What is the Net Promoter Score and Why Should I Care?

By: Jennifer Heiligman, PT, MPT

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is considered the gold standard metric for customer experience.  The NPS measures customer loyalty to a company and is a predictor of business growth.  With its simple, yet effective design of asking just one question, you can use the NPS to measure your patient’s loyalty and satisfaction.  As most rehab therapy business owners and directors are aware, improved patient satisfaction leads to improved patient outcomes.  Those happy patients are more likely to recommend your services which in turn, increases your patient visit volume.

How is the NPS calculated?

The scoring of the NPS is based on one question and typically includes a free text box where the patient can include an explanation of their response.  Since there is only one question to answer, the survey will consume almost none of the patient’s time and they will therefore be more likely to respond.  

That one question is:

“On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how likely are you to recommend our practice to a friend or colleague?”

Based on their rating, patients are then classified into 3 different categories:

Promoters:  Respond with a score of 9 to 10 and are considered likely to exhibit value-creating behaviors, such as remaining customers for longer and making more positive referrals to other potential patients.

Passives:  Respond with a score of 7 to 8 and are satisfied with your services, but not enthusiastic enough to actually promote your practice. These are your satisfied patients, but not necessarily loyal patients.

Detractors:  Respond with a score of 0 to 6 and are unsatisfied with your services.  In addition, they could potentially damage your practice through negative word-of-mouth.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters will give you your NPS.  Passives count toward the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score toward 0.  However, your score could potentially range from a low of -100 (every patient is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (every patient is a Promoter).

What does the score mean to me as a therapy business owner or individual therapist?

Studies show the percentage of customers who were enthusiastic enough to refer a friend or colleague—perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty—correlated directly with differences in business growth rates among competitors.  The higher your NPS the more loyal your patients.  While there are other factors beyond loyalty that drive a company’s growth and while it doesn’t “guarantee” growth, often profitable growth cannot be achieved without loyalty. 

In addition to customer referrals, you can also use the NPS as a marketing tool for your referring physicians.  This is a great, objective method to show how satisfied their patients are with the care they are receiving at your practice.  This, in turn, may facilitate increased patient volume from those physicians.

In regards to your NPS as an individual therapist, this will allow you to see how happy your patients are with your care.  You can review the comments that are entered which will give you additional insight into specific behaviors your patients like or things you could improve upon.

How can I improve my NPS?  

First, it’s important to identify who your Promoters, Passives and Detractors are.  The goal is to keep the Promoters at the top of the scale and move the Passives and Detractors up the scale.  Once identified, you can encourage your Promoters to write a positive review on Yelp or a testimonial to be published on your website.  

The best way to move a Passive or Detractor up the scale is to listen to their feedback and, in response, implement positive change.  You can glean this information from the comments that are entered into the free text box of the survey.  Research suggests comments will be included in 40-60% of the responses.  That large percentage will give you a wealth of information allowing you to see what your practice and employees are doing well and where improvements can be made.

How can I implement the NPS into my practice?

Great news!  If you are an OptimisPT subscriber, you have free access to the NPS.  We have incorporated the NPS into the system.  If you choose to use it, the survey will automatically be sent via email after completion of the patient’s initial evaluation, third visit and discharge.  Sending out the survey at those increments, allows you to get almost real-time feedback regarding customer satisfaction.  This is valuable in correcting any insufficiencies identified quickly before the patient is long gone from therapy and does not get to benefit from the change. 

You should review the survey results often by looking at the Net Promoter Score Report.  This will provide a history of when each survey was sent, when the survey was completed, the score and any comments received.  You can filter the NPS report by the whole practice or clinic, individual therapist or by referring physician.  The filter for individual therapist could be used to assist in giving constructive feedback during employee reviews.  The referring physician filter is a valuable marketing tool allowing you to show the physician how happy their patients are with the care your practice is providing.

If you do not use OptimisPT, you can still administer the NPS, it will just become a more manual process.  You can provide the survey in a hard copy format at the same time intervals as listed above.  The scores and comments can then be manually entered onto a spreadsheet for tracking purposes.

The Net Promoter Score is used in just about every industry.  If you are not yet taking advantage of this tool in your rehab practice, it is highly recommended that you start.  By using the NPS, you can help monitor your patient satisfaction and loyalty by keeping your pulse on any negative feedback in real time and resolve the issue immediately.  The survey is simple and easy to implement.  It can be used in many ways including feedback for your employees and as a marketing tool.  Most importantly, it may help your business grow since a higher Net Promoter Score correlates directly to increased business growth.  

If you are interested in seeing how OptimisPT incorporates the NPS into our software, schedule a demo today!