What does 7/10 mean?

Neil Ryland

In a world where providing feedback is the norm – whether hotel ratings, restaurant reviews, or even the Peppa Pig app I downloaded for my nephew – we are sharing insights for future consumers of these products.

7 out of 10, suggests it’s not that bad. It’s a good score, right? Recently I’ve been challenging this, and think sometimes 7/10 can be worse than 2/10! Stay with me here, I’ll explain.

Having recently reviewed a survey from a well-known airline after a flight back from San Francisco, I noticed two things:

1) I rated almost everything a 7

2) I couldn’t care less about the result as I felt I would never be listened to anyway

Then I thought: are these two things linked? If I didn’t think I would be listened to, and the question didn’t really have any emotional impact on me, did I give it a score that probably meant they are the same thing?

Having been fortunate enough to have worked for – and supported – a number of start-ups, I know the value of referrals. Whether this is someone recommending my product – or someone recommending my company as a place to work – it’s a cost saver and both have higher conversion rates to successful outcomes. But, there’s no way my customers would recommend a product they didn’t care about, and there’s no way my team would suggest to a friend they come and join a company they didn’t think was brilliant. These are not 7/10 stories; these are 9 and 10 stories. Why?

Research from top psychologist Fred Reichheld proved that we tend to score things at 9 and 10 when we are prepared to put our personal reputation on the line with a friend or colleague. We would never want to disappoint a friend by recommending a new restaurant to try for a first date unless we really believed it was perfect. 

Now let’s reverse it; you have a terrible experience setting up your new mobile phone account and score the service you received a 2/10. This is clearly not a service you would recommend to friend. Not only will you not recommend it, you may even post a complaint online for the world to see!

So why is 7 a worse score than 2?

The obvious answer is 2/10 tells me change is needed and 10/10 tells me keeping doing it because it’s working. The dreaded 7/10 leaves me no clearer on what to change or improve, meaning I carry on missing out on how to enhance my product, service, or business. Mathematically 7/10 is better than average, and therefore we feel like it is a good score. However, when it comes to ratings and reviews, 7/10 is mediocre, because people are generally nice, and rarely willing to give other people or services a truly low score. Ultimately what this leads to is standing still. And if you are standing still, you are going backwards in today’s fast paced world. 

There are countless examples of this. The domination of Uber being one. Calling a taxi on the street is not too stressful, and the driver probably knows where he is going, although it is pretty expensive. The service is good but not great. Then Uber came along. No more waiting outside in the rain hunting a taxi with its light on; Google maps has real time traffic updates to get me to my destination; it’s cheaper and easier to pay. That’s a 9 or 10. Before you know it, through mostly word of mouth adoption, those 9 and 10 ratings saw Uber become one of the highest valued companies in the world! The 2/10 gives you an opportunity, because you know it requires change. Guess what, when I see that change from my feedback, I’m the person that moves my 2/10 to 10/10 because I feel I’ve been listened to! Turn around businesses that have gone on to be successful such as Apple to Skoda used negative scores to create positive change. The 7? That’s just drifting along waiting to be overtaken by the next great thing! If only Nokia had realised a 7 was not great!

How to eliminate 7/10 mediocrity

The NPS (Net Promoter Score) was invented to help address this problem and give businesses a meaningful score on their performance that can be benchmarked. B2B executives in industries ranging from industrial goods to financial services to healthcare find loyalty to be a powerful lever for them, and NPS is a great way to provide data around driving higher loyalty. This same metric is now being used to help leaders retain and engage top talent in their business. Very few companies can achieve or sustain high customer loyalty without a cadre of loyal, engaged employees. (see https://peakon.com/guides/lesson/enps-and-engagement-scores-a-peakon-guide

If you want to avoid being a 7/10 and figure out how to drive focused, meaningful change in your business I would strongly suggest using the NPS model as a measure. What areas of your business to currently measure? Where and how are you collecting that feedback? How do you benchmark your success? What are you doing to ensure the things that make you great don’t change? Now is the time to look at the areas of your business you can measure with this simple but powerful methodology.

Our passion here at Peakon is turning all jobs into journeys, and we help organisations of all sizes do this my delivering the industry leading real time employee experience platform to drive high levels of engagement across your workforce using employee NPS scores. 

If you’re interested understanding more about the NPS model, employee engagement and how you can quickly see the power of avoiding being a 7/10 then contact me directly on @nryland or Neil@peakon.com.

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