the question of satisfaction. Open questions (i.e. W-questions) can form the basis for decision-making for optimizations. Here are some examples…

  1. What did you particularly like?
  2. How can we improve our online offering?
  3. What features do you miss on our website?

The answers of the users can be segmented, counted and can determine priorities in the further optimization process.


  1. Since the score is only one part of the procedure, many sources prefer the term Net Promoter System. is the Net
  2. Wikipedia: Net Promoter System