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Different Types Of NPS – Why And When To Use Them

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All of us have, at some point, received a text or email survey from our favorite service provider asking 

How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”. 

People across industries know this as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. As we all know, this score calculates the likelihood of customers promoting your business by way-of-mouth. Furthermore, it is a powerful metric that has evolved over the last decade. And is now a key business measure predicting and managing revenue growth.  

You can read more about the NPS question and how it is calculated here.

However, there are 3 fundamentally different types of NPS measures that are designed for actionability and insights at different levels. Surprisingly, these differences are not obvious and can be misunderstood as being the same score.  

What are the types of NPS, and which suits your purpose best?

Evidently, NPS measurements are versatile. Hence can be used in different scenarios to measure how likely customers (internal & external) are to recommend. And also what they are ‘basing’ this recommendation on.   

Relationship or Brand NPS:

Firstly, this kind of NPS is a useful tool for measuring customer sentiment, loyalty, and advocacy towards your brand. It can help you understand the level of brand loyalty and advocacy among your customer base, regardless of the products or services you offer. Companies often share their NPS number in their annual reports and use it as a benchmark for comparing their brand with their competitors. However, it’s important to note that the NPS number doesn’t necessarily identify the specific experience that influenced the customers’ perception, such as a particular customer service call or product experience. Additionally, the NPS survey is sent at periodic intervals, such as quarterly, without a specific experience trigger.   

Another example, this is typically what a school would send out to parents annually or an airline to members of their loyalty program once a quarter to understand if brand loyalty has shifted.

Transactional NPS:

Secondly, this NPS survey focuses on a single interaction with the customer triggers after the interaction completes. This type of survey typically follows an independent experience, such as talking to a customer service representative or ordering from an online store. Similarly, after taking a particular flight, this survey may conduct.

The Transactional NPS survey is highly actionable, providing insights that drive continuous improvements in customer experience. For instance, if an airline scores lower on the NPS survey for a particular route, the airline can improve the service for that specific experience to match customer expectations. Similarly, if the organization observes that customer service in the contact center scores lower on the NPS survey at a particular time of the week, they can look to train the staff or increase staffing during that specific time.

Transactional NPS scores provide the highest level of granularity for action and insights, making them the most effective form of NPS measurement.

Episodic NPS:

Finally, this NPS survey measures the experience after fulfilling a single customer need or want, which may involve multiple customer interactions or touchpoints. For instance, when applying for a new internet connection at home, customers need to interact with the brand several times, and the survey is triggered when the entire journey is complete.

Additionaly, touchpoints in this journey include seeking information on the website, speaking to a representative, making the payment, and finally installation. All these touchpoints collectively make up the customer episode, such as getting a home connection. The survey measures the customer experience at the end of meeting that need, determining whether the brand created an advocate and whether the customer would recommend the service to others for fulfilling a particular need.

This type of episodic metric is the most mature and customer centric of all three NPS measures. It puts the focus on the customer episode / need rather that the various operational services in a company. 

Typically, companies also include a “Why?” question to follow the NPS rating. This is an open-ended question, providing a space for customers to elaborate on why they gave that score. The verbatim responses offer invaluable insights on how to improve the customer experience and/or what customers value within an experience. Allowing organizations to make investment decisions.


“Please tell us why you gave this score?”

“Is there anything we cane do to improve your experience?”

These insights are gold for executives and help them predict and prevent customer churn. Recurring themes may also flag the possible need for process change to be looked into to improve the customer experience (e.g. Not enough changing rooms in a store or poor usability of an e-commerce website). 

What does it measure? Measures -brand sentiment and advocacy Measures customer experience or a particular experience  Measures how well a particular customer need was met and whether we created a promoter or detractor in meeting this need.   
Frequency Predetermined time intervals, normally quarterly Triggered after the completion of a single experience  Triggered after meeting a particular customer need e.g., Loan settlement, Home internet connectivity 
Sample Question Based on our overall relationship, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague?  Based on your recent purchase at store X, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague?  Based on your recent request for a new internet connection, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague?   
  User examples Customers’ overall relationship with a Bank Schools relationship with parents  Commercial Property Owners with tenants   Ordering home-delivery  Talking to a customer representative in a contact centre Making a sales enquiry Resolving a customer complaint Completing a school enrolment  Requesting new internet connections  

Uses of NPS

NPS is a powerful methodology and has been adapted to not just measure Customer Experience, but also: 

  • Employee Experience – How likely your employees are to promote the company as a good-place-to-work 
  • B2B Experience – How satisfied your vendors or business partners are 
  • Product Experience -How satisfied users are with the product or product updates 
  • Service Experience – How satisfied your customers are with your service delivery 

It is no wonder that NPS surveys are now a driving force for growing companies, and most companies use multiple types of NPS surveys targeted at distinct internal and external stakeholders. Its insights afford managers with the potential to measure and improve multiple experiences and that is a gamechanger in driving customer growth and revenue.  

See how Resonate can help you utilise NPS programs within your business

Read more:

Top 5 business impacts of a successful NPS program
3 Must-do Strategies to Manage your NPS Program during COVID-19

Published on

Written by

Pallavi Jankiraman

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