Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become a widely adopted metric for measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, despite its popularity, there are several limitations to NPS that call into question its effectiveness as a reliable indicator of customer experience.

Simplistic One-Question Approach

NPS relies on a single question, "How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?" Critics argue that this question is too simplistic and fails to capture the complexity of customer experience. It does not allow for nuanced feedback or provide insights into the reasons behind a customer's response.

Overreliance on Promoters

NPS places a heavy emphasis on promoters, customers who give a score of 9 or 10. While promoters are valuable, they represent only a small fraction of the customer base. Detractors, customers who give a score of 0 to 6, make up a significant portion of customers and their concerns may be overlooked.

Neglects Passive Customers

NPS tends to ignore passive customers, those who give a score of 7 or 8. These customers may be satisfied with the company's products or services but are not enthusiastic enough to recommend them. By focusing solely on promoters and detractors, NPS overlooks the potential for improvement among passive customers.

Lack of Context

NPS scores lack context and do not provide insights into the reasons behind a customer's response. A high NPS score may not necessarily indicate exceptional customer experience, as it could be influenced by factors unrelated to the company's products or services. Similarly, a low NPS score may not reflect poor customer experience but could be due to external factors beyond the company's control.

Susceptibility to Manipulation

NPS is susceptible to manipulation, as companies may engage in practices to artificially inflate their scores. This can involve cherry-picking data, excluding negative feedback, or incentivizing customers to provide positive responses. Such practices undermine the integrity of NPS and make it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the scores.


Given the limitations of NPS, it is essential to explore alternative metrics that provide a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of customer experience. Some alternatives include:

Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES measures the amount of effort customers have to exert to interact with a company. A low CES indicates that customers find it easy to do business with the company, while a high CES suggests that customers experience difficulty in their interactions.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT measures customer satisfaction with a specific interaction or experience. It is often used to gauge customer satisfaction with a particular product, service, or support interaction.

Customer Loyalty Index (CLI)

CLI measures the likelihood of customers to continue doing business with a company in the future. It takes into account factors such as customer satisfaction, perceived value, and brand loyalty.


NPS has gained popularity as a metric for measuring customer satisfaction, but it has several limitations that call into question its effectiveness. Its simplistic one-question approach, overreliance on promoters, neglect of passive customers, lack of context, and susceptibility to manipulation limit its ability to provide a comprehensive understanding of customer experience.

Alternative metrics, such as CES, CSAT, and CLI, offer more nuanced and informative insights into customer satisfaction and can help companies identify areas for improvement. By adopting a holistic approach that incorporates multiple metrics, companies can gain a deeper understanding of their customers' needs and take targeted actions to enhance customer experience.


  1. What are the main limitations of NPS?
  2. How can companies overcome the limitations of NPS?
  3. What are some alternative metrics to NPS?
  4. How can companies use alternative metrics to improve customer experience?
  5. Why is it important to consider multiple metrics when measuring customer experience?



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