Global Net Promoter Score (NPS): The Ultimate Guide

Conducting a global net promoter score (NPS) survey for your organization can be a significant undertaking. Although the NPS metric is simplistic and easy to calculate, scaling an international study can be challenging.

The article will highlight the definition and process for conducting global NPS surveys, plus the challenges and considerations when conducting global market research.

What is a global NPS survey?

A global net promoter score (NPS) survey is a type of project that assesses customer loyalty, likelihood to recommend, and general satisfaction on an international scale.

NPS is the most widely known and recognizable market research metric in market research. Conducting an NPS survey globally will help a brand understand the general mix of customers who are promoters, passives, and detractors.

It identifies a benchmarkable key performance indicator (KPI) for future waves and can dive deeper into the loyalty and satisfaction metrics to understand the why behind NPS.

What is NPS, and how is it calculated?

Here is a brief overview of NPS and how the question and survey process typically works.

NPS is a question that uses a 0 to 10 scale where customers are asked, How likely are you to recommend [insert brand] to a friend, family member, or colleague? 

The who at the tail-end of that question can be customized depending on whether you are a B2C or B2B brand. Friends and family are leveraged more for B2C, whereas colleagues can be leveraged for B2B.

Respondents are categorized into 3 groups based on their 0-10 scale ratings:

  • 😍 Customers who rate your brand a 9 or 10 are considered promoters. Those who are actively loyal and promote your brand to others.

  • 😐 Customers who rate your brand a 7 or 8 are considered passives. Those who like your brand but are not overly loyal and are susceptible to switching to competitors.

  • 😡 Customers who rate your brand a 0 to 6 are considered detractors. Those who are actively unhappy with your brand often have conversations about using competitors or already using them.

Watch this video as we dive deeper into net promoter score and discuss the definition, calculation, and benefits.

How global NPS is calculated

Your global NPS score is calculated by the following: % of promoters - % of detractors.

Subtracting detractors from promoters creates a score ranging from -100 to +100. A good NPS score can vary by industry, market, or customer base.

For instance, the average healthcare NPS is 58+. Whereas, the average NPS for banks and credit unions is +34.

That's why we recommend working with a net promoter score company that has access to benchmarks to better compare your score to competitors, industry standards, best-in-class brands, and eventually yourself.

net promoter score calculation

Steps to measuring your global NPS

Although the global NPS process can be a massive scope, we’ll help simplify the steps for you and walk you through the systematic process employed by our company with brands.

The global NPS survey can seem overwhelming, but a good market research partner will guide you through the entire step-by-step process.

They will offer advice and guidance and fully execute each step of the process for you.

While we recommend partnering with a market research company (here's why), you do have the option to conduct it in-house. If that's the case, skip to step 3.

Step 1. Contact a global NPS company

Vet a few options of partners that fit your needs and fill out a form, place a phone call, or send an email providing them with more information on your needs.

Some critical information to share with potential partners includes:

  • Your goals and objectives
  • What countries/languages you need the survey to cover
  • How many customers you have in your database
  • The timeline for when you need the results
  • Any budget range you want to stay within

The global NPS survey company, such as Drive Research, can rightsize a scope fit based on this, respond with a proposal, and/or set up a discovery call to ask a few other questions and confirm the information you shared.

Step 2. Review proposals

Take the time to review the proposal and understand the differences between companies from an expertise, process, and deliverable perspective.

Determine which partner will best fit your needs for your project.

If you are looking to create a request for a proposal, I recommend using our free RFP template.

rfp template call to action

Step 3. Project kickoff

A good NPS company will assign a dedicated market research team to your study, prepare an agenda, and schedule a kickoff meeting for your project, which typically lasts 60 minutes.

Here, the research team will dive deeper into your objectives, discuss any other historical research you have completed, discuss the next steps in the timeline, and answer any questions.

Step 4. Timeline and work plan

The research team will create this document to help guide the deliverables and dates for every project step.

This holds both teams accountable for creating those documents (surveys, customer lists, reports, etc.) along with the responsible party and due dates.

Step 5. Survey development

The research team will take the feedback from your original form fill/discovery call, kickoff meeting, and other materials and develop the NPS survey instrument. 

Although the survey will undoubtedly address NPS, a good partner will also help you expand on the topics to understand the drivers behind NPS ratings and dive into other customer satisfaction metrics and experiences with your brand.

This draft document will be passed to your team for review and sign-off and can take multiple iterations if needed.

Step 6. Translations

Here, the market research team will loop in their translation partner to use the English version of the survey document and have it translated into all necessary languages.

Consider choosing a global partner for this survey effort that can oblige and meet all of the different language requirements you might have. 

For example, Drive Research offers translations and programming for over 200 languages.

Languages for Global NPS survey

Step 7. Programming

After translations are completed, the next step is for the market research company to program the surveys into its survey platform.

It includes the questions, piping or branching, buttons and tools, etc. This is replicated for each language.

The survey is then thoroughly tested by the team to ensure there are no issues.

The test link can be shared with the client team to review the experience. Many market research firms allow full customization and branding for each survey.

Step 8. Customer pre-notice and lists

An essential step in the survey process is ensuring your customers are aware of an invite from a third party asking for information.

There is tremendous value in using a third-party market research firm to survey to ensure candid responses. 

A pre-notice from the sponsoring brand mentioning the survey, how you hired a market research firm to conduct it, why a response is essential, and from whom and when to expect an invite is very helpful.

The brand can then send that list used for the pre-notice to the market research firm for the initial email invites.

Step 9. Data collection

The survey typically includes a soft launch followed by a full launch. Email invites are sent to specific regions, countries, and markets selected by the brand in the scope with proper translations.

The global NPS market research company reviews responses as they come in, running quality checks and push reminders to non-responders. 

Many good partners will also share a live data link with clients that is passcode protected (like this) and tabulates the data in real time as a sneak peek of the results.

These portals can often be exported to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

online survey portal

Step 10. Analysis and reporting

The survey is closed once you have achieved your data collection goal (e.g., n400, n1000, n2000+ responses) from your customer list.

If any incentives or raffles were provided as part of the survey experience, those are selected and paid now. Responses in other languages are then translated into English for analysis and reporting.

From here, the market research firm dives into the results and creates an impactful and insightful report addressing the core objectives.

Banner files can also be designed to compare metrics by country. The partner provides recommendations to improve scores and context to help you understand how your NPS and CSAT metrics compare to peers. 

The project's final step is to complete a debrief worksession where the partner walks the brand sponsor through the insights with Q&A.

How long does the global NPS survey process take?

As a broad estimate, global NPS surveys typically take 8-10 weeks to complete but the timeline can be expedited if needed.

Several factors impact how long a global NPS survey project will take. Generally, timelines for this type of project are often extended due to the translation aspects of the study. 

Not only does the survey need to be localized and translated to each language desired to reach your customer base, but the feedback and responses often need to be translated back to English to help the market research team perform the necessary analysis and reporting for the brand.

What are the challenges when conducting a global NPS survey?

Because of the diversity and nuances in different markets and countries, a global NPS survey can create a lot of challenges to execute.

Here is a highlight of some considerations before embarking on your study.

  • Cultural Variations. If your survey is conducted in many countries and regions, your brand understands how customers perceive and express feedback differently. This forces a market research firm and brand to understand these nuances when reviewing NPS data and creating a universally applicable score.

  • Language Barriers. Multiple iterations of surveys in different languages can pose a challenge to accurately interpret and report on the responses. Ensure you choose translation vendors who grasp these localized nuances that bleed into questionnaire design.

  • Regional Differences in Customer Expectations. Diving deeper, customers in different regions define a positive or negative customer experience differently. Some countries have very high expectations regarding the customer service bar, while others may not. Cultural bias is a real thing in terms of how they interpret NPS. Specific cultures may have tendencies to rate NPS low or high.

  • Scalability Issues. Ensure your organization, platform, or partner can handle many responses across global time zones. It’s not uncommon for an invite to be sent and for a survey platform to receive thousands or tens of thousands of responses within a few minutes, depending on the size of your customer list. If there are concerns here, ensure you pace the sample outreach appropriately.

  • Regulatory Compliance. This is a big one. The survey must adhere to data protection laws and privacy regulations in every country in which the survey is being administered. Ensure you review GDPR, CCPA, and others to abide by those rules. For example, Germany is a very challenging country in which to conduct surveys. Hire a partner who is aware of these and follows them.

  • Operational Challenges. The survey operations and step-by-step process were explained in this article, and there is a lot to consider. It includes administration to data collection, technology needs, etc. 

  • Time Zone Differences. The impact here is how to quickly handle any questions or issues overseas and/or when to schedule survey invites. Since most responses are returned within 24 hours, correctly timing the initial invite is crucial. For example, you do not want to time all invites to go simultaneously, which might result in invites being sent to your Thailand customers at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday with no weekend coverage to handle questions.

  • Economic Disparities. It is more of an analysis consideration. However, the market research firm or brand must understand some demographic disparities from country to country if you run the global NPS survey in several regions. For example, economic differences likely impact spending habits in each country.

These challenges can only be overcome with a thoughtful plan or working with a global NPS survey company expert. However, thinking about and planning for these is crucial to ensuring a successful project with authentic responses.

Contact Our Global NPS Survey Company

Need assistance or advice on your upcoming international customer survey project? Our team of experts can help develop a custom plan for you with an approach, recommended critical metrics, a sample plan, and much more.

Drive Research can walk through your objectives and develop a proposal.

Contact us by filling out the form below or emailing [email protected].

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.





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