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Learn why transactional NPS (tNPS) surveys are valuable for your business and when it’s appropriate to use them.

Two people looking at a table screen, next to screenshots of tables and charts

The Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a powerful measure of how customers feel about your business. Your NPS score is an excellent measure of your customer loyalty, which directly impacts your profitability and growth potential. In fact, research by Bain & Company has found that companies with industry-leading NPS scores outgrow their competitors by more than double. 

But there’s more than one kind of NPS survey, and knowing which ones to use in certain scenarios will help you get a better, holistic view of your overall customer experience and loyalty. 

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about transactional NPS surveys—what tNPS is, how to use these surveys, and where they fit into your customer experience strategy. 

Transactional NPS® (tNPS) is a specific kind of survey that measures NPS feedback at a granular level after a customer completes a transaction with your business. This could be a purchase, a customer service call, a visit to your store, or any other specific event in the customer journey. (We’ll cover all the potential uses of the tNPS survey below.) 

The NPS question is very flexible—it can be adapted to fit many situations so you can clearly see every aspect of your customer experience. Use tNPS surveys to better understand your customer data and measure how customers feel after interacting with some part of your business. 

tNPS is based on one simple question: How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?  Customers answer on a scale from 0-10, and the responses are then sorted into promoters (those who respond with a 9 or 10), passives (7 or 8), and detractors (6 or below). 

What you’re looking for here is the ratio between the different types of customers to understand how happy your customers are with their interaction with your business. To calculate tNPS, simply take the percentage of promoters and subtract the percentage of detractors. Passive answers are not factored into this equation. 

tNPS = % of promoters - % of detractors

You’ll get a score that ranges from -100 to +100. So, for example, if an interaction had 50% promoters, 25% passive, and 25% detractors, your tNPS will be 50% - 25% = 25

Relational NPS, also known as brand NPS or just NPS, is a measure of how your customers feel about your organization as a whole. Relational NPS helps you get a pulse on how your customers perceive your brand and understand your overall customer loyalty. This is a valuable metric to measure quarter over quarter (and year over year), and benchmark against others in your industry.  

On the other hand, transactional NPS is focused on customer satisfaction in a specific scenario–like after they’ve made a purchase or submitted a ticket to customer support. This gives your teams direct feedback on very specific issues, allows you to measure your team's effectiveness in terms of customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, optimize each touchpoint to enhance the customer experience at every stage of the customer journey. 

Using transactional NPS surveys at the right time can give you a better idea of how satisfied and loyal your customers are after interacting with your brand. 

You should use tNPS surveys to identify your business’s strengths or weaknesses in customer experiences and interactions. You can use those strengths to shore up other areas of the business, find promoters to feature in your testimonials, or suggest they share their recent excellent experience on a review site. And, of course, you can use tNPS feedback to find features of your products or customer service that your buyers love and highlight those features in your next marketing campaign.  

Two main types of feedback are excellent uses for the tNPS survey. 

Gathering feedback after a transaction can be extremely valuable data. For example, if you want to understand how the experience of making an online purchase, paying a bill, or visiting a store is for your customers, send a tNPS survey immediately after.

You’ll need to send the tNPS survey right after they complete the transaction. This helps your customers give feedback while the experience is still very fresh in their minds so that they can offer an accurate and honest opinion.

Pro-tip: Connect SurveyMonkey to your CRM and send automatic surveys when customers complete specific actions you want their opinions on.

Not all tNPS feedback needs to be immediate, however. You can also send transactional NPS surveys to customers on a time delay when you are looking for ways to improve the customer experience. For example, if you’re looking to improve your products or services, a tNPS survey sent a week or two after they start using your product or service can give you actionable insight. 

When capturing this type of feedback, you don’t necessarily want to send a tNPS survey immediately after a customer has purchased a product or service. If you do, they will probably only have unpacked the product or just gotten the service. That’s not enough time to gauge how much they like and use the product and any specific problems they have experienced. 

Likewise, if you’re surveying customers about a service you provide, they may not have seen its full value right after receiving it. Instead, depending on the type of service, you might wait a week or longer before you send them a tNPS survey to get a more accurate understanding of how they feel about their purchase. This is another area where creating automatic triggers for survey sends can be helpful so you don’t miss a valuable opportunity for feedback. 

There are many types of tNPS surveys you can send to your customers, and each can help you gain different kinds of feedback to improve the customer experience. 

What all of these transactional NPS survey types have in common is that they specifically mention a transaction or interaction. Instead of asking a general question about their likelihood of recommending your company as a whole, you should ask them how likely they are to promote your business after their most recent purchase or customer service call. That way, you’re being direct about the connection between their recent touchpoint and their feelings about your business. 

You can send tNPS surveys about nearly any interaction your business has with customers, if you desire. But if you’re looking for the most common types of tNPS surveys, here are a few examples to inspire you. 

There are several aspects of the purchase process that can increase or decrease customer satisfaction with your business. Online shopping carts are often abandoned because of technical issues on your website or bugs in the check-out process, and that can hurt your bottom line. 

Even if the purchase process is successful, customers may have feedback to offer on the process itself that could be valuable for increasing your conversion and satisfaction rates. Sending out a tNPS survey on these interactions can help find any pain points in the purchase process you could fix. 

When customers have a question or problem, they will turn to your customer service team to help them answer or solve it. If your customer service experience doesn’t help them resolve things quickly and efficiently, it will decrease customer satisfaction. 

Knowing where the pain points in your customer service experience are can help you make improvements that keep customers loyal and happy–even when they have an issue with your products or services. Sending a tNPS survey right after a customer service interaction helps identify these pain points so that you can resolve them quickly.  

Once customers have made a purchase and are using your product, they will certainly have opinions about how much they enjoy using it and whether it has small (or significant) flaws. This kind of real-life feedback helps your product team ensure you’re selling only the highest-quality products, and that they meet your customers' needs. 

Be sure to send these kinds of tNPS surveys at least a week after the product purchase, if not longer. You want to ensure that customers have had time to use the product so you’re getting the most accurate and well-rounded feedback. 

Getting your new customers comfortable with your services or products you sell can be a process. How well are you making that process as simple and clear as possible? Sending a tNPS survey to new customers after they’ve been onboarded can help you find out. 

Perhaps you need to add more self-help resources or customer service options to get customers set up. Or maybe there’s a bug in the implementation process that multiple users are frustrated with. You won’t know until you begin asking customers how it went with a tNPS survey after they get set up. 

Providing a positive experience within your physical stores is also important for keeping customers satisfied, even if they don’t make a purchase. You can set up your survey system to send out a quick tNPS survey after a customer visits a store, and this is even easier if you have a geolocation system set up through a mobile app. 

Your website is often customers' first impression of your business—it’s like your online welcome mat. Make sure it’s having a positive impact by sending out tNPS surveys to at least some of your website visitors to see how they enjoy the experience. 

Surveys about the user experience on your website are vital when you’re thinking about a design overhaul, or if you’re changing a lot of things in the layout or function of your site. tNPS surveys can help you gather feedback about what customers want from your site, how they feel about new changes, and what they’d like to see. 

Now that you know some of the many ways you can use tNPS surveys for your business, what are the benefits of doing so? What’s the payoff for setting up a system to send out tNPS surveys?

There’s plenty of real value in the relational NPS survey, showing you customer opinions over a long period. The same goes for other customer satisfaction metrics like Customer Effort Score (CES) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). But what if you want to know how customers are feeling right after interacting with your company? 

Then only tNPS surveys will do. You can find out exactly how customers feel in the minutes after a purchase, customer service call, or website visit. 

What makes your customers highly loyal to—and satisfied with—your business? Knowing this means you can create even more exceptional customer experiences that target exactly what your customers value. tNPS surveys can help you pinpoint these drivers of customer satisfaction so you can replicate them in other areas and use them in your marketing as well. 

NPS surveys will help you determine if your customers are satisfied and loyal. Adding key driver questions to your surveys will help you discover why your customers are satisfied and loyal. To identify key drivers, you’ll need to add some follow-up questions that dig into the key attributes of your brand (like price, value, ease of use, etc) and ask the respondent to rate you in each of these categories.

What makes your customers go from being passives to promoters? What kinds of experiences change them from promoters to detractors? Finding the answers to these questions can significantly improve customer retention and satisfaction. And tNPS surveys help you do just that. 

By honing in on specific touchpoints in the customer journey, you can find any pain points that are dropping satisfaction rates. You can also find spots where you’re winning over customers by exceeding their expectations. All this knowledge is vital when designing your customer experience strategy

If your NPS score is lower than you anticipated, or simply lower than you’d like, you will want to find the exact pain points dragging your score down. It’s not enough to know your NPS score—you also need to know what you need to do better and how to take action on it. 

And your tNPS surveys will help you pinpoint what’s going wrong in the customer journey so you can fix it. If you’re just guessing what’s driving customer dissatisfaction, there’s a good chance you’ll get it wrong—so rely instead on the accurate data tNPS surveys give you. 

Tracking and monitoring customer satisfaction and loyalty is no easy task—there’s not one single survey that will give you an accurate view of the big picture. But tNPS surveys are an important part of your overall customer feedback program. They help you focus on specific customer interactions and how they impact the overall customer experience—and you should add them to your Voice of Customer (VoC) program today. 

Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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