The power of 1-10

At the end of a customer interview I always ask my contact how happy they are with their experience with my company. I ask them to take into account their sales, channel, product, support, everything experience. For the past few years I’ve been asking them to put it on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best. I do this so that I can get a decent understanding of where they stand because sometimes customers aren’t very talkative during the interview so I assume they’re not that happy – but I’m generally wrong.

After reading “The Ultimate Question” about this time last year I started using the scale from 1-10 as it’s more of a universal understanding. To most people it’s much easier to understand a 7 rather than a 3.5. When I went to the Net Promoter Certification class in July they emphasized this again. I thought it was still a good idea and didn’t think much else of it until three weeks ago.

Three weeks ago I had such severe back pain that I wasn’t able to move and was taken by ambulance to the ER at a local hospital. From the minute the paramedics arrived at my house they asked me to rate my pain from a 1-10. Hmmmmm. When I got to the hospital the admitting nurse asked me again to rate my pain from a 1-10 with 10 being the highest level of pain. Double hmmmm. Throughout my four night stay there (finished off with back surgery) I was constantly asked what level my pain was. When the nurse walked in to check on me and I was smiling, she new it was low, but still wanted a verbal number. “A three” I’d say. Later that day she’d come back to check on me and I could tell that she was embarrassed to ask what the pain was because she could see the tears roll down my face as I was gasping for air while hyperventilating due to the pain. I’d quietly mutter “12”.

So what does this say about the 1-10? It’s a universal ranking system that people in tech and non-tech fields understand. There’s no shady .5 scale and it’s easy to understand and give a number. Try it next time you’re out. Ask the person who says that they’re tired “How tired are you on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being you probably didn’t hear the last bit of this question because you fell asleep tired?” I double dog dare you.

P.S. I am now officially a Net Promoter® Certified Associate. Congratulations to the other 23 people who passed the exam this month. Way to go!


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