A Year in the Life of Our Net Promoter Score (NPS)

28-Jan-2020 15:27:19

The Good, the Passives, and the Detractors!

"How likely are you to recommend Gladstone to someone you know"
- on a scale of zero to 10 (with 10 being extremely likely).

As one of our valued Gladstone customers, you may well recognise this question, you would have been asked this a few times over the years.


As the keeper of all things NPS, I admit that I love the first flurry of responses that appear when an NPS is sent out. Who will be the first customer to respond I wonder? Will it be a smiley face? Will there be lots of lovely feedback or will it be a sad face and a blank text box?

Consumed by excitement, I hit the refresh button, constantly checking for the latest responses. As each one appears, I am elated that our customers are taking the time to engage with us and tell us what they think - what they really, really think!

Delighted with the level of honesty within each comment, a plethora of different questions, and a vast array of themes, it intrigues me how each customer uses the NPS to highlight their most inner thoughts. Some a little more unexpected than others, but a riveting read nonetheless.

But this wasn't always the case...

Back in our olden NPS days, our NPS asked more questions than a daytime quiz show. Customers should have won a prize for just having the stamina to complete it, I cannot blame any of you for dropping out at question 19, we hadn’t even asked the crucial NPS question at this point - that was hovering around question 24!

Not only did we bombard you with all these questions, we also thought “the more the merrier” and sent the NPS to all and sundry.

As the responses trickled in, a small team (of one), was dispatched to follow up on the Detractors. Calls and emails followed, notes would be written and pledges to do better were made, in truth, getting so many responses at once to so many questions, made it virtually impossible for us to deal with in the way that we really wanted to. I freely admit that at times it was a struggle to action everything and we felt swamped with information and battered by the scores and the feedback.

Our NPS had become stagnant, with no-one “owning” the NPS, it was too big for us to manage, and as a customer who had spent their precious time completing the mass of questions, we knew that you deserved better and, so did we.

A bad NPS score resonates around the whole business and it was very easy for us to focus heavily on the negative and overlook the positive, which left us all in a very gloomy place.

So, what is a good NPS score?

Those in the know say that any score under 0 highlights that a business has a lot of issues to tackle - been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Whereas a score between 0 – 30 is good, but there is always room for improvement.

With that being said I am thrilled and extremely proud to announce that our NPS score for 2019 was 20! Yay! Hooray! Yippee! (Sorry excuse the mini celebration, but I am so pleased with this score).


I appreciate that 20 is by no means the best score ever, and there is plenty of room for improvement, but this score showed us that we were finally on the right track and heading in the right direction. It was you, our most important asset that was telling us this and we couldn't have got there without you.

So, what happened to turn that frown upside down?

After some research, and an excellent brain storming session with the very knowledgeable team at TRP, we realised a number of things, too much information in one hit is not always a good thing. Ask too many questions and you lose sight of the answers, changing the format year on year was like comparing apples to oranges and customers felt that their responses were going unnoticed and therefore they were not participating in or taking the time to respond to any future NPS.

It was clear that something had to change...

And change it did, we became less complicated asking only one question, we scheduled the NPS quarterly, went for quality over quantity, and most importantly we created an army…

The Voice of the Customer (VOC), a dedicated team that owns the whole NPS process. The team consists of representation from every department across the business who are responsible for driving it forward every quarter, answering questions and finding ways to continuously improve.

First thing on their agenda was internal awareness to make sure that everyone in the company, every department, every individual - no matter their role, understood that they impacted our customers and their NPS score. It was fundamental that everyone took responsibility and appreciated that our customers feedback, good, bad or ugly, made us all better at our jobs!

We have shown real improvement from previous years, but what matters is what we do with that score that determines how we can continue to grow. By following up on the NPS, it allows us to get closer to our customers, something we had never done before. We had all this important data but never closed the loop nor let our customers know that we were listening...well, we are all ears now!

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves. - Steve Jobs

So, what I have I learnt on my NPS journey?

Without an owner, the NPS is like an Aston Martin with no engine, looks great but it doesn’t go anywhere. It was clear that we needed someone to own and manage the NPS, and our amazing VOC team do just that.

Ensuring that everyone feels as though their voice is not only being heard, but considered and understood and that their feedback is being actioned, providing them with updates as closing the loop is pivotal. We are now in a position to be able to share this feedback highlighting the themes from each NPS and telling our customers what we did to make things better, to prove that we are actively listening.

We understand the significance of not only sharing our successes but also acknowledging any weaknesses. This allows us to strengthen our foundations ensuring that we fortify our core value of customer centricity, enabling us to improve and grow into the committed, industry thought leaders that we know Gladstone to be.

We realised that it was just as important to share the feedback with the rest of the business, now that we have all taken ownership of the NPS, so regular updates across all teams help us to appreciate that we all have a part to play.

So, as I get ready to hit the send button on the Q1 NPS, I can honestly say that I am very excited, we have ambitious plans for improving our NPS score this year and I'm keen to get started!

I truly believe that we are using our NPS results to drive our business forward, to ensure we celebrate our customer’s success, because your success is our reward for listening, learning and proactively looking to change how we develop as a business and how we develop our software and services.

We are building loyal customer relationships, resolving the issues that matter to you the most, and going above and beyond to show you that we really do care about your experience.

So look out for our next NPS and have your say because your voice truly matters.

Take a look at the NPS product we use...

I'm sure you agree that understanding your customers is pivotal to business growth, so take a look at the great product that allows us to understand what you really think.

Gladstone NPS

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