What is a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score? And Why Does it Matter?


Working in customer service, you probably want to make sure your clients are having positive experiences with your brand and its products. Instead of assuming that you’re doing everything right, turn to the data — that means knowing your CSAT score.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What CSAT score means.
  • What can be considered a good CSAT score.
  • How to measure your CSAT score and the CSAT score formula.
  • The difference between NPS and CSAT scores.
  • How to improve your business’s CSAT score.

Let’s dive right in.

What is a CSAT score?

So, first things first: what does CSAT score mean?

CSAT stands for “customer satisfaction.” So a CSAT score is a customer service metric that reflects customer sentiment, experience and contentment with your brand. It’s a way to qualitatively show how customers perceived their experience with your brand or its products. And because it’s qualitative, it’s a useful Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that your business can track.

Your CSAT score is important to measure for a few reasons:

  • You’ll have data that reflects whether your customers are feeling satisfied (or dissatisfied) with your brand.
  • If the CSAT score could be higher, you’ll know where you can make improvements.
  • If the CSAT score is good, you can use that in your marketing materials to promote your business and show how it stands out from your competitors.
  • If you know where customers are having issues with your brand or its products, you can resolve pain points before you lose customer loyalty.

What is a good CSAT score?

Basically, it depends! A good CSAT score varies by industry.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measures average CSAT scores across 10 different industries. According to its 2020 data, if you’re scoring over 80% then no matter what industry your business is in, you’re doing really well.

On the flip side, regardless of your industry, if your CSAT score is below 60%, there is lots of room for improvement.

customer satisfaction score by industry

Source: ACSI

But really, what counts as a good CSAT score will depend on where your business is starting out. In other words, focus on your own business first. Collect feedback via surveys and social media, stay on top of the metrics and try to identify room for improvements.

Then, compare past CSAT scores to current ones to make sure you’re either improving the CSAT score or staying consistently high. That way, you’ll have data driving new business decisions.

The CSAT score scale

Turning a sentiment into a number involves creating a simple — and non-time consuming! — survey made up of just one or two questions.

That survey will include a CSAT score scale, which asks customers to rank their experience shopping with your brand or their perception of a product they purchased. You give customers a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 represents the worst possible experience and 5 represents the best.

Maybe the CSAT score scale is just the numbers, shown as 1 through 5. But the scale can also be displayed creatively. For example, Amazon encourages buyers to review products using the star scale:

Amazon product reviews star scale

Or, you can also display the scale through the use of emojis showcasing 5 emotions ranging from very unhappy to very satisfied.

To get customers to share their experience — and therefore, to get reliable data to help inform your CSAT score — follow these useful tips:

  • Be specific with your questions. Make sure they’re open-ended questions and not yes/no questions. And be sure they specifically address the experience you’re looking to collect data on. For example, ask “How satisfied were you with your experience at the ABC Cafe?” or “Does the product meet your expectations?”
  • Keep it short. You want customers to respond so you can get a reflective CSAT score, so focus on just one or two customer experience touchpoints.
  • Keep the CSAT score as a 1 to 5 scale. This keeps it easy for your customers and doesn’t overwhelm them with options. But at the same time, it provides enough range to give you quality data.
  • Leave space for open-ended comments. While this won’t contribute to the CSAT score, it can be helpful if customers wish to provide explicit examples about what made their experience positive or negative. It’s a way to get direct feedback and make specific plans going forward.

How to measure your CSAT score

If you’re interested in knowing how to measure your CSAT score, you need to know the CSAT score formula.

Simply, calculating your CSAT score means calculating a percentage based on the feedback you collected in the customer surveys. Because it’s a percentage, the score will range from 0 to 100.

Step 1: Add up the number of satisfied responses.

Consider your customers satisfied with your brand if they rank 4 or 5. So, if 30 customers ranked 4 in the CSAT score scale and 50 ranked 5, that brings your total to 80.

Step 2: Divide that number by all the responses you received.

Perhaps your survey received a total of 112 responses. So divide 80 by 112 for a value of 0.71.

Step 3: Multiply by 100.

This gives you the percentage. So based on this example, the CSAT score would be 71.

What is the difference between a CSAT score and a NPS score?

NPS and CSAT scores aren’t the same.

NPS stands for “net promoter score.” Like CSAT score, NPS score is based on a customer survey and qualifies those responses. But unlike CSAT score, this is a measurement of how likely customers are to recommend your business’s products or services to others, not a direct reflection of their own experience.

Also like CSAT score, NPS score uses a score scale to determine these metrics. Most NPS surveys ask customers to rate how likely they are to recommend your brand on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 means they are sure to recommend you, while 1 means there’s no chance they would.

It’s also a different formula to calculate NPS score. To calculate NPS score, subtract the percentage of detractors (people who score 0 to 6) from the percentage of of promoters (people who score 9 and 10):

net promoter score formula

Interested in other customer service metrics that are useful to track? Here are 14 metrics to track, plus a free reporting template.

5 tips for improving your CSAT score

If your brand’s CSAT score isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, these 5 tips will help.

Respond to issues quickly and professionally

As a customer service manager, you’ll hear if someone is dissatisfied with their experience or upset with your product. Maybe the customer shares that sentiment via a social media post, a Google My Business review or a DM.

Regardless, don’t sit on the issue. Address things quickly and professionally. One way to always ensure professionalism is to make sure you’ve set up brand guidelines for your social media channels, addressing things like response time, tone and protocol for escalating issues.

Similarly, if your brand constantly gets the same questions, take the time to publicly display answers to FAQs. For example, Instagram Highlights are a great for posting FAQs:

Hello Bello Instagram highlight FAQs

Source: Hello Bello

Have dedicated customer support channels on social media

Make it easy for your customers to voice complaints or ask questions. As well as having a dedicated email address for customer support, having channels on social media specific to customer support can be useful too. This way you can distinguish the calls for support from the more general requests, making it easier for your brand to respond quickly and accurately.

Brands that do this include Microsoft:

microsoft support Twitter account

Snapchat:

snapchat support Twitter account

And Twitter:

Twitter support account on Twitter

Identify customer conversations

If your brand is active on social, consider using Hootsuite’s social listening streams. This helps you monitor multiple social networks and “hear” the conversations happening around your brand. And this way, you can quickly address support requests, even if you’re not tagged.

Learn more here:

Manage customer messages in one place

A customer service tool like Sparkcentral by Hootsuite makes managing customer messages easier. Its features include AI-powered chatbots to improve response times and automated message distribution to help manage a high-volume of incoming support requests across many different channels, including:

  • Instagram
  • SMS
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • WeChat
  • Telegram
  • And more!

Consider implementing SMS marketing

Finally, consider incorporating SMS marketing into your business’s marketing strategy. This allows brands to interact directly with customers via text. In terms of elevating customer satisfaction, this allows customers to directly access your customer service reps, helping them feel taken care of quickly.

Save time building an efficient customer support system with Sparkcentral by Hootsuite. Quickly respond to questions and complaints across a variety of channels, create tickets, and work with chatbots all from one dashboard. Try it free today.

Request a Demo

Manage every customer inquiry on a single platform with Sparkcentral. Never miss a message, improve customer satisfaction, and save time. See it in action.



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