The CX Insider

Net Promoter Score

How to turn detractors into promoters?

Jul 6, 2020

9 mins read

Nandkishor Tripathi

Zinda was craving for a pizza from her favorite pizzeria after a long and exhausting day at work. She ordered the pizza on her way home.

The pizza was not only delivered an hour late but it was cold and soggy. Like any disappointed customer, Zinda reached out to the customer care to complain about the same.

The customer rep listened to her patiently and quickly resolved the issue by offering her a refund for the discontentment and a discount coupon for her next purchase.

Does this experience restrain her from ordering a pizza from the same pizzeria again?

No, right!

It is because not only the food aggregator realized their mistakes but they also ensured that her experience with their brand was satisfactory at the end by tackling her unpleasant experience immediately.

Had it not been for such great customer service, the pizzeria would have lost a loyal customer. That’s the power of an efficient Customer Experience. It is as important as the product or service experience.

Did you know that 75% of the customers share their negative experiences with their friends or colleagues?

A complete sum of the experiences felt by your customers while interacting with your brand determines the ‘customer journey’. From spreading brand awareness to purchase, it extends to long term retention and repeat purchase.

Hence, deliver efficient customer service at every touchpoint of the customer journey to enhance your customer experience as a whole.

Customer Journey Detractors to Promoters

Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

A survey by Salesforce stated that only 51% of the customers believed that companies understand their needs and expectations.

Perhaps, to grow a business in this competitive market, it has become important to capture valuable customer feedback wisely and be aware of how happy or unhappy your customers are with your services, products, or experience.

What is a detractor?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a standard customer experience metric that enables businesses to gauge their customer loyalty. In simpler terms, the metric measures the willingness of the customers to recommend your brand to their family or friends. Depending on the responses, the customers are categorized into the following three categories.

  • Promoters (9 or 10): They are the customers who are most loyal to the brand. 
  • Passive (7 or 8): They are the customers who are merely satisfied with the brand and may switch to other brands if they provide better offerings.
  • Detractors (0-6): They are the customers who had a negative experience with the brand and can damage the brand’s reputation.

The benefit of using NPS is that it helps your brand to identify the promoters and detractors of your business. 

Now that you know who doesn’t like your brand’s service, product, or experience, it is imperative you talk to them and resolve their issues.

Why do you need to turn detractors into promoters?

Detractors speak louder than the promoters. They leave a larger negative impact than a positive one. Also, due to dissatisfaction with the product or service or negative customer experience, detractors’ can discourage other potential customers from using your services or products.

Moreover, if they share their negative experiences on the social media platform, it could really hurt the brand.

According to a survey by Lee Resources International, for every 26 customers who reject your brand due to their unsatisfactory experience, one customer files a complaint and that one customer is really important.

Though having promoters are valuables in themselves, detractors don’t have any less value than promoters. Rather they are more important as they share their real feedback and help you identify the problem. In fact, the detractors can be your biggest promoter if smartly managed.

How to turn detractors into promoters?

Read on to know 4 strategies on how to turn detractors into promoters.

1. Analyze the NPS:

Launch an NPS Survey. Identify your promoters and detractors and understand what they think of your brand. Detractors are real people with real problems.

Highlight the areas where they are facing problems. Resolve the problem and get their feedback once again.

Do this consistently until you turn your detractors into promoters.

2. Apply your NPS data insights to do data-driven planning:

Studies have proved that 95% of the NPS detractors give the business a second chance if their complaints are resolved successfully and in time.

Mapping the NPS results with the customer journey can give you insightful data to improve the customer experience. But how can you do it?

  • Do result-driven planning before interacting with any detractors.
  • They are already disappointed with the experience they had with your brand, so approach them with a plan of action.
  • Track the progress by taking the survey again with the same targeted audience to map the action plan implemented with the results.

Detractors to Promoters

Mark Webster, Co-Founder at Authority Hacker shared his experience with NPS. “We started monitoring our customer feedback using an NPS system early last year and have gained tons of valuable insight from it. We started by analyzing every detail we could find about our detractors and one thing that really stuck out is that their engagement with our product was low. 

Hence, for every member, we send a short 2-minute onboarding video to explain what our course has to offer, how to get help, and generally how to make the most out of its features. We also communicate a lot more during the first 30 days of their purchase to make sure they’re getting on okay. This helps us identify pain points and ensure that users are using the course as intended. This has really helped us convert a large number of detractors into promoters.”

3. Fix the problems and strengthen your relationship with them:

Don’t resolve the issue for one person. Rather remove it from the core, such that no one faces the same issue again. When they’ll experience that there were heard and their feedback made an impact, they’ll stick with your brand.

The voice of customers’ needs to be heard, always! Customers are satisfied when they are heard and thus, become loyal to your brand. This creates value and brand equity in the market if conducted correctly.

When detractors start doing word of mouth they are converted into promoters.


Detractors to Promoters

Neal Taparia, Founder at Solitaired shared how his team has turned a detractor into a promoter, “We’ve dealt with many angry customers and turned them into promoters. We had an issue with a customer who had lost her data. We immediately acknowledged the issue and relayed that we would prioritize looking into it. We told the particular customer we had fixed her problem. A few hours later, low and behold, the problem wasn’t fixed as the customer lost even more data. The person was irate and immediately demanded we refund her subscription. Along with refunding the customer, we acknowledged our error and how we planned to learn from it. More importantly, we were human about it and the customer was able to see that we, like anyone, made mistakes too.

After the end of the ordeal, we sent the customer a $50 Amazon gift card. We later received another support message from this person saying that she was our biggest fan given how human we were about the entire ordeal and was surprised by how well we listened to her issues! So to summarize, we turned our detractor into a promoter by admitting our mistake, acknowledging our learnings, being human about it, and going above and beyond.”

4. Follow-up with the Detractors:

According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. Also retaining the existing customer increases the profits by 25% to 95%.

So follow-up with your detractors on a personal level. And while doing so, incorporate the following.

  • Start a conversation with an introduction and apologize for the experience they had with your brand.
  • Empathize with them and show them that you care.
  • Address their concerns without being defensive and do not make any false promises with them.
  • Always choose a knowledgeable rep who is calm, knows the product or service in and out, and has the authority to make the decision instantaneously.
  • Do not create multiple levels of communication.
  • Also, don’t forget to take consent from the detractors to follow up and ask for their preferred mode of communication.

The three E’s of Customer Experience

Your customer experience must be easy, effective, and should instill positive emotion.

When your customers visit your website or an app, they expect an easy and effective service that fosters a positive emotional bond between you and the customer.

Reflect upon your past interactions and leverage those insights to deliver these three and strengthen customer loyalty and retention.

Detractors to Promoters

William Taylor, Sr. Career Advisor at VelvetJobs says, “Use an NPS tool. In my previous company, we used an NPS survey software to turn our detractors to promoters. Using an NPS survey helped us capture qualitative customer-powered data that we could easily convert into proactive and customer-driven strategies. For example, we used to ask questions from detractors about our products and services. Their tangible and detailed complaints on our products and services were a goldmine of insights. They helped us improve our products and services to deliver a better customer experience.

Apart from that, we used to also contact them personally through call or by personal emails. We’d ask them various engaging follow-up questions and also to outline the solution they want from our company.”


Turning Detractors to Promoters takes more than a phone call. It requires multiple interactions.

The two most critical things to focus on are constant follow-ups to analyze the progress, and always resolve the issue as a whole and not just for a single customer.

Also, keep your customers at the center of your business and reach out to the detractors with no bias or personal motivation.

It is crucial to focus on your detractors and turn them into promoters to proactively prevent customer churn, boost positive word-of-mouth, social media endorsements, and enhanced brand perception.

Brands usually ignore the detractors as they don’t guarantee any positive results. But they are really important as they provide the real picture and give the opportunity to identify the areas of improvement.

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