Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key metric used by product managers, particularly in early-stage Software as a Service (SaaS) startups, to measure customer satisfaction and predict business growth. This simple yet powerful tool can provide valuable insights into the customer experience, helping product managers make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer service improvements.

Understanding and effectively utilizing NPS can be a game-changer for product managers. It provides a clear, quantifiable measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction, which are critical factors in the success of any product, especially in the highly competitive SaaS market. This article will delve into the intricacies of NPS, its relevance in product management, and how it can be effectively used in early-stage SaaS startups.

Understanding Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. It was introduced in 2003 in a Harvard Business Review article titled "The One Number You Need to Grow." NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question: "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?"

Section Image
Based on their responses, customers are categorized into three groups: Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8), and Detractors (score 0-6). The NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. The score can range from -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to +100 (if every customer is a Promoter). A positive NPS is generally considered good, and a score above 50 is considered excellent.

Importance of NPS in Product Management

For product managers, NPS serves as a valuable tool for understanding customer satisfaction and loyalty. It provides a straightforward, quantifiable measure of how customers perceive a product or service. This feedback can be used to identify areas for improvement, inform product development decisions, and track the impact of changes on customer satisfaction over time.

Furthermore, NPS can help product managers identify potential brand advocates (Promoters) and at-risk customers (Detractors). By understanding the reasons behind these scores, product managers can take proactive steps to address customer concerns, improve the product, and ultimately increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Limitations of NPS

While NPS is a powerful tool, it is not without its limitations. One of the main criticisms of NPS is that it oversimplifies the customer experience by reducing it to a single number. It does not provide detailed insights into why customers are satisfied or dissatisfied, nor does it account for the nuances of individual customer experiences.

Additionally, NPS does not provide information on how to improve customer satisfaction. It is a diagnostic tool, not a prescriptive one. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with other customer feedback and data analysis tools to gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience and identify actionable insights.

Application of NPS in Early-Stage SaaS Startups

In early-stage SaaS startups, where resources are often limited and customer feedback is crucial, NPS can be an invaluable tool. It provides a quick and easy way to gauge customer satisfaction and identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Moreover, because NPS is based on a single question, it is easy to implement and does not require a significant investment of time or resources. This makes it particularly suitable for early-stage startups, which may not have the resources to conduct more extensive customer research.

Identifying and Addressing Customer Concerns

One of the key uses of NPS in early-stage SaaS startups is to identify and address customer concerns. By regularly measuring NPS and analyzing the feedback provided by Detractors, product managers can identify common issues and take steps to address them.

This proactive approach can help prevent customer churn, improve the product, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, by addressing customer concerns promptly and effectively, startups can turn Detractors into Passives or even Promoters, thereby improving their NPS.

Tracking the Impact of Changes

NPS can also be used to track the impact of changes on customer satisfaction. By measuring NPS before and after making changes to the product or service, product managers can assess whether these changes have had a positive, negative, or neutral impact on customer satisfaction.

This can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of different strategies and help inform future decision-making. Moreover, by tracking NPS over time, product managers can identify trends and patterns, which can provide further insights into the customer experience.

Best Practices for Using NPS in Product Management

While NPS is a relatively simple tool, using it effectively requires a strategic approach. Here are some best practices for using NPS in product management, particularly in early-stage SaaS startups.

Section Image
Firstly, it's important to measure NPS regularly. This will allow you to track changes in customer satisfaction over time and identify any trends or patterns. However, be careful not to survey customers too frequently, as this can lead to survey fatigue and lower response rates.

Acting on Feedback

Simply measuring NPS is not enough; it's crucial to act on the feedback you receive. This means analyzing the feedback provided by Detractors, Passives, and Promoters, identifying common themes, and taking steps to address any issues identified.

Remember, NPS is a diagnostic tool, not a prescriptive one. It can tell you if there's a problem, but it's up to you to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it. Therefore, it's important to use NPS in conjunction with other customer feedback and data analysis tools.

Communicating with Customers

Another key aspect of using NPS effectively is communicating with customers. This includes informing customers about why you're asking for their feedback, how their feedback will be used, and what changes you plan to make based on their feedback.

Furthermore, it's important to follow up with customers, particularly Detractors. By reaching out to Detractors, you can show them that you value their feedback and are committed to improving their experience. This can help turn Detractors into Passives or even Promoters, thereby improving your NPS.


In conclusion, NPS is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into customer satisfaction and loyalty. For product managers in early-stage SaaS startups, it can be an invaluable tool for identifying and addressing customer concerns, tracking the impact of changes, and informing decision-making.

Section Image
However, like any tool, it's not without its limitations. Therefore, it's important to use NPS in conjunction with other customer feedback and data analysis tools, and to take a strategic approach to measuring and acting on NPS. By doing so, product managers can maximize the value of NPS and use it to drive product success and business growth.

Prioritize high-value Feature Requests

Centralize customer feedback from HubSpot, Intercom, and Slack.

Prioritize high-value features sorted by churned revenue or MRR.

Close the loop for Sales and CS by automating status updates from JIRA.

Learn more


Centralize, Organize, and Prioritize Your GTM Team Feature Requests

Centralize customer Feature Requests from Slack, HubSpot, Intercom, Zendesk, SFDC, Help Scout, and more.