6 important questions when starting your NPS program

by Vesela Nedkova – Senior Market Research Manager at GemSeek

Setting up your loyalty survey in a few simple steps




Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a concise metric which successfully and in an empirically proven way resonates with profitability and growth. It quantifies the loyalty of a customer to a company or brand by asking one sole question: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand/service/product] to a friend or colleague?

Willingness to recommend is a standard metric. What is not standard is what drives it. Take the time to define industry-specific drivers that are both exhaustive and mutually exclusive. A great start is using customer journey as a way to define essential customer touchpoints with your brand.

However, besides the rational business logic, you should make room for the emotional drivers too. Even though effective logistics and competitive pricing are key, it might be the personal relationship your sales representative has with that dealer which makes them keep buying your products. It is worth investigating the emotional responses. They are growing into a crucial factor, as more and more brands become increasingly aware of the importance of creating emotional connection with partners and customers. Keeping the questionnaire short is important – but do not be hesitant to ask one or two additional questions. Did you wonder if that new idea for additional services will bring you more clients? Crash-test it in you NPS study! Where is the market heading? Ask some open ended questions to your business partners and get their take on the market trends as well!



When setting up your NPS study, you can choose between two approaches: one-off vs. recurrent study.

Choose a single time point study (one-off) to check the market’s dynamics and design your strategy. You will get the results soon after the start of the fieldwork, which could be as quick as a month, and you are ready to start having meetings with your stakeholders and setting operational priorities. What is more, the time, effort and budget invested are lower.

However, if you want to know how successful your strategy design and its implementation were, then you will need at least one more study to make a comparison. A recurring study is more demanding in terms of time and money, but also allows you to map the market dynamics, evaluate campaigns and, if you choose a rolling fieldwork approach – define as many measurement time points as the sample allows. If you or your competitors are actively competing and developing the market, a tracking study is a must to stay ahead of the game.

Keep in mind that to be able to compare the results of two or more study waves, the setup must not change. Once set, you cannot alter the phrasing of your questions and drivers or redefine the target group.  So, take your time before the first survey wave and think of any possible future developments along with the exact moments through the year when you will perform the study.



The target group for your NPS program can be your customers, but doesn’t have to be limited to them only.

Make sure to cover all socio-demographic aspects of B2C clients or the business profile of your B2B partners. Otherwise, your study results will not reflect the real market in which you are operating.

Are you selling to Gen X? Find out what the Gen Y are feeling, before they come to use your products. Is customer brand preference based on the recommendation of the retailer, rather than just the characteristics of your product? Evaluate the entire ecosystem of your business and include both decision makers and their influencers, if possible.


How many?

It is budget that often limits the sample size, but in fact greater spending does not always lead to more actionable results. Spend time to think about the end result of the study.

The sample size is best defined by the number of data splits you want to see in the reporting. Are demographics important? It must be planned ahead. What about industry sectors or consumer segments? All these data splits must be clear from the start, so that sufficient sample for analysis can be guaranteed.

The most commonly applied splits, when it comes to NPS studies, are brand-based. Our experience at GemSeek shows that competitive performance is best evaluated against a maximum of 4 competitors, so keep your main brand list short. You don’t need to know everything about every player on the market – you just need to stay informed about the top few.

Calculating the total sample of a study could be often a cumbersome process. However, by setting a minimum sample needed to quantify the evaluations per analyzed group and by taking the total number of interest groups, we can advise how many interviews you would need in order to find the answers to your questions.



The way you roll out your NPS survey depends on two things: the target group and the complexity of the study. The more complex the questionnaire, the more important it is to have an interviewer asking the questions. They can help the respondent understand the questions and maintain their interest over time. Depending on the target groups and their location, you can use CATI, CAWI or even face-to-face methodologies. Online self-completion surveys, for example, are great for quick checks among professionals. For any methodology, we have tried and tested partners globally.


Now what?

The results from the NPS study will depend on the time and effort invested in designing the study and the level of collaboration between you and the research agency you are working with. Be honest and share your true business questions, as soon as you start preparing the study, to make sure you get the right answers.

Working closely with the research agency should not stop there. From our experience with NPS studies we’ve seen that the top-down strategic choices made with study results are most effectively operationalized when all levels of the organization are working together. Have a workshop that brings representatives of every relevant level together – we can help you moderate it and give answers to any questions that may emerge as a result of the findings.


Do you have questions? Get in touch and one of our experts will contact you with customized advice!