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Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion Score (CSAT)

What is the cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion score (CSAT)? Why is this an impor­tant metric?

The cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion score, or CSAT as it's often called, intends to mea­sure a customer's sat­is­fac­tion with the ser­vice received.

In its sim­plest form, CSAT is expressed as a per­cent­age between 0 and 100, with 100% rep­re­sent­ing com­plete cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. There can be a large vari­ance between the CSAT scores of com­pa­nies in a given indus­try, or at the same com­pany over time. Many com­pa­nies that boast high cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion are those with CSAT scores in the upper 80's or 90's, though how this is mea­sured can be very tricky.

CSAT is often deter­mined by a sin­gle ques­tion in follow-up sur­veys along the lines of “How would you rate your over­all sat­is­fac­tion with the ser­vice you received?” This is often graded on a scale of one to five, with a score of one rep­re­sent­ing “very dis­sat­is­fied” and fi ve rep­re­sent­ing “very sat­is­fied.” All sur­veys are then aver­aged for a com­pos­ite CSAT score. Some orga­ni­za­tions set their stan­dard at a 4-out-of-5; any cus­tomer who pro­vides a score of 3 or less trig­gers a call­back from a man­ager or QA team member.

This method­ol­ogy doesn't take into account that many mildly sat­is­fied or mildly dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomers don't tend to com­plete sur­veys. It also fails to dif­fer­en­ti­ate spe­cific fac­tors that con­tribute to cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion such as good value (the qual­ity and quan­tity of the ser­vice for its price), how closely the customer's expec­ta­tions are met, and how val­ued the cus­tomer feels at the end of a trans­ac­tion with this com­pany. This lack of detail can skew CSAT results in either direction.

As with other met­rics, one of CSAT's most use­ful pur­poses is to track the cor­re­la­tion between changes in train­ing or pro­ce­dures and the sat­is­fac­tion of cus­tomers. As long as the method used to mea­sure sat­is­fac­tion does not change between pre– and post-change sur­veys, CSAT can help com­pa­nies deter­mine the effect of new ini­tia­tives on their cus­tomers' satisfaction.

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  • Howard­solomon

    I find CSAT highly unre­li­able and am seri­ously look­ing for a way to abol­ish it. For starters if a cus­tomer has already spo­ken to 3 agents before you he/she is already steamed. He/she may be angry at the agent before you and you get the bad rat­ing instead. You can have 20 great ones in a row but Heaven Help you when you get just one Bad one it's as if you turned into the company's worst night­mare — you are the same employee that got 20 great scores in a row — noth­ing changed.

  • Anony­mous

    You've got a point, Howard. Agents shouldn't be held respon­si­ble if they did an awe­some job on the call but the cus­tomer gave poor marks on sat­is­fac­tion because of poor prod­uct qual­ity, long hold time, etc. That's why we rec­om­mend that the cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey include ques­tions tied directly to agent per­for­mance on that par­tic­u­lar call.

    Ide­ally, those ques­tions are tied to mon­i­tor­ing score­cards so that agents are held account­able for those behav­iors that con­tribute to CSAT. Sim­i­lar ques­tions should be asked about prod­uct qual­ity, ease of con­tact­ing the com­pany, sup­port, etc. That way if there are prob­lems with cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, it's clear where the prob­lem lies and steps can be taken to rem­edy it.