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Getting Customer Feedback (NPS vs. CSAT)

Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Customer Service

Getting Customer Feedback (NPS vs. CSAT)Whether you are craving a hearty breakfast of data about your customers and how they feel about interacting with your company or just seeking ways to improve your brand, feedback is the key to your success. 

We get so focused on our day-to-day operations that it really can be eye-opening to learn what it is actually like for our clients or our customers to interact with us—to see the forest for the trees. 

“I think it is very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done, and what you could do better.” —Elon Musk

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” —Ken Blanchard

It’s vital to your relationships with your present and future customers to check in and find out what it’s really like to work with your company. If you want to discover information about customer loyalty or uncover customer satisfaction regarding a single event, product or sale, using a survey to collect data is key.

There are two main ways to gather customer feedback online: through an NPS survey or through a CSAT survey. Both are great ways to find out how your customers feel about your company and what they think of their interactions with you. 

But which should you use and when?

Here’s What You Need to Know About NPS Feedback

If you are looking to predict your relationship with a customer over the long term, then the NPS (net promoter score) method is the key to tracking this information. Ideally, your customers’ satisfaction should increase the more they interact with your company, which also means that, ideally, your NPS should increase too. 

Your NPS tracks the likelihood that your clients or customers will recommend your brand to others. That’s the only question on the survey:

“How likely are you to recommend our company to someone you know?”

The benefit of conducting an NPS survey? It’s one question long. Your customers are more likely to take the time to answer a single-question survey then they are to take a more involved multi-question survey. 

But how much more likely are they to answer one question to complete this NPS survey? As it turns out, a lot more likely. In fact, there is a 30- to 40-percent increase in the response rate when there is a single, NPS-related question. 

These NPS responses that you are logging are broken down into three total groups:

  • Detractors: These are customers who are likely to give you a negative review because they have indicated that they were dissatisfied with your company. They actually may discourage others from working with you. They not only are likely to take their business elsewhere, but they may tell others to do the same. Out of a possible score of 10, detractors give you a ranking of zero to six. 
  • Passives: Passives have ranked their experience with your company higher than detractors. While their experience with your company may have been fine, they are not likely to actively recommend your company to others. Passives rate their likelihood to recommend your company to others as a seven or eight.
  • Promoters: Promoters score your company the highest. They are likely to actively recommend your brand to others. They are loyal to your company and are most likely to spread the good word about what your company does. Promoters rank their experience with your company as a nine or 10 out of 10.

Calculating your NPS score: An NPS score is compiled and calculated somewhere between -100 and 100. If all of your survey responders respond with a six or less, that will give you a score of -100. However, if all of your scores are a nine or a 10, you will end up with an NPS of 100. An NPS score of 50 or above is considered a highly reputable score, and a score of 75 or above is very, very impressive. 

How is your NPS score calculated? By taking the total percentage of promoters and subtracting the total percentage of detractors. It’s that simple. One question, one easy equation, and with enough responses, you have an overall idea of customer loyalty that you can use to create brand experiences to turn more customers into promoters.

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The Low-Down on CSAT Feedback

Your CSAT, or customer satisfaction level, is a bit more complicated but is just as informative. 

It indicates how satisfied a customer is with a particular product, transaction or interaction with your company using multiple questions. Your CSAT questions might be geared towards any one of several things—a support ticket, the onboarding session for a new program, a sales process or maybe a specific feature. 

Creating a CSAT survey has a bit more flexibility than coming up with your NPS does. There is no industry standard for the kind of questions you can ask, and you get to have more control over what the scoring means. 

For example, you may decide, based on your product, that on a scale of 10, anything scored over a six can be deemed as “satisfied.” You also may choose to use binary answers, posing “yes” or “no” questions instead of questions that ask your customers to rank their experience out of 10.

Calculating your CSAT Score: In order to come up with your total CSAT score, you find the total number of satisfied customers, which looks something like this:

# of customers who responded as “satisfied” ÷ total # of respondents × 100%

So what is a good CSAT score? Of course, you want to aim for a score that is as close to 100 percent as possible, but there is no standard for what makes a “good” score. While some will tell you that a score of 80 or above is a great indicator of success, this can vary from industry to industry and even survey to survey depending on what questions you are asking. 

It’s all about what your goals as a company are, where your focus is and even what kinds of questions you ask in your survey. 

Comparing NPS and CSAT Methods and Data

It is true that both NPS and CSAT surveys rank your customers’ experiences and how they feel about your company. But each measures a very different thing.

The process and idea of a net promoter score are actually trademarked. The score is measured by a particular process and is monitored by one of a specific group of organizations. There are guidelines to follow, and the question asked is unchanging. It can be a constant barometer of how your customers feel about you.

Conversely, coming up with your CSAT questions and even your CSAT scoring system is more in flux. You have more freedom to ask questions that directly correspond to your customer service or product goals as a brand and can gain specific knowledge in regard to your customers’ satisfaction.

When to Use an NPS Survey vs. a CSAT Survey

Careful not to fall into a trap of thinking that one kind of survey is always going to be superior to the other. Both are extremely helpful in getting customer feedback—each just tells you different things. 

There is a time and place for an NPS survey, just like there is a helpful purpose for a CSAT survey.

So when should you use each?

Surveying customers for an NPS score should not be tied to a particular event. They should be sent out at a chosen interval—quarterly, for example, to text overall brand loyalty. That’s the main goal of an NPS survey: discovering over time how loyal your customers are to your overall brand and gathering information about the lifespan of your relationship to your customers. 

NPS surveys also target a wider audience of users. They are presented to all users since they are not tied to a sale or singular experience. Think of NPS surveys and the data you gather like playing the “long game”: NPS scores measure customer retention.

CSAT surveys are used to get information about one experience in particular within your brand. Whatever that service action might be, your CSAT survey measures one specific interaction, one service action. You can use CSAT data to monitor the overall success of one thing. It is targeted: CSAT scores measure customer happiness about one specific event or product.

For example, for one client in the accounting industry, I set up an NPS for customers who only used a service of theirs once a year. The feedback we got helped to determine how likely they were to be customers the following year. A separate CSAT survey to another group of customers who interacted with the company more regularly gave more immediate and specific feedback for those customers' account managers.

There’s room in your feedback world for both NPS and CSAT data. While at first glance they may seem somewhat similar, the barometers used to measure customer experience and the actual information they are tracking are very, very different. Both can be used to improve how your clients interact with your brand; it just depends on what your focus is when deciding which survey method is the right one to use at any given time. 

So what’s next after you crush your first feedback survey (be it NPS or CSAT) and implement the data into improving how your company operates?

“You make decisions, take actions, affect the world, receive feedback from the world, incorporate it into yourself, then the updated ‘you’ makes more decisions, and so forth, ‘round and ‘round.” —Douglas Hofstadter

You begin again. And with each piece of feedback and each completed survey, you learn a little bit more about your company, your customers, and the steps you should take to grow and improve.

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