Net-Promotor Score: Tracking customer satisfaction in real time

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For many a product manager Net-Promoter Score (NPS) is the holy grail by which you measure the success of your product. In short you ask the user “would you recommend this service to your friend?” and in the world of multiple apps and products vying for our attention, a recommendation from a peer truly cuts through all the noise. It’s that validation that we product managers look for before we tuck in at night.

Over a sustained period of time the NPS can be used to unlock better ideas for your product or to help shape roadmaps. At best it’s quantative data telling you whether users ultimately value your product.

What is NPS?

To calculate NPS you ask the simple question – ‘how likely is it that you would recommend to a friend or family member?’ and get people to rank their likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10. People who respond with a low to medium score of 1-6 are classified as ‘detractors’, and people who give you a 9 or a 10 are ‘promoters’. The 7s and 8s are treated as neutral.

The NPS is then calculated as the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors. NPS is not expressed as a percentage but as an absolute number lying between -100 and +100. For instance, if you have 25% Promoters, 55% Passives and 20% Detractors, the NPS will be +5. A positive NPS (>0) indicates that you are doing OK – but some products report NPS levels of up to 75 or 80%.


NPS’s key advantage is that it gives your company an unambiguous score that is easy to understand and helps managers steer the company. There has also been research that show that NPS can predict growth and customer loyalty for a company or product.

At JustGiving NPS has always been a key metric. We’ve tracked it since 2006, and it’s been a good predictor of customer satisfaction. When numbers drop (or increase) we know that something’s going on.

Up until now we collected NPS in one way only – via surveys. It worked well and we generated plenty of numbers but there was a lot of reliance on the user having to act upon a survey that was sometimes delivered many days if not weeks after their interaction with our site. There is a tendency in such situations for the user to be overly complimentary as any frustrations they felt at the time (say for instance a slow loading page or a cranky web form) have been long forgotten.

A new solution?

My attention was brought to a plug in service called Qualaroo by a colleague who was using it to track NPS as a means of predicting if viral growth was achievable. Qualaroo market themselves as an online survey service that let you better understand your customers through simple to implement web based surveys. What I liked about their product was with each survey you can target questions to particular visitors anywhere on your website, within your product or deep in your conversion funnel. On top of that you can tag users by their type so that later on you can segment their responses. Nice feature if you’re looking to better understand or rank your different customer types.


Well the good news is that it’s super easy. We simply had to add a snippet of code to the area of the website we wanted to run the survey across. Luckily for us at JustGiving we have a number of micro services so setting it up for our chosen domain was a pretty simple story and then it was just a case of setting up the NPS survey, applying some rules such as when, where and how often to serve the survey and then telling it which sub domain we wanted to restrict it to, if any.


Early results

The initial result was that we blew away our previous survey sample sizes after just 3 days of running the survey. 1k results after 10 days, compared to normally 250-300 results per quarter via the previous emailed approach is quite a return! Our Charity Account is a place that charities regularly log in to in order to manage their JustGiving account and so we were able to reach them at the most relevant time.

So what’s so good about all this to date?

  • Qualaroo is fast and easy to implement and tweak so it’s a relatively cheap and effective way to test your company’s appetite for online NPS tracking.
  • You can track incoming results by user in real time and act accordingly (as a result of this we have reached out to a handful of customers to address particular issues they raised). Surprise and delight!
  • Editing the survey on the fly is super easy and updates are instantly applied. No awkward typos for us!
  • Additional you can brand the survey to match your website’s look and feel plus control where on the page the survey appears. You’re in control.
  • There is a really nice integration with Slack which pipes results into a specific channel. As a result we are now exposing our results to a much wider audience across the JustGiving office. Transparency rules.
  • It’s mobile optimised with a nice and simple UI.
  • You can identify users by their email and logged in GUID and then push their responses into SalesForce – although we’ve not yet turned this particular feature on.
  • You can filter responses by OS/Browser type which is useful for identifying any particular discrepancy in your product across Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.
  • You can also add non NPS questions such as “what one thing can we do today to improve your experience” which is giving us rich product feedback that we had to previously wait weeks to unearth. Speed matters.


So far so good. We’ve learnt a lot over a very short time but now the challenge is to make this a regular means of measurement that doesn’t overly upset or annoy our users (some of the feedback received is that they hate “this annoying pop up”). That’s something we are still working on but it’s worth ending with the suggestion that NPS is a merely a useful starting point for any product manager.

It will help certainly help you spot trends in customer satisfaction and then hopefully you’ll be equipped to ask the right questions of both your users and ultimately your roadmap. Qualaroo is just one means to achieving this but there are plenty of other solutions available to you. We’d love to hear what you are using in the comments section below.

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About the author

Jamie Parkins

Product Manager, Evangelist and all things API

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