Net Promoter Score for the Common Man

Our “Common Man” blog series is committed to bringing you the most easy-to-digest information on translation industry topics and technologies. Previously, we have addressed everything from APIs to sales skills to the Chinese language. This week, we are taking a look at a number that's used to rank companies in many industries, including translation: the Net Promoter Score.

You might've heard companies touting their Net Promoter Score (if it's good) on their website or in their marketing material, but do you know how it's calculated and why it's an important metric?

Well, let’s learn!

What is a Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a customer loyalty metric introduced to the public circa 2003. The NPS was created by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix in order to accurately measure the level of loyalty that exists between a company and their customer base.

The NPS is, in reality, a simply calculated metric. It asks customers a single question: On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company? 

The customer responses are grouped into three categories: "detractors" (0-6, or those who would not promote the company), "passive" (7 & 8), and "promoters" (9 & 10, or those who would promote the company). 

The percentage of the detractors is then subtracted from the percentage of the promoters, which leaves the NPS.

The NPS can range from -100 (if every customer is a detractor) to +100 (if every customer is a promoter). The majority of companies fall in the middle of this range, and any score above +50 is considered to be quite stellar.

why is the net promoter score important?

So, why would a company want to obtain this figure, especially if the results are unsatisfactory?

Well, the NPS can be useful to a company in numerous ways. The score helps to gauge the company's standing with its customer base; so, even if the score ends up being negative or unsatisfactory, the company can use this information to reevaluate their current products, services, and customer service policies to try and improve the overall feeling of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Clearly, if customers aren't willing to recommend your company, some positive changes need to be made. 

A company can also use the NPS as a benchmark to mark year over year improvement, and can even employ it as a motivation tool for employees (ie, "If we make it to an NPS of 70 this year, you all get a bonus!")

Conversely, if the company's score is phenomenal, it makes for great marketing fodder. What better way to appeal to new customers than to provide concrete proof that your current customers love and recommend you? 

lionbridge: the highest nps in the industry

As of 2016, Lionbridge has the highest NPS of any company in the translation industry: a whopping 76. To put that in perspective, that's higher than well-publicized companies like State Farm Insurance (60), Netflix (52), and Comcast TV Service (-17). 

Lionbridge's NPS wasn't just pulled from thin air. Over the last 20 years, we've worked hard to achieve a high rate of customer loyalty. To learn more about Lionbridge's products and services, and to experience firsthand the customer service that's earned us the industry-high NPS, visit our website

Please join us again for another edition of the "Common Man" series!

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