CSAT vs NPS: Two Important Yet Often Confused Customer Service Metrics 

Cartoon CSAT.AI customer service dog with title CSAT vs NPS two important yet often confused customer service metrics

CSAT vs NPS: Two Important Yet Often Confused Customer Service Metrics 

Let’s put these two important metrics in perspective and understand why they are both measured. Here are 5 examples each of CSAT vs NPS®.

CSAT Measures Each Customer Experience 

Examples of this are: 

  • How satisfied a customer is with an online purchase experience
  • Quality of the customer’s interaction with a chatbot on a company site
  • Whether a product or service has met the customer’s expectation
  • Customer experience with an ad or interactive promotion
  • Experience using a brand website or purchasing platform

NPS Measures Customer Loyalty

This includes things like:

  • How the customer feels about a brand overall
  • Whether or not the customer would recommend a brand and to whom (strangers, friends, family)
  • The likelihood a customer would praise or criticize a brand publicly, on social media or in a review
  • How the customer sees a company as part of their lifestyle or not
  • If the customer would choose the brand over another even if the price is higher or accessibility is harder

It’s not a Battle of CSAT vs NPS, but CSAT and NPS Connected

CSAT influences NPS. It’s like all of the individual touches a customer has with a brand, their cumulative customer experience satisfaction, adds up to their overall impression of a brand. This impression factors into their actions toward a brand: upgrades, ongoing purchases, comments, recommendations, criticisms, feedback. 

How NPS and CSAT are Calculated

NPS is assessed across a scale of 1-10 and calculated to between -100 and 100 starting with the standard question: “How likely are you to recommend company X to your friends?”   

Ratings from 1-6 are considered negative and 7-8 neutral. Only ratings from 9-10 are considered positive.

From these ratings the NPS score is factored by taking the percentage of positive ratings and subtracting the negative ones. Ignore the neutrals. In NPS they don’t exist. 

This is why customer service agents push customers for a perfect score, and management wants that perfect score. A 7 or 8 may seem generous from the customer perspective, but for the NPS metric they are a dead zone. These ratings aren’t useless data as they mean those customers are close to giving 9s or 10s and they can skew a score. But that’s a subject for another post.

CSAT is assessed across a scale of 1- 5, with the focus on those responding 4-5 to the question “How satisfied are you with [whatever the experience being measured is]?”

The final percentage is assessed by dividing the number of positive respondents by the total number of those surveyed and multiplying that number times 100.

The Unattainable Search for Perfect Scores

Though companies push for top scores from customers to have great metrics, a perfect score is not attainable. The perfect score isn’t the main goal anyway. It’s having data that you can use to understand how your customers experience your brand and continually evolve that experience with them. 

This data helps you to prevent negative touches and learn from them. For every one bad experience there needs to be multiple positive ones to balance it out. Studies show that many customers will leave a brand after one bad experience. That’s why each touch matters. One horrendous experience may mean there is no opportunity to follow up with multiple great ones. 

Just like any relationship, getting a customer back after such a loss is harder than keeping them. Plus, customers are more apt to talk to other potential customers about a crappy experience than they are about a good one. 

But no news is not necessarily good news, because without knowing how your customers feel it’s impossible to meet their expectations. 

This is why it’s important for your business to track both CSAT and NPS (among other metrics) understanding that they impact each other.

For an even deeper dive into these two metrics, download our white paper here

Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.