Idea Validation: Product

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Ask how likely your customers are to recommend your product to others

Illustration of Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Run a Net Promoter Score (NPS) play

Also called: NPS

Difficulty: Easy

Requires existing audience or product

Evidence strength

Relevant metrics: Jobs to be done ranking, Ranking needs, wants, desires, pains, Net promoter score

Validates: Desirability

How: Ask your customers to score how likely they are to recommend your product to others on a scale of 1 to 10. Respondents are grouped into promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6). The net promoter score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Follow up by asking why the score was given. As you want as many responses from both detractors and promoters, keep the survey short.

Why: While NPS can help gauge customer satisfaction by separating promoters from detractors and help provide valuable insights for improvement through its open-ended questions, it fails to provide solid proof of actual validation. Also, since NPS asks about opinions rather than observing actual behavior, you need to beware of false positive results.

This experiment is part of the Validation Patterns printed card deck

A collection of 60 product experiments that will validate your idea in a matter of days, not months. They are regularly used by product builders at companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Amazon.

Get your deck!

Before the experiment

The first thing to do when planning any kind of test or experiment, is to figure out what you want to test. To make critical assumptions explicit, fill out an experiment sheet as you prepare your test. We created a sample sheet for you to get started. Download the Experiment Sheet.

How the Net Promoter Score (NPS) works

By asking your customers to rate “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” on a scale from 1 to 10, their level satisfaction is gauged. To obtain the Net Promoter Score, participants are categorized into three groups depending on how they answered:

  • Pomoters. Those who gave a rating between 9 and 10
  • Passives. Those who gave a rating between 7 and 8
  • Detractors. Those who gave a rating between 1 and 6
Not at all likelyNeutralExtremely likely

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the participant percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters:

Net Promoter Score = % Promoters - % Detractors

The result will be a number ranging from -100 to 100 where any score above +40 is generally excellent. This can, however vary from industry to industry. There is no fixed rule.

The number itself reveals only little

Calculating your NPS on a regular basis is good practice and will allow you to spot and react to any significant sudden changes. However, just looking at the score itself reveauls little about why users answered like they did. This is why it is vital to follow up with qualitative surveys asking open-ended questions related to the experience and value your product or service delivers.

After the experiment

To make sure you move forward, it is a good idea to systematically record your the insights you learned and what actions or decisions follow. We created a sample Learning Sheet, that will help you capture insights in the process of turning your product ideas successful. Download the Learning Sheet.


Taylor & Hart

Using NPS as their core metric, the jewelry company found that customers were reluctant to buy a ring from an online-only retailer. Resending the survey 40 days after purchase, they fixed their shipping process too.

Source: How this ecommerce company grew 2x by making NPS their most important metric

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