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Customer acquisition is cost-intensive.

Acquiring a new customer costs a business multiple times more than keeping them. This is why it’s crucial to roll out smart customer retention strategies

One of such strategies is sending Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a valuable metric that businesses leverage to measure customer loyalty. To get your score, you need a survey that asks a variation of the NPS question: “How likely are you to recommend our company to your friend and colleague?”

The customers then have to choose an answer on a 0 to 10 scale. Based on their responses, they’re divided into promoters (those who chose 9 or 10), passives (7 or 8), and detractors (from 0 to 6).

If your customers have been slipping through your fingers, NPS surveys will provide just the feedback you need. It will let you refine your customer service, improve overall brand performance, and increase customer retention and loyalty.

The two most common types of NPS surveys, transactional NPS surveys and relationship NPS surveys, can serve two different purposes:

  1. Gauging overall customer loyalty, customer sentiment, and general likelihood of recommending your company 
  2. Investigating customer experience and your chance of getting recommended based on the most recent interaction with a company

But which one should you ask, when, and how? In this article, we tackle the different types of NPS, focusing on the less commonly used transactional NPS. We’ll discuss their differences, pros and cons, and when it's ideal to use each of them.

Read on!

What Is Transactional NPS (tNPS)?

Transactional NPS (tNPS) measures customer experience after a specific interaction with your brand.

A tNPS survey focuses on the clients' happiness with a specific transaction rather than the overall customer satisfaction. Examples of data you would gather through tNPS surveys include feedback after a product/service purchase or a customer service call.

Transactional NPS lets you understand different parts of their business more granularly. It helps you gauge what the customer might feel at specific points in their journey to refine the experience.

What Is Relationship NPS (rNPS)?

Relationship NPS (rNPS), also called “relational NPS,” is a metric that measures customers' overall brand satisfaction.

Unlike tNPS, rNPS doesn't concern specific interactions like product/service purchases. Instead, it focuses on a bigger picture, assessing the ongoing relationship with the brand to determine customer loyalty. As a result, the surveys are less frequent but regular, mainly conducted quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

If measured correctly and in regular intervals, rNPS surveys help set in-company NPS benchmarks, monitor progress in your customer experience program, and assist in driving growth.

💡 YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: ‘Have you ever recommended’ survey template (Alternative to NPS)

When Should You Send Transactional NPS Surveys?

As with rNPS, transactional surveys require accurate timing to get appropriate feedback. The timing should depend on the nature of the input you're seeking. 

To use transactional NPS surveys for immediate feedback, send the survey right after a customer completes a transaction. This way, you’ll uncover your customer experience at a specific touchpoint to improve your processes.

Triggering automatic website surveys or an email workflow will help you achieve your goal of catching the customers at their most engaged. If you wait, the respondents’ opinions may already be influenced by other factors, or they might forget their transaction details.

However, tNPS surveys don’t always have to be immediate. For example, when you want to investigate a new product or feature, it’s best to wait a couple of days until your customers have a chance to interact with it. You’ll still receive feedback about a specific part of the customer journey but on a more comprehensive level. You can even try rolling out tNPS surveys regularly to investiagate the performance of a specific feature.

What Are the Types of Transactional NPS Surveys?

Transactional Net Promoter Score surveys depend on the feedback you're seeking and the transaction in question. If displayed correctly, they will allow you to gain specific feedback on each touchpoint and develop custom solutions to improve those processes. 

Here are a few examples of tNPS surveys you can send.

Post-purchase surveys

Post-purchase surveys are essential for testing the efficiency of your purchase process. This enables you to correct errors that may prevent some prospects from converting.

Customers have varying levels of patience. For instance, if there are technical issues that slow your checkout process, some customers might be patient enough to complete the order, while others could abandon the cart and look for alternative solutions elsewhere.

Asking your converted customers to share their feedback helps highlight possible flaws in the process which you might not be aware of. This can be highly beneficial, allowing you to refine those areas for a smoother purchase experience.

Ideally, you can automate a post-purchase survey after a shipment or once a customer completes a purchase. Pop-up surveys do a great job!

Customer service interaction surveys

Efficient customer service plays a huge role in overall customer satisfaction. A customer service survey allows you to assess your customers' experience with your customer success team.

You can automate transactional NPS surveys every time a customer interacts with your customer support via chatbot, email, or telephone, then use the feedback to improve your service accordingly.

New feature/product update surveys

Sometimes product updates generate issues that affect the customer experience.

After releasing a product update, sending a product satisfaction survey (preferably after a day or a couple of days) is essential to spot any emerging bugs you might have encountered.

If your customers' appreciation for the product drops after the update, your team can develop strategies to improve their experience. 

New customer onboarding survey

An effective customer onboarding process plays a crucial role in customer retention. Conducting a customer onboarding survey can help you assess your strategy and improve it accordingly.

In addition, you can automate the survey once a customer completes the onboarding process to ensure you don't miss important feedback.

When Should You Use Relationship NPS Surveys?

As earlier indicated, relationship Net Promoter Score surveys help assess customers' overall loyalty to your brand. So, the success of rNPS largely depends on the timing of the survey.

For instance, if you send the survey immediately after a transaction such as a customer service call or product purchase, you might fail to measure the customer's brand perception accurately. The respondents’ opinions might be biased and lean more towards the specific experience than their overall interaction with the brand.

Send your rNPS surveys in regular time intervals to spot possible fluctuations. As for the placement of your NPS survey, try to remain neutral. You can send out an NPS email campaign. Or, if you measure NPS for SaaS, display in-product surveys in the main view of your app.

Relationship NPS vs Transactional NPS: Which Should You Choose?

Transactional NPS allows you to obtain customers' opinions after a specific transaction, while relationship NPS is an on-demand survey that assesses the overall brand satisfaction. 

Here are some distinct features of how the two types of Net Promoter Score surveys differ.

  • Timing – Transactional NPS survey is sent after a transaction. It allows you to get real-time opinions after every customer interaction when the experience is still fresh in their mind. Relationship NPS is conducted periodically, enabling you to measure the overall brand value from the customer's perspective.
  • Touchpoints – Transactional NPS is usually triggered automatically when a customer completes a transaction. Relationship NPS is often a part of a pre-planned NPS campaign and doesn’t concern a specific touchpoint.
  • Objective – tNPS provides immediate, actionable insights while rNPS assesses customer loyalty and gathers general feedback.
  • Survey findings - Transactional NPS provides information on specific brand interactions, e.g., a bug in the checkout process, allowing quick intervention to fix the issue. Relationship NPS provides a general brand view that might not highlight all the specific problems.
  • Benefits – Transactional NPS enables you to address negative customer experiences immediately and improve them to avoid losing business to competitors. Relationship NPS aims to gain relevant insights and develop strategies to convert unenthusiastic customers to promoters.

Both transactional and relationship NPS surveys have unique benefits and use cases. Most businesses will benefit from running both survey types to leverage the benefits of each – or complementing relationship NPS with the more transactional CSAT survey. However, remember that:

  • If you treat NPS as a general customer experience metric and you want to benchmark your score, rely on the relationship NPS survey.
  • If your business model doesn’t require long-lasting relationships with your customers and you’re only after actionable, to-the-point feedback, focus on transactional NPS.

What to Do With Transactional NPS Data?

As earlier highlighted in the benefits, transactional NPS data allows you to gain real-time customer satisfaction insights. Consequently, you get to identify the pain points and develop strategies to improve those areas.

How to calculate tNPS?

To calculate NPS, whether tNPS or rNPS, you follow the same process.

After you get your results, categorize them as follows:

  • 0-6 – Detractors
  • 7-8 – Passives
  • 9-10 – Promoters

Then, subtract the number of detractors from the number of promoters. Play with our free NPS calculator to see how it's done!

NPS calculation

How to use tNPS survey data for business growth?

Now you know your tNPS score. However, the number only tells half the story. The true power of any NPS survey lies in the qualitative feedback provided in open-ended follow-up questions.

Transactional NPS data analysis will help you better understand customer journeys and implement strategies to enhance retention.

Here are a few ideas on leveraging feedback from each respondent group.


  • Learn which parts of your company are the main customer loyalty drivers. How do the customers willing to recommend you interact with your product or service? Pay attention to the promoters’ feedback to recognize your strengths. If you run an online business, connect your survey results with tools that track customer behavior, like Productboard or Mixpanel, to see the paths taken by your most successful customers.
  • Request testimonials. Has your promoter just successfully shopped at your store? Ask them to leave a review while they’re still engaged.


  • Ask passives to provide specific details about what they dislike about your product/service. Since they’re not entirely unhappy, they might leave you with lots of valuable feedback. And if you bring it to life, who knows – they might turn into your promoter.


  • Use their negative opinions to improve your product. With tNPS surveys, you’ll know exactly which customer journey points are the weakest.
  • React to negative feedback in real time. If your unhappy customers deserve compensation, reach out to them immediately. You might manage to smooth out the problem before they manage to leave you a bad review.

Wrapping Up

Conducting transactional and relationship NPS surveys can help businesses gain deep insights into their customers' experiences and stay proactive in addressing areas that contribute to customer dissatisfaction.

While the classic relationship NPS is a valuable tool in gauging customer loyalty, transactional NPS does a great job investigating how specific customer journey touchpoints influence overall customer satisfaction.

Most businesses will benefit from sending both survey types to capture the full spectrum of customer feedback.

With Survicate NPS software, you can run both transactional and relationship surveys at the same time in different channels (email, apps, websites, chatbots).

Ready to experience the power of an all-in-one survey solution? Sign up for a free 10-day trial and reap the benefits of the Business plan with up to 25 survey responses.