What does our benchmarking data reveal about the net promoter scale?

8 June 2017

Net promoter scale

The net promoter scale is the default question format for understanding a respondent’s likelihood to recommend a brand; it is therefore used to assess customer experience and is intrinsically linked to brand health. An example of the net promoter scale is below.

What does our benchmarking data reveal?

When looking at thousands of interviews from many projects and industries in our KPI benchmark database, it is interesting to note that the average Net Promoter ScoreTM (NPS) is negative (minus 28%). This indicates that an average brand will have more detractors than promoters. The results show that for an average brand, 23% are promoters, 26% are passive i.e. have little effect on brand health, while the remaining 51% are detractors.

Therefore, an NPS of 0 is likely to be well above the sector average.

Benchmark data for the net promoter scale

*Data extracted from DRG KPI benchmark database (using thousands of responses across numerous projects)

When looking at the distribution of the benchmark data, it is interesting to note that the mid-point of the scale (5) has a notable spike in response rate; this suggests respondents revert to simplification strategies to overcome scale ambiguity. In other words, what does the difference of a “5” in comparison to a score of “6” mean to a respondent?

The data above shows respondents answer more frequently at the limits of the scale (0 & 10) and at the central point (5) than those points adjacent. The clarity of (0, 5 & 10) in the scale is shown in the benchmark data – for example (5) has a higher combined response rate than (4+6) together (which is unlikely to be due to chance), resulting in a skew between respondents true fit to the scale and their actual response.

Despite some issues that exist with the net promoter scale, it is the approximation of a respondent’s “likelihood to recommend” that makes this scale more favourable than a discrete “would recommend” versus “would not recommend” question format. Probabilistic models that also generate a “likelihood to recommend” score fall short, as the criteria driving recommendation inherently differs from brand to brand – meaning there is no consistent method to produce an accurate generalised probabilistic model. Therefore the net promoter scale is a great tool for providing a universal scale that can be used for different brand types and for comparing different brands whilst retaining the intensity of an individual’s recommendation score.

The effects of age on NPS

From our benchmark data we can also observe a dependency between age and the NPS (gender, region and SEG show no dependant relationship with NPS), the general trend is that with increasing age there is a lower NPS score, as well as a more extreme tendency to answer at the lower limit and mid-point.

This suggests that younger individuals are more likely to promote and contribute to brand health.

With greater influence and a wider social network through channels such as social media, this could signify the future importance of ensuring a positive brand experience in younger generations.

Effects of age on the net promoter score

If you would like us to provide more context for your NPS scores or other key performance indicators, Contact us here and a member of the team will be in touch!