What are Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Scores?

19 August 2021

Customer Satisfaction or CSAT is a no nonsense headline measure of how satisfied your customers are with your business overall, or with individual products and services. The heart of most customer satisfaction surveys, it can be used as a key performance indicator to track changes over time and identify areas for improvement.

How to measure Customer Satisfaction scores?

CSAT scores are calculated using responses to questions along the lines of “How satisfied are you with XYZ?” measured on a survey scale. Although various scales have been used, including verbal and numerical scales of 5, 7, or 10 points, we would always recommend using a 10 point numerical scale as it allows for greater definition and more advanced statistical analysis, and this has now become the accepted standard for customer satisfaction research.

The exact wording of the questions asked will depend on the requirements of your customer satisfaction survey and the need to explore specific parts of your business. An example might look like this:

There are different ways to calculate a CSAT score, but the most accurate is by calculating the mean average (the sum of all individual responses divided by the total number of responses).

Your CSAT score for each question will be between 1 and 10.

For an overall headline measure you will work out a Customer Satisfaction Index (as detailed below) on a scale of 10-100, and often given as a percentage.

What is a good Customer Satisfaction score?

Obviously the higher your CSAT score the better, and you should always be scrutinising your score and using the insight to improve your customer experience.

We’ve been undertaking customer satisfaction research in the UK for over 20 years and over the years we’ve seen a whole range of scores. In answer to the question above, we need to look at our latest benchmarking ‘league table’, which shows an average CSAT score would be around 80%, the highest around 95% and the lowest around 50%.

Benchmarking your CSAT scores can be a good indication of how well you are doing, whether to put your score in context against all other companies, or to compare your performance within your sector against your competitors. Get in touch to discuss benchmarking further with a member of our team.

What should you measure with Customer Satisfaction scores?

CSAT starts to become more powerful when you link your customer satisfaction surveys to key moments in a customer's experience.

There is no defined list of CSAT questions to measure, but a good survey should focus around any customer touch point which will impact on customer loyalty. CSAT surveys have completely different requirements from one business to the next. There are common questions, but the best CSAT surveys are focused on what is most important to the business and their customers.

A well designed questionnaire allows you to track CSAT scores for a range of business areas, products, services, etc. depending on the context of your survey. This will allow you to identify moments of pain and moments of truth for the customer, what is working well vs what isn’t, and deliver actionable insight to drive positive changes.

Here is an example of a question which would give a range of requirements for CSAT scores relating to the quality of a customer service function:

“On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very satisfied and 1 very dissatisfied), how satisfied are you with our customer service team on the following:”

When to measure Customer Satisfaction scores?

The main advantage of CSAT is in its simplicity. It's an easy way to close the loop on a customer interaction and determine whether or not it fulfilled the needs of the customer with a positive experience.

Tracking customer satisfaction for a range of customer touch points, and at different stages of the customer lifecycle, will quickly help you identify what matters most to your customers and any areas where you are not meeting their expectations.

For example, one of our clients recently found that CSAT scores for ‘customer support’ in year 1 were excellent, leading to good customer retention after the first year. However, when we looked at the same scores for customers in years 2 and 3, we found a significant drop. An action plan was put in place to address this and bring scores in line with year 1 to offer consistent levels of customer support throughout the customer life cycle.

Moving to a Customer Satisfaction Index

Taking your CSAT scores to the next level would be to create a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). This will provide you with a much more accurate measure than one overall question, which is less prone to random errors and fluctuations, and better reflects your business priorities.

A Customer Satisfaction Index involves measuring the importance of each requirement within your customer satisfaction survey. A ‘weighting factor’ is then applied to each metric depending on how important they are to your customers.

For example, if the ‘Quality’ of your product is the most important thing for a particular customer, they would give it the highest importance score and weighting factor, and if ‘Value for money’ was the least important, this would be given the lowest. Let’s see how one customer’s CSI would be calculated:

The weighting factor is then multiplied by the CSAT score for each requirement to produce a weighted score for each requirement to create an overall Customer Satisfaction Index.

The weighted average in this example is 8.54 out of 10, but it is normal to express the index as a score out of 100, so the CSI for this customer is 85.4%. The overall CSI for the business is the average of each customer’s individual CSI.