Using CSAT to uncover customer satisfaction

Using CSAT to uncover customer satisfaction

Aug 27, 2021


Customer satisfaction is a wide-ranging topic and depending on who you talk with, can take on many different significations. An agent for example, may feel extremely pleased with the service they provide to your customers, while their supervisor may feel their customer interactions aren’t quite as optimal and require some improvements. They each have their own unique perspective, point of view and goals.

The missing element here?

You guessed it. The all-important customer perspective.

Without a true understanding, definition and measurement of customer satisfaction, your agents and organization cannot deliver meaningful customer experiences. By measuring the satisfaction of your customers as it relates to the key interactional moments your call center provides, you are in fact measuring your relationship – an interaction with a live agent, ease of use of self-service options (such as a chatbot or IVR), etc. These customer reactions provide actionable insight into how well your services perform in relation to real people.

So how do we measure customer satisfaction?


It’s all about the CSAT score

CSAT is a universally employed customer experience metric that measures a customer’s satisfaction or happiness with specific service elements of your business. Used by all service-focused industries as an indicator of good customer service, CSAT is a critical KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for the contact center as it delivers a customer satisfaction score, ranging from zero percent (poor) to 100 percent (excellent).

Think of it as a happiness score. Yay, we love you! Boo, your service sucks! It really is a thumbs up or thumbs down measure with little room for grey scale interpretations.

CSAT data is easy to capture and relatively easy to measure across most contact center channels. It’s as easy as asking a simple question like “From 1 to 5, how did we do today?” or “Rate your experience using our voicebot, from 1 to 5?”

A rating scale can look like this:

Using the “Keep It Simple” method means customers can quickly and painlessly record their satisfaction resulting in user-friendly numerical data that can be easily processed and analyzed by your customer experience experts.

To calculate your CSAT score, gather all the customer survey results scoring 4 or 5 – and divide by the total number of responses. For example, if 78 of 100 customer responses have a rating of 4 or 5, your score would be 78. A fairly satisfactory score (depending on your industry).

With your CSAT score on hand, you can benchmark your performance against other businesses within your industry or business sector. Plus, it’s always great to toot your own happiness horn by letting the world know just how great your customer service is!


Measuring customer happiness with CSAT

Even today, there are companies who believe that their customers are happy because they receive few complaints. The bury your head in the sand approach to customer satisfaction. But how accurate is this?


“Only 1 in 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest say nothing. 13% of unhappy customers will share their complaint with 15 or more people.” – SuperOffice


For the most part, customers will steep in their unhappiness and quietly move to another provider. You as a company, may never know why they left. Interestingly enough, customers who lodge a formal complaint and receive prompt solution resolution become future loyal brand advocates – making the point that good service is good business in the long-run.

But is it up to the customer to manage the experience you provide?

Of course not!

Using customer feedback gathered through surveys (feedback form sent by email following a live agent call, link to webpage following chat, etc.) you gain a CSAT measurement that tells you just how satisfied your clients are with the services received.

Customer surveying methods include voice, web, IVR, SMS and web – all providing valuable insight into measuring, benchmarking, and improving the customer experience at specific moments in time.

As a society, we’ve all gotten used to being asked and taking part in customer surveys. Perhaps you have implemented customer surveys as part of your customer experience strategy. Whether you gather immediate feedback following a live agent call or send a follow-up communication, the goal is to gage your customer’s response to the service they just received. The true goal of a CSAT score is to evaluate the customer’s immediate response, though sometimes it makes sense to gather feedback at a later point in time when they’ve had more time to reflect. Here the goal is to measure the customer relationship over time and is often used for long-time customers. A varying mix of options and channels can be incorporated depending on the customer to develop the right formula for your environment, needs and goals.


Accuracy is Everything in your CSAT Metrics

Let’s remember why we collect customer feedback – an accurate CSAT score provides your organization with key metrics that allow you to make data-based decisions, not just at the contact center level, but across departments. From sales and marketing to product development, understanding customer satisfaction takes critical importance.

It’s a matter of accurately collecting, processing and most important of all, analyzing customer feedback so that you do not over or underestimate satisfaction. Just think of all the corresponding decisions made as a result of using bad data! It’s why some contact center organizations prefer to outsource their CSAT metrics to third-party companies who act as unbiased analysts. These customer experience are impartial to the results, take no ill-will at the feedback and can often propose out of the box solutions to improve customer satisfaction.


Setting CSAT score expectations

So, what’s a good CSAT score is? It’s hard to say as every industry and business have different benchmarks.

Using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) as a baseline indicator, you can align yourself with similar companies, industries, sectors and even brands.  This is a good place to start when you do not have prior customer metrics. Over time, the goal is to generate enough feedback data to be able to create your own benchmark and move from a lower CSAT score to a higher CSAT score.

For example, if you are in the health insurance sector, you can see that the average customer score is 72. If your scores fall within this range, then your company is at par with your industry. But why be like the rest, when you can score higher!


Using your CSAT score to improve Customer Experience

Armed with your customer satisfaction score, now you are ready to deep dive into a better understanding of how to improve the customer experience. Often, additional data may be required to help uncover problem areas. Some companies perform random but regular self-checks to actually experience their own customer experience processes. From evaluating the efficiency of communication channels, the friendliness of their call center agents, to the ease of use of their self-service options – living through a real and live interaction allows you to test these experiences and better understand feedback scores.

So, if live agent support consistently scores poorly, then a review of processes, training and agent support may be required. More and more, contact centers are implementing workforce engagement management strategies that focus on how to retain and engage agents. Remember, a happy agent delivers happy customer interactions!

With a historical benchmark, you can start to track changes and improvements over time. Key improvement areas may standout requiring immediate action. By gathering additional feedback for this specific area of concern, you can assess different factors that may be affecting the customer experience. And with every change you make, you can continuously monitor CSAT scores to gage its impact.

What happens if customer satisfaction plateaus? This is an interesting conundrum as you are maintaining status quo, but the point of good customer service is to continuously strive for improvement. With no clear answer, a good starting point is to review internal processes with an eye towards making adjustments. For real change, looking for ways to truly differentiate your service (or even your business) can be the key driver that initiates customer satisfaction improvements – because no one wants blah or just so-so service.

By understanding precisely what your customers want and expect from your brand, you can make better decisions that meet their needs, make them happier and set you apart from the competition.


CSAT is more than just a number

CSAT delivers quantitative customer satisfaction metrics. Acting as a benchmark for customer satisfaction, your CSAT score is more than just a number. It provides insight into customer expectations and whether you can achieve and exceed them. It pinpoints areas for improvement that can lead to greater customer satisfaction and increased brand loyalty. When feedback is solicited regularly, it can uncover unhappy customers allowing you to take action to resolve pain points and turn those unhappy customers into ecstatic customers.

At scale, it can be hard to tell who your unhappy customers are simply by referencing business metrics, let alone understand why they’re unhappy. Customer satisfaction surveys help identify customers who are likely to churn, so you can resolve their pain points before it’s too late.

When tracking and analyzing the drivers behind failing CSAT scores, you open your business to uncovering core differentiators that not only affect your CSAT scores, but your entire business operations.

The takeaway?

Always act on CSAT insights, otherwise why spend any time collecting customer feedback. They’re your customers. If you want to nurture this relationship, then you need to regularly and systematically check-in on them and make the necessary tweaks to keep them happy.



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