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What is Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

CSAT – A comprehensive guide to understanding Customer Satisfaction Score

Customer satisfaction has a long-lasting impact on your business and its growth. It is predicted that by 2020 more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience. It is because companies understand the importance of customer experience and its impact on customer satisfaction and retention.

Satisfied customers are more likely to stay with your business, spend more, and will become loyal customers. The probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20% while selling to an existing customer is almost 70%. You can’t ignore satisfied customers as they’re your business’s best asset. To make your customers happy and satisfied, you need to collect feedback regularly to measure satisfaction and to see where you stand.

There are several customer satisfaction tools that let you analyze how satisfied your customers are. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is one of the most used techniques to measure customer satisfaction. It is a simple yet effective technique to measure customer satisfaction for single customer interaction. This is a useful approach to identifying what type of interactions customers like and what they don’t like. The insights can be used for decision-making and customer experience improvement.

What is Customer Satisfaction Score?

CSAT is the short form of Customer Satisfaction Score which is a single-item Likert scale survey that is used to measure customer satisfaction with your product, service, or any specific customer interaction with your business. It consists of a single question that directly asks how satisfied a customer is with the experience. It could be a 3-point, 5-point, 7-point, or 10-point Likert scale question depending on how you want to measure the interaction.

Here is an example of a CSAT:

customer satisfaction score example

You can tweak the wording and the point system of the question depending on your needs. The general statement, however, will remain something like this:

“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [goods/service] you received?”

You need to measure the satisfaction of a single interaction with CSAT. Don’t use it to measure satisfaction with customer services and shipping time with a single survey. This isn’t how it should be used. The whole idea of CSAT is to measure satisfaction at a single instance.

When to Use CSAT

Customer satisfaction doesn’t remain consistent especially when you are using CSAT. It is essential to use a customer satisfaction score survey at the right time to measure what’s important. According to HubSpot, the CSAT varies by customer lifecycle stage:

csat score and lifecycle stage

It means you can measure satisfaction throughout the lifecycle stages of a customer and it’s your choice when you use it. There isn’t any right or wrong time to measure satisfaction, but you should know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you’ll interpret the results.

Here are some of the best and most appropriate times to measure customer satisfaction:

Customer Onboarding

Customer onboarding plays a significant role in customer satisfaction and retention. Research shows that businesses lose up to 80% of mobile users in the first week and another study found that up to 60% of free trial users will use your product once and will never return. This makes customer onboarding a critical business activity and customer satisfaction must be measured right after customers are onboarded to make it effective and take corrective measures.

After Purchase

It’s obvious to measure satisfaction after a customer purchases a product. You can measure satisfaction with the purchase process, checkout process, or any other important event.

Customer Support

It is the most common and obvious customer interaction where you should measure satisfaction. As soon as a support ticket is marked resolved, you need to send CSAT to the customer. This will help you improve customer support service.

Other Critical Customer Interactions

Customer satisfaction should be measured regularly for all major (and even minor) customer interactions. Whenever a customer interacts with your business via any channel, you need to know how satisfied customers were with that interaction and if they liked the experience. If they’re satisfied, you don’t have to do anything.

However, when customers aren’t happy with the experience they received, that’s where you need to take appropriate action.

CSAT Pros and Cons

Customer satisfaction score has a lot of features and advantages that make it one of the most popular techniques. There are some downsides too.


  1. It is extremely easy-to-use.
  2. It is simple and short that makes it easier for customers to participate in the survey.
  3. You can use it to measure satisfaction for any interaction or event.
  4. The analysis is straightforward and doesn’t need any use of special statistical tools.
  5. It can be administered in multiple ways such as email, website, text message, etc.


  1. Satisfaction is subjective which could be perceived differently by different customers.
  2. It measures satisfaction for a single instant.
  3. It is hard to identify what exactly made a customer satisfied or unsatisfied.

How to Create CSAT

You can create customer satisfaction score easily. But since it measures satisfaction for a single event, therefore, you have to create multiple surveys and run them simultaneously. For instance, you might have to create multiple surveys for the onboarding process, several different surveys for customer support interactions, and so on.

You have to create and run all the surveys systematically. Here is how to do it:

Step #1: Identify Goal

Identify the objective of the survey. Identify the event whose satisfaction you want to measure. It could be customer support, a product’s new feature, or a newly published blog post.

The goal of each survey should be clearly defined to make it effective and useful.

Step #2: Identify Survey Trigger

A trigger is essential for the survey. It helps you qualify customers for the survey. If you are measuring customer satisfaction for a new blog post that you published, the trigger could be visitors who have spent at least 30 seconds on the blog post or who have scrolled the post to 50%.

You can’t send the survey to all the visitors who land on the blog post. Some of them might have landed mistakenly or others couldn’t have read a single word of it. The trigger makes it easy to qualify visitors and this helps you send the survey to the right people.

Step #3: Select Survey Medium

How do you want to send the survey to the customers? There are several ways to do it such as email, website, SMS, IVR, offline, etc. The right medium is one that yields a decent response rate.

It is recommended to use multiple mediums to increase your survey reach.

Step #4: Analyze

Analyze responses to measure satisfaction. If you are using a tool to measure CSAT, it will automatically record and report the number of satisfied customers and CSAT. If you are doing it manually, use Excel to calculate CSAT. Use the following formula to calculate CSAT:

Number of positive responses / Total number of responses
x 100 = CSAT%

Compare your score with industry benchmarks. Click here to see the industry benchmark score for 2019. This will reveal where you stand in your industry and what actions you want to take.

Final Words

Measuring customer satisfaction is a continuous process. You need to measure it for all the customer interactions, events, and experiences. The more surveys you have, the better.

Yes, it might turn out to be an expensive task that requires a lot of resources, but it is the best thing you’ll ever do for your business. Trust me.

Sabih Javed

Sabih Javed is a certified inbound marketer and an experienced digital marketing writer. His publications appeared on leading marketing blogs like JeffBullas, Yahoo News, TheNextWeb, Business2Community, and more. Connect with him @sabihjavedd