Market research is about gathering feedback directly from those who have the biggest impact on the success of your business: your customers.
Surveys, in particular the Net Promoter Score (NPS), can provide you with powerful insights into the viability of your product or service by asking how likely your customers are to recommend it to others.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to use NPS surveys to support your market research and gather better feedback.
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The benefits of using NPS for market research
Adding NPS surveys to your market research toolbox can be a very cost-effective way of gathering user feedback to help you make data-based decisions. Here are some specific reasons you should incorporate NPS surveys in your process.
It’s familiar to customers
NPS is one of the most globally recognized survey types. Its versatility means it can be used by organizations across different industries, such as retail, hospitality, finance, technology, and healthcare, to measure satisfaction levels. As a result, your customers have most likely come across it before and will know what to expect when they fill it in.
NPS surveys are easy to understand and use, with just one primary question: "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?" Even with a follow-up question, it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to fill in. This simplicity makes it easy for customers to provide feedback and for you to analyze the results.
The simplicity of NPS also makes it versatile, meaning you can use the metric across your entire organization, from product development to customer service.
It can be benchmarked
Thanks to its popularity, you can easily compare your score against competitors or industry NPS benchmarks. This might help you identify how you stack up against your competitors in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty, allowing you to make informed decisions on improving your competitive position.
We found that those of our customers who operate in Retail and Education had the highest average NPS scores, closely followed by Consumer Goods and IT.
However, you can compare your score not only to the industry average but also to a particular competitor whose performance you might be able to find out about online.
It measures loyalty
NPS centers on the self-reported likelihood of a customer recommending your product or service to others. As a result, it’s a good measure of customer loyalty.
Of course, someone claiming that they would be willing to recommend your brand to others is not a guarantee that they will do so. But the survey gives you an insight into how your current customers feel about your product or service at a given moment in time, which could correlate with retention.
It provides actionable insights
NPS responses, in particular to the follow-up question, provide insights that you can act upon to improve customer experience. By analyzing the responses and identifying trends, you’ll be making changes informed by your own customers.
It can be tracked over time
One of the key benefits of using NPS surveys in market research is that they allow for longitudinal tracking.
By tracking your NPS results, you can find out how customer satisfaction has fluctuated over time and if the changes you’ve implemented are working. With NPS, you’ll spot customers who are at risk of churn, so you can take proactive steps to retain them.
However, for a full picture of customer satisfaction, make sure you track NPS along other relevant metrics, such as Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) or Customer Effort Score (CES).
How to make the most of your market research with NPS surveys
Below you'll find a handful of practical tips to make sure you get the most relevant feedback with your NPS surveys.
Segment customers for more relevant data
Segmentation is a standard process in market research that allows you to aggregate your customers into groups based on common characteristics.
With NPS data, segmentation can help you identify trends, strengths, and weaknesses more easily. As a result, you’ll be able to develop tailored strategies to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty across different customer segments, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.
Here are some ways you can segment your customers for more meaningful NPS analysis:
demographics, including factors such as age, gender, income, education, or location;
customer lifecycle stage (prospects, new customers, regular customers, or lapsed customers);
purchasing behavior, such as frequency, recency, or monetary value.
product or service usage, for instance, the product lines they purchased, the features they use most, or their level of engagement;
customer support interactions, including the number of support tickets, resolution time, or satisfaction with the support experience;
acquisition channel, for example, email marketing, social media, organic search, referrals;
subscription or contract status, including subscription type, contract length, or renewal status.
On top of these categories, you should also segment your customers based on the type of NPS survey you sent to them.
If you’re sending out a transactional NPS survey, segment the customers based on the type of transaction or interaction you’re looking to collect data on. It could be renewals, returns, or customer support experience.
Ultimately, the way you decide to segment the NPS responses will depend on the aim of the market research you’re carrying out.
Send the NPS survey at the right time
Even though it might be tempting to conduct research only when business is good, you might find it particularly helpful to survey your customers during low periods. Doing so could help you understand why you’re facing a downturn and draw conclusions based on real user feedback instead of assumptions.
It’s also important to identify the key touchpoints in the customer journey, such as after a purchase, a customer service interaction, or a product update. These are the moments when customers are likely to have the most relevant and recent feedback to share.
Avoid sending surveys during holidays, weekends, or other times when your target audience might be less likely to respond. Instead, try to send surveys during regular business hours or when you know your customers are most likely to be using your product or service.
Test different timings and frequencies to find the best approach for your business. Monitor response rates, open rates, and feedback quality to assess which strategies are most effective.
Do you need a larger respondent group to figure out if your findings are representative? A judicious use of incentives can take your response rate to the next level.
Now, we’re not talking about breaking the bank. Quite the contrary—an overly generous incentive might actually come across as a scam. Also, you don’t want your customers to fill in the survey just to grab the reward as this might skew the results and provide you with inaccurate data.
You could offer some of the following incentives and see how it impacts your response rate:
access to new features
access to exclusive events
Ask a follow-up question
Customers will often explain the reason behind their score if you ask them. Use an NPS survey template, such as the one below, that allows you to ask a follow-up question:
You can customize the question, too, to max out the value of your NPS survey, discover what Promoters value you for, and what puts Detractors off.
Follow up with all respondents
Following up with and thanking every respondent for filling in an NPS survey doesn’t just show that you care about your customers’ opinions. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for additional information or clarification on the feedback you received. And it shouldn’t be limited to Promoters or Passives only.
Responding to Detractors gives you a chance to address their concerns and work on resolving any issues they've faced. This can help to turn unhappy customers into satisfied ones, potentially reducing churn.
Measure NPS over time
Your market research will benefit from the NPS survey most if you run it regularly across different segments.
It can help you validate any changes to the product or service and identify any emerging issues or dissatisfaction trends.
One-off surveys may be influenced by specific events or external factors, leading to response bias. Regular NPS surveys reduce the impact of such biases by providing a broader, more representative sample of customer feedback.
Lastly, if you follow up with your customers after each survey, it will demonstrate that you are committed to listening to their feedback and addressing their concerns.
Boost your market research with Survicate’s NPS surveys
Market research is a critical tool that will help you understand your customers’ needs and preferences, determine the viability of a new product or service, and maintain a competitive advantage over your competition.
Using NPS surveys as part of your market research can help you discover how your customers feel about your brand and how likely they are to stick around.
Lidia is a Senior Content Editor at Survicate. She’s a passionate customer experience advocate and strives to educate and inspire her readers to improve their own customer journeys. In her blog posts, Lidia focuses on the latest trends and best practices in the industry. She believes that by sharing her expertise she can help businesses of all sizes to elevate their customer experience. When she’s not writing, Lidia enjoys reading books, attending industry conferences, and testing out new customer service technologies.
NET PROMOTER, NPS, AND THE NPS-RELATED EMOTICONS ARE REGISTERED U.S. TRADEMARKS, AND NET PROMOTER SCORE AND NET PROMOTER SYSTEM ARE SERVICE MARKS, OF BAIN & COMPANY, INC., SATMETRIX SYSTEMS, INC. AND FRED REICHHELD.