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What is CSAT and why do I need to use it?

In the realm of customer satisfaction, there’s an array of different metrics you can use. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) is a customer satisfaction measurement device aimed at simplifying the measurement of a customer’s experience. However, with so many scoring systems out there, how do you know if CSAT will be worthwhile making use of in your business? Is it a good system for measuring client satisfaction?

Of course, with any customer satisfaction metric, there are upsides and downsides and CSAT is no exception. In this article, we’re going to look at defining what a CSAT is, how it’s measured, common use cases, as well as why it’s important for businesses to use it.

What is a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)?

CSAT is a very widely-used metric for customer satisfaction and it’s used as an indicator of how happy your customers are with your business' products or services. It’s usually based on one qualitative question that is placed at the end of a customer feedback survey. A common example of this question type is: How would you rate your experience/satisfaction with the [service/product] you received from [your company]?

The answer is typically rated on a scale from 1-5 or 1-10 which often looks like this:

  1. Very unsatisfied
  2. Unsatisfied
  3. Neutral
  4. Satisfied
  5. Very satisfied

From this, respondents select one answer that best describes how they felt about your product/service. A CSAT score is derived from these answers and is expressed as a percentage where 100% represents all of your customers being absolutely satisfied, and 0% represents that none of your customers were satisfied.

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It’s simple to calculate - all you need to do is take the sum of all positive results (either very satisfied or satisfied), divide this by the total number of responses, and then multiply that number by 100. From this quick calculation, you will find the percentage of customers who were satisfied with your business.

In summary as CSAT score:

  • Asks the respondent to rate their experience on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10.
  • Uses ‘1’ to represent being dissatisfied with ‘5’ or ‘10’ meaning being very satisfied.
  • Calculates the percentage of satisfied respondents versus total respondents.

As a result, the business will have a score that is a percentage of satisfied customers to total responses.

When you should use a CSAT

Like any customer feedback survey, the time you send it out or make it available will largely impact the number of responses you get and the level of honesty you will receive. Below are a few ideal times you can use a CSAT survey in your business.

Before Renewal

Checking in with your customers before any sort of renewal is an excellent idea. This could be done 3-6 months before their renewal date. Sending out a CSAT at this time is beneficial because it provides you with enough time to act on their feedback before the renewal comes around and you potentially lose a valued customer. It’s important to be aware of any issues the customer is facing so you can make the effort to fix them before it’s too late.

After different stages in the customer lifecycle

CSAT question(s) often relate to a specific moment in a customer’s experience with your business. This means that any insights you gain from the survey can be directly correlated to a single experience the customer has had. In turn, this enables you to measure the effectiveness of the exact product or service you offer at that stage of the customer lifecycle. For example, this could be done straight after purchase, post customer onboarding, or a few months into the relationship. Sending a survey at this time, when the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind, will give you more accurate feedback you can use to improve your business. Complementing that with a follow-up survey once the honeymoon period is over will give you a sense as to whether your offering lived up to expectations.

After customer query/support interactions

Another prime time to use CSAT is after a customer has received support from your customer service team or has engaged with your online help tools/content. This could be straight after a customer has called your support team to work through an issue and through the use of automation tools they are automatically sent a feedback survey after the call ends. Sending a CSAT right after the interaction has ended will ensure an honest and accurate reflection of the interaction is made. It’s vital to keep track of customer sentiment through all processes and interactions with customers your business has and a CSAT is a quick and easy means of doing so.

The pros and cons of CSAT

The pros and cons of a CSAT survey

Of course, no customer feedback gathering method is 100% perfect. They all have their ups and downs. With that in mind, here are a few of the pros and cons of CSAT:

Pros of using CSAT

  • It’s straightforward, short, and easy to use.
  • Having very few questions typically achieves a higher response rate than other customer satisfaction surveys as there’s less perceived effort customers must make to respond.
  • Calculating your business’ CSAT score is simple and a great benchmarking tool.
  • The question used can focus on a specific moment, experience, or context which enables you to tailor the rating scale to align with that (you could use hearts, stars, numbers, and more to make the survey more appealing).

Cons of using CSAT

  • There is often debate over what constitutes a ‘good’ score as there is such a wide range of benchmark data across countries, industries, and organisations.
  • A CSAT survey represents sentiment for the moment of the survey and does not reflect the long-term dealings a customer has with a company. It is based on one moment/interaction and how the customer feels that given day, so other variables can affect a customer's answers.
  • The word ‘satisfaction’ can be subjective and could mean something different to different people and cultures.
  • Customers who fall under the neutral category are less inclined to fill out a survey since nothing great or nothing really bad happened. This can cause a skew in results.

Ultimately, CSAT is simply another customer satisfaction/experience metric. At the end of the day, it merely produces data. Data is meaningless without action to follow. Using the scores obtained from measurement tools like the CSAT to implement business-level changes to improve your offerings is the most important aspect of any survey. It’s always advantageous to supplement a CSAT with further qualitative research to understand more than just an answer to a few questions. For example, asking why someone gave the score they did gives you an insight as to what you’re doing well, and where you can improve as a business.

Digging deeper to pinpoint the drivers behind the scores (particularly the low ones) will reveal so much more than a simple 1-5 score ever can. It will also emphasise where to focus your efforts going forward to provide the best customer experience possible so that, if you see your score decline, you know where to invest your efforts.

Gaining feedback from a CSAT survey, or any survey for that matter, is extremely beneficial for your business and doesn’t have to be a chore. Review Tui is a platform designed to make it easier to gather and analyse customer feedback. Launching in 2022 it’s a cloud-based feedback platform that makes it easier to gather, understand and analyse your feedback no matter whether you’re a small business or large enterprise. Sign up to Review Tui and get early access by clicking on the button below.

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