You have probably heard this before: “People in [fill in any country name] do not rate your service with a 9 or higher. That’s not our culture”. And every now and then you’ll see someone make such a claim in a blog as to provide a reason to alter how NPS is calculated (see the picture).
There, of course, can only be one reason to do such a thing: to show a better score than your Customers say you’ve earned.
What’s the use?
Moreover why I do not see a reason to alter how NPS is calculated is merely because it is very obvious that how one calculates a score does not change the way how Customers feel about you. And since it should be the goal of any Voice of the Customer Program to better understand how Customers feel about your service, and why, so that you can go do something about it, there is no reason to alter the way you add-up-and-detract-and-or-divide the ratings.
The cultural effect is as irrelevant as it is non-existent.
Set aside any caveat with NPS itself, I agree largely with Fred Reichheld when he states that the ‘cultural effect’ is largely irrelevant.
On top of that I do not buy into it, even knowing there has been research showing there are cultural effects. From my own experience though, I’ve seen proof there is no such effect, at least not in all cases. I have three examples:
- The first one is Center Parcs, late nineties, where we scored high eighties on average (!!) Customer Satisfaction scores from our guests. We even had to change the way we measured (not calculated!!) Customer satisfaction, from a 10-point scale (1 – 10, not 0 – 10) to a 4-box-scale and some aggressive target setting to get everyone moving on finding new ways to further improve our Customers’ experiences. This is proof for the fact that Dutch Customers give high scores, even on average.
- The second one is Microsoft X-Box Customer Services where ‘we’ scored highest satisfaction ratings for twelve consecutive months compared to all global Customer service sites (and languages). This is proof for the fact that it is even possible for Dutch to score higher ratings compared to any other culture in the world for the same service in the same time-frame.
- And last, but not least, I see it in my work today where the vast majority of Customers that have contacted our Contact Center, rate their service with an eight or higher, of which a significant part rate us with a 9 or 10. This is more proof for the fact that Customers do rate high, even in The Netherlands.
I bet that if you look for it in your own country/company/context, you’ll find the same, or do you believe that ‘my’ small country is the exception to the rule?
Bottom line: If your Customers rate you a 7-something, it’s because you provide a 7-something service. If you’re not happy with that, go do something about it, the hard way.
P.s. Why do you think people who suggest the metric should be adjusted to the “culture”-effect never trip of the fact that NPS is measured on an 11-point, not a 10-point scale? Please let me know in the comments.