Netpromoter Scores In An International Context - Treat With Caution

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

Yesterday I was in a meeting and suddenly the Netpromoter score passed by - after being buried for a while.

I have to confess that I have a somewhat troubled relationship with the Netpromoter score, it hasn't been treating me very well over the past couple of years. There was a time where Netpromoter scores were very important to me as they partly defined the success of the product I was managing and my scores weren't up to par with the rest of the organization. Was I really doing something wrong or was there another reason why the scores were lower? 

At that time I was managing a data product for European market researchers. Many articles and data analyses later I understood that the combination of data, Europe, and market researchers wasn't going to give me a lot of Promoters.

Research from NetPromoter parent company Satmetrix shows that there are cultural differences in how people will answer the scaling questions. North Americans for example have no problem in giving a 10, while most Europeans shy away from the outer ends of the scale (side note: this is a good reason not to include 5-point scales in European questionnaires). This isn't a problem when you benchmark within the region, but additional attention is required when you benchmark across regions. Further analyses by my team also uncovered that market researchers are more conservative than other roles when it comes to ratings. And finally the product was about data and numbers are what they are. You can score brownie points for methodology, delivery, or quality but it generally will not marvel people in the way smart and forward looking strategic insights do (which I was benchmarked against).

I survived, got promoted, and thought I had seen the end of it. And then suddenly it popped up again. I'd like to know if you have successfully implemented the Netpromoter score internally for market research and, if so, how.

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1. Net Promoter is a metric derived from survey responses to a recommend likelihood question. Respondents who provide a rating of 9–10 are classified as “promoters”; respondents who provide a rating of 6 or lower are classified as “detractors.” Net Promoter is calculated by subtracting the proportion of a firm’s detractors from its proportion of promoters (i.e., Net Promoter = promoters – detractors).

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re: Netpromoter Scores In An International Context - Treat With

We are a Brand Analytics firm. We obviously don't use NPS, accounting to the commercial use that we intend. NPS is anyways subjected to world-wide debate for credibility and authenticity. But if not anything else, we reckon the consumer segmentation of Promoters and Detractors helps marketers.