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What, Why, How and more about Net Promoter Score

By Charles Thiel posted Thu June 11, 2020 01:03 PM


Earlier this year, IBM embarked on company wide initiative, called Net Promoter Score, that is (in our Chairman’s words) “about putting an external lens on everything we do.” Cognitive Systems (previously known as Power Systems) was among the first selected to pilot an approach that integrates customer feedback on offerings into our daily business decisions. PowerVM, being an integral part of the Cognitive Systems portfolio, is also included. This blog will provide details on:

  • What is NPS?
  • What is considered a strong NPS score?
  • Why IBM chose to use NPS?
  • How NPS data is collected?
  • What we do with the NPS data?
  • Current NPS scores for key Cognitive Systems offerings
  • Future plans to collect NPS data for Cognitive Systems
  • Security and data privacy for NPS in HMC
  • NPS in PowerVC

What is NPS?

The Net Promoter Score is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer’s overall satisfaction with a company’s product or service and the customer’s loyalty to the brand.

Net Promoter Score Calculation

Customers are surveyed on one single question: “How likely are you to recommend <IBM’s product or service> to others?” Clients score this question based on their experience on a scale of 0 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely).  Based on the rating, customers are classified in one of three categories: detractors, passives and promoters.


‘Detractors’ are customers that score the product lower or equal to 6. Per NPS these customers are not thrilled with the product or service, will likely not purchase it again and may impact the product through negative word-of-mouth feedback or reviews.


‘Passives’ customers are defined as those that score the product as a 7 or 8. They are viewed to be satisfied but not necessarily loyal to the product. While they may not provide negative reviews, they aren’t likely to promote the product.


‘Promoters’ are those that score the product as a 9 or 10. They love the products or service, will not only be repeat buyers but will enthusiastically evangelize the product or service to other potential buyers.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is determined by subtracting the percentage of customers who are detractors from the percentage who are promoters. The generated score is between -100 and 100 and is called the Net Promoter Score.

What is considered a strong NPS score?

With the NPS range being -100 to +100, typical industry opinion classifies a “positive” score or NPS above 0 as “good”, +50 as “Excellent,” and above 70 as “world class.” Within IBM we have set an aggressive target classifying a good NPS score as above 40.  The baseline for our offerings earlier in the year was 45, so our goal is to end 2017 with an NPS of 50.  We are on track to achieve that goal with the current NPS for Cognitive Systems as an aggregate of all of our offerings currently being at 53.

Why IBM chose to use NPS?

NPS is a standardized methodology used across industries and is the primary metric IBM is using to measure Client Advocacy.  By growing NPS, we gain valuable promoters who activate their networks of influencers to elevate IBM offerings.  IBM earns marketing strength by creating powerful brand and technology defenders.  Additionally, it drives organic growth since advocates are 2-3 times more likely to purchase new products from a brand they promote.

The goal of the NPS initiative is to not only compute the products NPS but also answer the “why” behind the score. Therefore, a fundamental tenet of NPS is “closing the loop” with customers that provide feedback.

How NPS data is collected?

IBM has partnered with Medallia, an industry leader in client experience management, to deploy an end-to-end system of feedback that touches our clients at key moments of truth along their IBM journey.  IBM has worked with Medallia to deploy short, targeted surveys triggered by distinct client interactions and intended for specific client personas. These surveys capture feedback throughout our clients' organizations and earn advocacy from key influencers and decision makers.

What we do with the NPS data?

The NPS survey results are fed into a web based dashboard managed by Medallia for action and follow-up. Our emphasis on feedback amplifies the client voice in our operating culture and gives us valuable insights to take actions that matter.  The survey process is the beginning of a dialogue with our clients. 

For any Cognitive Systems products including PowerVM, if a client completes an NPS survey with a score of 6 or less, in my role as NPS Program Manager for Cognitive Systems, the client will receive a follow-up inquiry from me requesting details and if necessary a follow-up to gain a better understanding of the issues the client experienced. The client's comments and responses are critical to help us address client issues and improve our products.

Future plans to collect NPS data for Cognitive Systems

Currently, NPS feedback is collected with surveys that are emailed to users of our Cognitive Systems offerings.  We are working to automate this process with in-use pop up surveys included within the relevant products. This will make it a lot easier for our customers to provide NPS feedback.

Security and data privacy for NPS in HMC

You may have questions about security aspects for NPS collection by the Hardware Management Console (HMC), so here are some details:

What information is collected from HMC in NPS?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customers experience of POWER8 & POWER9 systems, as well as HMC, by asking for a recommendation and reason for the recommendation.

How is NPS triggered?

A pop-up triggers once a user logs into the HMC, starting with V8 R8.7.0 Service Pack 1. The PTFs MH01752 & MH01753 for this Service Pack, and MH01734 & MH01736 for HMC V9 R1.910, disables collection of user ID and HMC serial number. 

The pop-up trigger is scheduled on a regular cadence according to the following schedule:

1) 30 days after initial use by each user.

2) 30 days after the initial pop-up if survey was not completed at 1st pop-up

3) Every 180 days after the initial invocation

How does NPS collection work?

1) The pop-up will launch a screen with a list of systems and HMC with an option to provide feedback. If you choose to provide feedback, a remote survey URL to Medallia is launched.
2) The pop up comes only when HMC is accessed remotely, and there is no persistent connection with Medallia Survey URL.

NPS in PowerVC

Beginning with version 1.4.1, IBM PowerVC will include an NPS user prompt. The prompt will be displayed at pre-set intervals, similar to the approach outlined above for HMC. The following timers will be used, on a per user basis within PowerVC:

1) Initial timer of 30 days from first login

2) Ongoing timer of 180 days from previous survey prompt

These timers will reset when the user is shown the survey prompt, regardless of whether the user chooses to take the survey.

Additionally, PowerVC will contain a "Provide Feedback" launch point from its web interface that can be used at any time. Using this mechanism will not reset the timers.

Contacting the PowerVM Team

Have questions for the PowerVM team or want to learn more?  Follow our discussion group on LinkedIn IBM PowerVM or IBM Community Discussions