What is a Good Net Promoter Score?
Times have changed
Way back in 2014, I wrote a blog called What is a ‘Good’ B2B Net Promoter Score? It was purely about B2B companies (which get very different NPS results to B2C companies).
In that blog, I said that “a Net Promoter Score of about +10 is par for the course” for B2B companies and that a “a Net Promoter Score of +30 is excellent.”
A lot has happened since 2014. Back then, NPS was very popular in the USA. That’s not surprising. Its inventor – Fred Reichheld – was a partner in the American consulting company Bain & Company.
Most Bain clients and many other large US firms had adopted NPS as a key performance indicator in 2014. In Europe, they had not.
But eight years on, Europe has caught up. Times have changed.
Net Promoter Scores Are Now Reported in Europe
One of the biggest changes since 2014 is that most large European companies now measure NPS. They also report it to their shareholders in their annual reports. A look at our own client base confirms this.
Telecoms provider BT started piloting a Net Promoter measure in 2016 and announced it in its annual report that year. It rolled out NPS more widely in 2017. The outsourcing company Capita started reporting its NPS results in 2018. As did the French technology firm Atos. International law firm DWF reported its first net promoter scores to shareholders in 2019.
What is a Good B2B Net Promoter Score today?
There have been more recent changes too. In 2020, Covid hit. The nature of working changed. Surely that had an impact on the way companies interacted with their clients? For better, or for worse? 2014 seems a lifetime ago.
So what is a good B2B Net Promoter Score in 2022, compared to 2014?
Oddly enough, not much has changed in the last eight years. Let’s take a closer look. The following scores are taken from our Deep-Insight database and cover nearly 100 major B2B Customer Experience programmes, from 2015 to 2022.The benchmarks are based on responses from nearly 25,000 individuals so it’s a pretty robust set of data.
Do remember that Deep-Insight works primarily with companies in Europe and Australia, and we have written before about how Americans score more positively than Europeans (or at least, those in Northern Europe). Average Net Promoter Scores for American B2B firms will be higher than those in the table above.
It’s worth recapping on the five key factors that can make a significant impact on your NPS result:
- Which geographical region do your customers come from? This is the point about Americans scoring more positively than Europeans.
- Do you conduct NPS surveys by telephone or face-to-face or by email? Email gives lower – but more realistic – scores. F2F and telephone gives higher, over-inflated scores.
- Is the survey confidential? Surveys that are not confidential tend to paint a much rosier picture than those that are confidential.
- Is there a governance structure in place? Governance is required to minimise ‘gaming’ – for example, when clients are excluded because everybody knows they will give poor feedback.
- Is the survey carried out by an independent third party, or is it an in-house survey? In-house surveys can be cost-effective but are rarely confidential and are therefore likely to generate inflated NPS results.
On the face of it, things are broadly similar to 2014 but with a few twists:
- Average NPS scores have dropped slightly, from +10 to +3, but this could easily be due to the mix of clients that we work with. My own sense is that over the last decade, things have broadly stayed the same. For most B2B companies, a slightly positive NPS result is the norm.
- The bar for Excellence has been raised, and now stands at +50 (if you consider the Top 10% to be the bar you’re aiming for). Even if you’re aiming for a Top Quartile performance you have to get close to +40. Back in 2014, the bar was at least 10 points lower.
- There are more companies in the “Danger Zone” which we generally regard as anywhere below a score of -30. In 2014, 10-15% of our clients could expect scores in the “Danger Zone”. Today, that figure is nearly 25%.
To sum up: average scores haven’t changed hugely; good companies have got better; poor companies have got worse. The divide between truly customer-centric companies and those who are not remotely customer-centric has increased.
So what is a good Net Promoter Score today? What targets should you be setting for your company?
That depends on your ambition, but it also depends on where you are starting from. There’s no point in aiming for +50 next year if you’re currently in the “Danger Zone”. That’s a journey that will take 5-6 years and will require a complete cultural transformation within your organisation.
If you have that ambition and need assistance to get started, get in touch with us.
If you have no idea what your Net Promoter Score is and are intrigued to find out, you should also get in touch with us!