NPS and online WOM: investigating the relationship between customers' promoter scores and eWOM behavior

N. Raassens, Hans Haans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is, according to Reichheld, the single most reliable indicator of company growth, and many companies use this recommendation-based technique for measuring customer loyalty. Despite its widespread adoption by many companies across multiple industries, the debate about NPS goes on. A major concern is that managers treat NPS as being equivalent across customers, which is often very misleading. By using a unique data set that combines customers’ promoter scores and online word-of-mouth (eWOM) behavior, this research studies how individual customers’ promoter scores are related to eWOM, including its relationship with the three categories of customers that are identified by the NPS paradigm (i.e., promoters, passives, and detractors). Based on a sample of 189 customers, their promoter scores and corresponding eWOM, the results show that there is a positive relationship between customers’ promoter scores and the valence of online messages. Further, while detractors and promoters are homogeneous with respect to the valence of the eWOM messages they spread, passives show message valence heterogeneity. Thus, although passives, the largest group of customers, have no weight in calculating the NPS, our results reveal that companies should flag passives for further attention and action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-334
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • eWOM
  • online word of mouth


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