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Net Promoter Score

11-Point or 5-Point Scale: Which NPS scale should you use

Nov 18, 2022

9 mins read

Manisha khandelwal

A 5-point NPS scale is navigating through the metric system nowadays. 

Many organizations have started using it on their mobile surveys and many are in the process of adapting it. 

But is this the right scale to measure your customer loyalty?

If yes, then what are its applications? Where to use it? And, how to calculate its NPS score?

Before indulging in the 5-point NPS scale, let’s talk about the NPS in brief. 

What is NPS?

Net Promoter System (NPS) is a metric used by organizations to gauge their customer loyalty by asking one simple question.

→ How likely are you to recommend us to your friends or colleagues?

NPS loyalty question

This loyalty question is asked on an 11-point scale where the responses 0-6 denote detractors (unhappy customers), 7-8 denote passives (neutral customers), and 9-10 denote promoters (happy customers). 

The NPS question is followed up by an open-ended question asking the reasons behind the score shared. 

→ Could you please share the reason behind your score?

NPS followup question

The NPS score not only helps you measure customer loyalty but also informs you of the retention rate. It tells you what your customers are most unhappy about and if they are about to leave you. And not just that, but it enables you to build a healthy relationship with your customer.

There are two ways to launch an NPS survey.

Types of NPS scale

There are two types of NPS scales used to measure customer loyalty. 

  1. 11-point NPS scale
  2. 5-point NPS scale 

11-point NPS scale

The 11-point scale is a commonly used scale while measuring NPS. Based on the score, the respondents are categorized into detractors, passives, and promoters. 

11-point NPS scale

How about these responses on an 11-point NPS scale? 

0 – I’m very unhappy with you!

The number zero ‘0’ plays a crucial role in the NPS scale as it denotes a terrible experience experienced by a customer. Customers who rate 0 come under the category of Detractors. And their response clearly requires urgent attention to resolve their issue. 

You cannot let such customers go because they had the worst experience with your brand and there are the highest chances of them switching to your competitor or spreading bad word of mouth (WoM). 

The point to note is zero (0) is available on the 11-point NPS scale only. 

6 – Satisfied but not yet satisfied

Customer who rates a score of six come under the ‘Detractor’ category. This score helps to know the quality of the services provided to the customer. 

Some customers take a 6 score as the average score, which is not quite right. That’s why color the scale or explain the meaning of each number on the scale to the customers so that they can give honest responses. If this is not done appropriately then there is a high probability of not getting the right NPS score.  

9 – Happy but not that happy

On an 11-point scale, 9 and 10 indicate the ‘Promoters’ category. Customers are happy with your services, but according to them, you are not JUST THERE yet. They don’t feel like giving a full score but are happy with the services/products and end up giving a score of 9. 

Therefore, this is the benefit of using an 11-point scale. A score of 9 also helps to convey appreciation to the team for producing a near to perfect customer experience. 

That’s all about the 11-point NPS scale. Its’ time for the 5-point NPS scale.

5-point NPS scale

Similar to the 11-point NPS scale, the 5-point NPS scale helps you to measure the immediate customer sentiment about their recent experience with the products and services. Also, as per some studies, it is easier to use and understand for the customer as there are not many options available to confuse them. 

Here’s an example of a 5-point NPS scale.

→ How likely are you to recommend us to your friends or colleagues?

5-point NPS scale

The respondents on the 5-point scale are divided into three categories. Respondents who share 1-3 scores are detractors, 4 is passive, and 5 are Promoter. 

 

Create your first 5-point NPS Scale survey for FREE

 

Now that we know what a 5-point NPS scale is, let’s see where it is used.

Where is the 5-point NPS scale mostly used?

Commonly used by researchers and marketers, the application of the 5-point NPS scale entirely depends on your brand’s use case.

Being the short scale, it is easily understandable by the respondent. Many businesses use a 5-point NPS scale to measure the customer experience in transactional NPS surveys. 

And with mobile surveys. While many organizations still optimize the 11-point NPS scale for the mobile view and use it, it is not clearly viewable and confuses the customer. That’s why 5-point NPS scales are best used here as they’re compact and take less space.

But why is a 5-point NPS scale not usually recommended?

There are a few reasons why a 5-point NPS scale is not usually recommended.

1. Fluctuations in the result 

We collected data from satellite or TV provider companies to conduct a survey to know their customers’ experience and to test how the 5-point NPS scale and 11-point NPS scale can affect the NPS score. The group of respondents was mixed in terms of their age, job, gender, etc. We asked multiple questions regarding their experience on two different scales in random order. 

After the survey, we analyzed the results and observed that Comcast’s NPS is a -63% 5-point scale. On the other hand, -55% NPS is on a 5-point scale. DirecTV’s -14% NPS on the 11-point scale and -20% NPS on a 5-point scale. 

These fluctuations in the results were quite evident however, in some surveys the questions were the same but because of changing the scale, respondents had given different scores. The reason can be anything like they might get confused between the two different scales, they might not be attentive while filling out the consecutive surveys, or might be influenced by the prior question or options. 

However, these differences can often lead to a decrease in sales, hamper your whole Net Promoter System score, your company’s annual rating, etc. 

2. Reduction in Promoters 

On an 11-point NPS scale, two scores (9,10) denote promoters, giving them the option to choose from a great experience to the perfect one.

On the other hand, on a 5-point NPS scale, only one score (5) denote promoter, which signifies perfect experience…something rarely happens. So the customer opts for a (4) score adding to the number of passives.

3. Affects external benchmark 

If you use the 5-point NPS scale, your external benchmark will differ. Why?

Because organizations commonly use an 11-point NPS scale. Using 2 different NPS scales gives you a different benchmark as compared to using the same NPS scale. And the benchmark can vary by 4%.

Here is an insight for you to better understand the NPS benchmark across industries

4. Loss of score zero (0) 

The score zero (0) plays a crucial role on an 11-point scale as it describes the terrible experience of the customer. But, the 5-point scale begins with 1 not giving an option to the respondent to share that they had the worst experience.

As for the organizations, they won’t be able to identify these respondents and take immediate action.

Let’s create a 5-point NPS survey and calculate it. 

Step-by-step process to create a 5-point NPS scale survey – with SurveySensum

Why SurveySensum?

Because you don’t need to create the survey from scratch, the template is inbuilt.

STEP 1: Create a free account

You can sign up for free to create an account on the SurveySensum platform.

Sign up on SurveySensum

STEP 2: Click on create a survey

After signing up, you will log into the portal, then click on the top-right corner “Create Survey”. And choose “NPS” or “Start from scratch”. 

NPS Built in Template

STEP 3: Customize the question template and branding as per your preference 

Now you can customize the question and branding as per your requirement. And your 5-point scale NPS survey will be ready to share. 

Add branding to your template

STEP 4: Don’t forget to share your survey on the right platform 

After making the survey, it’s time to execute it in the appropriate manner. So, share your survey on the most-used platform as per your customers’ usage. Here we are sharing the survey on WhatsApp.

share your survey on the right platform 

The next step is to create a contact list including your all customers 

create a contact list

After clicking on ‘save & exit’, choose the template and your survey is ready to ship on WhatsApp. 

NPS survey template on WhatsApp

And here’s the message that customers will receive on their WhatsApp.   

 

Create your first 5-point NPS Scale survey for FREE

 

So now let’s look at how to calculate it. 

How is NPS calculated?

NPS is simple to calculate as it is only the difference between the promoters’ % and the detractors’ %. 

For example, if promoters are 75% and detractors are 10% then your NPS will be: 

75%-10%= +65%  

To calculate NPS on a 5-point scale, the formula stays the same. 

This was all about NPS, so let’s move ahead and understand the differences between the 5-point NPS scale and the 11-point NPS scale. 

Learn more about how you can calculate NPS here.

5-point NPS scale vs 11-point NPS scale

Let’s find out the difference between the two scales here. 

5-Point NPS scale

11-Point NPS scale

  • 1-3 denotes Detractors, 4 denotes Passives, 5 denotes Promoters
  • Limited options are available for the respondents to choose from
  • The number of Detractors and Passives is increased in the results
  • Easily accessible on any platform be it a mobile, tablet, or web
  • High probability of higher detractors and passives 
  • Varied results due to the change in scales
  • External benchmarking could be difficult due to the limited use of the 5-point NPS scale
  • The score (0) is not available for the respondents. 
  • 0-6 denotes Detractors, 7-8 denotes Passives, 9-10 denotes Promoters
  • Respondents might get confused with multiple options 
  • Big scale leads to diverse data
  • Best used on the web 
  • Equal probability of all detractors, passives, and promoters
  • Get real-time data and does not affect NPS benchmarking
  • No variation in the result  

Conclusion 

To wrap up the whole discussion on a 5-point and 11-point NPS scale to gauge customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty, you must bear one thing in mind for sure and that is CONSISTENCY. 

Yes, follow only one scale that you prefer and stick to it. Don’t change the scale in between while sharing the survey because that will affect the whole result. This was all from our side.

 

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