What Is the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Why Does It Matter?


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Customer experience is a major area of focus right now — and for good reason. Companies that improve their digital customer experience see:

  • 92% stronger customer loyalty
  • 84% more revenue
  • 79% less cost

Your customers are the only ones who can tell you how you’re doing in customer experience. In the first of our “What’s That Stat?” series, we talk about how you can collect those responses and interpret them to provide a better experience. Today, the focus is on the customer satisfaction score (CSAT).

CSAT 101

The customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is one of the most widely used customer experience metrics. You ask customers individually to quantify how they feel about an interaction with your company.

When used well, CSAT scores provide you with two important types of information:

  • Detailed impressions of individual touchpoints
  • Aggregated scores of customer experience — overall, by department, and so on

You can aggregate CSAT scores in whatever way makes sense. You should be aware of your overall CSAT score, but you may also want to compare scores based on certain factors. It’s often useful to compare CSAT scores at different phases of the buying cycle, for example, or by the service department if you think there are missed opportunities.

A Singular Focus: Learn More by Measuring One Experience

The CSAT score is most useful when you ask customers about a specific experience. Each customer gets a questionnaire specifically targeted to a recent interaction. They respond with their impressions of that interaction.

You can then aggregate answers related to similar experiences — a request for support, a product return, and so on — and look for commonalities. Survey customers at as many touch points as you need, but make sure that each questionnaire focuses on that particular experience and not the customer’s overall impression.

Using CSAT Scores to Find Problems

The beauty of the CSAT score is that you can look at responses from many different situations and then compare results to find out what might be going wrong in an area.

For example, you may want to know where to focus your customer service rep training. Come up with a few hypotheses for where the problem might lie — Wait times? Rep knowledge? — and then test those theories by presenting customers with questionnaires.

Look for trends in the results, but also pay attention to outliers. You can boost your reputation by offering special thanks to very satisfied customers and smoothing things over when someone has a bad experience.

How to Create a Good CSAT Questionnaire

The best CSAT questionnaires get the information you need in as few questions as possible. In many cases, you can get away with just one question:

How satisfied were you with your customer service experience?

  • Give the customer a clear and intuitive framework for choosing their answer. Examples include:
  • A numerical scale ranging from 0 (“very unsatisfied”) to 5 (“completely satisfied”)
  • A verbal scale ranging from “Very unsatisfied” to “Completely satisfied”
  • A series of face emojis: angry, frowning, smiling, grinning, etc.
  • An even simpler thumb scale: emojis of thumbs down, neutral, or up

Which scale you choose depends on your brand. More formal brands might prefer more formal numerical or verbal scales, while more casual brands might go with emojis or pictures.

Additional Questions

If you’re presenting the survey in a written format like email or via a website pop-up, you can add a free-response comment form with a prompt like:

Tell us more about why you chose that rating.

These free-response fields are useful when you need to look at individual responses and analyze them. For example, if you use a 0 to 10 scale and most of your ratings are 6 or above, you might be curious to know the reasons behind the odd “1” or “2” ratings.

You can also add more focused multiple-choice questions addressing elements like:

  • Amount of time on hold
  • Friendliness of the representative
  • Time to resolution

Be specific about what you want to know and ask as few questions as possible. When surveys get too long, more people drop out.

Achieving Satisfaction

The CSAT score is just one step toward customer happiness. Overall satisfaction requires a positive customer perception across all touchpoints — not just of how you resolve an issue.

VHT’s Mindful Platform can help you create that overwhelmingly positive experience with Callback, which gets customers off hold by letting them request a call when a rep is available.

Mindful also connects the customer with automated notifications which confirm call times and remind customers when a call is coming up. Customers don’t waste time on hold, and you still get to provide the stellar service you want to offer.

Ready to give your customer loyalty a boost? Try out Mindful today and see how easy it is to get started.