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Differences between transactional and relationship surveys

We live in a fast pace, highly competitive digital age where consumers have the freedom to choose products and services from anywhere, anytime. Therefore, it is pivotal for businesses to understand their customer base and recognize their changing needs. How can we find out what our customers like and dislike about us?  We need to ACTIVELY LISTEN to them!


Each customer has their own unique relationship with your business, therefore each customer has different feedback on the same product or the service. In order for us to survive and out run our competitors we need to effectively collect insightful feedback. The most common method of collecting feedback is through surveys.

This article will talk about the two main types of surveys in the CX world and the importance of understanding them on how to utilize them to collect actionable insightful data.

Relationship Surveys

Relationship surveys are directly connected to the loyalty of the customers. These surveys allow companies to see the overall satisfaction in several business areas within the company. This type of surveys is typically done at specific time intervals such as quarterly, bi-annually or annually.

Each customer has their own preferences when evaluating vendors or deciding on a brand to purchase from.  Therefore, companies need to be mindful of their customers when making survey questions. The relationship survey questions can basically fall into 3 categories.

Net Promoter question is one of the widely used questions in the CX world. This question is designed to ask the customer their likelihood of recommending the product or services to others.  The methodology of the NPS question is directed to measure the overall loyalty of the customer.

Overall satisfaction question can be asked with overall product quality, services or for any other overall measurable function.

  • Areas of improvement - Ex: What can we do to maintain this rating? what can we do better etc.

It is important to ask the “why” question to investigate the reasons behind customer ratings to either maintain or to improve the overall relationship.


Transactional Surveys

Transactional surveys are time sensitive. The intention behind these surveys is to find out the customer feedback on a specific service event or any interaction with the company when it is fresh on their minds.Unlike relationship surveys these surveys are collecting data specific to one interaction. We can categorize transactional survey questions in to three categories as well.

  • Overall Satisfaction with the transaction, event or interaction

This is one of the main questions that need to be asked after every service interactions to understand the overall reaction from the customer.

Each service interaction can be investigated at its each touchpoint as well. For instance, a service event can be measured by its responsiveness, service quality, timeliness, product knowledge etc.

  • Areas of improvement - Ex: What can we do to do better next time?

To keep improving upon the weaker aspects of the service transaction and to maintain the stronger areas of the transaction it is vital to ask the “why” and “how” questions.


While addressing different strategies both the survey methods go hand in hand.  Businesses should have a clear understanding about their individual service transactions to recognize why that specific customer was happy or unhappy. If more customers are unhappy with their transactional interactions, they are less likely to establish a long-lasting relationship with your business. Utilizing these two types of surveys can shine a light on the little things that businesses tend to ignore.


Topics: CX Blog

Written by Iresha Herath

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