What is transactional NPS (tNPS), and why is it important for your firm?

How will you know if your clients are happy if you don’t ask them?

Your ability to understand how satisfied (or not) your clients are with your accounting firm’s service is key in planning, predicting and actualizing growth.

While there’s no single, silver-bullet approach to measuring client satisfaction, measuring Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great place to start.

Chances are you’ve already heard of NPS, but what about transactional NPS (tNPS)? What is the difference, and how do they impact your understanding of your clients?

Firstly, what is NPS?

When Bain & Company first created Net Promoter Score (NPS) in 2003, it transformed how companies measure client satisfaction with one simple question:

“How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?”

Clients then answer from 0-10. The higher the answer, the more likely people are to recommend your services.

NPS provides a high-level view of client satisfaction and is typically conducted annually or 6-monthly, following major deliverables or milestones, such as post-tax season.

But sometimes, a high-level view isn’t enough.

What is transactional NPS (tNPS)?

Transactional NPS (tNPS) captures client satisfaction levels specifically in relation to an immediate action.

tNPS enables you to better-understand specific moments in your client journey, including any positives and/ or friction along the way.

Let’s say you’ve just onboarded a new client. To understand how smooth your onboarding process is from a client’s perspective, you can send out a tNPS survey to ask:

“Based on your recent onboarding experience, how likely are you to recommend our accounting practice to a friend or colleague?”

With tNPS, you can drill down into how your clients respond to specific services or processes.

Why use transactional NPS (tNPS) at your accounting firm?

The main benefit of tNPS surveys is to gather client sentiment immediately following an interaction, while it’s top-of-mind.

Gathering timely data about specific touchpoints informs where improvements or changes are needed. And this is important insight into how a specific event or interaction may have changed overall client satisfaction and loyalty.

With tNPS, you can better-understand:

  • Client experiences, from the client’sperspective

  • Gaps and bottlenecks in processes

  • Pain points that your processes create or fail to reduce

  • How effective your tech stack is at streamlining the client experience

When a specific pain point is uncovered that can affect a client’s overall satisfaction with your firm, you have the power to turn a potential detractor into a net-promoter and avoid losing a valuable client.

When to use transactional NPS (tNPS) at your accounting firm?

tNPS surveys can be used after just about any interaction you have with your clients, including:

  • After onboarding new clients

  • Post-meetings

  • After they’ve used a tool in your app stack

  • After they’ve taken an action on your website, such as book a meeting with you

  • After you’ve delivered a certain project

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t overdo it. You don’t need to ask your clients if they’d recommend your accounting firm after taking every single action. Instead, focus on two or three areas of the client journey you’d like to improve (or better-understand).

The importance of using transactional NPS (tNPS) at your accounting firm: real-time feedback

Despite your best efforts to create a seamless client experience, it’s possible your clients are experiencing a pain point that you never hear about. Until it’s too late. Or unless you ask.

Think about a personal experience you’ve had with a business. 

Let’s use a new restaurant experience as an example:

You’re trying a new restaurant based on a friend’s recommendation. After a 15-minute wait, you’ve been seated, but a further 20-minutes later, no one has come to take your order. Finally after waiting for 30-minutes at your table, you’ve ordered your meal. You haven’t mentioned the long wait time to your waiter, and they haven’t acknowledged it. The food itself is fine, and you pay and leave.

Chances are, your experience was tainted early-on from your extended wait.

But what if the waiter asked if everything was okay once they approached your table to take your order? At that moment, after waiting 45-minutes, you’re likely to be compelled to express your frustration.

And at the same token, the waiter would be likely to apologize and offer some form of compensation for your so-far poor experience.

By asking for feedback in that very moment, the waiter better-understands their patron experience. In this case, their service is much too slow.

Just like this example, tNPS proactively surveys your clients to capture feedback in the moment, so you can take relevant action, based on data.

Recommended reading: Measuring your firm's client satisfaction using NPS

Use NPS and tNPS at your accounting firm for improved results

NPS provides you with an overview of your client satisfaction, which is important in gathering a big-picture perspective, much like Simba and Mufasa viewing the animal kingdom atop Pride Rock in the Lion King.


tNPS is how you can drill into specific areas and understand how you should allocate certain resources to improve specific points in your clients’ journey. tNPS gets into the nitty-gritty, much like when Simba and Nala venture into the Badlands’ elephant graveyard (although with fewer elephant bones and hyenas).


Both NPS and tNPS are important in ensuring your clients are satisfied enough to recommend your firm to others, and thus, contribute to the growth of your business.

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