The net promoter score is regarded as an important marketing metric and practically every business leader wants to know how good their net promoter score is. The problem is that the net promoter score isn’t always a black and white issue. It isn’t always that easy to get accurate figures.

Benefits of the Net Promoter ScoreWhile NPS research does provide some guidelines by determining certain patterns in different industries, there is no guarantee that these patterns directly apply to your company. Net promoter score is influenced by a number of factors and these include a great deal more than just the industrial sector you happen to be in.

The net promoter score can be influenced by culture and national identity as well as how the NPS survey is conducted and there has been a considerable difference in results depending on whether the survey was conducted by Internet, telephone or in person. There is even a considerable difference between surveys run through a website versus email. This means that the Net Promoter Score benchmark you are using may be meaningless if you don’t conduct your survey in a manner identical to the way the benchmark was derived. Even the order of the questions, and how many questions there are, can make a difference.

Still, despite the uncertainty, it is important to know how your business is doing relative to the competition. A strong NPS means that you are outdoing your competitors in terms of customer satisfaction.

One way to improve accuracy is to create your own Net Promoter Score benchmark. You can start by determining your customer base and evaluating that against the bases of your competitors for similarities and differences. Then aim your survey toward those customers with similarities to your base. It isn’t always easy to contact your competitor’s customers and it may be necessary to bring in a professional survey company in order to do this accurately.

Another way is to issue a series of surveys at different times to your own base over a year’s time, to see how things have changed. If they’ve improved then all well and good. If your net promoter score has dropped then look for what changed and remove that change. You can establish a benchmark this way.

Finding your proper NPS benchmark isn’t all that difficult. But, it does require patience and a willingness to think outside the box. It’s a matter of putting forth the effort and being willing to search for the right metrics. When it comes to the net promoter score, there is no such thing as paint by numbers.