Customer feedback

CSAT vs NPS: Which CX Metric to Use

AskNicely Team

Companies across the globe are recognizing that positive customer experience (CX) directly correlates with customer loyalty, brand advocacy, and ultimately, business growth. There are plenty of different ways to measure the success of your customer experience strategy – two of the most popular being Customer Satisfaction Score, referred to as CSAT and Net Promoter Score, known as NPS.  But how do you know which one is right for you and your business? In this article, we'll take a deep dive into CSAT and NPS, outlining their differences, diving into their nuances, and weighing their respective pros and cons. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of how to leverage these metrics to enhance your CX strategy effectively. 

CSAT vs NPS: Key differences

The key differences between CSAT and NPS can be broadly categorized into four main areas, each shedding light on the unique attributes and applications. 

Focus: One of the primary distinctions lies in the focus of each metric. CSAT is tailored to measure satisfaction with specific interactions, such as a purchase, customer service interaction, or support ticket resolution. It zooms in on the micro-level, providing insights into the immediate customer experience. Conversely, NPS takes a macroscopic approach, aiming to gauge overall brand sentiment and loyalty rather than focusing on individual touchpoints.

Frequency: Another differentiating factor is the frequency of survey deployment. CSAT surveys are typically triggered after specific customer touchpoints or transactions, allowing businesses to capture feedback in real-time. In contrast, NPS surveys are often conducted periodically, such as quarterly or biannually, providing a snapshot of customer sentiment over a more extended period. This variance in frequency influences the granularity and temporal scope of insights obtained from each metric.

Scale: The scale used in each metric also sets them apart. CSAT employs a straightforward rating scale, commonly ranging from 1 to 5 stars or similar formats, to quantify satisfaction levels. Conversely, NPS utilizes a single question with a 0-10 point scale, supplemented by follow-up questions to categorize respondents into promoters, passives, or detractors. This distinction in scale design impacts the depth of feedback solicited and the subsequent analysis process.

Actionable insights: Lastly, the type of insights generated by CSAT and NPS differs in terms of granularity and scope. CSAT surveys provide targeted feedback for immediate improvement, offering actionable insights at the transactional level. In contrast, NPS yields broader insights into overall customer sentiment, revealing overarching trends and opportunities for strategic initiatives. While CSAT facilitates tactical adjustments, NPS informs long-term CX strategy and organizational decision-making.

By understanding these key differences, businesses can make informed decisions regarding the selection and utilization of CSAT and NPS within their CX measurement framework. In the subsequent sections, we'll delve deeper into each metric, offering a comprehensive exploration of their methodologies, advantages, and best practices for implementation.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) deep dive

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a widely used metric in assessing the satisfaction level of customers with a specific interaction or experience. It provides organizations with valuable insights into the quality of their products, services, or support, helping them identify areas for improvement and enhance overall customer experience. However, like any metric, CSAT has its advantages and limitations, which should be considered when incorporating it into a CX measurement strategy.

Scale of measurement

CSAT typically utilizes a simple rating scale, often ranging from 1 to 5 stars or similar formats. Customers are asked to express their satisfaction level based on their recent interaction, with higher ratings indicating greater satisfaction and vice versa. This straightforward scale allows for quick and easy feedback collection, enabling organizations to assess customer sentiment efficiently.

How to calculate CSAT

To calculate CSAT, the total number of positive responses (e.g., ratings of 4 or 5 stars) is divided by the total number of responses received, multiplied by 100 to express the result as a percentage. For example, if out of 100 survey respondents, 80 rated their satisfaction as either 4 or 5 stars, the CSAT score would be 80%.

What is a good CSAT score?

A good CSAT score typically varies depending on industry standards, customer expectations, and specific business objectives. Generally, a CSAT score above 70% is considered satisfactory, indicating a high level of customer satisfaction. However, it's essential to establish benchmark scores relevant to your industry and consistently monitor performance against these benchmarks to gauge success and identify areas for improvement.

When to send CSAT surveys

CSAT surveys should be strategically deployed after significant customer interactions or touchpoints, such as after a purchase, customer support interaction, or onboarding process. For example, an e-commerce retailer may send CSAT surveys immediately after a customer completes a purchase, while a software company may solicit feedback after a customer support ticket is resolved. Timing is crucial to capture the customer's sentiment while the experience is fresh in their minds.

What do CSAT measurements indicate?

CSAT measurements offer valuable insights into the specific aspects of the customer experience that require attention or improvement. They indicate the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a particular interaction, allowing organizations to identify trends, patterns, and pain points. Whether it's product quality, service responsiveness, or overall usability, CSAT measurements provide actionable feedback to drive continuous improvement initiatives and enhance customer satisfaction.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) deep dive

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric widely used to measure customer loyalty and gauge overall brand advocacy. It provides organizations with insights into customers' likelihood to recommend their products or services to others, serving as a key indicator of business growth and success. 

Scale of measurement

NPS utilizes a single question with a 0-10 point scale to assess customer sentiment. Respondents are categorized into three groups based on their ratings: promoters (score 9-10), passives (score 7-8), and detractors (score 0-6). This scale allows organizations to segment customers according to their likelihood to recommend and derive actionable insights from the distribution of responses.

How to calculate NPS

To calculate NPS, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The resulting score can range from -100 (if all respondents are detractors) to +100 (if all respondents are promoters). 

What is a good NPS score?

A good NPS score varies across industries and depends on various factors such as customer expectations and competitive landscape. The AskNicely Benchmark Study provides valuable insights into industry-specific NPS benchmarks, enabling organizations to benchmark their performance and set realistic goals for improvement.

When to send NPS surveys

NPS surveys should be strategically deployed at key touchpoints along the customer journey to capture comprehensive feedback. Ideal times to send NPS surveys include after a purchase, following a customer support interaction, or post-service delivery. By timing surveys effectively, organizations can gather feedback when the customer experience is most salient, ensuring accurate and actionable insights.

What do NPS measurements indicate?

NPS measurements offer holistic insights into overall customer sentiment and brand advocacy. They indicate customers' likelihood to recommend the company's products or services to others, serving as a proxy for loyalty and satisfaction. Additionally, NPS measurements reveal trends in customer sentiment over time, enabling organizations to track performance, identify areas for improvement, and drive strategic initiatives to enhance customer loyalty and business growth.

CSAT vs NPS: Which is better?

In the debate between Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), it's crucial to understand that neither metric is inherently "better" than the other. Instead, their effectiveness depends on the specific objectives, context, and nature of the business. CSAT and NPS are complementary, not competing, metrics, each offering unique insights into different aspects of the customer experience.

When CSAT might be more suitable

Transactional interactions: CSAT is particularly useful for measuring satisfaction with specific transactional interactions, such as post-purchase experiences or customer support interactions. For example, an e-commerce company may use CSAT to evaluate customer satisfaction with the checkout process or delivery experience.

Immediate feedback needs: When organizations require immediate feedback to address specific issues or improve operational processes, CSAT surveys offer timely insights. For instance, a hospitality chain might utilize CSAT surveys to gather feedback from guests during their stay to promptly address any concerns and enhance their experience.

When NPS might be more suitable

Overall brand perception: NPS excels in gauging overall brand sentiment and customer loyalty, making it suitable for assessing long-term customer relationships. For example, a software company may use NPS to measure customer loyalty and advocacy, indicating the likelihood of customers to recommend their product to others.

Strategic decision-making: NPS provides strategic insights into customer loyalty trends over time, enabling organizations to make informed decisions about resource allocation, product development, and marketing strategies. For instance, a telecommunications provider might use NPS trends to identify areas for service improvement and prioritize investments accordingly.

While CSAT and NPS offer valuable insights independently, combining both metrics can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the customer experience. By leveraging CSAT to capture transactional feedback and NPS to assess overall brand advocacy, organizations gain a holistic view of customer satisfaction and loyalty. This integrated approach enables businesses to identify actionable insights at both the micro and macro levels, driving continuous improvement and fostering long-term customer relationships.

CSAT and NPS survey best practice

Implementing best practices throughout the survey process is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of CSAT and NPS surveys. From survey preparation to feedback analysis and driving continuous improvements, following established guidelines ensures meaningful insights and actionable outcomes.

  • Keep surveys concise and easy to complete to maximize response rates: It's essential to design surveys that are brief, straightforward, and user-friendly to encourage higher participation rates. Complex or lengthy surveys may deter respondents, leading to lower response rates and potentially biased feedback.

  • Leverage multiple channels: Utilizing a variety of communication channels, such as email, SMS, and in-app notifications, allows organizations to reach customers across different touchpoints and preferences. By diversifying survey delivery methods, businesses can increase survey visibility and engagement, capturing feedback from a broader audience.

  • Segment responses to gain deeper insights: Analyzing survey responses based on demographic information, product/service usage, or other relevant variables enables organizations to uncover nuanced insights and tailor strategies accordingly. By segmenting responses, businesses can identify trends, preferences, and pain points specific to different customer segments, guiding targeted improvement efforts.

  • Act on feedback promptly to demonstrate that customer voices are heard: Responding promptly to customer feedback signals a commitment to customer satisfaction and reinforces trust and loyalty. Prompt action may involve resolving issues, implementing suggested improvements, or communicating changes based on customer input, fostering a culture of responsiveness and continuous improvement.

  • Close the loop by informing customers of actions taken based on their feedback: Closing the feedback loop involves communicating with customers to acknowledge their input, share insights gained, and outline actions taken in response to their feedback. This proactive communication demonstrates accountability, reinforces the value of customer feedback, and strengthens the customer-business relationship.

For additional insights and guidance on enhancing the overall customer experience, explore these general customer experience tips from industry leaders. Incorporating these best practices into CSAT and NPS survey initiatives can drive meaningful improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business success.

How AskNicely can help

At AskNicely, we understand the importance of collecting (and acting on) customer feedback and measuring both Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to drive continuous improvement in customer experience. Our customer experience software platform offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline feedback collection, analysis, and action, empowering teams to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty effectively.

  • Leverage multiple channels: With AskNicely, teams can deploy customizable email, web, and SMS customer feedback surveys, reaching customers across various communication channels to maximize survey engagement and response rates.

  • Segment responses: AskNicely's Team Analytics feature enables teams to slice and dice feedback effortlessly, comparing locations, branches, and identifying trends that require immediate action. With actionable insights at their fingertips, teams can prioritize improvement efforts and drive meaningful change.

  • Act on feedback: Easily integrate customer feedback into your CRM and business intelligence tools with AskNicely's seamless integrations. By centralizing feedback data, teams can gain deeper insights and streamline decision-making processes. Discover our integrations.

  • AskNicelyTV: Gamify customer service and boost team performance with AskNicelyTV, a real-time dashboard displaying up-to-date NPS and CSAT scores. By visualizing performance metrics, individuals and teams can track their progress and take proactive steps to improve customer satisfaction in real-time.

  • Close the loop: Respond faster to customer feedback with AskNicely's built-in response, escalation, and workflow management tools. By closing the feedback loop promptly, teams demonstrate responsiveness and commitment to addressing customer concerns, fostering trust and loyalty.

Ready to see our platform in action? Book a demo today and discover how AskNicely can help your business unlock the full potential of customer feedback to drive growth and success.

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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