Apex Scoring System vs. NPS

Witness a head-to-head comparison of the Apex Scoring System and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to make an informed choice for your business.

NPS recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. So why didn’t everyone throw a rip-roaring party?


For two decades, NPS has grown to become the most popular and frequently used yardstick that businesses – in particular Fortune 500 companies, look to in order to understand, measure and celebrate the loyalty and advocacy they have built with customers. At the same time, leaders charged with building the game plan for enduring business success have increasingly come to question the usefulness of NPS as a tool to help them craft a better future. Criticism about the value and purpose of NPS has increased steadily, prompting no less than the creator of NPS himself, Fred Reicheld, to step into the conversation and add his comments. “As its popularity grew, NPS started to be gamed and misused in ways that hurt its credibility,” Fred said in a recent interview for HBR.

We recognize and empathize with all these concerns, from Fred and others. After all, NPS was the inspiration for us to create Apex in the first place. And at first, frankly, we thought we were building a better NPS. Now, with years of use and understanding, we recognize that Apex is as much a great companion to NPS as an alternative. It helps people glean better meaning and insights from their NPS. It’s “Robin” to the NPS role of “Batman”. It wasn’t that NPS couldn’t play the dependable superhero role of advocacy metrics if it wanted to, it just needed a sidekick to make it more powerful.


So what’s our guidance for those who are completely frustrated with NPS? Don’t give up yet. Find a complementary and connected solution that can turn a “what” NPS report into a “why” and “what’s next” action plan. In other words, check out Apex as an ideal and seamless companion to your next NPS deployment.

What Is Apex Scoring System?

Apex Scoring System is an AI-powered intelligence platform, powered by behavioral science principles, that translates customer desires into revenue and growth. Brand leaders, statisticians and behavioral scientists collaborated to create the platform, which derives its score from consciously crafted survey stimuli that explores the 16 core consumer desires that influence and motivate their behaviors, and uncovers which are most important for a given brand, to experience the greatest impact.


Apex uses a robust algorithm to assess an audience’s 16 rational and emotional feelings and beliefs, in connection with the actions they intend to take with a brand. It evaluates a brand’s performance on these sixteen desires, such as joy, empathy, dependability, respect, and relatability, and also evaluates the importance of each to the customers of that brand.


Whether a business already has an existing survey framework or is looking to launch an audience research campaign, Apex offers the opportunity to integrate its solution seamlessly. The survey results are uploaded into the Apex platform, where the algorithm and AI calculates an engagement score, and conducts in-depth assessment of the customer relationship with the brand.


The Apex intelligence platform then takes it a step further by providing a full report that presents the brand’s Apex score, while also enabling users to look under the hood of their NPS score through Apex to understand the “why” of that number, and what’s needed to make it increase. This report helps companies get prescriptive and predictive with their scores so they can confidently explore new growth opportunities with consumers, B2B clients, donors, employees, association members, voters, or other similar audiences.


Apex requires a sample size of only 50 responses for accurate results. Once participants complete the 90 second Apex survey and results are uploaded, the platform goes to work to analyze the responses and provide findings, typically within 24 hours. A full report is available on the brand’s dashboard, highlighting their Apex Score and science-backed in-market recommendations the brand can take for improvement.

What Is Net Promoter Score?

Like Apex, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an audience engagement tool built on the idea that advocacy is an essential aspect of modern business. The score helps teams evaluate advocacy-based engagement by asking one simple question: “How likely are you to recommend [X] to a friend or colleague?”


The audience selects their answer on an 11-point scale ranging from 0-10, 0 being the least likely to recommend a product and 10 being most likely. The participants are organized into categories based on the number they select:


9-10 = “Promoters” who are loyal to the brand and will continue to make purchases and tell their friends about the brand

7-8 = “Passives” who are satisfied but won’t go out of their way to talk about the brand 

0-6 = “Detractors” who are unsatisfied with the brand and may speak negatively about the business

NPS = % of Promoters - % of Detractors‍

This simple calculation helps companies identify audience satisfaction. The brand knows to stay on their current track if they have many promoters. If they have a high proportion of detractors, it demonstrates that they need to adjust their current strategy. 


NPS ranges from -100 to +100, with anything in the positive showing that the customer base is mainly comprised of promoters. Brands using NPS should hope to have a score above zero, but anything above 20 is favorable and above 50 is excellent.


It’s important to note that NPS offers nothing else except this average score. While it is an effective way to gauge customer sentiment (as long as everyone answers honestly), it only provides teams with a number and without any context or guidance on how to improve it. Teams will often use a more comprehensive solution to collect and track NPS data while getting more detailed insights into audience perception.

Adding Apex to NPS = Better Together

While they may look similar – providing an engagement score that can be tracked and benchmarked over time, there are crucial differences between Apex and NPS that explain how they can be even more powerful when combined.

NPS is a quick, efficient way to collect data, but it is one dimensional – it measures advocacy. While having a quantifiable indicator of audience advocacy can be valuable, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Brands need more than a number to guide their way through future audience activities and initiatives. 

On the other hand, Apex considers 16 distinct human desires and provides a critical assessment of their impact upon the complex nature of audience decision making. This enables business teams responsible for any aspect of their customer’s experience to make more confident, fact-based decisions on why customers are doing what they are doing, and perhaps more importantly – what to do next. Uncovering how to deepen audience engagement in the service of increased revenue is, in the end, what fuels efficient growth, and that’s what Apex does best.

NPS’ efficiency makes it easy to collect and analyze the data over time, but it still falls short in investigating what causes successes or drawbacks. Apex’s comprehensive assessment platform provides a much clearer picture, especially when tracking results over an extended period, and helps alleviate the frustrations people have with NPS by providing crucial context. Together, Apex and NPS can help set goals for growth and monitor the impact of the actions a company takes to achieve them. ‍

If you’d like to better understand the “WHY” behind your NPS score and learn how to use the Apex insights to improve your customer experience, schedule an info session or complete our form below.


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