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Calculating Net Promoter Score (NPS) in B2B markets

By Andrew Dalglish -

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is perhaps the most widely used metric in customer satisfaction and loyalty research.  Here at Circle, our view is that NPS isn’t always the best metric in B2B environments (we explain why here), but it does have a role to play.  So, assuming it is the right metric for your business, how do you calculate Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

Well, first ask a reliable and representative sample of your customer base how likely they are to recommend you.  The traditional NPS question is phrased as follows:

How likely is it that you would recommend [Company] [Product] to a friend or colleague?

Usually the scale used with this question runs from 0 to 10, with 10 labelled as ‘extremely likely to recommend’ and 0 as ‘not at all likely’.  Sometimes a 1 to 10 scale is used instead and, whilst there are arguments for and against this, that’s fine too.

However, in B2B markets the NPS question should be adapted to reflect the fact that many business decision makers a) have neither the opportunity nor desire to proactively recommend supplier brands, and b) if they do make a recommendation, it’s rarely to a friend.  So when measuring NPS in B2B environments the question should be tweaked slightly:

If a colleague or peer asked your opinion, how likely is it that you would recommend [Company] [Product] to them?

Now take all of your responses and divide them into three groups:

  • ‘Detractors’ score you 0 to 6
  • ‘Passives’ give scores of 7 or 8
  • ‘Promoters’ are those giving a score of 9 or 10

Finally, subtract Detractors from Promoters to give your NPS score, e.g. 40% Promoters – 10% Detractors = NPS of 30.  The maximum NPS score is 100 (all Promoters) and the lowest possible score is -100 (all Detractors).

So what does a ‘good’ NPS score look like in B2B markets?  Well, having crunched the data from tens-of-thousands of responses to dozens of surveys, all conducted exclusively in B2B environments, we’ve a pretty good view here at Circle.  See how you stack up to the B2B NPS benchmarks here.

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) customer satisfaction surveys.

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