NPS Survey Question – Should It Be First Or Last?

NPS Survey Question – Should It Be First Or Last?

Writing surveys is a science and an art. If you don’t do it right, the voice of customer data gained will be meaningless. In fact, I have seen cases where people made bad business decisions because of undefined goals and leading questions that influenced responder opinions.

Survey Design Best Practices

People often ask me…how much does survey question order matter? Does the question order create a bias?  Is it better to ask CX measurement questions like Net Promoter Score (NPS), “how likely are you to recommend” at the beginning or at the end of a survey? 

I have tried both ways and believe there are pros and cons to each scenario. For instance, if you ask the Net Promoter question at the end, and the survey is too long, responders may quit. You won’t get the quantitative results needed. On the other hand, if you ask the NPS question first, the answer may not reflect the person’s actual views.

To help solve the debate, I asked NPS pioneer, Rob Markey, his perspective. He argues in favor of it being the first survey question and has several explanations as to why. You can hear his answers and get actionable customer experience measurement tips on my DoingCXRight®‬ podcast. (Episode 2).

Upon further research, I discovered another perspective that’s worth sharing. Zontziry (Z) Johnson explains

The Argument for Placing NPS Question First

“Putting the overall question first does a few things. According to research, it can actually act as an anchor by which a respondent answers the rest of the questions. So, if we ask an overall question first and get that knee-jerk reaction from a respondent that might be given if asked about their experience by a friend, as they take the rest of the survey, they tend to adjust their following answers to match the answer to the overall question. This is great for the researcher if the answer to that overall question is positive; this isn’t great if that answer is negative.”


The Argument for Placing NPS Question Last

According to  “Order Effects in Customer Satisfaction Modelling,” from the Journal of Marketing Management, “…customers’ overall evaluations are more extreme and better explained when provided after attribute evaluations.” By asking the specifics before asking the overall question, respondents will be thinking more about how the specifics add up to their overall level of satisfaction. Arguably, this could mean they are giving a more thought-out answer to that overall question. When should you put the overall question last? When you want your audience to remember various aspects of their experience and give a more thoughtful response. You may also want to consider placing it last if your respondents will be answering awhile after the experience you’re asking them about. That way, you can remind them of the particulars about the experience before asking them to give their overall impression.


I asked other CX professionals their opinions and was surprised to hear many place important questions at the beginning AND at the end to capture BOTH the initial opinion and impressions they are left with after being reminded of the details.


Based on varying opinions, I recommend testing all scenarios and let the data guide decisions. What is your view?

How To Measure Customer Loyalty (NPS & Beyond)

How To Measure Customer Loyalty (NPS & Beyond)

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

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About Rob Markey

Has been called “the Vince Lombardi of customer loyalty.” He founded Bain & Company’s Customer Strategy & Marketing practice. Based in the firm’s New York office, and has been with Bain for over 30 years.

Best known as the co-author of The Ultimate Question 2.0, Rob has led many of the world’s most dramatic customer experience transformations. He publishes a popular podcast about customer experience and leadership, and his articles appear regularly in the Harvard Business Review as well as other publications.

Rob’s most recent work focuses on helping large companies measure, manage, and grow the value of their customer relationships. His January 2020 article, “Are You Undervaluing Your Customers,” has helped elevate customer lifetime value to its rightful place in the boardroom. His advocacy for stronger rules for customer metrics disclosure led to projects by FASB and other accounting governance bodies.

He also leads the NPS Loyalty Forum, and is a regular keynote speaker at large conferences and corporate events.

LinkedIn, Twitter


About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®‬

An award-winning certified marketing and customer experience (CX) corporate executive, speaker, author, and podcaster, known for DoingCXRight®. She created a Heart & Science™ framework that accelerates customer loyalty, referrals, and revenue, fueled by engaged employees and customer service representatives. Stacy’s been in the trenches improving experiences as a brand differentiator for 20+ years, working at companies of all sizes and industries, like Liveops, Schindler elevator, Verizon, Martha Steward Craft, AT&T++.   Stacy is on a mission to help people DOING, not just TALKING about CX, so real human connections & happiness exist. Continue reading bio >here.

The Returns From Investing In your Customer Experience

The Returns From Investing In your Customer Experience

Over the years, we often hear “the customer is always right.” While “always” may not really be the case, companies are going out of their way to please customers to fuel business growth. This is especially true during Covid19 where social distancing is required and creating customer happiness is harder. Many companies have recently paused their business or shut down because customers stopped buying. On the contrary, many other brands are thriving because they’ve pivoted their business to online, and leveraging data to better meet customer expectations. (Read more about companies who’ve transitioned their strategies and lessons learned.)

Using customer insights to drive business decisions gives companies a competitive edge. While I have my own views on how to collect customer data and use the information to influence product development, market messaging, website design, and more, I became interested to hear from a financial leader to gain additional perspective. I connected with Howie Bick, the Founder of the Analyst Handbook to discuss the financial value of investing in customer experience. The following is a summary of our conversations: