CSAT Meaning: How to Measure Customer Satisfaction Score

April 16, 2024 7 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

What does CSAT stand for?

CSAT stands for customer satisfaction and can sometimes be synonymous with customer satisfaction score. Businesses use CSAT scores to measure the satisfaction levels of their customers with products, services, or interactions.

You want to ensure every customer has a positive experience, no matter the nature of their interaction. However, measuring the customer experience (CX) involves taking note of several moving parts, and an essential one is customer satisfaction (CSAT).

The CSAT meaning gives a numerical value to the level of satisfaction among your customer base. You start by creating and sending a CSAT survey to follow up on customer interactions, and then you collect and average the responses to your CSAT metric score.

In this article, we’ll break down the meaning of CSAT and how you can calculate a CSAT score. We’ll also touch on tips about how to use the metric to improve your operations.

Here’s what you need to know about customer satisfaction and CSAT scores.

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Why CSAT Scores Are Important to Businesses

CSAT scores are a critical customer service metric because they peel back the curtain to reveal how satisfied your customers are with your business.

List of reasons why businesses need to measure CSAT scores, including to help monitor customer loyalty, flag issues, and retain customers.

Here’s what you can do when CSAT is a part of your customer experience overview:

  • Monitor customer loyalty because satisfied customers might become repeat customers, buy more over time, and even become brand advocates.
  • Flag potential issues before they escalate, preventing customer churn.
  • Stand out from competitors with a positive customer experience.
  • Retain more customers and reduce the need to constantly acquire new customers.
  • Enhance brand reputation with positive feedback that boosts credibility.

You should aim to create the most comprehensive view of your customer experience possible. With more detail from more customer experience analytics, you can get granular with improvements and offer personalized, targeted services and products to your customers.

According to a research team from Boston Consulting Group, adopting a data-first mindset is key to succeeding in today’s competitive business landscape:

“Many retailers are sitting on a fortune of data, yet most neither collect first-party customer data in a structured way nor leverage its full potential. The missed opportunities are massive … setting up a best-in-class loyalty program to collect first-party data and scaling 1:1 personalization offers typically improves revenue and profit by 3% to 5%.”

Source: Boston Consulting Group

Overall, CSAT data can help inform critical business decisions like product improvements, service enhancements, and marketing strategies.

How to Measure Customer Satisfaction

To measure CSAT, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a customer survey method to collect CSAT data, like email surveys, phone calls, in-app surveys, or on-site surveys.
  2. Design the survey or work with a template with simple, easy-to-understand questions and use a scale or a smiley face system. Usually, they range from “Very satisfied” to “Very unsatisfied,” and sometimes they include a numerical score.
  3. Distribute the survey to customers as soon as possible after an interaction to get the most accurate feedback.
  4. Calculate your CSAT score by adding up all the positive responses, dividing by the total number of responses, then multiplying by 100 for the percentage.
Calculate CSAT score by adding up all the positive responses and dividing by the total number of responses, then multiplying by 100 for the percentage.
  1. Analyze the results and look for trends and patterns, noting which products, services, or interactions have satisfaction rates that are higher or lower.
  2. Take action by developing a plan based on the survey results to target specific pain points, whether those are changes to products, services, or processes.
  3. Monitor progress continuously to track improvements and ensure that your changes have a positive impact.

With a goal of continuous improvement, you can incorporate CSAT into your decision-making process overall. Data-driven decisions can help you prioritize projects and initiatives that will greatly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What’s a Good CSAT Score? 

A good CSAT score is entirely relative and will vary depending on industry, company size, specialty, and even geographic region.

Many industries aim for a CSAT score between 70%–85% as a marker of strong customer satisfaction.

The higher the CSAT score, the more satisfied customer responses you receive as a percentage of total responses.

CSAT Score Example

Customer satisfaction is crucial in high-turnover, low-loyalty industries like hospitality. Hotels and restaurants rely heavily on satisfaction to drive repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and measuring CSAT helps assess service quality and make improvements as quickly as possible.

When Is Best to Measure CSAT? 

The best time to measure CSAT is shortly after a customer interacts with your business. This ensures the experience is fresh in their mind, leading to more accurate and meaningful feedback.

Average survey response rates fall around 33% but can vary from 13%–57% depending on how you conduct the survey (in-person and mail surveys have the highest response rates, while telephone surveys and in-app ones have the lowest).

Measuring CSAT at various touchpoints along the customer journey is also beneficial. It can help you identify areas of improvement at different stages and tailor your efforts to enhance CX.

Example: Measuring CSAT after a customer support interaction can help gauge your support team’s effectiveness while measuring CSAT after a purchase can give you product or service quality insights.

CSAT Pros and Cons 

These are the main pros and cons of using CSAT as a CX metric:

Easy to understand and communicate across the organization
Provides quick feedback for fast changes and closes the loop. 
Can help measure specific interactions like support calls
Gives insights for proactive customer management
Measures a specific point in time and not overall customer experience
Responses can involve sway from extremely happy or unhappy customers
Influenced by factors outside your control
Might not always provide actionable insights

How to Use CSAT to Boost Customer Retention

While it has pros and cons as a metric, you should aim to understand your customer satisfaction score no matter your business type. 

You can also integrate your CSAT findings with other customer experience metrics, such as Customer Effort Score (CES) and Net Promoter Score® (NPS) to better understand your customers and improve customer experience. 

Businesses can use CSAT to benefit from personalized customer support, improved communication, customer loyalty, and training thanks to continuous improvement.

Provide proactive and personalized support 

CSAT can help you give your customers more tailored, in-depth support that makes them feel appreciated. You can use CSAT feedback to anticipate and address issues before they escalate.

Example: Your customer gives you a low CSAT score after a support interaction, so you reach out to understand their concerns and offer a personalized solution.

This demonstrates that you value customer feedback and you’ll do what it takes to prevent further dissatisfaction.

Use customer advocates for marketing 

CSAT scores aren’t just part of a customer service strategy. They also provide a transparent marketing opportunity: you can share them directly with your customers as use cases for your product. Customer advocates are often some of the most qualified salespeople, so why not take their words directly to convince others of your quality?

You can also use CSAT survey data to spot common pain points and communicate these to customers to gain trust.

Example: You notice a trend of low CSAT scores related to a specific product feature, so you reach out to customers about upcoming improvements to address the issue.

This helps manage customer expectations and shows that you’re actively working to enhance their experience.

Reward customer loyalty

Loyalty programs are great ways to reward customers for providing feedback while maintaining a high CSAT score. You may even create special loyalty tiers for extra-loyal customers over a period of time by using CSAT data to identify customers who choose to share their positive experiences.

Example: You offer a discount and an exclusive product sneak peek to customers who consistently give high CSAT scores for their interactions.

This incentivizes customers to provide feedback and rewards them for their loyalty and positive customer engagement with your brand.

Train to continuously improve

CSAT feedback is key to identifying training opportunities and areas for improvement, both with soft skills and more technical ones. After you analyze and interpret the data to spot the issue, you can monitor CSAT scores before and after an improvement to see how successful the implementation was.

Example: Your customers consistently give low CSAT scores for the checkout process, so you provide targeted training for better purchasing support and overhaul the cart on your site.

This improves customer experience and can improve employee performance and the overall employee experience.

Get Actionable Insights to Drive Retention with Nextiva

When measuring the customer experience, there isn’t just one metric that will give you a pulse on how things are going. You need to take a comprehensive look at how your customers engage with your business throughout their journey.

However, customer satisfaction metrics are key because they offer immediacy, specificity, and simplicity in revealing customer sentiment about your business.

With an AI-driven customer experience management solution like Nextiva, you have the power of data at your fingertips. With a centralized dashboard and data-driven insights, you can confidently manage your customer experience and innovate.

Surprise and delight customers.

Have conversations with your customers the way they prefer to communicate – in a single app.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.


To learn more about CSAT and CSAT scores, read these frequently asked questions.

What’s the difference between CSAT vs. CES?

The difference between CSAT vs. customer effort score (CES) is that CSAT measures overall satisfaction with a particular interaction, product, or service. CES measures the ease of the customer’s experience with accomplishing a specific task or goal.

Are CSAT measurements consistent across industries?

CSAT measurements are not consistent across industries. This is due to differences in customer expectations, preferences, and the nature of business offerings. A high CSAT score in one industry may be a low score in another.

How often should I measure CSAT?

You should measure CSAT continuously to capture ongoing feedback and trends. Measurement frequency might depend on your business needs, industry benchmarks, and how you interact with customers. As a general rule, you should at least aim to measure it after major customer touchpoints, such as product launches.

How should I respond to negative customer feedback?

Respond promptly and empathetically, acknowledging the customer’s concerns and thanking them for their feedback. Offer a solution or apology, and if it’s appropriate, follow up to ensure their issue is resolved. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your business and show your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Can I automate CSAT measurement?

Yes, you can automate CSAT measurements. You can use survey tools that send out surveys automatically after certain interactions or tools that crawl websites like Google and Amazon for customer feedback about your business.

Ken McMahon


Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

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