s270 The one number and the resources you need to grow

„The Net Promoter Score® does not deliver its promise.“ RICHARD GRAF

The Net Promoter Score® (NPS) does not deliver on the promise: “The one number you need to grow” (Reichheld 2003); in particular, it does not express what needs to be done to grow. The weaknesses have not been eliminated; the open criticism of the NPS has not been acknowledged or implemented and the hope that one single question could be used to find out what companies need to grow has been undermined.

The NPS has undoubtedly become an important tool for measuring customer satisfaction worldwide. However, it is not sufficient to find out what customers think about their brand or to measure customer loyalty. The KiE scale combined with the resource question measures both customer satisfaction and the resources needed to grow. Both are implemented in the digitized DecisionMaker.

Criteria 01 – Complicated NPS value

The 11 scale of the key question corresponds to a difficult to understand % number as the result value, which ranges from -100% to +100%. Neither the 11 scale, nor a negative % number can be grasped intuitively.

Solution 01 – Simple intuitive result value in the KiE scale

The KiE Scale provides clarity in the leading question as well as in the result value, which is displayed directly as a number (NPS) in the KiE Scale. Question and result become aligned. 

KiE: Clarity in guiding question and evaluation
Figure 01: Clarity in guiding question and evaluation

The KiE scale additionally generates the classic NPS value (34.93%) to ensure compatibility and connectivity.

Criteria 02 – Intuition is distorted during the interview

Intuition cannot react to a scale with a zero (“0”) or a middle. This setting necessarily activates  cognition, which distorts and shapes the intuition. However, the emotional and intuitive side is essential for customer satisfaction and therefore the quality of the NPS number must be questioned. Cognition should not be activated before the resource question, which is missing in NPS, comes into play: what prompts an individual to give a high or low rating?

Solution 02 – The KiE scale specifically activates intuition

Intuition reacts to a scale of 1 to 10 because it has no middle and the appropriate differentiation is not too wide (greater than 10) and not too narrow (like 2,4,6 or 8) (Graf 2018).

Criteria 03 – The essential elements to ensure growth are missing’

NPS is criticized mainly because it provides neither reasons to explain why some customers fall into the category of “Detractors”, or critics; nor does NPS offer recommendations as to what should be done to attract the “passively satisfied” customers. In order to find out why some customers are not satisfied with certain aspects of services and products, additional market research has to be conducted that is complex, expensive and difficult to allocate. This lack of the possibility to react in a targeted manner devalues the NPS and makes it largely useless.

Solution 03 – The KiE scale provides the resources that everyone needs

The central demand for resources and arguments that will improve services and products is automatically provided by those who have the knowledge. The promoters and the passively satisfied Customer as well as the detractors have activated their cognition through the KiE Scale and can communicate on how the service or product should be designed: 

  1. the resources, what “passively satisfied customers” need
  2. the qualities that “Promoters” should value and maintain
  3. the reservations of the “Detractors”, in order to differentiate or reposition themselves

The companies get the resources to plan what they would need to do to grow.

Criteria 04 – The red area is too big

The NPS scale is too long and the red area (“Detractors”) is too large, which leads to distortions and excludes intuition.

Solution 04 – The KiE scale provides the appropriate space for loss aversion

The KiE scale ranges from 1 to 10 and provides the detractors with the appropriate range of 1 to 5, which is required by loss aversion (Ariely 2008).

Criteria 05 – The NPS value distorts toward the middle

The tendency towards the middle (Kahnemann 2011) is made possible by the central NPS value (5).

Solution 05 – The KiE scale has no middle

The KiE scale thus provides a virtually distortion-free KiE value. 

Criteria 06 – The NPS does not work across markets and cultures

The tendency of Americans to be both mild as well as harsh, or the tendency of Germans to find the hair in their soup, as well as the tendency of Asians toward indirect criticism, distort the NPS and make it useless.

Solution 06 – The KiE scale eliminates cultural and market dependence 

The resource question eliminates both cultural and market dependencies because the valuation serves only to determine the resources that are important for growth. The KiE scale can thus be applied globally to all areas of application. With a targeted focus, culture-dependent likes and dislikes can be clearly identified and incorporated into service and product diversification.

Criteria 07 – The NPS is too stiff

NPS question, scale (0-11) and ranges of meaning (0-6: detractors, 7-8: passively satisfied, 9-10: promoters) are fixed.

Solution 07 – The KiE scale is flexible

With individual guiding questions, specific KiE scale types and corresponding ranges of meaning, questions can be precisely adapted and varied as desired.

Criteria 08 – The NPS is another scale among many

Moodle has 100 different numerical scales and a non-numerical rating scale in its default installation. The other survey tools such as Wootric, Surveymonkey and Delighted offer similar diversity.

Solution 08 – The KiE scale harmonizes all scales, including NPS

The different assessment systems, as well as the NPS, can be harmonized with the KiE scale. The KiE scale system simply reproduces common assessment systems, making assessments comparable with each other.

KiE: The flexibility of the KiE scale
Figure 02: The flexibility of the KiE scale

The KiE scale is a superior evaluation system

An automation of the surveys is guaranteed due to the simplicity and consistency of the KiE scale. The subsequent decisions and the implementation of the resources determined become a plannable project. The effectiveness of the measures can be checked in cyclical processes, just as it becomes possible to react to constant as well as to disruptive changes.

The tried and tested KiE Scale and the DecisionMaking tools deliver on the promise: “The one number and the resources you need to grow”.

KiE: KiE DecisionMaking Tools
Figure 03: KiE DecisionMaking Tools

More about the series of KiE-DecisionMaking Tools

Further articles about the different human decision forms can be found after the source below under tag „Article series KiE-DecisionMaking Tools“.

More about the series Artificial Intelligence

More articles about artificial intelligence and how it can be extended with KiE can be found after the sources below at tag “Artificial Intelligence“.


May 2020 – Richard Graf, Elsa Graf

„The Net Promoter Score® does not deliver its promise.” Richard Graf


ARIELY, Dan. Predictably irrational. New York, NY: Harper Audio, 2008.

GRAF, Richard. „Die neue Entscheidungskultur: Mit gemeinsam getragenen Entscheidungen zum Erfolg“. Carl Hanser Verlag München 2018.

KAHNEMAN, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow (Kindle Edition). 2011.

REICHHELD, Frederick F. The one number you need to grow. Harvard business review, 2003, 81. Jg., Nr. 12, S. 46-55.

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