Transactional NPS vs Relationship NPS

Philip Cleave
May 30, 2022
Transactional experience in motion as man tries to pay with app on smartphone

When it comes to business success, one of the most important aspects is your relationship with your customers. If that relationship is good, they’re happy and you’re providing what they want, they’re likely to remain loyal and keep buying from you. If not, they could decide to take their business elsewhere.

So, you need to find out where you stand with your customers and be clear what you need to improve.

One of the best ways of achieving this is to use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). You can examine this methodology in further detail by exploring how your customers feel about you from a transactional and relationship point of view. However, you need to understand the basics of NPS first before examining Transactional NPS and Relationship NPS in more depth.

What is Net Promoter Score?

When we refer Net Promoter Score, we’re essentially talking about a metric that can be used to measure or gage an individual’s customer satisfaction and loyalty towards a company.

You can calculate it by asking your customer the NPS question:

“On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our company/product/service to a colleague or friend?” where scores between (0-6) will be your NPS detractors, scores between (7-8) your NPS passives and scores between (9-10) your NPS promoters.

The Net Promoter Score can be calculated using the net promoter score formula. This helps you work out the difference between your proportion of promoters and detractors. You should be left with a score of between -100 and 100.

It’s easy to calculate a relatively small dataset by simply subtracting the number of detractors from the number of promoters. This leaves you with a positive or negative number. You would then need to divide that answer by your total number of survey responses and multiply that by 100.

The number you are left with, rounded to the nearest whole number, should be between 100 and –100.

For larger data sets you can quickly get the answer you need by using our handy free NPS calculator.

Generally, the higher your score the more desirable it is.

What is Relationship NPS?

Having examined the basics of NPS, we’re ready to explore specific aspects of NPS – the first being Relationship Net Promoter Score.

Relationship NPS (also known as Relational NPS) is essentially focused on finding out how your customers feel about your organization overall. This metric provides you with a high-level view of customer satisfaction and loyalty, offering a good health check of your brand and valuable data you can use to measure it and compare how you are improving year-on-year.

Relationship NPS uses

When it comes to issuing a Relationship NPS survey, they are ideal in helping you to

  • Measure the overall perception of your organization
  • Get a benchmark against internal or external NPS data
  • Better understand your customer loyalty

Who should receive your Relationship NPS survey?

This will depend on the goals of your survey program and level of feedback you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a broad picture, you’ll want to survey all your customers. However, if you want to find out the views of specific groups, you’ll want to employ a more focused sample.

For example, while you’re less likely to survey repeat customers, given the fact that they keep coming back, which would indicate that they’re happy with what you’re delivering, you may want to survey non-repeat customers. This can give you a better insight into what the latter group is feeling and what you need to improve to get them returning and buying again.

Best time to send a Relationship NPS survey

The Relationship Net Promoter Score survey is great way for getting a top-level overview of the relationship you have with your customers. So, if you’re to get the most value from this process, you need to be looking to issue your NPS surveys at regular intervals.

While there are no hard and firm rules on this, think about sending them monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. See also: When to send NPS surveys.

What is Transactional NPS?

Although it uses the same survey methodology, Transactional NPS also looks to address customer satisfaction by exploring customer feelings at a more granular level.

Compared to the more general approach of Relational NPS, the questions in a Transactional NPS survey look to address specific customer interactions with your brand, whether that’s because of a sales, customer support, or even a website experience. The aim is to give you immediate, actionable feedback, which you can use to improve and optimize different touchpoints throughout the customer lifecycle. It also provides every department with a benchmark metric from which it can base future actions against.

Transactional NPS uses

The Transactional NPS is ideal when you want to:

  • Identify strengths or weaknesses within different customer interactions
  • Create individual metrics for different teams
  • Identify actionable insights at a transactional level

Best time to send a Transactional NPS survey

Given the many customer touchpoints that combine to make up the customer experience, it’s not hard to envisage the many instances where the capture and analysis of Transactional NPS data can be hugely valuable.

New customer

By collecting NPS data from new customers you’re quickly able to assess how well they’re rating your onboarding process

Customer support

One of the most common uses of NPS is to issue an NPS question to customers immediately after they’ve been in touch with one of your customer service or support agents to get their views on the experience they’ve just received

Following a purchase

Similarly, by issuing an NPS survey a week or two after your customer has taken delivery of your goods or services, you’re able to get a feel about your customer’s satisfaction with your product, your delivery process and any installation work you may have done

Transactional vs Relationship, what’s best for customer experience?

Having provided an overview of these two different types of NPS, you should now have a better idea of their benefits and when to use them.

However, if you’re wondering which type is best for your customer experience, then the answer is both. This is because each focuses on their own distinct area.

While a Relationship Net Promoter Score survey will give you a better overall idea of customer loyalty a Transactional NPS survey will help determine the quality of a specific service or product.

Therefore, if you only used Transactional NPS surveys, you would be well informed about which customers were most at risk of churn but missing out on the opportunity of identifying your most loyal customers. The opposite would be true if you only used Relational NPS surveys.

So, if you want to get a bigger and more comprehensive picture of your customer experience it pays to combine both approaches.


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