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What is a CSAT Score?: Measuring Customer Satisfaction


CSAT is a term that’s used frequently in marketing. With all the work that goes into product development, manufacturing, and marketing, customer success often comes down to the results of a CSAT score. Every department within your company plays a role in contributing to customer satisfaction. In part, your company’s reputation relies on getting customers to weigh in with five stars or the happiest emoji. 

Let’s take a look at how to define a CSAT score, how to measure it, and what you have to gain from using this valuable customer satisfaction rating tool.  

What Is a CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)?

What is a CSAT score? CSAT refers to customer satisfaction score. CSAT is typically defined as a way to measure if a customer felt their expectations had been fully met by a company’s products and customer services.

Your customer satisfaction score is an automated survey tool that asks customers to gauge their satisfaction after they’ve used a product, received customer support, or had some other type of interaction with your company. It’s a simple, straightforward way to learn how your customers perceive your company’s responses to their needs. 

The questions are usually fairly direct. They tend to be along the lines of, “How would you rate your experience?” The customer then has an opportunity to answer the question using a scale with a rating of from 1-3, 1-5, or 1-10. Customer support call centers have the option of setting up a survey that uses numerical, emoji, or star ratings. Most customers don’t mind taking a minute or so to complete a CSAT survey because it’s easy and it takes very little of their time. A CSAT also works well for companies because it closes their interactions with customers on a positive note. 

Collectively, CSAT scores reflect the total percentage of customers that report being satisfied with the company’s products or services. 

If a survey comes in that indicates dissatisfaction, the company has a chance to take action on the issue right away. 

Why Measure Your CSAT Score?

It makes sense that when your customers are happy, they’ll come back for more. In fact, customers that report being very happy with a product or service will spend significantly more on your brand. They’ll also likely remain loyal to your company and share their positive experiences with their family and friends

Many companies mistakenly believe that customers are highly satisfied with their products and customer support services. That sentiment could be completely off the mark. When you get it wrong, it can have a devastating effect on your business. These are some of the risks you could be taking by not checking in with customers on their satisfaction level:

  • Quickly switching to a competitor
  • Canceling orders or services
  • Publicly complain about your brand

The only way to know for sure what your customers think of your brand is to ask them, and when you use a CSAT survey platform, you can set metrics to gauge customer satisfaction on a daily basis. What’s more, a CSAT tool will help you track customer success across the customer lifecycle. 

How to Measure Your CSAT Score

Whether you’re paying attention to it or not, customers have lots of ways to indicate whether they’re satisfied or dissatisfied with your brand or customer support representatives. When a customer is standing in front of you, a smile or frown is pretty revealing. A large tip left for a restaurant server speaks volumes. The reality is that most transactions these days take place over the internet or on the phone. It’s a lot harder to gauge a customer’s satisfaction when you can’t see their body language or accurately interpret their tone of voice. 

Fortunately, when you use a cloud-based phone system and software integrations, there’s an easy way to get instant feedback from your customers. Using call center software, you can automatically trigger a survey after a customer interaction via email, text, or chat with almost no effort or expense on the company’s part. 

When a customer rates the experience high, it is classified as a positive experience. The reverse is also true. When a customer scores their interaction low, it’s an indication that your brand or one of your employees has failed to meet their expectations. What’s even better is that a CSAT score can tell you at exactly what point in the customer journey you might be having a problem. Solving the problem is usually pretty easy once you can identify the source of it. 

What Is a Good CSAT Score?

Once you have a CSAT program in place, the scores will start rolling in. How will you know which scores indicate good customer satisfaction? Is 70% too low? Is it too much to expect an average customer satisfaction rating of 100%? Or is that just a goal to aim for? What is a good CSAT score? 

To get a pulse on how to set a benchmark for improving customer satisfaction, you can get some clues from the American Customer Satisfaction Index

As HubSpot points out, here’s how some of the various industries compare on average CSAT scores:

  • Apparel-79
  • Banks-81
  • Breweries-85
  • Cellular telephones-79
  • Computer software-79
  • Consumer shipping-78
  • Credit unions-81
  • Financial advisors-80
  • Full-service restaurants-81
  • Hotels-76
  • Internet retail-80
  • Internet travel services-78
  • Life insurance-80
  • Specialty retail stores-78
  • Automobiles and light vehicles-82

Across industries, CSAT scores typically range between 76% and 85%. You should be aware of the fact that CSAT only measures promoter scores. Promoter scores indicate whether a customer would be inclined to recommend your company to another person. For that reason, it’s tough to achieve a near-perfect score. In other words, if you achieve an overall CSAT score of 75%, it means that 3 of 4 customers scored their interaction with your company positively over a negative or neutral rating. 

How to Define Customer Satisfaction

There are many facets to running a business. It’s a mistake to assume that you know what your customers want without asking them. So, how do you define customer satisfaction?

The definition of customer satisfaction seems pretty straightforward. In a business sense, customer satisfaction refers to a measurement that reveals how happy your customers are with your products, services, or ability to meet their expectations. You can quantify that measurement by calculating the number of customers or the percentage of customers that reported your company exceeded their expectations.  

Customer surveys and their ratings are a great way to uncover where you need to make improvements or changes in your products and services. Surveys may give you insight on how you can better tailor services and products to meet or exceed customer expectations. 

CSAT scores also give you a benchmark against which to measure future results. It’s imperative to ensure customer satisfaction, as it builds customer loyalty and positively impacts your bottom line. 

The Difference Between CSAT vs. NPS Score

Along with a CSAT score, an NPS score is another method of gauging customer satisfaction. The two survey tools are similar in that they both rank customer satisfaction according to a scale. However, there are significant differences in the kind of data they yield. 

CSAT measures the rate of customer satisfaction about certain issues, such as:

  • An event
  • Features
  • Products
  • Services
  • Changes
  • An interaction

Customers who receive a CSAT survey have an opportunity to check off a rating that ranges between “very unsatisfied” to “very satisfied.” 

Here’s how to calculate CSAT:

(Number of satisfied customers / Number of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers

As noted earlier, a positive response is one that is greater than the middle number. Customers also have the opportunity to explain their ratings by answering follow-up questions. 

If you’re trying to gauge your customer’s sentiments about your overall business, it’s not the best tool, but it works great for the issues bulleted above. 

NPS, on the other hand, refers to net promoter score. It’s a tool that’s generally better suited for measuring customer sentiment. NPS also uses a numerical scoring system for ranking, but it’s generally used to gauge your customers’ feelings about your entire business rather than a specific product or experience. 

With NPS, customers get a question that asks them how likely they would be to recommend your company. They can choose a number from “0” (not likely at all) to “10” (very likely).  Promoters are customers who rated your company a “9” or a “10.” Detractors are customers who gave your company a score of 6 or under.  

Here’s how to calculate NPS:

% of promoters – % of detractors = Net Promoter Score

To get the number of promoters, just divide the number of promoters by the number of total respondents. It works the same way with detractors. Divide the number of detractors by the number of total respondents. Your NPS score can range anywhere from -100 to 100. If you have more detractors than promoters, you’ll have a negative score. 

CSAT Score Best Practices

These 10 CSAT best practices will help you construct questions that get the best results:

  1. Word questions clearly and keep them short to prevent customers from abandoning the survey. 
  2. Ask only questions that relate to your end goal.
  3. Ask brief questions first and follow them with an open-ended question along the lines of, “Why do you feel this way?”
  4. Display one question at a time, so customers don’t get overwhelmed.
  5. Keep your rating scales consistent by using the same wording, such as “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree,” for every answer. 
  6. Refrain from asking leading questions, so you get an honest answer. 
  7. Use the yes/no answer format whenever you can to keep things simple. 
  8. Avoid acronyms, jargon, and industry terms to avoid confusion. 
  9. Time surveys to go out during the most popular times, which are the beginning of the week or on the weekend. 
  10. Offer an incentive like a discount or giveaway to encourage responses. 

The benefit of selling or providing customer service in the digital age is that you have access to lots of tools to keep customer satisfaction ratings high, not just after one interaction, but during multiple phases of the customer journey. Overall, CSAT is a great way to measure customer satisfaction. 

Special thanks to our friends at Aircall for their insights on this topic.
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