Converting Detractors to Promoters: Harnessing the Power of NPS® blog article on Agency Revolution

NPS® is one of the most popular and useful survey methods available, and is considered the gold standard for customer experience metrics. The surveys identify and categorize your clients as “Promoters,” “Detractors,” and “Passives.” Information is gathered by asking your clients to fill out a survey that measures how likely they are to recommend your agency to friends or family.

The statistics and comments you can gather from an NPS® campaign can be incredibly helpful. But figuring out what to do with those statistics and numbers is one of the most crucial steps to creating and retaining customers who will enthusiastically tell others how happy they are with your services. Converting Detractors to Promoters starts by understanding the three categories of clients.

What Is a Detractor?

An NPS® Detractor is an unhappy customer who is unlikely to buy from you again and may discourage others from doing business with you. Detractors can be more active than promoters and are more likely to leave negative online reviews. Every company has detractors, but the best brands focus on turning them into promoters by understanding who they are and what they need. Your most avid detractors can become your best promoters because they’re both passionate customers.

What Is a Promoter?

Promoters are enthusiastic, loyal customers who will tell their friends about your business and bring in new customers. Not only is it significantly cheaper to retain these brand ambassadors than to acquire a new customer, it’s also profitable. Research from Bain & Company found that an increase in customer retention of 5% can increase profits between 25%-95%. While you will always want to attract and convert new customers, building strong relationships with existing customers has an even higher ROI.

What Is a Passive Customer?

The final customer category using the NPS scale are Passives. Passives are indifferent and could become promoters — or they could switch to your competition and become Detractors. They’re not happy, but they’re not unhappy, either. They are primed to go either way, so it’s up to you to sway them in the right direction.

Closing the Loop

Responding to your clients’ scores and comments is known as “closing the loop.” If you imagine your customer’s journey as a circle or loop, it begins with your customers’ interaction with you, and continues when they respond to the NPS® survey.

Closing the loop is the most important step in your customer’s journey. Ideally, you’ll be constantly running this loop throughout your business. We recommend that you look for ways to incorporate customer feedback as part of the general customer experience for both your customers and your team.

Why is this the most important step? It allows you to directly reach out to your customers and connect with them personally. By really listening to what isn’t working—and working to address their issues—you can turn clients who would have left (Detractors) into a loyal client base (Promoters). 

In the sections below we’ll cover actionable things you can do right away to boost customer retention.

NPS® Score 0-6: Detractors

Detractors are the group you want to make sure you address right away. They are just plain unhappy with the product or service they received. Ideally, you should reach out to them within 24 hours to address their issues. 

It's important to address your detractors right away.

Why is a 24-hour timeframe so important? Studies have shown that Detractors are very vocal and comprise approximately 80% of negative reviews online. These are also the people who are most likely to leave your business and tell everyone about it on their way out the door. Reaching out to your Detractors can be intimidating, but it can have the most impact on your business.

Converting Detractors into Promoters

  1. Always thank them for being a client and taking the time to respond to the survey.
  2. Ask them what their reason for their low rating if they didn’t already indicate this in the comments.
  3. Acknowledge their issue and listen deeply to what the problem is.
  4. Come up with a plan to resolve their issue. If you’re not able to solve the problem right away, don’t be afraid to admit it — what matters is that you’re willing to try. 
  5. Most importantly, make sure you actually resolve their issue, and that you follow up to let them know.

NPS® Score 7-8: Passive or Neutral

Passive customers, sometimes called Neutrals, are your middle-of-the-road clients. They’re generally content with your service but they’re not wowed by it. Converting Passives into Promoters should be easier than convincing Detractors to jump on board, but tread carefully. Remember, these customers are on the fence, so your job is to pull them to your side, not push them. 

Passive customers are more likely to churn because they are open to other options. The indifference of Passives may not seem as much a concern as the negative feedback from Detractors, but it’s a thin line. Passives have no problem switching to a different brand because there’s nothing creating a bond between them and your brand. Your job is to ignite and eventually cement that bond.

How to Turn Passives into Promoters

  1. Reach out and thank them for taking the time to respond to your survey. Mention that you noticed that they’re happy, but not thrilled. Ask them why, and listen to any pain points they have.
  2. Acknowledge their feedback and decide what actions you want to take. Most importantly, make absolutely sure you take those actions and follow up with them after.
  3. Take this opportunity to make sure they have all the coverage they need and inquire about any life events that may indicate that more insurance is needed.

NPS® Score 9-10: Promoters

Promoters are your most loyal clients. They already give your agency rave reviews and some almost seem like part of the family! You don’t need to do anything else, right?


When it comes to Promoter vs. Detractor, retaining your Promoters is every bit as important as winning over your Detractors. Some Promoters and Detractors may proclaim their like or dislike of your business more loudly or frequently than others, but in the end, it’s a numbers game. You must work as hard at retention as you do conversion to keep the odds even—or better yet, in your favor—by keeping your relationships with Promoters strong and healthy. 

The best thing you can do is to thank them for their loyalty. A personalized thank-you card and gift is a great way to show your promoters how much you appreciate them. These are also the people to ask for referrals and positive reviews on Google. Ask them with a no-pressure request, and you’ll probably be surprised by how many are willing to help you out.

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