What is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) is a common customer experience metric used to measure how satisfied customers are with your company’s products or services. CSAT is measured using customer feedback surveys and scored as a percentage ranging from 0% to 100%.

customer satisfaction score survey

How does CSAT work?

To truly understand the answer to “what is CSAT?”, it’s important to look at why and how to measure CSAT through surveys. Once you understand the basics behind the CSAT definition, you’ll be better able to leverage CSAT metrics to enhance the customer experience, improve customer loyalty, and stay ahead of customer churn.

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Why measure CSAT?

Knowing what is CSAT and how you can benefit from measuring customer sentiment is the first step toward driving business-critical decisions through data. CSAT is one of the most heavily benchmarked customer experience metrics outside of NPS®. Companies measuring customer satisfaction with CSAT software gain valuable technology-based insights that can greatly impact the success of their new products, services, and solutions. Customer satisfaction surveys provide a quantitative metric of how happy customers are, and more importantly, qualitative feedback that explains why.

Exceed customer expectations

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

Discover pain points

CSAT scores help identify the most significant issues your customers are facing. CSAT ratings 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 customer satisfaction and ultimately increase brand loyalty, customer success, and customer lifetime value.

Learn about your customer

To focus on CSAT throughout the customer’s 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 customer interactions.

Why CSAT scores matter

Now that we’ve covered “what does CSAT mean?”, let’s move on to why CSAT scores can be the key to selling more products, improving customer engagement, and providing good 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 allows you to track how your improvements boost your score over time.

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.

CSAT survey customization dashboard

CSAT survey examples

You will need to 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.

CSAT survey examples

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 scores in their own words. Since customers aren’t prompted with answer options, they are free to share the defining factor that influenced the score.

CSAT survey open-ended question
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.

CSAT survey additional questions

Alternative CSAT rating scales

In some cases, a 5-star or Smileys rating scale may make more sense to include in 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.

csat survey rating scales

Other recommended customer experience metrics

Combine CSAT with other customer satisfaction metrics and survey templates for a complete assessment of your brand.

If you’re wondering, “What is a CSAT score versus an NPS score?” Our NPS vs. CSAT guide answers that, the CSAT score meaning, and more.

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 measure customer satisfaction after a specific interaction. To keep CSAT survey responses 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.

CSAT score calculation

Calculate your CSAT score

Your customer satisfaction score is a CX metric used to understand how satisfied a customer is with a business experience or specific interaction. It is seen as one of the most popular and necessary metrics for providing quality CX, but do you know how to calculate CSAT scores?

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.

Track CSAT over time

Monitoring and tracking your CSAT score over time will provide a high-level gauge of whether you’re making progress. Dips in the CSAT score range and trend line single out new issues that will require further analysis.

csat scores over time on journey line

Analyze your CSAT feedback

As you start collecting data to find out what your CSAT is, it’s essential to do something with the insights you gain from the analytics. 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.

Take action 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 gave positive responses, see if they’re willing to act as a reference or help with referrals. Happy customers often become your biggest advocates and increase your customer retention rate with repeat business.

Integrate CSAT feedback

Make sure customer feedback gets in front of the people who effect change. Use integrations to pass feedback data, or customer service scores, 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.”

You don’t have to take our word for it

Delighted helps some of the world’s most coveted brands gather actionable customer feedback and make customer satisfaction a competitive advantage.

“Everyone at Bonobos needs a direct line to customers for feedback. I know that due to Delighted, we avoided disaster.”
“Every time we open up Delighted we find a new way to improve, which at the end of the day is why we are doing this.”
“You need users’ thoughtful, raw feedback to correct and improve experiences for all customers in the future.”