Impact Learning Systems


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.