Net Promoter Score for training organisations

What’s your Net Promoter Score all about? John Mitchell gives TJ the lowdown.

Reading time: 4m 30s.

Your training organisation runs a programme of courses, all with different presenters, topics and groups of attendees. On the surface, everything appears fine. People come in, your presenter does their job, people leave and give positive feedback. But is everything really ok?

If your current measurement regime isn’t helping you to intimately understand your customers, benchmark your business against similar training organisations and identify areas to improve your service and products, then this article is for you.

Does your business even have systems and processes in place to evaluate registrant satisfaction? If not, no need to worry. Here’s a simple solution that may help you gather vital intelligence into your training business.

What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

Net Promoter Score is a commonly used survey across multiple industries and products. NPS helps you measure customer satisfaction and predict business growth. NPS is extremely easy to gather and calculate. It also can be asked on its own or in conjunction with other survey questions. The question goes:

How likely is it that you would recommend [organisation/course/event] to a friend or colleague?

Does your business even have systems and processes in place to evaluate registrant satisfaction?

Respondents give their answer on a 1 – 10 scale. Respondents are then classified as a Promoter, Passive or Detractor depending on their answer. Any responses from 0 to 6 are classified as ‘detractors’. Between 7 to 8 the response is a ‘passive’. Then the remaining 9 to 10 are your business’s promoters.

Your business’s NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of promoters by the percentage of detractors.

% Promoters – % Detractors = NPS

Why NPS?

NPS is a globally recognised customer experience tool that could benefit your training organisation in several ways.

NPS is easy to answer, so you’ll get more responses

Due to NPS being one simple question with a scale response, it is easy for respondents to answer. If you just ask for the NPS on its own you can expect a higher completion rate compared with longer surveys. And if you add it to an existing survey, the survey will not become any more time consuming to complete.


Training businesses have the best success in using NPS when they lead with their NPS question and then store the response immediately after it is given, rather than waiting for the whole survey to be completed.

With more responses it is much easier to slice up your data to identify trends, such as:

  • Are specific courses or presenters generating more detractors or promoters?
  • Is there a correlation between a certain venue and customer satisfaction?
  • Do your customers prefer certain presenters?

Measures your potential growth

Your Promoters are five times more likely to purchase again from your organisation, according to Temkin Group. These Promoters are loyal to your business, and if you offer courses that are complementary or at a more advanced level, Promoters are likely to be the first to register. Loyal customers are worth 10 times as much as their first purchase, so it makes good business sense to understand why these people so satisfied.

On the contrary, having many Detractors can impact your bottom line and potential growth. Not only are your Detractors less likely to register again for a course, they are also twice as likely to share their negative views than promoters are of their positive views.

If you’ve left gathering customer feedback on the backburner, hopefully you can now see that the potential intelligence you might gather will give your business a big boost in performance.


Because NPS is a global measurement standard, a huge amount of the data is available to compare your organisation against – just Google it and see.

Better understanding of your registrants’ experience

Like any survey, NPS is only useful if it leads to action. The data won’t change your business – what you infer from it, and what you do, will. With the data and some further investigation, such as a follow-up question like ‘Can you explain why you gave us that score?’, you can identify activities to grow your business.

  • Why are Promoters happy? (You should keep on doing these things)
  • What things could you change to make Passives excited?
  • Why wouldn’t Detractors recommend your training business? (There may be small things you can change which have a large impact)

Limitations of NPS

  • One experience can skew feedback

Because the NPS question is so broad, a Detractor may have given this negative rating based on one specific item – for example, the food or venue. Potentially without further investigation into a score This leads to the second limitation…

  • NPS alone might not be specific enough

If you use NPS in isolation, you might not receive enough information on specific elements of your business to be actionable or understand the results. For example, you might not get specific feedback on the registration experience, course material or even something as small as the catering. This is where a follow-up question can help you to uncover the why behind the score given.

Ways to use NPS in a training or event business

  • Ask the question after all your courses – if you make NPS a standard survey question across all courses you will be able to compare the results across all training and make specific changes to individual courses that need it.
  • Ask the question annually for all your customers – done in tandem with a post-course NPS, you will gain both a macro and micro view of your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Start your survey with the NPS – it is easy to answer, so you are likely to get a high response rate compared with if you started with a longer written answer question. For more information on this logic, check out SurveyMonkey’s article on increasing survey completion rates.


About the author

John Mitchell is the CEO and Founder of Arlo Training Management Software.



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