Ask A Good Product Manager

Your product management questions answered

How can a product manager best measure customer satisfaction?

Posted on April 8, 2008 · 3 Comments

Question: What’s the most effective way and the most efficient way of measuring customer satisfaction?

Answer from Marty Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group: My favorite way of measuring customer satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This metric is described in detail in the excellent book “The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growthby Fred Reichheld, and on the associated web site

Essentially, you ask your customers how likely they would be to recommend your product, on a scale of 0-10. Those that rate 9 or 10 are considered “promoters” (they’re out there telling their friends how much they love your product, and are actively evangelizing for you); those that rate 7-8 are lukewarm or neutral; and those that rate 0-6, the “detractors,” are not likely to recommend your product, and may even be actively warning their friends about your product. If you take the percentage of promoters and subtract the percentage of detractors, you get the NPS. This essentially tells you if you have more people cheering for you or against you.

I also like this metric as the basis for measuring the effectiveness of product managers. You can read about that notion in the article Measuring Product Managers.

3 other answers so far ↓

  • Derek Britton // Apr 9, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Another consideration here is that any internally formulated measurement of customer satisfaction is only going to be useful for an internal form of analysis, which is ok, but not the whole story.

    Customer Satisfaction, as the term suggests, is more about a wider general perception in the field and therefore, perhaps, the ownership of that measurement is not necessarily best placed inside the company about whom the rating are being taken. Do you believe any surveys that are funded by one of the contestents? Do you believe the car adverts from XXX that say that the XXX car is better than the YYY car? Neither do I.

    There are however a number of industry-respected organizations who will add the objectivity piece that might help yield a more marketable, visible and transparent approach to cust sat management. Omega ( is one such example.

  • G. Guest // Apr 9, 2008 at 6:54 am

    The heart of my question was answered above; I was asking for internal purposes only, not so much for advertising purposes. We’re already using a similar method and convert our 8’s, 9’s and 10’s into reference accounts.

    However, Derek brings up a good point. A third-party comparison company would be another valuable resource for more scientifically comparing yourself against others.

  • Cindy Alvarez // Apr 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    However – NPS’ usefulness doesn’t translate well to web 2.0, where products are released early and evolve heavily based on the consumer feedback of early adopters.

    It’s common for these users to not recommend your product, not because they’re a detractor, but simply because they know it’s “not ready for prime time”. By the same token, Facebook has introduced a new standard of asking consumers to “recommend” a service or application before they’ve even started using it!

    It’s great to know who your promoters are – answer their emails and they’ll write blog entries about you and tell their friends. But for web apps, if I had to pick between measuring NPS of 1000 users vs. asking “WHY” of 50 users, I’d pick the latter.