The Marketing Strategist:

Using NPS across Multiple Countries: It’s the Little Differences

January 27, 2015

Cultural differences account for a great deal of variance among geographic regions and even countries in the same region. They’re not limited to whether you order a Quarter Pounder or a Royale with Cheese and have ketchup or mayonnaise with your fries. A recent Net Promoter Score (NPS) project reminded us of this simple truth.

NPS is a time-tested method for gaining insight into the customer experience. It is both simple and reliable, but its real power is that it represents direct customer feedback that can be used to drive change and improvement throughout your organization. That’s true whether you do business primarily in your home country, are a large multinational, or have key customers in multiple countries.

The challenge with using NPS across multiple countries is basic but important: due to a variety of factors, most significantly cultural, different regions tend to rate providers with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Anyone who has ever compared NPS scores from the US, Germany, and Japan is probably nodding vigorously. US customers tend to give higher ratings than just about anyone else. In Germany, customers tend to rate very conservatively, even if they are satisfied. In Japan, it is considered poor etiquette to rate any provider too highly or too poorly, regardless of their performance.

What can be done about it?

The answer is straightforward: only compare scores within a country. Trying to compare across countries can be a frustrating and fruitless exercise. It is not likely to yield any useful insights. What does work is comparing results within a country and tracking how those results change over time. The only potential difficulty this poses is ensuring you have enough respondents in each country to provide robust insights.

If you are interesting in using NPS to evaluate feedback from your customers, check out our NPS Tool. And remember to keep your Big Macs from your McSpicy Paneers.

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