NPS Blog

Webinar Q&A: Why a 0-10 scale?

Fred and Rob discussed the upcoming book in a July 20 webinar. In this and subsequent posts, they answer additional audience questions from the webinar question-and-answer session.

Q: What do you think about the problem of a 10-point scale? Is the meaning of the scale clear for the respondent? A ‘7’ might mean ‘good’ for one person/culture, whereas it might mean ‘poor’ for another one.

The 0-10 scale (which is an 11-point scale) has been statistically proven to be superior to any alternative. A few reasons:
• The extremes make the difference (0 through 10)
• An 11-point scale allows more nuanced detection of boundaries between positive and negative word of mouth behavior
• The meaning of a 10 tends to be more consistent across countries (users are familiar with 0-10)

Over large groups of customers, the small variations in interpretation of the meaning of different points along the scale wash out. There is no perfect way to address these variations in interpretation, but we have found that it is wise not to assume that any given customer interprets a response perfectly in line with the Promoter versus Passive versus Detractor designations.

We do see cultural differences in responses to the likelihood-to-recommend question and the 0-10 scale. However, these differences are not systematic enough to allow us to calibrate scores for comparison across industries and regions. For example, on average US NPS scores trend higher, Latin American scores are very high, and Asian-Pacific scores trend lower. Europe and Australia scores tend to be intermediate.

The relative NPS methodology for top-down NPS accommodates these differences. Bottom-up processes can be customized for each market, enabling appropriate follow up at the individual customer level.

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