Using CSAT and NPS Ratings to Gain a Complete View of Customer Perception

The CSAT survey and NPS rating are two of the most commonly used instruments to measure customer opinions. However, each is used for a specific purpose and capture different types of data.


CSAT measures customer satisfaction in relation to service received relative to a specific transaction or interaction. It can also be used to track changes in customer satisfaction as a result of new company initiatives such as training programs, policy modifications, or offerings. 

The CSAT measurement offers a holistic view of customer satisfaction expressed as a percentage between 0 and 100, with 100% representing complete customer satisfaction. CSAT is often determined by a single question in follow up surveys that ask one core question:

  • “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?”

Depending on how customers answer the core question, additional follow up questions can be utilized to ascertain specific areas of satisfaction or dissatisfaction (see Figure 1.0).

Customers are asked to rate each answer on a scale of 1-5 with:

  • 1: representing a customer that is very dissatisfied with the service provided;
  • 3: representing the trigger point for follow up. Any score of 3 or under automatically receives a follow up from manager of QA team member;
  • 5: representing a customer who is very satisfied with the service provided;
  • All surveys are then averaged for a cumulative CSAT score represented as a percentage between 0 and 100.

CSAT is generally used for two purposes:

  1. To develop a customer service baseline;
  2. To track changes in customer service against corporate initiatives.

In order to develop a customer service baseline, the CSAT is provided after every single call or customer interaction typically through IVR, email, or SMS. This will enable a company to:

  • Identify CSAT rating categorically by agent, product, or communication method;
  • Identify CSAT rating demographically by age, gender, or location;
  • Identify CSAT rating by offering based on product, service, demographics, or any combination thereof;
  • Develop an overall understanding of how satisfied customers are with the service they receive.

Once a baseline has been established, the CSAT can be used as an indicator of how new initiatives to the organization impact customer service by measuring deviations from the baseline. Once initiatives have been implemented, CSAT scores are measured after every call or interaction over the course of 3-6 months. The CSAT during the 3-6 month period are then compared to the baseline established earlier to determine any significant increases or decreases to customer satisfaction as a result of the initiative.


Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a standardized measure used to indicate the loyalty level of your customers.  The NPS measures not just customer satisfaction, but gauges whether customers are going to be avid brand promoters (loyal to your brand), passives (neutral to your brand), or brand detractors. It accomplishes this by asking one core question:

  • “How likely is it that you would recommend [Company] to a friend or colleague?”

Customers are asked to rate their answers on a 0-10 scale, which is divided into three categories based on how they answer the question:

  • Detractors (Company that is ranked 0-6 on a 1-10 scale)
  • Passives (Company that is ranked 7-8 on a 1-10 scale)
  • Promoters (Company that is ranked 9-10 on a 1-10 scale)

The NPS is a great management tool that is both easy to use and intuitive (see Figure 2.0). Responses to the question classify the level of loyalty for each customer while providing a baseline for follow up. Based on the response of each customer, the company can:

  • Benchmark current NPS rating by customer, product, communication method, or industry;
  • Track growth against organization and industry standards based on benchmark of NPS rating by customer and industry breakdown;
  • Solicit promoters for reviews;
  • Develop focus groups to evaluate product or service offering for their target audience;
  • Identify brand promoters, passives, and detractors categorically and demographically;
  • Allow for follow up to passives and detractors to promote greater brand loyalty;
  • Provide insight into need for product features, benefits, or communications revisions based on feedback and evaluations;
  • Provide the company similar language to use when referring to customers at the varying loyalty levels;
  • Provide detailed follow up plan for follow up based on levels of loyalty.

To truly make an NPS rating effective, it should be measured quarterly. Results can be segmented to depict loyalty measurements by customer and industry each quarter as well. Any movements or deviations from the previous quarter’s loyalty relating to customers or overall industry outlooks should be reported and handled appropriately.  

Which Should You Use?

CSAT, while a good measurement for customer satisfaction, is limited in the insight it can provide to the specific transaction that the survey is asking about. Additionally, the method does not take into account that many mildly satisfied or dissatisfied customers tend to forgo participating in such surveys. It also fails to differentiate certain factors that contribute to customer satisfaction such as value, quality, price, how closely the expectations of the customer are met, or how valued the customer feels at the end of the transaction. This can cause the CSAT measurement to be skewed in either direction. As a result, it is highly recommended that quarterly NPS ratings be utilized in conjunction with CSAT measurements to provide a comprehensive customer outlook of the organization.

Regardless of which model or metric is used, follow up after responses have been collected is key to adjusting or strengthening brand perception in the eyes of the customer. Gathering the results is not enough; an organization utilizing either CSAT or NPS ratings should be able to understand what to do with these results once they have been compiled. At The Connection®, we make sure that your organization has an appropriate follow up plan and process that promotes the follow up of all levels of respondents including any action items that may stem from follow up responses.

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