Net Promoter Score (NPS) essentially measures the likeliness of customers to recommend your business to others. The concept first appeared in 2003 in the article on Harvard Business Review, which identified NPS as the “only number you need to grow.” After all, loyalty is a strong reflection of good CX. 

Today, it has become a crucial metric that helps you assess the quality of customer experience delivered by your brand. But, like every other metric, NPS is not perfect. There are situations when it fails to deliver useful and accurate results. 

In this article, we have highlighted when NPS is not an ideal metric to measure CX. It will help you place the metric at the right stages in the customer journey and foster loyalty!

1. If you wish to measure CX pre-purchase

In order to respond to NPS surveys, your customers should have a significant experience with the brand. They must have tried the product/service offered by your business to recommend them to other people who might be interested or in need of the product. Moreover, they should have a good understanding of what’s good, bad, and okay about the brand. 

You cannot measure loyalty using potential customers. For this reason, utilizing NPS to measure CX before customers have purchased the product is not practical. The customers may be able to provide a response based on the impression projected by your brand. But, it wouldn’t generate accurate results as it’s too early to measure it. 

2. If you wish to measure CX across your entire customer journey

Although NPS is a very celebrated metric, it’s not ideal to measure the overall CX delivered by your organization. Take this example. A customer could be very frustrated with the sales support offered by a particular brand but may still recommend it to others if the brand has the range of products they are looking for. In this case, the NPS score won’t capture the entire scenario accurately. 

Interestingly, Dan Collins, CEO of CCO Global has revealed an interesting comparison of NPS scores between Amazon and Tesla. In 2019, Amazon had an NPS score of -26, when it had a massive clientele and was reputed as one of the top companies in the world. At the same time, Tesla marked an NPS score of 98 when it was still in the experiential stage with faulty products. In this case, people would have merely promoted Tesla for its innovative concept. 

These controversial results of NPS prove that it may not be an all-rounder in measuring CX. But, NPS is a great metric to measure customers’ tendency to promote your business with regards to specific aspects like sales, marketing, product development, etc. 

3. If you wish to measure and learn about the behavior of your customers 

NPS is also not a good metric to measure the behavioral traits of customers as it doesn’t reflect them accurately. This is especially true when you utilize NPS to assess customer experience for products that are considered necessities in people’s lives. People don’t communicate about such products with their acquaintances or brag about their amazing features but continue to use them loyally. 

For example, you would hardly recommend Windows 10 to anyone as its essential software and is the dominating choice for operating systems. But, a negative NPS score on it doesn’t necessarily imply you don’t like it or don’t use it. So, measuring overall user behavior in relation to CX requires a multi-dimensional approach like the Emotional Value Index that has the potential to tap into Emotional Experience with behavioral and attitudinal data.


Despite its drawbacks, NPS still remains one of the most preferred metrics among businesses. But, knowing these criticisms can help you understand when and where NPS becomes applicable and use it accordingly.

Feedbackly helps you measure more than 20 KPIs, including the Emotional Value Index, and gives you a clear overview of your entire customer journey with a blink of an eye.

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Jaakko Männistö

Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.

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