Diving Into the Customer Satisfaction Score Survey (CSAT) Survey

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey is an effective tool to measure customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction has always been the chief performance goal for businesses, as customers are the lifeblood of any business. 

The need to satisfy customers is at an all-time high, as a third of customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, proving that companies need satisfaction upkeep of even their loyal customers. Nearly 60% of US consumers will abandon a brand after a few bad experiences.

Businesses, therefore, need a solid strategy that prioritizes customer satisfaction. A customer satisfaction survey, the CSAT survey is one of the foremost methods of gauging this crucial concept. This article delves into the customer satisfaction score survey and all that it entails and provides.  

Defining the CSAT Survey

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey evaluates customer satisfaction based on a specific touchpoint in their customer journey, whether that’s in a website’s navigation menu, at checkout or while using a product they’ve already purchased (post-sales).

Another key differentiating factor of the CSAT survey is that this customer satisfaction survey is based on its eponymous score. This score signifies the percentage of satisfaction that customers endure and therefore, rate some point(s) in their customer experience (CX). Higher percentages reflect higher degrees of customer satisfaction.

Understanding this score helps businesses determine how segments of their target market assess their satisfaction in relation to their business. The CSAT survey comprises more than just the question used to calculate the score. Since it is a survey, it uses follow-up questions based on the respondents’ answers. These can include open-ended questions so that respondents can elaborate on their CSAT rating.  

How to Calculate the CSAT Score

The CSAT score is the heart of this survey. It uses a specific formula for its calculation. Although the CSAT survey measures a specific customer experience, market researchers can use it for general customer satisfaction assessments.

The CSAT score is measured with a Likert scale question type. The scale is between 1 and 5, in which 1 represents “highly unsatisfied” and 5 represents “highly satisfied.” 4 also represents predominantly satisfied customers.

The CSAT score is the most flexible type of customer satisfaction score, as it is not limited to the numbered scale. You can use various in-survey tools to exhibit the same sentiments as the 1-5 scale, such as emoticons, stars and other visual elements. 

Here is an example of a general CSAT survey question, which responders answer with the aforesaid scale: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our company?

Here is how you measure the CSAT score after you receive this critical variable:

CSAT= (Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) / Number of survey responses) x 100 

Round the result to the nearest whole number.

An example of the CSAT Calculation:

Number of satisfied customers (those who answered with a 4 or 5) = 32

Number of survey responses = 84

CSAT= (32/84) X 100

CSAT= 0.38 X 100

CSAT= 38%

As such, only 38% of respondents were satisfied.

How the CSAT Survey Differs from the Customer Effort Score (CES) & Other Surveys

There are several other key customer satisfaction survey types. The two other main surveys are the Customer Effort Score (CES) survey and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. Additionally, researchers can experiment with other customer satisfaction surveys, like ratings scale and custom surveys. 

While it measures the same business aspect of customer satisfaction, the CSAT survey differs from the other such survey types, in that it studies particular things and thus has a discrete formula.

The Key Differentiators of the CSAT Survey

The following lays out the key facets of the CSAT survey. These distinguish it from other customer satisfaction surveys.

  1. Measures how satisfied or dissatisfied customers are at a particular time, with a particular service, procedure, interaction, product or any single CX moment. 
  2. Uses a Likert scale question, with a scale of 1-5.
  3. Has two key outcomes: the score (whether its low (1-3) or high (4-5)) and the percentage of the high scores.
  4. Focuses on the latter, i.e., the percentage of satisfied (high) scores.
  5. Should be launched after a specific occurrence in the CX, such as:
    1. A technical support call
    2. A product demo
    3. A purchase
    4. Visiting a store
    5. Interaction with a UI element

The Customer Effort Score (CES) Survey DIfferences

The Customer Effort Score (CES) survey studies a completely different aspect of customer satisfaction. This survey measures the ease of service experience customers undergo with a business. Thus, it asks respondents to rate the ease of using a product or service via a Matrix-like question, on a scale ranging between “very difficult” and “very easy.”

Also a Likert scale question, the scale is usually between 1 and 5, in which 1 represents very low effort and 5 represents a very high effort. This can cause some ambiguity since the scale is inverted (1= good, as it’s low-effort/easy, 5= bad, as it’s high effort/difficult). 3 represents a neutral degree of effort in doing business with a company.

The Customer Effort Score formula:
(Very easy + easy answers) — (very difficult + difficult answers) = CES

Another way to calculate the CES: (sum of all individual scores) / all the respondents = CES
Following suit to the first calculation, the lower the score, the easier and thus more satisfying the experience is. 

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey DIfferences

The NPS survey differs from the CSAT survey in that it measures the likelihood of a customer to recommend a product or business to others. This survey is intended to understand customers’ outlook on a business, particularly their positive CX. 

This is because the NPS question doesn’t merely question customer satisfaction — it asks whether customers reached a satisfaction high enough that would spur them into advocating for the business.  

Respondents answer the NPS question on a scale of 0-10. The scale is divided into 3 sections of responders based on their scores. 

  1. Detractors: Scores 0-6, they represent the low end/ negative sentiment 
  2. Passives: 7-8 is the mid-range; their name denotes more of a neutral sentiment 
  3. Promoters: 9-10 represents high customer satisfaction

The Net Promoter Score formula:
(Number of Promoter Scores/Total Number of Respondents) – (Number of Detractor Scores/Total Number of Respondents) = NPS score

The Customer Satisfaction Score survey is therefore divergent in its calculation along with the aspect it measures.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the CSAT Survey

The CSAT survey is a nimble tool for tracking and measuring customer satisfaction. But as any survey tool, it too has a few limitations. It’s key to learn both its benefits and snags when deciding whether this survey type is the right one for your market research needs. The following posits the pros and cons, so that you can weigh them against each other during your deliberation.

The Pros

  1. Versatile measurements: It can be used across a wide range of interactions and experiences.
  2. Extremely flexible formatting: The grading scale is not limited to numbers. For a simple rating, researchers can use emoticons, stars, etc.
  3. Specific: Brands can spot-check different components of their CX, whether it’s digital or in-store and make precise improvements.  
  4. Provides regular, up-to-date info: This survey can regularly be deployed as a check-up on your customer satisfaction, thus providing up-to-date customer feedback.
  5. Positive for your brand’s perception: Customers like it when their feedback is considered. When you specifically tie their opinions to your brand, you’re positing it in a good light. 
  6. Can build benchmark data: By administering the same type of survey from time to time, you’ll be gaining continued insight that you can compare over time, allowing you to benchmark the data over several years.
  7. Simplicity in design: Although the question can pertain to all kinds of CX components, it is simple and requires few follow-up questions, unless you need a deep read of customer interactions.

The Cons

  1. Limits with specificity: Since it zeroes in a specific touchpoint, the feedback is limited to that experience only. It doesn’t provide a wider view of the overall customer relationship. 
  2. Can overwhelm respondents: Although a simple survey, the CSAT warrants constant check-ups for updated info and benchmarking. This can irritate repeat customers or even first-time buyers.
  3. Privacy concerns: Not all interactions are private. A purchase, for example, isn’t private in that customers provide their names, addresses and credit/debit card details. As such, their identities are tied to their CSAT survey responses. This can be concerning for customers that value their privacy and want to maximize it. 

When to Use the CSAT Survey

The capability of being used to survey everything can mean nothing for market researchers and business owners who want to narrow down the most expedient opportunities for measuring customer satisfaction.   

As such, here are some of the most opportune moments and occurrences in your customers’ CX for you to employ the CSAT survey.

  1.  Customer support interactions
    1. Chatboxes, emails and all other digital communications
    2. On the phone
    3. In-store and at a support center
  2. Sales interactions
    1. In-store
    2. During a meeting whether it’s via Zoom or in-person
    3. Over the phone
    4. During a marketing event, tradeshow, etc.
  3. Customer onboarding
    1. Particular to SaaS companies 
    2. Includes products/services that require training (mainly for professionals)
  4. Event feedback
    1. Digital events like webinars, company introductions, etc.
    2. In-person events from grand openings, to sales weeks, etc.
  5. Site Navigation
    1. Homepage
    2. Landing pages
    3. Product pages
    4. Banners
    5. Ads
    6. Checkout
    7. Search bar
  6. Product Satisfaction
    1. Newly purchased products
    2. Products owned for a period of time (from weeks to a year)

There is virtually no limit to testing customer satisfaction with the CSAT survey, as it can be adapted to test all customer experiences.

Taking Your Customer Satisfaction Above and Beyond

The CSAT is but one consumer survey, but it has a major takeaway: the importance of keeping your customers happy. With customer expectations at an all-time high, it is integral to provide them with experiences that raise their customer satisfaction. 

In essence, customer satisfaction measures a consolidation of customer perceptions and expectations. While it is impossible to meet every expectation, achieving a good perception is doable. In order to meet this end, you need to constantly study your customers in relation to their satisfaction with your business. 

Online surveys are the most effective measures in this regard, in that they catch customers in their natural environments. Regarding the CSAT score, online surveys empower it, as market researchers can place and launch surveys during various customer interactions. The more you study your customer satisfaction, the better you can perfect it.