What is Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)?

Customer Satisfaction, or CSAT, is a customer experience metric that measures happiness with a product, service, or support interaction through a customer satisfaction survey that asks: “How satisfied were you with [company]?”

How does CSAT work?

To truly understand the answer to “what is CSAT?”, it’s important to look at why and how the metric is measured through surveys. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be better able to leverage CSAT metrics to improve the customer experience.

why

Why measure CSAT?

CSAT is one of the most heavily benchmarked customer experience metrics outside of NPS®. CSAT surveys provide a quantitative metric of how satisfied customers are, and more importantly, qualitative feedback that explains why.

Exceed customer expectations

The root cause of dissatisfaction often boils down to expectations. Customer satisfaction surveys gather point-in-time feedback for different customer touchpoints to reveal customers’ expectations, whether you have met them, and how to do better.

Discover pain points

CSAT scores help identify the most significant issues your customers are facing. They also help recognize how much pain each of those issues is causing, allowing you to address them more effectively and strategically.

Drive experience improvement

All industries can use targeted CSAT surveys to identify pain points around sales, onboarding, customer service, product, internal processes, and other key touchpoints. You can improve the customer and employee experience and ultimately increase brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.

Learn about your customer

To focus on CSAT throughout the customer journey means that you will discover data-based insights about who your customers are, what they care about, and how to cater to them better than competitors throughout all interactions.

Why CSAT scores matter

Now that we’ve covered “what is CSAT?”, let’s move on to why CSAT scores can be the key to selling more products, improving customer retention, and providing the best experiences for your customers.

Use CSAT as a differentiator

Companies differentiate themselves on their customer experience. Assure prospective customers by publishing your CSAT score alongside your first response time to show that post-purchase care is both swift and high quality.

Reduce customer churn

At scale, it can be hard to tell who your unhappy customers are simply by referencing business metrics. Metrics like customer satisfaction survey scores help identify customers who are likely to churn, so you can resolve their pain points early.

Customers value positive experiences

Your customers expect and want positive experiences. Generally, customers base their decisions to buy again on whether they were happy the first time. Measuring and calculating your CSAT score keeps you in the know of the most extensive issues and allow you to track how your improvements boost your score over time.

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Create your CSAT survey

An effectively designed customer survey garners useful feedback while respecting your customer’s time. Here’s how the standard CSAT questionnaire works, and how you can customize it to suit your exact needs. Once you see what a simple and easy measuring method this is for both you and the customer, you’ll understand why CSAT surveys are so ubiquitous.

Customize the CSAT question

The most basic CSAT survey is a two-part question. The first question, “How satisfied were you with [product/interaction]?” can be modified to suit your situation. Customers respond with a 1-5 rating scale, which is rolled up into an easily benchmarked CSAT metric.

Learn what is CSAT by understanding the survey type and customization
Learn what is CSAT with survey examples

CSAT survey examples

Determine which customer experience touchpoint you would like feedback on, since this impacts who receives the survey, question phrasing, and survey distribution. The CSAT survey question can be customized for any interaction.

Open-ended feedback

The second part of the CSAT survey is an open comment form, where customers can explain why they chose the customer satisfaction rating in their own words. Since customers aren’t prompted with answer options, they are free to share the defining factor that influenced the score.

Expand more with open questions to learn more about what is CSAT
Gain a deeper understanding of what is CSAT with additional questions

Optional Additional Questions

Though you always want to keep your surveys short and to the point, you can add optional questions to your survey (after the initial CSAT question) for more information. Delighted allows you to customize up to 10 Additional Questions for deeper insights.

Alternative CSAT rating scales

In some cases, a 5-star or Smileys rating scale may make more sense for your survey than a numerical scale. Graphic scales are intuitive and language-agnostic, and can make your survey more fun to take. Just be sure to adjust the initial survey question to make sense with the scale.

Expand on what is CSAT by understanding and using other survey alternatives

Other recommended customer experience metrics

Combine CSAT with other customer experience survey types for a complete assessment of your brand.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)

NPS is a customer experience metric that has been correlated to future company growth. It is most commonly used to measure the overall customer experience, as opposed to specific customer touchpoints. Learn more in our NPS guide.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES is a metric tied specifically to ease. It is generally used to gather feedback wherever ease of experience is important, such as in the resolution of a customer service issue or a web user experience. Learn more in our CES guide.

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CSAT survey distribution

Once you’ve figured out who you want to survey and what you’ll ask, the next step is following survey distribution best practices for the highest possible response rate.

Sending your CSAT survey

Use the distribution method that aligns most closely with the interaction that has just taken place. For ecommerce, a website survey can gauge content satisfaction. For email support, follow up with an email survey. For live chat, send a URL link at the conclusion of your conversation. Use in-person kiosks for brick-and-mortar locations.

CSAT timing and frequency

CSAT surveys tend to be one-off surveys because they gauge satisfaction after a specific interaction. To keep response rates high, make sure you’re not over-surveying the same customer, that surveys are triggered upon completion of the interaction, and that you’ll be able to respond to any feedback received to ensure the customers feel heard.

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Calculate your CSAT score

Your CSAT score range is from 0-100. But, do you know how to calculate a CSAT score?

To perform a CSAT score calculation, take the number of satisfied customers (those who rated you 4 or 5), and divide by the total number of responses. For example, if 62 of your 100 responses have a rating of 4 or 5, your score would be 62.

Total number of satisfied responses (ratings of 4 or 5)
Total number of responses
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100

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Track CSAT over time

Monitor your CSAT score over time for a high-level gauge on whether you’re making progress. Dips in the trend line herald new issues that will require further analysis.

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Analyze your CSAT feedback

While your CSAT score is a great benchmark for reporting over time, the root cause is in the open-ended comments. Read through them to identify trends that lead to insights.

Speed up the process

Experience management software often speeds up the process by surfacing commonly used words that appear in the feedback, or by segmenting comments as they come in using keywords that you identify. Filter feedback by rating, keyword, or customer type to reach insights faster and stay on top of new survey results.

Maintain business context

Associate operational customer data (price tier, services used, support channel, geographical location, customer lifetime value, etc.) to the customer feedback so you have greater business context around the feedback received. Doing so helps isolate the root cause behind certain pain points and prioritizes areas to improve.

Act on CSAT insights

Acknowledge that you’ve received your customer’s feedback by closing the loop and acting on CSAT feedback.

Close the loop

Let the customer know that their feedback is appreciated by closing the loop. If they’re unhappy, proactively provide an avenue for resolution. If they’re completely satisfied, see if they’re willing to act as a reference or help with referrals.

Integrate CSAT feedback

Make sure customer feedback gets in front of the people who effect change. Use integrations to pass feedback data into your customer database, operational systems, and communication tools, so process owners understand how they can improve.

Examples of CSAT feedback by touchpoint

If your customer experience program is set up for feedback on the entire customer journey, you’ll be able to ensure a stellar customer experience at every touchpoint.

SALES & ONBOARDING CSAT

“SUPER happy with the sales process. You understood my needs, provided a competitive quote, and really helped through onboarding.”

Product CSAT

“Generally satisfied, but the page load times are pretty slow, so can be frustrating. I’d be your biggest fan if that issue could be fixed!”

Customer Support CSAT

“Olivia is professional, helpful, and very knowledgeable. Overall very happy with her performance and with the company as a whole.”

Examples of CSAT feedback by industry

CSAT isn’t limited to B2B software or B2C retail customers – any industry can use CSAT to get feedback from employees and colleagues in addition to end users.

Project Management CSAT

“Project team understood the urgency of what was being asked. Updates were proactively provided. Process was flawless.”

Employee CSAT

“I like the people here, but there isn’t a lot of room for growth. Not sure advancing my career is a real possibility here.”

 

Education CSAT

“The curriculum is quite confusing. I feel the duration of the course is not suitable considering how much is covered.”

Many of the most adored companies rely on Delighted to ensure a top-quality customer experience.

Allbirds
Instacart
Pagely
Opentable
TedX
Affirm
Peleton
Doordash

Interested in getting started with CSAT?