Net Promoter Score (NPS) based programs are well established in many organisations and most are using the standardised question “How likely are you to recommend {insert brand}?” with a 0-10 scale.  This question allocates respondents into the NPS segments: Promoter, Neutral or Detractor.  That question is simple to include in the survey, but we mustn’t forget the end game. Ultimately, we want to get insights about what experiences create Promoters and conversely what experiences create Detractors.  We recommend that the remainder of the survey is dedicated to understanding the reasons why.

We use a combination of comment boxes (Why did you give this score? How can we improve?) and other questions to explain these experiences – they are called the “Drivers”.  It is critical to put effort into the design of your NPS survey and understand which Drivers to include because they frame the feedback that customers provide.  In order to find out what Drivers make the most difference, we developed a new type of survey that mimics the benefits of a focus group. This unique type of survey is called a Resonance (Discovery) Survey and it gives customers a method to collaborate with you (and with each other).  Your customers are the best source of information on the key Drivers and they are more than willing to get involved.

Essentially, a Resonance survey starts with customers reviewing a list of Drivers that have been seeded by the company. They then select all the Drivers that are significant to them and rank them in order of importance. There is also a simple way for customers to add their own ideas and include them in the ranked list. Once the customer generated idea has been moderated (NB. there is a moderator reviewing the customer generated ideas in real time to group them into themes), it is added to the list of seeded Drivers that can be displayed to future respondents (NB. there is an algorithm that ensures that each customer generated theme gets equal exposure).

co-creation workflow for NPS survey design


This clever methodology allows researchers to co-create with their customers in real time and gather insights from one survey that would otherwise involve many iterations of surveys – reviewing and prioritising the comments from the “Other” box or building a research online community. These alternatives always come with a long lag time. And another point to mention is that in our experience, most of the highest scoring ideas we discover come from customer generated ideas, not the company-seeded ideas.

At the end of the survey period, analysis is performed on each idea – on the number of times it has been selected and the priority ranking for both seeded and customer generated ideas.  This will show the Popularity (selected by the most people) and the Importance (rated the highest).  These top ideas can become the business drivers in the NPS survey.

priority ranking in the discovery survey cx customer experience

If you need to keep your NPS survey as short as possible, you can also use these top scoring themes to tag the customer comments – that is, you use text analytics to find comments about the top scoring themes and tag them with those labels. This way you can reduce your survey down to the absolute basics and still run reports on the Drivers.

We also recommend that you launch a NPS program with a pilot survey so there is some flexibility after you perform analysis on the findings – for example, your customers may mention a subject in their comments that are not covered by the business Drivers and you may want to include that in the survey design. There are also situations where business drivers may need to be merged or removed if they are not providing enough value to the analysis.

This type of Resonance survey can also be used to co-create with customers about other business decisions in standalone surveys e.g. new product ranging, new sales channels, new store locations, loyalty program design, resolving service issues.

The insights from the NPS surveys and other adhoc research will help organisations transform, thereby evolving through the phases of customer experience management – from the “Repair process” phase (where organisations are focused on finding the customer pain points and resolving them) to the “Prevention process” (where organisations anticipate problems and prevent them from occurring) (Forrester 2014). Resonance surveys can be used to review the relevance of business Drivers as the organisation moves into the Prevention phase.