Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) explained

Written by:

Will Beukers

A guide to customer satisfaction score 

If you’re a business who prioritises your customers, understanding and measuring customer satisfaction is crucial. One of the most widely used metrics for this purpose is the customer satisfaction score (CSAT). 

CSAT provides you with a direct indicator of how satisfied your customers are with your products, services, or specific interactions. This metric helps your company gauge customer sentiment, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately drive customer loyalty and repeat business. 

With 97% of consumers saying that customer experience is crucial to their brand loyalty, it’s important you quantify the satisfaction of your customers using CSAT.

What are customer satisfaction scores?

CSAT is a metric that measures how satisfied customers are with the service or services you provide. It’s typically obtained by asking customers a straightforward question, such as “How satisfied were you with your experience?” Customers respond on a scale that can range from 1-3, 1-5, or 1-10, with higher scores indicating greater satisfaction. The simplicity and directness of CSAT make it a valuable tool for you to assess customer happiness and understand how your support teams might need to be adjusted to improve customer satisfaction.

How to calculate customer satisfaction score

Calculating CSAT is a straightforward process. The score is determined by dividing the number of satisfied responses by the total number of responses and then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. Here’s s a simple, step-by-step explanation:

  1. Collect responses: Survey your customers using a simple question about their satisfaction with your product or service.
  2. Identify satisfied responses: Count the number of responses that fall within the “satisfied” range (e.g., ratings of 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale).
  3. Total responses: Count the total number of survey responses received.
  4. Use the CSAT formula:

CSAT = (Number of satisfied customers / Total number of surveyed customers) × 100

For example, if you surveyed 100 customers and 80 of them rated their satisfaction as 4 or 5, your CSAT score would be 80%.

Understanding CSAT ratings

CSAT surveys typically use a scale ranging from 1 to 5, where higher scores indicate greater customer satisfaction. This scale allows you to to categorise responses into different levels of satisfaction:

  • 1 (Very dissatisfied): Indicates a poor experience.
  • 2 (Dissatisfied): Reflects dissatisfaction but not the worst possible experience.
  • 3 (Neutral): Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
  • 4 (Satisfied): Indicates a good experience.
  • 5 (Very satisfied): Reflects an excellent experience.

Interpreting these ratings helps you gauge customer sentiment and understand how well you’re meeting customer expectations. A higher average score indicates better customer satisfaction, while lower scores highlight areas needing improvement.

Benefits of tracking customer satisfaction score

Tracking CSAT offers you several key benefits:

  • CSAT surveys can identify areas for improvement,  pinpointing specific areas of your service which need to be corrected.
  • Enhancing your customer loyalty means satisfied customers are more likely to return and recommend your business to others.
  • Understanding customer satisfaction helps you tailor your customer service to better meet customer expectations and needs
  • CSAT provides quick, quantitative feedback through immediate insights into customer satisfaction, allowing for rapid action to address any issues.

How to improve your CSAT score

Improving your CSAT score involves several practical strategies

  1. Upskill customer service by training your team to be responsive, empathetic, and effective in resolving issues
  2. Adjusting products and services based on customer feedback to make necessary adjustments and improvements
  3. Personalising customer interactions by tailoring communication and interactions to meet individual customer needs and preferences
  4. Proactively following up with customers after their purchase or service interaction to ensure their satisfaction and address any concerns promptly.

Using workforce management software

Workforce management (WFM) software can be key in improving your CSAT score. It’s a one-stop solution to increase the level of support your teams can provide. A few of its features which will boost your CSAT score include:

  • Schedule automation to ensure you’ll always have the right agents available at the right times, by matching their skill sets with the type of support needed. You’re guaranteed that your customers are getting the best possible support, whatever their queries.
  • Forecasting to help you match inflow with availability, in order to reduce backlogs. By using forecasting, you’ll keep your wait times low — and your CSAT scores high!
  • Real-time data lets you identify any issues like lagging occupancy or increased average handle times in the moment, which potentially have a negative knock-on effect on your CSAT score.

Additionally, WFM helps you break down contributions to your CSAT score by channels and agents, giving you greater clarity into sources of customer satisfaction (or dissatisfaction). You can gain insight into what parts of your support team need extra attention, and re-allocate resources accordingly.

Ostrum teamed up with Surfboard to upgrade their support teams, and their customers were all the happier for it, earning them a 4.8/5 rating on Trustpilot.

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Check out all the features above, and more, and see how Surfboard will help boost your CSAT score.

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Comparing CSAT with other metrics

CSAT is often compared with other customer satisfaction metrics like Net Promoter Score and Customer Effort Score. Each metric has its unique advantages and applications:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty by asking how likely customers are to recommend the company to others. NPS focuses on long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) evaluates how easy it is for customers to interact with the company. CES identifies specific pain points in the customer journey and helps streamline processes to improve customer satisfaction.

While CSAT provides a direct measure of customer satisfaction, NPS offers insights into customer loyalty, and CES highlights areas where reducing customer effort can improve satisfaction.

Challenges and limitations of CSAT

Despite its benefits, CSAT does come with limitations. One significant limitation is its dependency on the timing of the survey and the customer’s current mood, which can affect their responses. Additionally, cultural differences can lead to variations in how customers rate their satisfaction. 

Another challenge is that CSAT often reflects short-term satisfaction rather than long-term loyalty. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use CSAT in conjunction with other metrics like NPS and CES to get a more well-rounded view of customer sentiment.


What is a good customer satisfaction score?

A good customer satisfaction score (CSAT) typically falls between 75% and 85%. Scores above 90% are considered excellent, indicating that most customers are highly satisfied with their experience.

However, what constitutes a “good” score can vary by industry, as different sectors have different benchmarks for customer satisfaction.

What is a good customer satisfaction score?

The typical 5-point scale ratings in CSAT surveys are: 1) Very Dissatisfied, 2) Dissatisfied, 3) Neutral, 4) Satisfied, and 5) Very Satisfied.

This scale allows customers to express a range of sentiments from negative to positive. Higher scores (4 and 5) indicate greater satisfaction with the product or service.

What is a good customer satisfaction score?

To measure the Customer satisfaction score (CSAT), survey customers with a question about their satisfaction, such as “How satisfied were you with your experience?”

Count the number of responses that fall within the “satisfied” range (e.g., ratings of 4 or 5). Divide this number by the total number of survey responses, and then multiply by 100 to get the CSAT percentage.