Customer Satisfaction: An Example of NPS Misuse

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The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple method to measure overall customer satisfaction. But you still have to apply it correctly. We regularly discover, through the customer satisfaction audits that we carry out, that the results are distorted by uncontrolled tools. The example we present to you today comes from Lufthansa. The error made in the implementation of the NPS is not obvious, but it still tarnishes the credibility of the results. We end this article by presenting the 2 types of errors most frequently encountered in the design of customer satisfaction surveys.

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NPS: use by Lufthansa

The screenshot below shows you an NPS-like formulation sent to a Lufthansa customer. The title of the question (in German) corresponds well to that which had been formulated by Reich held: “How likely are you to recommend Lufthansa to a friend or colleague? “.

Even if you don’t speak German, there are 2 aspects that differ from the NPS that we are used to seeing:

  1. The NPS scale is reversed: the maximum score (10: very likely) is on the left of the scale and the minimum score (0: very unlikely) on the right.
  2. A green color was used to delimit the area of ​​“promoters” (notes 9 and 10) and a red color for that of detractors (0 to 6).

By thus delimiting the zones between promoters and detractors, Lufthansa introduces at best an uncertainty, at worst a bias.

What are the problems with NPS as used by Lufthansa?

In this paragraph we analyze the 2 errors that we have identified in the use of the NPS by Lufthansa.

NPS Scale Inversion

Inverting the scale is not in itself a mistake. It is even a good practice when a respondent is subjected to a complex questionnaire. Inverting the scale makes it possible to check that the respondent is paying attention by checking that he does not always tick the same answers (on the left of the scale, in the middle or on the right). The inversion of the scale is particularly relevant when the same question is asked in two parts of the questionnaire: this makes it possible to check the consistency of the hire ghost writers.

In the case of the NPS, this inversion does not therefore seem essential to us.

Added NPS-wide colors

Adding colors to the NPS is a whole different story. By thus delimiting the zones between promoters and detractors, Lufthansa introduces at best an uncertainty, at worst a bias. Colors unconsciously indicate to the respondent what is good (in green) and what is bad (in red). On the scale of the NPS, voluntarily neutral, is therefore superimposed a reading grid which will guide the answers. A direct consequence will undoubtedly be that answers 7 and 8 will be less numerous. Respondents will seek to “position” themselves in relation to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Let’s not even talk about the choice of gray (neutral color for example) for the choices falling under the “neutral” category.

This modification of the NPS is therefore a gross error that taints the measurement of customer satisfaction and makes it unreliable. This error falls into the broader category of “persuasion bias” that we find in many companies during our audits.

Customer satisfaction: why so many errors?

As we indicated in the preamble, we carry out numerous customer satisfaction audits and sometimes find major errors and always minor errors.

Beyond this difference in terms of severity, there are 2 types of errors that can occur when implementing a customer satisfaction measurement instrument:

  • the formulation error which introduces a bias and increases the margin of error
  • The design error that invalidates the results by more or less deliberately directing the responses. This error is extremely serious and was theorized by Good hart.

We reassure you right away, most of the errors that we highlight in our customers are of the first type. The people who designed the satisfaction questionnaires did not have all the technical knowledge to avoid errors. Unintentionally, biases have therefore been introduced the best and affordable memoir ghostwriters.

Unfortunately, we also encounter much more serious errors that guide customer responses. Paradoxically, these errors are mainly committed within large companies. The latter are supposed to have the best trained staff, but it is within them that the impact of customer satisfaction is also felt the most. The measurement of customer satisfaction is indeed an indicator that can be traced back to top management and on which bonuses sometimes depend. All the conditions are therefore met for the results to be distorted. Several examples come to mind as I write these lines:

  • car dealers who tell you what to answer to the satisfaction questionnaire that you will receive by email after picking up your car
  • a bank that advertises its satisfaction rate but measures it using a biased questionnaire
  • insurance that measures its performance against overly permissive benchmarks
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