Why Net Promoter Scores Matter

Since creating OpenStack in conjunction with NASA seven years ago, we’ve been delighted to see just how far the platform has come. A huge OpenStack community has been born, hundreds of enterprises use OpenStack in production and it’s become the platform of choice for private cloud deployments all over the world.

And we continue to lead the charge toward widespread OpenStack adoption. Today we deliver hundreds of OpenStack private clouds as a service to our customers. With more than 1 billion server hours of expertise, more than 1,000 OpenStack experts and a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee, we’re one of the few service providers in the world who can successfully run OpenStack at scale for organizations of all sizes.

Customer experience

While we’re certainly proud of those accomplishments, don’t take them to mean we’ve become complacent. OpenStack is complex to architect and run, and we’re always focused on doing a better job. While technical outcomes are important, they pale in comparison to the experience our customers have when working with us, or their level of satisfaction with that work. That’s why we’re advocates of something called Net Promoter Scores, or NPS.

NPS gives us a framework to see how our customers assess our efforts and outcomes. Since 2013, we’ve routinely sent out surveys and tracked our NPS scores to monitor how our customers feel about the experience we provide.

Based on those monthly surveys, we learn what percentage of our customers are:

Promoters — loyal enthusiasts who are committed buyers and would recommend our services

Passives — satisfied but unenthusiastic customers, easily attracted by the competition

Detractors — unhappy and unlikely to recommend our services

An NPS score is derived from the percentage of promoters (scores 9 or 10) minus the percentage of detractors (scores below 7). A high Net Promoter Score is notoriously difficult to obtain. The average technology company has a score of 38. At Rackspace however, we’ve recently seen new levels of success.

Our work, exceeding expectations

Over the past four months, our response rates have stayed at or above 50 — an almost unprecedented level for cloud companies. What’s more exciting, is that it’s mostly been an upward trend.

NPS Scores

These scores illustrate a number of things, but the most significant is that Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud is ready for enterprises — it’s a secure, stable and successful platform for private cloud initiatives.

We’ve guaranteed 99.99 percent API availability since 2014, but we’ve also taken a recent look at real-world data, and realized that for the ten core OpenStack APIs (Cinder, Glance, Heat, Heat CFN, Heat Cloudwatch, Horizon, Keystone, Neutron, Nova and Swift), across all our managed OpenStack environments, we’ve delivered 99.995 percent uptime or better for nine of them over the past twelve months. Heat just barely missed the raised bar with 99.9942 percent uptime over the past year.

These uptime results also highlight just how intensely focused we are on delivering a better customer experience. Rackspace is always driving improvements to OpenStack. We’re the largest contributor to the code base and have more experience than anyone else when it comes to running OpenStack in production and at scale. This gives us a unique opportunity to uncover emergent issues and develop fixes quickly.

We also take our customer experience and customers’ feedback very seriously. If a customer gives us a Passive or Detractor score (8 or below), we follow up directly with that customer to work on creating a solution for them that meets their expectations.

Additionally, for the positive feedback we receive, we don’t simply rejoice in having a good score, we instead discuss the comments from our promoters internally and highlight what we did well. This helps us continue to push in the areas that our customers find the most successful — making a good thing great.

But don’t take our word for it. Listen to what some of our customers have had to say:

“I’ve been responsible for managing the relationship with many of our strategic technology vendors. Rackspace is unique in truly being interested and committed to being a partner.” ]

— Capacity management manager, leading scientific and chemical company

“Fantastic support and partner!”—

Lead administrator, leading integration and platform development company

“You are doing great work. 9 is for inspiration, to push you further.”

Fortune 15 multi-national corp, digital industrial division

“Extra-ordinary delivery performance, almost zero work for us as a customer.”

— IT infrastructure manager, leading energy drink company

We’re proud to get those comments, and we look forward to doing the hard work necessary to keep earning them. If you’re interested in what we can offer your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

Josh Villarreal is the Director of Service Delivery and Operations on the Private Cloud team at Rackspace, where he's worked since 2013. Prior to joining the RPC team in 2013, Josh built and led the Marquee Public Cloud team, where he assisted with delivery and operations for Rackspace's largest public cloud customers. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas


  1. Having worked in the industry for a few years, anything above a 50 NPS is great – so kudos on that. I never understood why NPS is the industry standard though. If all you received in a given period was several 8’s, won’t your NPS be 0%? I think when choosing a service provider, customer satisfaction is always a factor, and having a 0 NPS (as per the above example) doesn’t accureatly portray a seemingly solid response average. Explaining how NPS is calculated (and the fact that an industry average score is ~35%) vs just a raw average just seems to add confusion to the average consumer. Though, maybe I’m missing something as to why NPS is the standard.

  2. Hi Allen,

    The lowest NPS Score possible is -100 (all Detractors) while the highest NPS Score possible is +100 (all Promoters). In a situation where everyone is a Passive, that Score of 0 would be quite insightful in that it signifies the organization as being on the cusp of either creating a Promoter-centric or Detractor-centric customer base.

    Furthermore, it is highly unlike that every single Customer will respond to any survey. The number averages under 50% in terms of “responders” vs “non-responders” to any survey campaign. So even in the event that every responder provides a Passive score, the company can still use non-responders as a baseline. The NPS Methodology allows for treating all non-responders as “Detractors” (which is a bit harsh), and also evenly dividing non-responders in to Passives/Promoters. Either of these scenarios can help add insight to an NPS Campaign, even in the somewhat unlikely event that 100% of responders turn out to be Passives.


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