Customer Experience Blog

7 Ways You Can Convert Detractors Into Your Brand Promoters

By Avinash Patil

Convert detractors to promoters

We are stoked to talk about one question which bothers businesses unlike nothing else. - 
“How do you convert your Detractors into Promoters?”

We do have answers to that but let us first understand why do customers become promoters, passives, or detractors?

Don’t worry, we won’t take much of your time.

Psychology behind Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score or NPS is a gold standard metric used for measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

To be honest, the two groups of customers who are on the extreme ends i.e. Promoters and Detractors give the respective scores because of a psychological state called the “Emotional Arousal”.

It might seem like a new twist in a story but, don’t worry we will explain everything in detail.

Their responses stem from either excitement or stress. 

Now, all of us would have experienced certain nerve-wracking situations. It could be some sort of race, competition or an important business meeting or presentation.

You come under intense stress where you experience heart thumping and you start sweating profusely.

Either of the extremes i.e. the promoters or detractors is influenced by such strong emotional arousal that provoke them to take an action.

And, this brings us to the focal point - creating experiences which evoke a positive response.

Emotional Classification

Emotional experiences trigger responses from customers. This makes them your promoters or detractors. 

Affective experiences may be best described in two dimensions: 


It refers to how positive or negative an experience is. 

It reflects the emotions that are aroused by the experience. 

emotional classification

According to the graph, you should focus on the top right quadrant of the graph. 

“What does it mean?”

It means that you should aim for high arousal (exciting) and high valence (positive experience). Promoters do fall in this category.

It is to note that Promoters have high arousal (exciting) and high valence (positive experience) while detractors have low valence (negative experience) and high arousal (angry).

Care to guess what lower quadrants mean? Let us know in the comments.

Converting Detractors into Promoters

Yes, it can be done and it isn’t quite the difficult task it is made out to be.

But, before that why not prevent it from happening? Why allow your customers to become Detractors in the first place?

You must be aware that the key to increase your Net Promoter Score is to reduce your Detractors and increase your Promoters. For this, you are required to correctly measure the customer satisfaction first.

Now, if you are past that stage and are looking for ways to convert your Detractors into your brand Promoters, here are the following ways to achieve the task.

1. Provide ways for customers to give feedback

One way for you to understand your customers easily is to have different mediums for them to give feedback.

Is it necessary? Absolutely! How else will things come to your notice?

Another reason why you should allow customers to post feedback is because in the case of a bad experience, the likelihood of them telling their bad experiences drastically reduces.

By allowing customers to complain frequently, you are getting a first-hand insight into the problem that needs to be solved.

If you can take feedback and solve it at the earliest time possible, there is nothing like it.

Importance of customer feedback

Lincoln Murphy in his book Customer Success: The Definitive Guide 2018 has really hit the nail on the head. He summarises his recipe for customer success through the following points-

  • Don’t let things get to a point where customers turn detractors. You should know what they want and build your operational process around it and ensure you achieve the same.
  • See to it that your customers can provide you feedback for features, bug reports, support tickets, live chat with your team.
  • Constantly remind them of the feedback modes that exist and this way you can mitigate your Detractors from going all guns blazing and vent their frustration on social media or their circles.

Always remember to capitalize on positive word of mouth because it can put you in a favorable light with your potential customers.

This helps in knowing the customer sentiment and assessing customer churn on the surface. 

2. Make it a mission to find what your customers want

Find out what makes your customers tick. There has to be a thing that makes them happy. Find it and give it to them and of course, conditions apply!

Bazaar Voice conducted a study wherein they analyzed over 30,000 Promoter comments and these are what the promoters had to say-

Promoters desire a pleasant in-store shopping experience. They want the staff to be helpful, courteous, and of course knowledgeable.

In addition to that, these are the following things that Promoters care about the most- 
  • Pricing
  • Delivery
  • Value and ROI
  • Choices and options to choose from
  • Swift delivery

On the other hand, the Detractors were concerned with the following-

  • Store Experience
  • Online orders
  • Shipping
  • Delivery

Do you know what are the common issues that have turned into a big problem?

Poor customer service and substandard quality of products.

A common reason for customer churn is that companies focus on converting the customers while there are zero efforts to retain them.

While it is common knowledge, that acquiring new customers costs more than existing ones, companies seem to have turned a blind eye to this fact.

3. Give special attention to your Detractors

So, now that you know what bothers your Detractors, treat them as an individual case requiring special attention so that problems can easily be solved.

When you have a fair idea of what each of the Detractors’ problems are, take actionable steps. But, do take care of the following things

1. Don’t reach out to the Detractors immediately 

First, you got to do your homework. Spend some time examining and trying to get to the root of the problem.

Next, come up with a rational solution. It should be based on what you already know about your detractors.

2. Reach out to them with the solution 

Now, that you have a possible solution which is pragmatic, send them a mail and confirm with them the problems that you have figured and your solution for the same.

If they seem to resonate with it, then go ahead and ask them this question-

“If we can get you back on course (your desired result or outcome), the next time you take up the survey, would you be willing to give us a 9 or 10?”

3. Follow up with them 

After they have given their approval, follow up with them with an email containing a more concrete solution that would then lead to their desired result.

When they reach a milestone or achieve a small win, shoot them another email stating-

“Looks like you’re doing great and are on the right course. With everything going good, we want to make sure that we haven’t missed out on anything.”

If the answer is affirmative, congrats! You have succeeded.

4. Strike them off from the “No NPS” list 

When the response is positive, strike them off the “No NPS” list and send them one immediately.

Eh? What is a “No NPS” list?

“No NPS” list contains the names of customers or detractors whom you should be sending the NPS survey only after you have taken steps to turn them into Promoters. Remember the first point?

You can also choose to wait till the next round of survey is scheduled to be sent. Also, make sure they really promote your brand. 

While they may have rated you 9 or 10, it still doesn’t mean that they have promoted you.

Request them to drop a review on the sites that you are listed on. Don’t burden them, one site is more than enough.

Also, make it easy for them. Include the review links to the page and you will likely experience success.

4. Fix problems on time

The biggest mistake that we humans tend to commit is not solving problems on time. Despite, the old adage, “A stitch in time saves nine” being popular yet, brands do not learn a lesson.

The greatest companies in the world such as Amazon, Apple, Google, or FedEx are on the highest pedestal of customer experience because they choose to prioritise customer service.

Time and again, examples are quoted but in vain because companies never seem to tread the same path.

Amazon is known to fix issues on time. They swing into action, the minute they receive a customer complaint. No issue will escalate into a colossal problem if fixed on time.

Do you know the reason why Amazon is the numero uno retailer in the world? Because of its return policy. It’s “no questions asked” policy has catapulted it to monumental success.

The retail giant has always been in the news for good reasons.

Yet again, we look back at the time when Amazon was the subject of an author’s article. It mentioned the retail giant’s professionalism which the author himself was a witness to.

The author had placed an order for a PlayStation intended to be a Christmas gift for his son. The delivery which was due to arrive didn’t on the day it was supposed to. The author’s Amazon account painted a different picture.

Though Amazon wasn’t guilty of this theft, it still shipped another PlayStation winning the hearts of the author and his son.

Talk about customers for life!

5. Invest time and money on customer service

Another fact which you would probably be aware of is that a good customer support helps in increasing your NPS.

Firms that train their customer support staff to deliver exceptional customer service yield rich dividends.

Zappos set a record for the longest customer support call ever! Can you guess the duration it lasted?

Go on give it a try! 

Ok, so it was 9 hours and 37 minutes.

What? Yes, even we were shocked.

It isn’t the first time that Zappos has earned praises from its customers. In an earlier gesture of a similar kind, the retailer decided to accept a case of late return.

A customer was mourning a death in the family and she had missed the deadline of the return policy. Not only did they ship it free of cost but, also sent their condolences.

When this news broke the internet, Zappos was the talk of the town.

“But, aren’t returns going to be a financial blow to the firm?”

Without a doubt, yes!

It may not pay off in the short run but, long term benefits are a ton. Customer loyalty and customer satisfaction will soon follow.

6. Delight your customers

All the above steps leads to this penultimate point. Your efforts to provide exceptional customer service will lead to fruition if your customers are awe struck. Delighting your customers doesn’t always have to involve big things.

Even a small gesture of sending a greeting card can do wonders. Joyous experiences is what makes customers raving about you.

Who doesn’t want lifelong customers?

Everyone does but, only a few are willing to do what it takes to get there.

Taco Bell set an example for large brands to follow. In 2012, the residents of the small town of Bethel, Alaska jumped out of joy after they heard of a Taco Bell opening in their town.

Why wouldn’t they be? The nearest one was 400 miles away. Their happiness was short lived when they realized that it was just a rumour. When Taco Bell came to know of this, it decided to make a surprise move.

It dispatched a helicopter carrying a food truck containing ingredients to make 10,000 free doritos for the townsfolk of Bethel.

Operation Alaska as it was named, turned out to be a marketing masterstroke which not only was a successful PR stunt but delighted 6000 people.

Isn’t that pure genius?


7. Let the top management respond to issues

Customer centricity is a buzzword that has been thrown around a lot but only a handful of firms have cared to put into practice.

An organization can realize its goal of being customer centric if it builds a community of people dedicated to customer experience.

How do you make it happen?

By ensuring people in leadership roles are accountable. If there are certain issues which require the CXOs to intervene then without wasting time, they need to get into action. 

If there is a problem with the customer service, either the CEO and COO should take it upon themselves to resolve the issues.

The reason this is important because customers would have a certain degree of assurance that their problems are going to be resolved.

Being proactive and assertive while resolving customer issues by the senior management can help fix problems before it becomes unsolvable.

8. Unlearn, Learn and Improve

Do something beyond benchmarking your competitors and the industry average. NPS is more than just a number. It is reduced to a vanity metric if it isn’t used to bring about the necessary changes.

While the basic still stands i.e. decreasing detractors and increasing promoters, the ways to get there are to be devised after meticulous planning. If the need arises, you should be willing to get your hands dirty.

Track your Net Promoter Score over time and see how far you have come. Negative reviews present an opportunity for you to work on your shortcomings and be the best version of yourself.

Further reading : Net Promoter Score vs CSAT - Which one is right for you?

Here is a stat that you might to want to know.

For every one complaint that goes unresolved, there are 26 customers that are troubled by it.

Still, not convinced? Wait until your Net Promoter Score becomes negative. Delivering customer experience is not a one time thing. It is a continuous process that bears fruit only when done consistently. 


Measuring Net Promoter Score is a culmination of your efforts to deliver successful customer experience. Only then will your detractors reduce and will you see an increase in your number of promoters which in return result in a good Net Promoter Score.

Your detractors can offer insights you might have been unaware of otherwise. Make use of the data and follow the steps as a whole to build your legion of promoters. Do you know any other ways to increase your promoters? Do let us know in the comments.

Topics: Net Promoter Score

Avinash Patil

Written by Avinash Patil