Customer Service Glossary

What Are Promoters, Passives, and Detractors?

Promoters, passives, and detractors are customers or employees who provide a response to Net Promoter Score® (NPS) surveys based on their experience with a brand, product, or service. Developed by Bain & Company, in conjunction with Fred Reichheld, the Net Promoter Score and Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) methodology enables companies to understand how loyal, satisfied, and engaged their customers and employees are. In addition, the Net Promoter Score (or Net Promoter Scale) metric helps companies improve brand loyalty, streamline the customer experience, and boost customer satisfaction. Similarly, eNPS surveys help companies improve employee engagement.

An NPS survey asks customers a single question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand/product/service] to a friend or colleague?” Consumers provide a score of zero to ten based on their perception and experience. Net Promoter Score surveys then organize customers into one of three categories based on the results:

  • Promoters: Promoters are satisfied, engaged customers who provide a Net Promoter Score of 9 to 10. They are likely loyal customers who recommend a product or company to their colleagues. 
  • Passives: Passives are satisfied, if not fully engaged. They provide Net Promoter Scores of 7 to 8, are unlikely to promote a company to their colleagues or family members, and may be in danger of switching to a competitor for a better price or customer experience. 
  • Detractors: Finally, detractors are customers who are unsatisfied with their experience for any reason. They rate companies with a Net Promoter Score of zero to six and will share their negative experience with others. 

Common Questions About Promoters, Passives, and Detractors in Customer Service Departments

How do you identify passive, promoter, and detractor customers?

Net Promoter Score surveys make it easy to identify passive, promoter, and detractor customers. Customers can rank their experience on a scale of zero to 10. After receiving the NPS measurements, companies can determine ways to improve customer care offerings, remove roadblocks from the customer journey, and nurture brand loyalty. 

How do you turn a passive into a promoter? 

You can turn passive customers into promoters in several ways. Start by asking Net Promoter Score passives for additional feedback on ways that you can improve their customer experience. Then, analyze Net Promoter Score reports for patterns. Finally, take the necessary steps to improve customer satisfaction. 

How do you convert detractors into promoters? 

After receiving negative feedback from Net Promoter Score surveys, make contact with the detractor as quickly as possible. Work to understand their dissatisfaction and offer a positive solution. Most importantly, learn from their feedback to boost brand loyalty and prevent other customers from becoming detractors. 

Related Resources and Information