net promoter

How to Turn Passives into Promoters

Looking to boost your Net Promoter Score*?

One of the best ways to do this is to convert Passives (customers who answer 7-8 on the 0-10 likely to recommend question) into 9s and 10s (i.e., Promoters or “Advocates” as we call them.)

Passives are the “low-hanging fruit” on the Net Promoter scale. It’s much easier to convert Passives into Advocates than Detractors (customers who answer 0-6 on the 0-10 likely to recommend question.)

Here's why:

Many Passives actually like their overall experience with your product, service, or company. Making slight improvements to your products or customer experiences can “tip” Passives into the Promoter category, turning them into likely recommenders.

The 4-Step Process

Here’s a step-by-step approach for transforming Passives into Promoters:

  1. Ask Passives for their feedback. Ask Passives how you can earn their recommendations. For example, a full-service hotel might find that a common complaint among Passives is that its fitness center needs improvement. A consumer electronics company may find that Passives actually enjoy the product but find the set-up process difficult.

  2. Analyze Passives’ responses. This will allow you to spot trends. For example, you may find that Passives make certain suggestions most often. You may also find that Passives tend to be a certain type of your customers. For example, your hotel may have a high percentage of Passives among guests traveling on business vs. those traveling for pleasure. This can help you zero in on issues and customer types that require your attention.

  3. Take action. Actions do speak louder than words. So fix what is keeping you from earning Passives’ recommendations. Put new equipment in the fitness center. Improve service in your restaurant. Or offer free phone support for customers who need help installing your product. If more Passives are business travelers than consumers, focus on improving business travelers' experiences.

  4. Track results. Go back to Passives after you’ve made the suggested improvements. Ask the “likely to recommend” question again with the same Passives to see if they are now likely to recommend.

Tough Scale

Lastly, keep in mind the Net Promoter scale isn’t very forgiving. Only customers who are “high likely” or “extremely likely” to recommend are consider Promoters or Advocates. 

Customers who choose 7 or 8 on the 0-10 scale can be “somewhat” likely to recommend. (Or maybe they’re just tough graders.)

Show your Passives a little love and you could turn them into Advocates.

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix.