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What is more telling—a feeling or a forecast? Morphii Demonstrates More Actionable Outcomes than a Leading Rating System

Emotion Insights suggest that 56% of respondents fell into misleading NPS categories in a recent study.

The Business Problem

NPS®️ gained notoriety for efficiently garnering insight with just one question – Likelihood to Recommend (LTR). In keeping with its name, this 0-10 rating system discerns which customers take “actions that contribute to a company’s growth.” Among Morphii’s comparative studies, the LTR question has been mostly effective at identifying growth contributors at the top end of the ratings spectrum.

Conversely, NPS is less effective at communicating behaviors that businesses really need to understand. Which customers are:

  • Actively feeling and expressing negative brand experiences that make an impact?
  • Actively feeling enough negativity to consider alternatives before future purchasing?
  • Feeling as though their experience was overall satisfactory, but left room for minor (yet impactful) improvements?

NPS also classifies non-promoters as “Passives,” or even “Detractors.” The numeric designations and their respective classifications are arbitrary, though, and not commonly defined for customers. For example, someone could select a score of “5” to indicate a 50% chance of recommending a brand. On the LTR scale, however, a “5” is interpreted as a “Detractor.” Nonetheless, brands continue to return to ratings for their familiarity, simplicity, and efficiency – despite an ongoing need for improved customer understanding.

Testing A New Single Metric

To validate the capacity of Morphii® technology, the patented, emotion-based interface squared off against the commonly employed Net Promoter System® in a study of 5 brands: Apple, Comcast, Wells Fargo, Uber, and United Airlines.

In this study, LTR results from 399 U.S. adult respondents (ages 18-35) were categorized into “Promoters,” “Passives,” and “Detractors” as shown in relative scale, from left to right, in accordance with the NPS scoring system:

NPS defines respondent categories as:

Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.

Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.

Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth

They also gave a morphii response and were classified based on the emotion they felt toward each brand.

Morphii-enabled questions allowed respondents to select both the type and intensity of their feelings – providing a more nuanced method for customers to communicate their experiences in real-time and lending to a higher rate of actionable feedback.

Asking the NPS question alongside a question powered by Morphii technology garnered convincing evidence for adopting the emotion-based methodology instead – indicating that 56% of participants reported emotions at odds with their NPS classifications.


Juxtaposing the emotions and intensities reported against NPS findings, it is evident that “Promoter,” “Passive,” and “Detractor” groups all demonstrated a wide array of feelings across NPS Ratings and Categories.

Percentage of Emotion Expressed for Each NPS Rating Value

Satisfaction was pervasive, with consistently high numbers among “Promoters” and “Passives,” and a regularly recurring presence among “Detractors” – even at bottom of the scale.

Meh – intended to demonstrate a feeling of indifference – hardly aligned with the “Passive” population, as logically implied. In fact, Meh occurred more often among “Detractors” than all of the negative emotions combined. From a behavioral perspective, Meh is not actively positive or negative, and it is certainly more addressable than lesser-employed negative counterparts.

While those expressing Meh or Satisfaction may not be promoters, it would be unwise to dismiss them as “unhappy” or potentially “damaging.” Emotion science indicates that these groups – so often misrepresented by NPS – embody the populations with the greatest efficiency for movement toward Love. Customers who exhibit Love are most inclined to be growth contributors, and as with other amorous experiences, they often will abide flaws in a demonstration of loyalty.

Examining negative feelings can be actionable, too. Participants reporting Disappointment and Frustration are addressable, and their quarrel may be confined to a singular aspect of brand experience. In the end, any efforts targeted toward participants with emotions that are not of a polar extreme offer the opportunity to shift customers to a more energized, positive state – increasing repeat and referred business over time.


Emotion classifications paint a more accurate picture of brand affinity. Rather than using generic messaging to engage “Promoters” to act, Morphii acquaints businesses with more nuanced response loops for consumers using reliable, self-reported data to better target messaging and maximize growth.

What’s next? Which emotions are most energized? Why? And, how so?

If you’re concerned that valuable insights are getting lost in translation and you’re unsure of which customers to address – take action with Morphii.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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