Customer satisfaction has become an indispensable factor in sustainable business growth.

Customers now wield more power than ever before and have endless product options. Competition has become increasingly stiff, and only brands focusing on building customer relationships and a loyal following are poised for long-term success. Our survey data shows that 58% of people buy from brands they trust, and 36% choose brands that genuinely understand their needs.

In this article, we answer everything you need to know about customer satisfaction score (CSAT). We’ll discuss its importance and how to calculate it. Further, we’ll also share strategies to help you improve your CSAT score.

Table of contents:

What is CSAT?

A customer satisfaction score, or CSAT, is a customer service metric designed to measure customers’ happiness and satisfaction with a company’s product or service. More than a customer service metric, a customer satisfaction score can be described as a tool that makes it possible for businesses to:

  • Measure the quality of customer experience delivered to their customers
  • Collect user feedback on your brand, product or service
  • Predict the likelihood of customers churning
  • Collect data on customer expectations and develop features to meet such expectations.

CSAT is measured individually, meaning the feedback is collected from individual customers at different stages of the customer survey. Companies use CSAT surveys to ask customers simple feedback questions such as “How satisfied are you with your experience?” or “How would you rate our product/service?”

CSAT survey measures satisfaction level on a scale containing either binary response (yes/no), an emoticon scale (😁 or 😞) or on a 5-point or 7-point Likert scale (e.g. 1- Strongly disagree to 5- Strongly agree). You can place these surveys strategically through emails, in-app or online feedback to collect customer feedback.

CSAT satisfaction scale image

How to calculate CSAT

Calculating your CSAT score is quite straightforward. With a CSAT survey, you can ask customers to rate your products or services using a scaled-based response system.

When the results are in, you simply divide the total number of happy responses (ratings from 8-10) by the total number of customers surveyed and then multiply by 10.

CSAT score formula

Let’s assume you receive 150 positive responses from a pool of 250 respondents, your CSAT score would be 60%. Breaking it down,

CSAT formula breakdown

A CSAT score is calculated on a zero-to-one scale, with 100 percent being the highest score. For many companies, achieving 100% is the goal. However, that is not to say that any score exceeding 50% (ideally 60% or 70%) should not be viewed as positive.

While achieving a 100% CSAT score is commendable, it’s also important to benchmark it against other metrics. Compare the total number of CSAT responses you’ve received to the total number of your customers. This way, you can tell if your CSAT score is truly an indicator of your overall customer satisfaction.

For example, if 100 of your 250 responses are positive, but you have a total of 1,000 customers, then your CSAT score is not a true representation of your customer satisfaction level.

How to calculate customer satisfaction using Sprout Social

Sprout Social users can use the customer feedback tool to build customer satisfaction surveys and collect customer feedback from social platforms. To create customer feedback in Sprout, follow these steps:

Step 1. Log In to your Sprout Social account.

Step 2. Next, access customer feedback configuration. Do this by navigating to “Account and Settings” section. Click on settings.

Step 3. Under “Inbox and reviews,” select customer feedback. Choose the social profile for which you want to configure your CSAT survey.

Image of how to Configure CSAT survey in Sprout

Step 4. Select the Enable feedback checkbox to configure your survey. Scroll down to the survey section. Here, you can set up CSAT surveys for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Step 5. To automatically send a request for feedback, select Automate.

Step 6. Once you’re done, you can click “Save” to save your settings or “Reset Settings” to start over. You can also customize the appearance of your CSAT survey by selecting Customize under Appearance.

Configuring a CSAT survey for Instagram using Sprout

Once you’ve configured your CSAT survey, Sprout Social will automatically send a feedback request to customers after they interact with your brand on social media. You can view your CSAT results in the Customer Feedback Report. This report shows you the average CSAT score for each social media platform, as well as the percentage of customers who rated their satisfaction as “Very Satisfied.”

Analyze the results in the Customer Service Feedback Report to gain insights into your CSAT scores and make data-driven decisions to improve your customer experience.

Alternatives to CSAT

Businesses use customer satisfaction metrics like customer satisfaction score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES) depending on the goal they want to achieve. Let’s discuss two alternatives to CSAT.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer satisfaction metric that measures the possibility of users recommending your products to others on a scale of 0-10. It is measured to gauge customer sentiment and loyalty by asking one question: “How likely are you to recommend {product name} to a friend or colleague? ”

NPS scores are good predictors of business growth; a high score indicates a healthy customer relationship, while lower scores say otherwise. With NPS surveys, you can track how certain interactions in the customer journey, for example, feature upgrades, affect customer loyalty over time.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Customer Effort Score Metric, or CES, is a metric used to evaluate the ease of a customer’s experience with a company. It measures how much effort customers put into interacting with a product to achieve their desired outcome, whether purchasing, resolving an issue or getting support.

CES survey typically asks questions such as “On a scale of 1-5, how easy was it to {experience}?” The score is typically measured on a 5-point or 7-point scale, ranging from “very difficult to very easy.” By measuring CES scores, companies can pinpoint areas where customers are experiencing difficulty and where there’s a need for improvement to make the experience seamless for their customers.

5 benefits of using CSAT

Now that we’ve covered the definitions, let’s understand why you should start using CSAT.

1. CSAT is intuitive and easy to use

CSAT surveys are designed in a way that is easy to understand. They’re user-friendly, easy to understand and can be customized easily without much difficulty. CSAT survey often comes with one question that’s easy to understand and feels interactive to the respondent.

2. Higher response rates

Because CSAT surveys are short and straight to the point, they usually have a higher response rate. They require minimal time and effort from the customer, and as long as they appear contextually, customers won’t mind sharing their opinions.

3. CSAT allows for more versatile questions

CSAT allows you to ask questions in various ways and based on various experiences, which makes it adaptable to different customer interactions. Its versatility can be valuable when collecting insights from multiple customer experiences and tailoring questions to suit the specific context and goals. For instance, you can tailor one CSAT survey to analyze your customer service and feature interactions.

4. CSAT is better for specific experiences or features

CSAT is suitable for evaluating specific experiences (e.g., onboarding) or product or service features. Every aspect of your product matters, and with CSAT, you can measure how satisfied customers are with that particular aspect of your product offering rather than the overall experience. Address areas with low CSAT scores and clear out friction points to improve the customer experience and satisfaction.

5. Less customer churn

A higher customer satisfaction score leads to higher customer retention and a lower churn rate. Customers come for the product but stay for the experience. A higher satisfaction score indicates that customers are satisfied and will remain loyal to your company.

8 tips for improving CSAT

Achieving a high CSAT score is the primary goal of every organization, but as lovely as that sounds it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be consistent and apply the following best practices to consistently provide customers with the best experience.

1. Ask the right questions

The success of a customer satisfaction survey depends on the questions you ask. Good questions should be easy to understand, be answered in a short time and remain relevant to their purpose. The right questions yield accurate responses, but poorly crafted ones can have adverse effects. They introduce survey bias, lower response rates and compromise data quality.

Identifying bad questions can be challenging, as they often hide in plain sight. So, here’s what you should watch out for:

  • Using biased language to prompt positive responses.
  • Questions with difficult wordings
  • Asking vague, complex or ambiguous questions
  • Overloading respondents with too many questions at once
  • Using double negative in your questions

When building your survey, frame your questions carefully. Guide users to answer questions, without imposing any expectations on them.

2. Send feedback contextually

Sending feedback contextually means your CSAT survey appears when it is relevant to a specific touchpoint in a customer’s journey. This could be after a customer completes a specific action you’re collecting feedback on or after they pass a new milestone. This real-time approach captures fresh, unfiltered customer opinions, providing more reliable data.

At Sprout, we use microsurveys at different customer touchpoints to collect feedback contextually. For instance, you’d typically find microsurveys placed after our customer support articles and as you use our product in-app.

This feedback is more effective and actionable because it directly relates to a specific experience, making it easier for our team to understand and act on it meaningfully.

Screenshot for feedback asking if article was helpful

3. Set appropriate goals for your CSAT

Since customer satisfaction (CSAT) is not as evident to stakeholders as customer acquisition, it’s often overlooked when it comes to setting goals. Creating CSAT goals is the first step to successful goal achievement. It gives your team a sense of direction and aligns your team’s actions with your business goals.

A couple of goals you might consider setting include:

  • Increasing your CSAT score by a certain percentage by the end of the quarter
  • Reducing churn and increasing customer retention by a certain percentage by the end of the year

4. Create a support omnichannel

Implementing a seamless customer support system across various communication channels can significantly improve customer satisfaction. Customers expect a fast response from your support team regardless of the channel they contact for assistance.

Want to create an Omnichannel support experience? Here’s what it involves:

  • Integrate multiple support channels like email, phone calls and social media chat to access customer data across all channels.
  • Use customer data to personalize interactions and create an omnichannel customer experience
  • Improve your issue resolution time by equipping your customer support agents with the right tools.
  • Close the feedback loop by implementing feedback requests and updating the customers afterward.
  • Invest in an advanced tool like Sprout Social to have a centralized view of your customer data.

5. Use feedback to improve your product or service

Knowing your CSAT score and collecting customer feedback will do no good if you don’t act on it. Feedback reveals what you’re doing right, product weaknesses and areas for improvement. This allows you to adjust your product expectations and fine-tune your customer experience strategy going forward.

After gathering feedback, analyze it for insights. Look for patterns, trends, opportunities and gaps your team may have overlooked. Tools like Sprout’s customer feedback report are used to organize, filter and categorize feedback by user segments.

Sprout Social Feedback Report

Prioritize feedback that requires immediate action (e.g., bug fixes) and act on it. Categorize other feedback based on alignment with your current business goals, available resources and priorities. Include all these in a product roadmap for further research or validation in future development.

6. Reduce response times

Slow support response times can result in companies losing the trust and loyalty of their customers. Customers are highly impatient, and a slow response time comes with the consequence of a poor satisfaction score. In our 2022 Sprout Social Index, we discovered that customers expect quick responses: 40% within the first hour on social and 79% within the first 24 hours.

Sprout Social's data on brand response time

To speed up response time, offer self-service options like a resource center with FAQs, videos and chatbots. Brands use Sprout Social’s Bot Builder to automate their conversational workflow on social. Using Sprout’s Bot Builder for customer service, you can build a chatbot, preview it and then deploy it within minutes.

Sprout Social bot builder

7. Address negative feedback

Receiving negative feedback is not easy for anyone. It can make us defensive, frustrated or angry. As a brand, receiving negative feedback is inevitable, no matter how hard you try to please your customers. These reviews can come from social media comments, review sites or even your CSAT surveys.

When you receive a negative review, don’t get defensive; negative feedback is not a personal attack on you or your brand. Listen carefully to the customer’s complaint and understand what happened and why it happened. Then, reach out to the customer and take responsibility. This can be done through email or by handling your feedback through Sprout.

Sprout’s Smart Inbox brings together comments and messages from multiple social media platforms into a single dashboard so you can monitor, view and respond to customers. What’s more, you can also monitor your notifications and brand mentions to catch negative feedback.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's smart inbox

8. Measure your CSAT score regularly

Measuring your CSAT is not a one-time thing; it’s continuous. As you would measure and set financial goals for your brand, also set goals for improving your CSAT on a bi-monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Create a roadmap for the long run and set measures to:

  • Review your CSAT and come up with better means for distribution (e.g., in-app, email, knowledgebase articles, etc.)
  • Compare past and present CSAT scores to get an overview of current changes
  • Set up one-on-one interviews with power users and churned users to find out your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Document previous actions and their effectiveness on your CSAT score (e.g. Did adding more support channels improve our CSAT score? )
  • Create a customer service report to document your process and results.

Use CSAT to improve your customer satisfaction

While exceeding customer satisfaction is the end-goal, sending out surveys, analyzing the results and finding patterns in your customer satisfaction score is extremely stressful, especially if you have a growing customer base. You need the right tool to automate this task so you can focus on achieving other important tasks in your business.

Sprout Social provides you with advanced customer care solutions to exceed customer expectations and deliver better experiences. Get started for free today.