Tracking User Metrics #1: The Infamous Net Promoter Score

Some chemistry tools

What is it, how does it work?

The NPS works with a simple question:

Still from the Teacher puppet from the movie & concert “The Wall”, Pink Floyd

The European Dilemma

In Europe however, we encounter two big problems:

  • We have a European bias regarding NPS. Even when our users are totally satisfied, they tend to give an 8 (exceptionally a 9), rarely a 10 because we have been taught that we can “always improve !” (I’m looking at you my dear teacher who gave 9/10 on a perfect test, yes yes you). Therefore, European NPS tend to be really hard to compare with our American counterparts.
“It’s alive”, still from the movie from the same name

Is this thing alive? Why is it moving?!

It is really important to then correlate your NPS score with a timeline of your product to be able to check what might have impacted or not this score (which feature was launched when, what event happened, …). This timeline should also include some important events that happened outside of our app.

How to use it then?

On top of using this double NPS scale, I survey each week two different populations of our application. First Month Users and One Year Users. This allows me to get to understand how people approach our app with fresh eyes and the problems they encounter on one side, and on the other side to see how people “bond” with our app after some time.

People barred as an interdiction sign

Things I should avoid?

  • You should never change the NPS question. It’s standardized and made to be unbiased, so it’s really important to stick to it. However, you can enhance the follow-up question to your taste and problems!
  • Indicate that 1 stands for “Not at all” and 10 for “Totally”. Some people tend to see the scale as inverted without those indicators.
  • The NPS is not a percentage, the score can change between -100 & +100, it’s only useful when you use it to compare with others. You should also use the calculation method described above to get your score. There’s no such thing as “the average NPS”.
  • You should always track your NPS across time. A single measure doesn’t give you enough to work on, as the NPS score might be impacted by a lot of things outside of your control. Track through time, check with your timeline, be mindful of world events.
  • Do not take your user comments at face value, use them to dig a bit more in some area to get a better understanding and more details! Usually, users don’t talk much inside text fields, go to them, explore, and understand.
  • If you use the NPS inside your application, do not break your user's flow! Add it at the end of their experience, track when and where you asked it to be able to frame and correlate it with your global app experience.

What next?

In the next post I will talk about another user metric tool I use and really like, the UMUX-Lite, so keep in touch 😉



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