Are there circumstances in which a company should exclude customers from NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys?

There is a fairly simple question you can ask yourself to help you determine if a customer should be included in your NPS survey or not. That is …

Can this customer potentially provide me with insights that can improve my business?

If the answer is yes, they should be included.

To give you an example of this question in practice, let’s say you have a customer that’s using a trial version of your product or service. They haven’t paid you a penny, but they’re actively engaged.

Could this non-paying customer provide you helpful insights? Absolutely.

Now let’s say that you have a “paying” customer, but they haven’t purchased anything from you in the past two years.

Could they offer you anything insightful? Likely not.

At Promoter, we typically lean to putting the most emphasis on active and paying customers since they have the best perspective and basis for feedback (and they have skin in the game).

That said, for products or services where you have trial customers or inactive (but former) customers you may still be able to capture some actionable/useful data, which leads me to my next point.

As Sherrie Mersdorf touched on, your best approach is to use customer attributes to filter and compare your survey results, thus allowing you to include a wider array of customer types. At Promoter we call this Attribute Analysis.

We wrote a fairly in-depth post on this topic, along with how you can use this practice to clone your best customers.

At a high level, customer attributes can be things such as job titles, physical locations, how long they’ve been a customer, the plan they’re on, trial status, last purchase, etc.

Essentially, they are those additional columns of data that you keep on each customer.

So worry less about what customers to include in your survey (include them all) and focus more on the various customer segments and how their sentiment varies from the overall baseline or aggregate score.

Then you can start to get a clear picture of what drives promoters, passives and detractors among each type of customer.