- CSAT and NPS are two of the most important CX and customer support metrics
- CSAT measures how satisfied customers are with a business, interaction or feature.
- NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend your platform, product or service to friends, family and acquaintances.
- CSAT and NPS both share certain similarities, such as the fact that they are both numerical scales and measured using surveys.
- NPS is relational, while CSAT can be both transactional and relational.
- While customer support teams ultimately own CSAT, it's a little bit harder to pin down who owns NPS. Is it product, customer success, customer support or all three?
NPS and CSAT are some of the most common customer support metrics to track, but it isn’t always obvious what the differences between the two are. We’ll take you through those differences in this article.
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The similarities between NPS and CSAT
NPS and CSAT are sometimes confused with each other because they both fall under the broad category of CX metrics.
They also track similar things with the aim of improving customer experiences and, consequently, retention rates.
Some of their similarities are:
- They’re both numerical scales.
- A lot of the time, both NPS and CSAT are one-question surveys.
- They both track some aspect of customer satisfaction, although CSAT does it more directly than NPS.
- Both are important in order to reduce churn and increase retention.
The differences between NPS and CSAT
Though NPS and CSAT share the similarities as we've noted above, they are very different metrics, measure different things, and serve different purposes.
While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the main differences between CSAT and NPS:
- NPS is primarily a relationship-study metric, meaning it reflects how customers or users feel about a product on the whole. I
- NPS is very rarely used to measure individual interactions.
- CSAT can be both a relationship-study metric (How happy are you with our product?) or a transactional metric (How happy were you with your most recent support experience with us?)
- NPS is a long-term metric
- CSAT can be both a long-term metric and a short-term metric
- Customer support teams ultimately own CSAT
- Customer support, product and customer success teams can own NPS
How to use CSAT vs NPS
Since these metrics can overlap if they aren't thought out carefully enough, it's important to be very explicit in your goals when you set out to measure either CSAT or NPS (or both).
Some things to keep in mind here are:
- Make a plan: what exactly are you trying to measure here and why? Put it down on paper to make it easier to differentiate the two.
- Figure out if you are trying to gather relational or transactional information: Depending on which you decide to measure, you'll need to send out either a CSAT survey (applicable to both relational or transactional situations) or an NPS survey (broadly applicable only to relational situations).
- Determine what kinds of questions you should ask: CSAT and NPS measure different things, so it stands to reason that the questions you need to ask for each are also different. Want to find out if your customers are generally happy with your service? That's a CSAT question. What to find out if your customers are turning into brand evangelists? That's a question best put in an NPS survey.
Who owns NPS and CSAT?
Confused about which business functions or teams own CSAT and NPS? We don't blame you! These metrics are so crucial to the success of your business that really, you should be keeping an eye on them company-wide.
However, when it comes to which team ultimately owns these metrics, there are some broad generalizations that are helpful:
- Your customer support team ought to take responsibility for your CSAT score.
- Your product, customer support and customer success teams ought to take responsibility for NPS given its relational nature and the fact that both product experiences and general customer experiences can influence it.
Which is better: NPS or CSAT?
CSAT and NPS are both important metrics if you want a well-rounded view of your business!
While CSAT is better for more targeted, short-term data, NPS can tell you a whole lot about how happy your customers are about your product or service as a whole.
Are CSAT and NPS outdated?
Recently, there have been some naysayers who claim both CSAT and NPS are outdated. The argument — especially in the case of NPS — seems to come down to the fact that while both metrics can give you an indication of whether you're doing something right or wrong, they don't tell you what exactly that something is — or how to fix it, if it turns out it's bad.
We don't fully agree with this assessment: while NPS and CSAT are limited by their very nature, you want them to be! They're meant to measure very specific things. And no one's saying you should use these two metrics in isolation! In fact, we've already covered 15 other support metrics, and each of them can be measured to tell you different things about your business and its processes.
Put them together and what do you get?
A well-rounded picture with as much detail as you want!
In addition to that, most CSAT and NPS surveys do leave room for open-ended questions if you're looking for more specific feedback. You just have to learn how to write a great one that customers will respond to.
NPS vs CSAT: The Breakdown
What is NPS?
NPS, or Net Promoter Score, measures how likely a customer is to recommend your product or service to someone else.
It allows you to gauge this by asking your customers one simple question: how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague on a scale of 1 to 10?
Depending on how they answer, you can predict with a high degree of accuracy how likely they are to stick around.
Here’s a breakdown of the scores:
0 to 6
Scores this low are a reliable indication of unhappy customers or detractors.
These can account for as much as 80% of negative word of mouth, which is something you want to avoid at all costs! Working to get these scores up is crucial to the long-term success of your business.
7 to 8
These scores fall somewhere in the ‘meh, it’s okay but I don’t know for sure that I would recommend you’ range on the NPS scale.
These customers are somewhat satisfied with your product or service, but these scores indicate that there may be significant areas for you to improve upon.
9 to 10
Ding, ding, ding! You just found your brand evangelists or promoters!
These customers are extremely satisfied with your product or service, and would happily recommend you to their network. This is your sweet spot and it’s what you want to consistently work towards.
How to calculate NPS
To calculate your net promoter score, you’ll first need to calculate:
- The percentage of people who answered from 0 to 6 in your survey (detractors)
- The percentage of people who answered from 9 to 10 in your survey (promoters)
You’ll then need to subtract the percentage of promoters from the percentage of detractors to get your net promoter score.
Let's, say, for example, that in a recent survey of 100 people, 20 of them answered in the detractor range and 70 of them answered in the promoter range. This would give you an NPS of 50.
What is a good NPS score?
You’re probably wondering at this stage what a good NPS score to aim for is. Here are some broad benchmarks to aim for:
NPS score below 0
You’re in the bad place.
A score this low indicates that a majority of your customers are unhappy and extremely unlikely to recommend you to their network.
This should tell you that there are serious issues with your product — either technical or related to product-market fit. Without addressing the root causes behind scores this low, you’re likely facing down high churn and low retention rates.
NPS score between 0 to 30
This is a decent score to have and indicates that more customers than not are likely to recommend you to their network.
However, scores in this range still indicate that you have a ways to go, so make sure you are improving your product or service, and consistently re-evaluating and improving your customer support.
NPS score between 30 to 70
Scores in this range are considered good and indicate you have far more happy customers than unhappy ones.
This means that most of them would happily recommend you to their friends and acquaintances, and that you have a healthy number of brand evangelists willing to go to bat for you.
NPS score over 70
You’ve made it! NPS scores over 70 are extremely good and indicate that most of your clientele is happy, satisfied and loyal.
You should see very high retention and referral rates, and very low churn rates as a result, so pat yourself on the back! But remember not to get complacent — NPS is not a static score and you need to constantly work to improve or maintain it.
How often should you measure NPS?
This really depends on your industry and product, but measuring your NPS on a consistent basis is important to make sure your rankings are not slipping.
We think sending out this survey at least once every quarter is a good starting point.
What is CSAT?
CSAT or Customer Satisfaction Score measures how satisfied your customers are with a business, feature, or interaction.
As with NPS, CSAT is often a short survey featuring one simple question (or some iteration of it): how satisfied were you with your recent experience?
The scoring system varies and can be anything from the usual 1 to 5 (or 10) rating, to a star rating, to a list of emoticons your customers can react with.
But be warned!
This last option is the most subjective and can often make it difficult to measure exactly what your CSAT score is. After all, what do 🙌 and 😠 average out to?
We’re not sure, so tread cautiously!
Assuming you go with the more traditional 1 to 5 rating system, here’s a quick score breakdown:
0 to 2
Scores in this range indicate that a customer was not satisfied with the product, feature, or recent interaction. If you’re consistently scoring in this range, something needs changing. Continuing down this road leads only to high churn and low retention.
A score of 3 indicates that a customer was either neutral about a product, feature, or interaction, or was unsure how they felt about it. This isn’t cause for immediate concern, but if you don’t work to bring this score up, it could spell trouble down the road.
4 to 5
This range indicates satisfied customers and is what you’re aiming to achieve every time!
Wondering how to get to CSAT scores this high? We recently put together a list of actionable steps you can take to improve your onboarding, which is fundamental to the success and adoption of your SaaS product.
How to calculate CSAT
In order to calculate CSAT:
- Add up the total number of responses with a 4 or 5 score
- Add up the total number of responses across all scores
- Divide the total number of 4 and 5 responses by the total number of responses
- Multiply that by 100 to arrive at the percentage.
For example, let’s say you sent out 100 surveys and received 50 responses that were either a 4 or a 5. You would then have to divide 50 by 100 and multiply that number by 100, which would give you a CSAT score of 50%
We've covered how to calculate CSAT in more detail before, so make sure to check that out for resources like an Excel sheet and handy tips about how to benchmark your score.
What is a good CSAT score?
Have you calculated your CSAT but have no idea what the results mean? We’ve got you covered.
CSAT scores vary widely across industries, so for this breakdown, we’ll concentrate on the SaaS industry.
For more industry averages, a good resource to check out our CSAT benchmarks by industry article.
CSAT scores between 0% to 40%
CSAT scores this low indicate that a majority of your customers are very unsatisfied with your product, feature, or customer service.
You’ll need to go back to the drawing board and figure out the reasons the scores were this low and then work to implement improvements.
However, as painful as this is to see, low scores actually present an opportunity for reflection and course correction. Negative feedback is almost always more valuable than positive feedback, so you may want to consider reaching out to the customers who left negative ratings and ask for more information.
CSAT scores between 40% to 60%
These scores indicate a decent CSAT, with some room for improvement.
You may find a lot of value in personally reaching out to the users who left these scores on your recent survey to solicit more concrete feedback.
You should then share this feedback with your product team (this is crucial!) so they can turn it into actionable steps for product or feature improvement.
CSAT scores from 60% to 80%
These scores indicate good customer satisfaction.
They’re also standard for many industries, but of course this depends on the type of industry you are in.
While there are no concrete benchmarks for the SaaS industry in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, they do include a CSAT average for computer software, which is similar.
That number is reportedly 77, so anything around or above that is a good CSAT score to aim for in SaaS.
CSAT scores above 80%
These scores are indicative of excellent customer satisfaction!
If you’re managing to consistently keep your scores this high, congratulations, you’re doing well!
Now you just have to maintain them, so make sure to regularly send out surveys to make sure that your scores aren’t slipping.
How often should you send out CSAT surveys?
As with NPS surveys, how often you should send out CSAT surveys really depends on your industry.
For SaaS, we recommend that you send out a survey each time you have a feature release or significant update to your product's UI. You can also send out CSAT surveys after each customer support ticket has been resolved so your customer support agents can keep up with how they're performing individually and as a collective unit.
Fullview was made to destroy silos between customer support and product teams precisely so valuable user feedback from CSAT and NPS surveys doesn’t get lost in translation. Sign up to give it a go or book a demo so we can show you around.