June 29, 2022

CSAT vs. NPS Surveys: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

csat vs nps

CSAT vs. NPS: which customer satisfaction survey and metric is right for your organization?

Both the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys will help your company keep your fingers on the pulse of customer satisfaction. This can positively impact your customer retention rates and, in the long run, drive growth for your business. 

Let’s examine the pros and cons of each survey methodology, as well as explore the core differences of CSAT vs NPS.

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What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey was first introduced by Frederick Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article. Like the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey, NPS is a survey that countless organizations are using in order to measure customer satisfaction.

Specifically, NPS is used to gauge the loyalty of a customer to a business. Using NPS means asking the customer feedback question: 

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company, product, or service to a friend or colleague?

Based on their response to the question, companies are able to categorize customers into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. 

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts and very satisfied customers who will help fuel your business growth by buying and referring other customers to your business. 
  • Passives (score 7-8) are also satisfied customers, but their lack of enthusiasm may render them vulnerable to offerings from the competition. 
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are dissatisfied, unhappy customers who may impede your growth and spread negative word-of-mouth marketing about your business. 

To calculate your Net Promoter Score subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

An example of how to calculate Net Promoter Score

What are the Pros of Using NPS?

As one of the most popular types of customer satisfaction surveys, the Net Promoter Score methodology is easy for everyone within your organization to understand. 

It’s also one of the best customer satisfaction metrics you can use for segmentation. You can easily organize data about your customers based on their category and track the score over time, so you can benchmark it and see how well you’re doing as you evolve. 

Read more: How Your Company Can Use NPS to Drive Reviews

What to Watch Out for When Using NPS

For larger organizations, NPS on its own may be too simplistic of a metric. It helps you understand that customers have had a positive or negative experience, but not necessarily why that’s the case. NPS works best when you utilize secondary follow-up questions to investigate the customer experience in greater detail.

 

 
 

What is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey is another widely used method for measuring customer satisfaction.

CSAT is calculated and measured by collecting customer feedback through surveys. Using the responses, organizations can extract insights to power their customer experience management strategy.

With CSAT, customers are asked how satisfied they are with a product, service, or interaction on a scale of 1 to a predetermined number (typically 3, 5, or 10), or on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. 

For example, if the CSAT survey uses a 5-point scale, the answers would correspond to the following:

  1. Very unsatisfied 
  2. Unsatisfied 
  3. Neutral 
  4. Satisfied 
  5. Very satisfied

​​To calculate and measure customer satisfaction score, simply take the number of satisfied customers (those who rated you 4 or 5) and divide this by the total number of responses. 

For example, if 86 of your 100 survey respondents left you a rating of 4 or 5, your score would be 86. This is often expressed using percentage as a unit: after all, the score you calculate leaves you with the overall percentage of satisfied customers at your company.

What are the Pros of Using CSAT?

Similar to NPS, CSAT serves as an excellent way to measure customer satisfaction holistically. CSAT surveys are also usually short, intuitive, and simple. As a metric, CSAT is also useful in showing the type of impact each aspect of the business has on your customers, especially if secondary follow-up questions are used.

What to Watch Out for When Using CSAT

CSAT can provide information about specific customer interactions, but like NPS, it may not necessarily pinpoint underlying customer experience issues and trends. There is also potential ambiguity in what a good or a bad score is because of wide-ranging benchmark data across various business industries and categories. Because it focuses more on emotion than intention, CSAT is also not very effective in determining whether or not a customer will recommend your business to their friends and family.

CSAT vs. NPS: What is the Difference Between the Two?

What are the key differences between CSAT vs NPS?

It’s important to remember that feelings or emotions and intent reflect different aspects of the customer experience. 

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) methodology primarily focuses more on the customer’s feeling or emotion: “I am satisfied,” or “I am not satisfied.” Meanwhile, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) focuses on intent: “I will recommend” or “I will not recommend.”

CSAT is also commonly used to measure customer satisfaction with regards to a product or service; often, respondents describe how they feel about a recent purchase. In this sense, the CSAT survey is designed to collect customer feedback that is transactional in nature. 

On the other hand, NPS is often used to determine what type of relationship your customers have with your brand. Are they willing to recommend you to their friends and family? It captures feedback that is more relational in nature. 

Integrating both CSAT and NPS metrics into your customer experience analytics strategy should help your team achieve a more complete and accurate view of the customer experience. Be sure to combine these metrics with an analysis of qualitative data found in open-ended survey responses, online reviews, and social media comments and mentions. This will allow your entire organization to transform customer experiences and drive loyalty.

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