Customer Satisfaction Score: How happy are your customers?
Customer Satisfaction scores, or CSAT, is a metric used by companies and marketers to navigate through a customer’s feelings through the customer lifecycle.
First, let’s start this article off with a story of what a dissatisfied customer looks like.
It was New Year’s Eve and with the lockdown in place, I decided to have a more lowkey night of me, myself, and pizza. I browsed through the available options in my area who offered delivery and settled on a restaurant I heard fantastic reviews about. It was quaint, a little more lowkey, a perfect fit for the type of night I wanted to have.
Since it was a pizza for one, I wanted to go all out- unlimited toppings, extra cheese, and sides. Even the thought of my order while writing it right now makes my heart yearn for it. I grabbed my card, placed my order through UberEats, and resumed watching my show.
One episode ended, followed by another, and then another, and that’s when the question arose, “where on Earth was my pizza?”
“Okay, okay, it’s fine. It’s New Year’s Eve, a lot of people must be ordering from here, some delays are to be expected.” I thought as I continued to watch my show and grabbed a snack, an attempt to keep the rumbles at bay.
But as I continued watching, my hunger became deafening. It had been a little over an hour since I ordered, what was going on?
I called the pizzeria and asked for the status on my order. They told me it was ready but they were looking for a rider. “Riders are hard to come by at this hour since there are so many deliveries right now.”
“I understand, but please hurry!” I said, hoping that would cast some sort of spell that will make a rider appear.
Another hour passed, and I heard nothing from the pizzeria. I called back, no response. Called again, and I went straight to voicemail. Called again, and this time I could hardly hear what the person on the other end was saying. I asked again, “Where is my pizza?”
“Uh yes, what’s your order number? I’ll check the status of the pizza,” said the operator.
“Status of the pizza? Half an hour ago you told me there was no rider.”
“Ma’am, let me call you back, I’ll check the status and let you know.”
“No, please tell me right n-”
They cut the call, and didn’t call me back.
15 minutes later, I received a sad, limp pizza. Needless to say, I was not satisfied. I received an email from UberEats the next morning, asking me how satisfied I was with the pizzeria. Never have I ever wished for a negative number on the scale of 1-10.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
If you’ve ever purchased anything, or in my case, if you’ve ever ordered a pizza, you’ve probably been acquainted with the question-
“How satisfied were you with your experience today?”
Accompanied by a scale of some sort. Either from 1-3 or maximum, 1-10. This is the first step a brand takes in understanding how customers feel about their experience. This concept is called Customer Satisfaction.
CSAT, short for Customer Satisfaction, is one of the many ways of measuring customer satisfaction. It’s a score or an index of how satisfied a customer is with the brand’s products and services. Brands use this information to understand how their customers are feeling at key interaction times. The pizzeria asked me when I received my product, but it can be asked at any point of the customer life cycle.
CSAT, like NPS, is just a measure of customer experience. You can collect all the data in the world, but it’s what you do with the data that matters.
How is CSAT different from NPS and CES?
As we’ve mentioned, customer satisfaction can be measured in many different ways. Some brands prefer using metrics like NPS, and some use a combination of metrics to measure overall satisfaction.
NPS or Net Promoter Score is a measure of both customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s based on a single question-
“How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend?”
Customers can then select an option from 0-10. Answers within 0-6 are referred to as “detractors,” where customers are unlikely to recommend the product or service. While answers between 9-10 are considered as “promoters.” What’s in between is considered passive or neutral, and is often ruled out of the equation.
The score is the difference between the promoters and the detractors.
Many customer experience experts believe that effortlessness is a relevant attribute for customer satisfaction. CES or Customer Effort Score measures the ease of service experience for the customer- or how customer-friendly the company is after a support interaction. It’s a metric that’s used to improve systems that might confuse customers.
According to Gartner, it’s a metric that enables service organizations to account for the ease of customer interaction and resolution during a request.
It’s measured by asking the customer if they agree with the following statement-
“The company made it easy for me to handle my issue”
The scale is between 1-7. 1 being “completely disagree,” 4 being “neither agree nor disagree,” and 7 being “completely agree.” CES helps you identify obstacles so that customers can navigate through your customer support system with ease.
While NPS takes customer satisfaction into account, it’s actually a stronger indication of advocacy, or loyalty to the organization. The single-question approach asks the customer to look at the company’s products and services through a wider lens. The customer has to consider past experiences, general satisfaction, etc. to come to a conclusion. I.e., it focuses more on intention rather than a feeling of immediate satisfaction.
The CES metric only pops up when a customer is facing an issue. While it is an indicator of how easily issues get resolved, it doesn’t really assess if a customer is satisfied with the service.
CSAT targets the “here and now” reaction of a specific situation. Instead of it being a single question, like with NPS, CSAT can use multiple questions throughout the customer lifecycle to understand what the customer is feeling at the present moment.
These 3 metrics in harmony can provide a more holistic view on understanding your customer. NPS provides a lens on customer loyalty and suggests the likelihood of creating an advocate for your brand. CSAT and CES can help you look at touchpoints in the customer journey. CSAT can look at attributes such as interactions, products, or events and can nail down where exactly you’re suceeding. While CES dials in on effort and user-friendliness.
For this article, we’re going to focus on optimizing CSAT scores.
How do I measure CSAT?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, CSAT is measured by one or more variations of this question:
“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [goods/service] you received?”
The responses can either be a star rating, or an emoji, or a scale of 1-10, depending on the brand.
Once the responses have been collected, brands must only look at responses in the “highly satisfied” range.
- Scale of 1-3: only responses of 3
- Scale of 1-5: only responses of 4-5
- Scale of 1-10: only responses of 7-10
The formula is as follows:
(Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) / Number of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers
Timing is everything
The CSAT survey can be deployed at any point of the customer lifecycle. Which begs the question-
“When should I deploy my CSAT survey?”
Well, you have a couple of options. Let’s assess them all.
1. After key Customer Lifestyle moments
CSAT can help you gather rich customer insights in key moments of your customer’s experience. It can also help measure you the effectiveness of key processes during the life cycle, such as:
When customers identify a need and discover a solution.
When customers evaluate whether they want to make a purchase with your company or not.
Today’s customers do this all on their own, for the most part. It’s all about weeding out what you can’t afford and finding the right fit.
When customers have made a decision and decide to make a purchase with your b
- User experience
When the customer has a chance to interact with your product or service to then determine if the purchase was “worth it.”
When a customer faces a problem and comes back to you to rectify the situation- how satisfying was taking care of the problem?
When a customer is so satisfied with your service, it’s a key time to follow up the survey with a “why?”
The best time to deploy a CSAT survey is immediately after a meaningful part of the customer lifecycle. Because the feelings are so fresh, you can collect valuable feedback from the customer on what you’re doing right and how to improve.
So now, you have a choice- you can deploy this survey as many times as you want, or you can just send it out once.
2. Before renewing
If you’re offering a long-term service, some experts suggest sending out the survey a few months before renewal to:
- Give customers enough time to come to an unbiased decision
- Give yourself enough time to act on their feedback
Because of the simplicity of the CSAT survey, it’s easier to conduct this survey multiple times at many touchpoints. With the right technology and with the constant feedback loop, you’ll always have a sense of what your customers are feeling.
3. After Customer Support or Education Interactions
The customer satisfaction survey can also be used in tandem with CES, i.e., after a support interaction. This can be conducted through a chatbot, after an interaction with a live agent, or at the end of an FAQ.
Frankly, you can use a CSAT survey at any point where you want to capture your customer’s feelings- during on-boarding, while interacting with your product, or while interacting with your support team.
However, do keep in mind that because of the simplicity of the question, it’s best asked immediately after interacting with the customer to capture their true feelings.
What does a good CSAT score look like?
The easy answer is to say that anything above 85 is a good score. But the reality is more complicated. Each industry has its own benchmarks according to American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Below are industry benchmarks for CSAT score:
- Apparel: 79
- Automobiles and Light Vehicles: 82
- Banks: 81
- Breweries: 85
- Cellular Telephones: 79
- Computer Software: 79
- Consumer Shipping: 78
- Credit Unions: 81
- Financial Advisors: 80
- Full-Service Restaurants: 81
- Hotels: 76
- Internet Retail: 80
- Internet Travel Services: 78
- Life Insurance: 80
- Specialty Retail Stores: 78
The first step is to assess your current metrics. Are you happy with your scores? Would you like to see a change?
Now you can understand why it’s helpful to set up the survey at multiple touchpoints because now you can see where and which gaps you want to fill. The higher the frequency of surveys, the more data you can collect.
Traditional methods involve sending out surveys once or twice a year, but that comes at the cost of seeing results after a long time. You’re also at risk of using out-dated data. So, it’s best to send the survey out frequently, and experiment. See how your customers feel about the new method you implemented and have fun with it.
I recently read a fantastic book called “FISH! A remarkable way to boost morale and improve results.” Through this book, I discovered that there is a link between employee experience and customer satisfaction.
In this book, the operations team was called the “toxic dump site.” Everything was slow, the employees were often demotivated and that came at the cost of losing many customers. So, they underwent a transformation and came up with a pipeline:
Choose your attitude
When your teams start their day, they have the freedom to choose their attitude. While they cannot control your customer’s feelings, they can control how they respond.
Encourage your support teams to have fun while they’re on the job. Processes can be gamified, for example.
Watch our interview with Nicolas Babin on the gamification of marketing:
Make their day
The goal for each customer interaction is simple- you have to make their day special. This can be through offering discounts, making them laugh, etc.. The objective is simple.
Be present and pleasant
The best way to practice empathy to guarantee is a high CSAT score is to be present. If your customer is facing a concern, practice active listening to figure out what’s going on and how to help them best. Create a space for open dialogue and we can guarantee you’ll have a higher and more honest CSAT score.
Criticisms of CSAT
Any survey methodology comes with proponents and opponents, and CSAT is no exception.
Many customer experience experts love CSAT for:
- Its simplicity
- How the scale can vary based on context
- The high response rate
- How it can provide great insights throughout the customer journey
However, opponents believe that different cultures respond to the survey differently, allowing for cultural bias.
For example, an American is likely to choose the more extremely sides, i.e., “completely dissatisfied.” or “completely satisfied,” whereas a country like Switzerland can choose to be more neutral.
Opponents also find that the response is based on short-term sentiments and therefore doesn’t reflect on long-term loyalty.
And finally, opponents also find customers who fall under being neutral or dissatisfied skip the survey as a whole, making the results even more biased.
This is why Engati recommends using CSAT alongside other metrics like NPS and CES.
Now I’m sure you must be wondering-
- What rating did I end up giving the pizzeria?
- How can I get started on my journey towards improving my CSAT score?
Let’s just say that the former is between me, UberEats and the pizzeria! And with the latter, it’s easy to get started.
As we mentioned earlier, effortless is a key indicator of satisfaction and with Engati, you can offer a frictionless customer experience right from your bedroom. Conducting surveys, sales, support is easy with Engati.
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