How to measure transactional NPS

Pick a customer and imagine it’s the only one you have. Your first or your best – it doesn’t matter.

With only one customer, you can afford the time to invest in understanding their motivations and be responsive to changing needs. But what do you focus upon the most – the overall relationship or the transactional experience?

That’s a crucial question for anyone who wants to grow their business and add more customers, while retaining their existing base. It goes to the heart of developing a template for managing and optimizing how well you’re doing; how happy you’re making them.

Thinking in terms of a sole customer – one that is critical to 100% of your revenue – should encourage you to consider what else you could be doing to improve your current approach to NPS. What could you be measuring better?

When NPS papers over the cracks

Net Promotor Score (NPS) is rightly championed as a useful metric for customer satisfaction because it’s one of the few consistently measureable ways of charting genuinely positive customer attitudes toward your brand.

Because of the way they are collected, and their relatively infrequent cadence, NPS scores are typically all about showing the impact of your relationship efforts at a given point in time.

This ‘relationship NPS’ is distinct from the concept of measuring how the customer feels about transacting with you on a day-to-day basis; so-called ‘transactional NPS’.

The latter is important because transactional interactions (rather than contractual ones) are often driven by pain points such as the need to access urgent support, return a product, or submit a claim.

It is these that define the prevailing impression that customers hold about your brand. How you performed when you weren’t touting for their business. How you performed when it really mattered.

Day-to-day mundanities impact the lion’s share of lifetime value

This approach clearly applies to B2C, but also B2B. Take the real-world example of a major internet service provider and their measurement of NPS among major enterprise customers (banks, retailers, local government institutions etc.).

For them, NPS is an annual or semi-annual event, and the business focus is upon how strong the relationship is with the principal decision maker at each customer. This is perfectly logical, given how commercially disastrous it could be for the service provider if any decision makers somehow felt unloved or left to harbor negative vibes.

But what’s missing is an NPS measurement for the daily levels of service and interaction that fall way under the radar of the service provider’s relationship with the customer decision maker.

And we’ve all seen it before, right? How a customer that everyone thought was stable and happy (because the relationship was so strong) suddenly terminates their contract – and you find out later that it’s because their 10 staff you deal with on a day-to-day basis all think your service stinks.

The golden rule: make it easy for customers to give their NPS score

If you want to know how to measure transactional NPS, then look no further than the obstacles that currently prevent a fluid and continuous ability to understand your customers. Removing these enables you to get feedback from the heart of your customer interactions.

Net Promoter Score survey

The objective is not entirely self-serving. By tapping into the entire lifetime of your customer engagements, you have the opportunity to enhance everything about your service – and increase the lifetime value of each customer as a result.

This is directly beneficial to the customers who participate in your ongoing transactional NPS evaluation. The trick is to minimise the effort required, and make the feedback triggers a natural part of their customer journey.

At the end of the day, NPS is supposed to be about understanding and heightening customer loyalty, and that simply isn’t possible without holding both relationship and transactional NPS in an appropriate balance.

The precise mixture will differ for every organization, and may even need to be tweaked over time; potentially in line with the maturity of each customer. So try adding transactional NPS to your CSAT metrics. You could start with that one customer you were imagining, then grow the success across your business.

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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