The power of the Net Promoter Score - An underutilised tool in the pharma industry

Pharma executives attending the following CELforPharma courses - Strategic Omnichannel for Medical Affairs / Strategic Omnichannel for Marketing - learn about the Net Promotor Score (NPS). This article is about using it effectively.   

Originally introduced by Frederick F. Reichheld in the 2003 HBR article entitled “The One Number You Need to Grow”, NPS is used in many industries as a measure for customer loyalty and an indicator for growth.

Here is a handy infographic on how to calculate the Net Promotor Score (NPS):

The power of the Net Promoter Score - An underutilised tool in the pharma industry.
  • Promoters (scoring 9 or 10) will highly recommend the company/product/service to colleagues or friends.
  • Detractors (scoring between 0 and 6) will openly and actively criticise your product or service.
  • Passives (scoring 7 or 8) will likely take no action in terms of positive or negative recommendation.

NPS is calculated as % Promotors - % Detractors and thus varies between -100% and +100%.

Pharma companies, too, can benefit from this robust KPI. They can and should use it wherever they deal with external stakeholders to motivate their market-facing teams to improve stakeholder loyalty and word-of-mouth. Here is an example:


Assume you organise 2 webcasts with 2 Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): KOL A and KOL B

At the end of each webcast, you ask the following question to the viewers: “On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all likely and 10 is extremely likely, how likely is it that you would recommend this webcast to your colleagues?”

Say you got the following replies:

The power of the Net Promoter Score - An underutilised tool in the pharma industry.

In our example, the NPS of both webcasts is + 20%.  At first sight, both webcasts performed equally well, but there is room to improve the performance of both. Since NPS is a summary statistic, you should dig deeper:

  • The audiences of both webcasts will be net promoters of your webcasts, which is likely to generate more interest from other HCPs in the future. Following up with Promoters can generate testimonials and/or referrals.
  • The focus for next time is on increasing the % of Promoters, by decreasing the % of Detractors and/or “nudging” the group of Passives to become Promoters, which will increase NPS over time.
  • However, in webcast B there are 60% Promoters vs. 40% Detractors and no Passives at all. This means there were 2 segments in the audience of webcast B, with different expectations. Next time, the communication will need to improve so that all participants have the right expectations.
  • It is important to find out the rationale of those scoring between 0-6. You will likely discover how to improve the overall learning experience for your audiences.
  • If NPS is negative or too low due to a low % of Promoters, questions can be raised about the effectiveness of the KOL as a speaker.



Learn more about this topic at the following short duration course(s):



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