What is CSAT? Customer Satisfaction Score Definition & Measurement

Lenka Brozmanova Lenka Brozmanova · 11 min read

A company’s ability to understand and optimize customer satisfaction directly impacts customer retention, advocacy, and ultimately, profitability.

In today’s competitive business landscape, the one thing that sets companies apart is not just the quality of the products they offer, but the experience they provide to their customers. As a customer experience professional, you’re at the forefront of this battle for consumer loyalty and satisfaction. One metric that serves as a crucial tool in your arsenal is the Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT.

This article aims to be your definitive guide on CSAT—what it is, why it’s indispensable, and how to measure and improve it in your organization. Whether you are new to the world of customer experience metrics or are looking for ways to improve your current methods, this comprehensive guide will offer valuable insights.

So, why should you, as a customer experience professional, care about CSAT? The answer is straightforward: understanding and optimizing customer satisfaction has a direct impact on customer retention, advocacy, and ultimately, your bottom line. Read on to delve into the nitty-gritty of CSAT and arm yourself with knowledge and strategies to enhance your customer’s journey.

What is a CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)?

First, let’s take a closer look at the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), a crucial metric for understanding and enhancing customer experiences.

Definition and Concept – What Does CSAT Stand for?

The Customer Satisfaction Score, often called CSAT, is a crucial tool for measuring how happy customers are with a product, service, or their experience with a company. Generally, CSAT is determined using short surveys with one or more questions. These surveys are usually sent to customers right after they have an experience, such as buying something or talking to customer service. Customers then rate how satisfied they are, typically on a scale that goes from “Very Unsatisfied” to “Very Satisfied.”

 CSAT survey for customer support

Historical Background of Measuring and Improving Customer Satisfaction

The idea of keeping customers happy has always been important for businesses. But, it was only in the late 20th century that this idea turned into something we can measure, known as CSAT (customer satisfaction). This change happened with the growth of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and new digital survey tools. CSAT allows companies to regularly check how their customers feel, turning the broad idea of “satisfaction” into something they can actually measure and improve upon.

How it Differs from Other Customer Experience Metrics

While CSAT is invaluable, it’s not the only metric you should be paying attention to. Here’s how it compares to other key customer experience metrics:

  • CSAT vs NPS (Net Promoter Score): NPS measures the likelihood of customers recommending your brand to others. While both NPS and CSAT focus on customer sentiment, NPS is more forward-looking and takes into account the customer’s broader relationship with the company.
  • CSAT vs Customer Effort Score (CES): CES focuses on how effortlessly customers can accomplish their goals with your brand. Unlike CSAT, which measures satisfaction at specific moments, CES assesses the overall simplicity and ease of the customer journey. It’s about understanding how smooth the entire process is for customers, from start to finish.

Understanding the nuances of these metrics and their interplay can offer a broader understanding of your customers’ experiences. CSAT is very effective in highlighting customer satisfaction at specific points of interaction. It’s even more valuable when used alongside metrics like NPS and CES, providing a more complete picture.

Why is CSAT Important?

Understanding CSAT is about more than just numbers and percentages. It’s about seeing how much customer satisfaction can really affect your organization. Below, we’ll explain why making CSAT a key focus is important for every business.

Relationship Between CSAT and Customer Loyalty

High levels of customer satisfaction often translate into customer loyalty, a critical asset for any business. Loyal customers not only bring in recurring revenue but also serve as brand advocates who can significantly influence the perception of your brand in the marketplace. In a world where customer expectations are continually evolving, a strong CSAT score serves as a reliable indicator that you are meeting, if not exceeding, those expectations. By consistently monitoring CSAT, you can identify areas that need improvement before they escalate into issues that could jeopardize customer loyalty.

The Impact of CSAT on Company Revenue and Growth

The link between customer satisfaction and financial performance is well-established. A high CSAT score often correlates with lower churn rates and higher customer lifetime value (CLV). According to a study by Harvard Business Review, even a modest increase in customer satisfaction can result in a significant uptick in revenue. For customer experience professionals, understanding the monetary impact of CSAT is crucial for securing buy-in from executives and justifying investment in customer-centric initiatives.

How is CSAT Measured?

Measuring CSAT correctly is key to getting useful insights for improving your customer experience. Below, we provide a detailed guide on how to measure CSAT well. This includes setting up a survey and choosing the best platforms for collecting data.

Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up a CSAT Survey

1. Define the Objective: Before you start, clearly outline what you want to measure. Is it a specific product feature, a recent transaction, or the overall experience?

2. Identify the Audience: Choose the customer segment you want to target. This could be based on demographics, recent interactions, or specific customer journeys.

3. Select the Timing: Timing is crucial. Surveys are most effective when sent immediately after an interaction, be it a purchase or customer support experience.

4. Design the Survey: Keep it short and simple to ensure high response rates.

5. Pilot Test: Before sending out the survey en masse, conduct a pilot test on a smaller audience to gauge effectiveness and clarity.

6. Launch the Survey: Use email, in-app prompts, or in-signature surveys to distribute the CSAT to the identified customer segment.

7. Collect and Analyze Data: Once the responses are in, use analytics tools to crunch the numbers and derive insights.

Types of Questions to Include

  • Direct CSAT Question: “How satisfied are you with [Product/Service/Interaction]?” (Rated on a scale of 1 to 5)
  • Follow-Up Open-Ended Question: “What could we have done to improve your experience?”
  • Additional Context Questions: These could be about specific features, customer service interactions, or other areas that align with your survey objectives.

Recommended Tools or Platforms for Measuring CSAT

Selecting the right platform for measuring CSAT is crucial in obtaining accurate, actionable insights. Here are some tools commonly used in the industry, along with the standout choice for customer experience professionals—Nicereply.


A versatile platform offering a variety of survey types, including CSAT. While it’s an adequate option, it may lack the specific customer experience-focused features that a dedicated tool like Nicereply can offer.


This platform is particularly useful if you’re looking to measure CSAT specifically for customer service interactions. However, if you’re seeking an all-in-one solution designed explicitly for customer experience professionals, Nicereply offers a more comprehensive approach.


Known for its advanced analytics capabilities, this platform is ideal for those who want to deep-dive into the data. That said, Nicereply provides robust analytics while maintaining a user-friendly interface specifically designed for customer experience metrics.


If you’re after a more interactive and visually appealing way to collect customer feedback, Typeform is a solid choice. Still, Nicereply offers visually appealing, customizable surveys that are specifically geared towards measuring customer satisfaction metrics like CSAT.

Google Forms

A free and straightforward option suitable for smaller teams or simpler surveys. While cost-effective, it lacks the specialized focus and analytics capabilities that Nicereply brings to the table.

Nicereply: The Optimal Choice

For customer experience professionals seeking a platform that combines versatility, robust analytics, and a focus on customer satisfaction metrics, Nicereply stands out as the best choice.

customizable customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys

With its easy-to-use interface, customizable surveys, and specific features designed for measuring and improving CSAT, Nicereply provides a comprehensive solution that is hard to beat. With this tool, you can measure customer satisfaction directly in your email signatures, after a customer chat, or after resolving a support ticket.

Common Pitfalls in CSAT Measurement

While CSAT is a valuable metric for understanding customer satisfaction, the process of measuring it isn’t without its challenges. Even seasoned customer experience professionals can fall into certain traps when it comes to CSAT measurement. Here, we discuss some of these common pitfalls and offer guidance on how to avoid them.

Common Mistakes Companies Make

  • Lack of Clear Objectives: One of the most prevalent errors is going into a CSAT survey without a clear goal. This can result in data that is difficult to interpret or act upon.
  • Improper Timing: Sending out surveys too long after an interaction has occurred can lead to lower response rates and less accurate data.
  • Overcomplicating the Survey: Long and complicated surveys are a surefire way to reduce response rates and can lead to respondent fatigue, affecting the quality of the feedback.
  • Ignoring the Context: If you don’t consider the customer’s entire journey, a CSAT score can be misleading. A great purchasing experience can be marred by a poor customer service experience, for example.
  • Failure to Act on Feedback: Collecting data is just the first step. Failing to act on this information makes the whole exercise futile.
  • Isolating CSAT from Other Metrics: Viewing CSAT in a vacuum without considering other customer experience metrics like NPS or CES can give a skewed understanding of customer sentiment.

How to Avoid These Pitfalls (CSAT Best Practices)

  • Set Clear Objectives: Before you design your survey, know what you’re aiming to measure and how it aligns with your broader customer experience goals.
  • Optimize Timing: Send the survey immediately following the customer interaction you’re interested in measuring.
  • Keep it Simple: Stick to a few targeted questions to get the most reliable and actionable insights.
  • Look at the Big Picture: Always analyze CSAT in the context of other interactions and metrics for a more holistic view.
  • Close the Feedback Loop: Take actionable steps based on the survey results. Implement changes and, if possible, inform customers about these changes to show that their feedback is valued.
  • Integrate Multiple Metrics: Use CSAT alongside other key performance indicators like NPS and CES for a well-rounded understanding of the customer experience.

By being aware of these common mistakes and taking proactive steps to avoid them, customer experience professionals can significantly improve the reliability and usefulness of their CSAT data.

Calculating CSAT

Understanding what is CSAT score & how to calculate CSAT is a key skill for any customer experience professional. Fortunately, the formula is straightforward:

CSAT Score=(Number of Satisfied Responses / Total Number of Responses)×100

To break it down:

  • Collect Responses: After an interaction with your service, product, or support team, send out a short survey asking customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale (usually from 1 to 3 or 1 to 5).
  • Identify Satisfied Responses: The definition of a “satisfied” response may vary depending on your scale, but it typically includes the top two highest possible scores (e.g., 4 and 5 on a 1-5 scale).
  • Total Number of Responses: Count all the survey responses you’ve received during the period you’re analyzing.
  • Perform the Calculation: Use the formula to calculate your CSAT score as a percentage.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to manage this process, consider using a specialized tool like Nicereply, which automates the calculation and provides in-depth analytics to help you make sense of your CSAT data.

customer satisfaction analytics sfotware

Alternatively, you can use a CSAT score calculator online, but you’ll have to enter your values manually.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track Alongside Customer Satisfaction

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Helps you understand how likely customers are to recommend your product or service.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Measures the ease with which customers can interact with your brand.
  • Customer Retention Rate: A high retention rate often correlates with high customer satisfaction.
  • Churn Rate: The flip side of retention, a high churn rate can be an early warning sign of customer dissatisfaction.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): A comprehensive metric that takes into account not just satisfaction but the overall profitability of a customer.

Strategies for Improving your Scores

CSAT improvement should be an ongoing process that involves all aspects of your organization. Customer satisfaction scores can be significantly elevated when you employ effective strategies as a customer experience professional. Consider these key strategies:

Proactive Customer Support

Rather than waiting for customers to come to you with issues, proactive customer support aims to solve problems before they occur. This can mean sending out how-to guides immediately after a purchase or using predictive analytics to identify potential issues and address them in advance. Proactivity not only prevents problems but can also foster a sense of goodwill and trust, directly contributing to higher CSAT scores.

Customer Feedback Loops

Creating a robust system for collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback is essential for improving CSAT. Consistent feedback loops help you to understand the customer experience from their viewpoint, allowing you to make targeted improvements. Regularly surveying customers and acting on their feedback can lead to significant improvements in customer satisfaction.

Employee Training and Engagement

Your employees are the front line in delivering a satisfactory customer experience. Well-trained and engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile in serving customers, thus positively impacting CSAT. Investing in employee training programs that emphasize customer-centricity can be a game-changer. Also, consider creating a work environment where employees feel valued, as this can have a trickle-down effect on how they treat customers.

Additional Strategy Tips 

  • Personalization: Customizing interactions based on customer history and preferences can create a more satisfying experience.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Customers value quick and efficient service, so reducing wait times and streamlining processes can go a long way in improving satisfaction rates.
  • Follow-up: A simple follow-up message to check on customer satisfaction after an interaction can provide an additional touchpoint to impress your customers.

Implementing these strategies can not only improve your CSAT scores but can also contribute to a more cohesive and customer-centric organizational culture. 

Frequently Asked Questions about CSAT

The concept of Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) may seem straightforward, but when it comes to practical application and interpretation, several questions and misconceptions often arise. Here we address some of the most commonly asked questions.

What does a CSAT score actually measure?

CSAT measures the short-term satisfaction of customers with a particular interaction they’ve had with your business, such as a purchase or customer service experience. It does not necessarily reflect long-term customer loyalty.

Is a higher CSAT always better?

A higher score generally indicates better customer satisfaction. However, it’s essential to consider this metric in the context of other KPIs like NPS and CES for a more holistic view of customer experience.

How often should I measure CSAT?

This depends on your objectives and the customer touchpoints you are examining. However, it’s advisable to measure CSAT consistently, either after specific interactions or at regular intervals, to track changes over time.

Can CSAT be used for B2B businesses?

Absolutely, CSAT is not confined to B2C businesses. It’s equally valuable for gauging satisfaction in B2B relationships, although the questions and timing might be adjusted to suit a longer sales cycle or more complex interactions.

Is CSAT only applicable to customer service?

No, CSAT can be applied to various facets of the customer experience, from product quality to website usability. It’s a versatile metric that can provide valuable insights across different touchpoints.

Is CSAT the same as Customer Happiness?

While related, they are not the same. CSAT is a specific metric measuring satisfaction with a particular interaction. Customer happiness is a broader term that encompasses overall well-being and satisfaction with your brand over time.

Do cultural factors affect CSAT scores?

Yes, cultural factors can influence how people rate their satisfaction. For example, customers in some cultures may be more likely to give extreme scores (either very high or very low), while others might lean towards more moderate scoring.

What should I do if my CSAT score drops?

A declining CSAT score is a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored. Investigate the possible causes by diving deep into customer feedback, conducting interviews, and analyzing other performance metrics. Then take corrective action based on your findings.

By understanding and addressing these frequently asked questions and misconceptions, customer experience professionals can better harness the power of CSAT as a tool for improving customer satisfaction and driving business success.


In today’s competitive business landscape, customer satisfaction isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a crucial metric that can make or break your company. As we’ve discussed, CSAT is a powerful tool for customer experience professionals looking to gauge the effectiveness of various touchpoints along the customer journey. It provides actionable insights that can be used to improve your products, services, and overall customer interactions. From its versatility in measuring different aspects of the customer experience to its direct impact on company revenue and growth, the importance of CSAT can’t be overstated.

However, like any metric, CSAT is most useful when it’s part of a larger strategy of customer experience optimization. We’ve examined how to measure it, the pitfalls to avoid, the methods for analyzing the data, and effective strategies for improvement. Combining it with other key performance indicators, such as NPS and CES, and integrating it into a broader customer feedback loop, can offer a 360-degree view of your customers’ experiences and expectations.

If you’re not already measuring customer satisfaction, there’s no better time to start than now. If you are, perhaps it’s time for a review and refresh of your current approach. Take the first step by setting clear objectives and designing a simple yet effective CSAT survey. Ensure you’re not only collecting this valuable data but also analyzing it in a way that leads to actionable insights. Remember, the goal is not just to understand customer satisfaction but to enhance it continually.

So, are you ready to make customer satisfaction a cornerstone of your customer experience strategy?

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Lenka Brozmanova Lenka Brozmanova

Lenka leverages her 6+ years of experience managing marketing efforts at Nicereply. She's excited about sharing helpful tips & tricks that might help you enhance your customer experience and grow your business. You can find more actionable insights and helpful tips on her LinkedIn profile.

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