Net Promoter Score : Are Your Learners Happy?

Net Promoter Score : Are Your Learners Happy?
Summary: Deploying the Net Promoter Score for your learning products or organization at large can be quite powerful because you can gauge whether learners are happy. This article explores why and how to use the data to design better learning experiences.

Calculate And Improve Your Learning Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score KPI answers a critical business question: are learners happy with the product? Developed by Fred Reichheld and Bain Consulting about two decades ago, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is currently used by 2/3 of all Fortune 1000 CEOs on a daily basis to gauge the performance of their company in the eyes of the customer. The Net Promoter Score rates customer loyalty to the product or service offered or even the organization as a whole. A company can gauge how happy the customer is with the product/service or the company overall by asking each customer a single question about the likelihood that they would recommend the product, service, or company to their friends and colleagues. The actual NPS question is: "On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend XYZ Learning to a friend or colleague?" The customer rates the likelihood of recommending the product, service, or company to others on a 10-point scale from 0 to 10. The NPS question is usually followed by an open-text question, such as "what is the reason for your score?" or "why did you rate us this way?"

How Do You Calculate The Net Promoter Score?

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (those who gave ratings 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (those who rated it 9-10). Those who gave ratings 7-8 are neutrals and are not taken into consideration in the calculation. The result is the Net Promoter Score, which is stated as a number instead of a percentage. The rule of thumb is that anything below 30 is mediocre, whereas a score between 30-50 is good, a score between 50-70 is great, and a score above 70 is exceptional.

However, the NPS number is insufficient to drive an organization's strategy. While as a KPI, the NPS is quite robust, the open text question that follows the NPS provides the most value, as the open text is where the customer explains why they gave the particular rating. Mining the open text question for customer wow moments and particularly for customer concerns and pain points can be illuminating. According to Qualtrics, there are two types of NPS surveys: relational and transactional. You can administer relational NPS surveys on an annual basis to check how your learners feel year over year about the learning product or your company overall. Additionally, you can run transactional NPS surveys after learners interact with your product or service to gauge their satisfaction with the specific experience and point in time. You can think of the relational survey as the macro level NPS and the transactional NPS survey as the micro Net Promoter Score.

Why Is The Net Promoter Score Important?

The Net Promoter Score is used in most industries, including learning & development, universities, and K-12 learning. In L&D, it can be powerful to evaluate learning products and services offered to employees using Net Promoter Scores and mining the open text follow-up responses to improve the learning product continuously. You can use the NPS to evaluate learner satisfaction at the granular level of a specific module or course, your web page, the learning experience platform, and even your instructors. Some universities use NPS for the student to rate not only the course but also their faculty.

Additionally, you can use the NPS to evaluate your marketing strategy or your learner experience program. You can segment your customer NPS scores by activity, demographic, persona, or market and use this data during the customer journey to take the pulse on the learner's preferred modality, preferred learning modules, and topics, among others. Some organizations are also using NPS to measure the employee experience. Additionally, some organizations use NPS together with customer churn data to predict if and when a customer stops using your product. By comparing learner experience data with operational data, you can get a more accurate read on learner behaviors. If you are using xAPI, you can layer that data as well to gain even deeper insights into your learner's behavior, including preferences, learning needs, times of learning, preferred modalities, etc.

How Can You Improve Your Learning Net Promoter Score

Before you can improve anything, you first need a baseline or a starting point against which will help you to measure improvement within your organization; you also will need to conduct benchmarking outside your organization to compare scores across similar products and services. So, first, you will need to establish a baseline of Net Promoter Scores across your various learning products and services. Once you have six months or a year's worth of data, you can begin to segment your customers by detractors and promoters. Detractors are unhappy with the learning experience, whereas promoters liked it so much that they recommended it to others. You will need to engage with each group to understand their needs and wants. Over time you will need to convert the detractors to promoters and ensure they are never unhappy going forward.

As you continue to collect and analyze your NPS scores, you will be able to discern which learning products or elements in particular products are making learners happy and which are not. From there, you can prioritize the critical opportunities for improvement, get champion buy-in and support, allocate resources, and drive an enterprise-wide strategy and employee engagement campaign to improve your Net Promoter Score. Everyone in the organization is responsible for ensuring learners' needs are met, so everyone is empowered and accountable for improving the Net Promoter Score. To empower all employees, you will need to provide the training and the tools to track NPS to everyone in the organization, as well as the motivation to strive to meet the learner's needs and address the areas or products that need to be improved. Finally, you will need to create a learner-centric culture of continuous improvement.


Deploying the Net Promoter Score for your learning products or organization at large can be quite powerful because you will be able to gauge whether learners are happy. You can then use this information to continually improve your learning offerings.