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Net Promoter Score 101: What Your School Needs to Know about NPS
Claire Hollowell

How many times have you filled out a survey that sounded something like this:

“On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend _____ to a friend?” or

“On a scale from 0 to 10, how satisfied are you with this product?”

You have probably answered this for a wide range of products, or maybe avoided it and declined to respond. What you may not realize when quickly assigning a number or none at all is that your responses help determine that companies’ Net Promoter Score (NPS). What you may not realize is that your school can benefit from a NPS.

You may be wondering what a NPS is and exactly why it matters for your school’s success. Let’s dive in.

What is a NPS?

A Net Promoter Score is a customer satisfaction score ranging from -100 to +100. Scores are broken down into three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors.


Promoters are the customers who give your product or business a score of 9 or a 10 in a survey. They are defined as enthusiastic and loyal customers who would not only continue to buy or use your product but would also be likely to refer others to your business. These customers can be a powerful asset to your company, and more specifically, organic growth.


Passives are customers who rate your product, business, or service a 7 or 8. While these customers appear neutral, it would be dangerous to assume they require little attention from you. These customers are unenthusiastic and even unimpressed. Because of this, they are open to other brands and offers and may be easily persuaded to make a switch.


Detractors are customers who evaluate your product and give a score between 0-6. These people are notably unhappy, and could even be angry or heated.  They are not likely to recommend your product or company. If left alone, these customers can damage your reputation or brand through their active negativity.

NPS Metric

Net Promoter Score= % promoters – % detractors

Why Does a Net Promoter Score Matter for Your School?

Your Net Promoter Score reveals just how loyal and happy your families and students are with their experience at your school. Your NPS reflects your audience’s true and reactive feelings towards your service, educational experience, or school as a whole. Software companies, retail clothing companies, and even schools should measure their NPS.

While negative scores, or detractors, can deter future or prospective parents from choosing your school over another, positive scores, or promoters, often lead to unprompted word of mouth praise, testimonials, and references. This, in turn, generates more students and inquiries and can help grow your admission funnel, resulting in higher enrollment numbers.

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What is a “Good” Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

NPS experts define a “good” score as anything above a 60, regardless of your industry. Some experts, like the experts at Retently, break it down further by denoting scores of 0-30 as “good”, scores of 30-70 as “great”, and a score between 70-100 as “excellent”. However, different industries may have slight variations in what is considered a “good” NPS.

The most relevant way to determine how well your company is doing is to primarily compare yourself to companies within your specific industry.

For example, although a score of 60 or higher is considered a good score regardless of your industry, some industries, like internet service providers, have notoriously low scores. As a result, a score of 25 would blow other companies out of the water, since the average score across internet services is only a 2. That’s right, a score of 2. Therefore, an internet company would not want to compare themselves to airlines, who receive average Net Promoter Scores of 44. The results would not communicate anything truly important.

When looking at your NPS, compare yourselves to other schools in your district. You can then use that data and information to understand your competition, see tangible examples, and set more helpful goals for your school.

Benchmark average

(Numbers from Satmetrix NICE 2018 average NPS by industry report)

Understanding How to Use Your NPS by Example

Understanding what a good NPS is and what you should do with your score is best shown by taking a look at a few companies that have been particularly successful. You’ve probably heard of them; Nordstrom and Apple.

Nordstrom and Apple are two companies that consistently receive high scores and rank high not only within their particular industries but also for industries overall. In 2018, Nordstrom was the NPS leader for Online Shopping with a NPS score of 64, and Apple was the NPS leader for Laptop computers with a NPS of 63.

In these cases, the businesses had great customer satisfaction compared to every company. However, Nordstrom may be more concerned with taking a closer look at other retail brands. Doing so would give them a better idea of just how much better they are doing compared to their competition.

Having a great score can help attract more families to your school and help you ultimately win them over. When people search for the best school in their area, they won’t be concerned if Nordstrom or Apple scored higher than you. Instead, they will compare your school with other schools nearby.

Benchmark Scores

We’re happy to report that our Net Promoter Score at SchoolAdmin this year is still on the rise. In fact, we scored 39 points above the average NPS for software companies. That said, we want our customers to have the best experience possible, so we’re always looking for ways to continue to improve. If you want to hear more about our product and customer service, feel free to check out our reviews on G2 and Capterra.

How Do I Get a Net Promoter Score?

Acquiring a NPS requires you to survey your families, something you most likely want to do or have done anyways. However, it is important to do so in a way that is appealing and unobtrusive. The way you survey your families can highly influence your school’s Net Promoter Score.

Here are the top 5 guidelines for your survey:

– Don’t be premature with your survey requests.

Think through when it makes sense to ask for parent’s feedback. How should you reach out? At what time in the school year? Doing so too early could come off as pushy.

– Consider asking multiple questions to get more accurate responses.

You may want to know more than if your customers were satisfied on a scale from 1 to 10. Education is a personal experience, so families may have more to say.  You could ask a question about what you could improve, what student’s liked the best, or what events were their favorite. Make sure if you ask multiple questions to keep it short, simple, and straightforward for parents and their often busy schedules.

– Pick your survey method strategically.

How should you send out your survey? By email or as a printed, physical copy? What would your families prefer? Consider which method of distribution would make this process as simple as possible.

– Don’t ignore unhappy families.

Make sure you follow up with people who aren’t satisfied. Your goal should be to increase your NPS, never remain stagnant. Being content with your score leaves room to see a decline. Be proactive and seek out ways to improve your family’s experience on an individual level.

– Don’t leave employees out of the loop.

The best way to avoid unhappy customers is to make sure everyone on your internal team and within your school is on the same page. Make sure teachers, the admission and enrollment team, and school leadership all know the areas that could use improvement and how families feel. Ensure that everyone is up to speed and up to date to have consistent and cohesive goals for your school.

What Do You Do Once You Determine Your NPS?

Never settle. While you may be happy with your Net Promoter Score or the outcome of your NPS survey, there is always room to grow. You should continue to look for ways to ensure every student’s experience is a positive one. Keep up the good work and continue to improve.

If you are unhappy with your score, rest assured that these scores are dynamic and your score can be built up or grown over time. In fact, oftentimes you can raise your score simply by committing to communicate with the families you surveyed.

First and foremost, start a conversation with each family at your school. You may want to pay extra attention to those who gave you a below-average score, or would be considered “detractors.” Genuinely seek to understand why each family or student gave you a lower score than you expected. From there you can not only work to mend those broken or fragile relationships, but you can also begin to make the necessary changes to avoid past mistakes. Doing so can increase re-enrollment and retention rates, which are vital to a school’s success. And can lead to an increase in your percentage of promoters and a decrease in the percentage of detractors.

Additionally, set practical goals for you and your team that will be attainable with hard work and a concentrated effort. For example, your goal could be to increase your NPS by 10 points over the next school year. Once you establish a concrete goal or SMART goal, then you can take the steps needed to make that goal a reality.

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