Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

What is CSAT?

CSAT is a key performance indicator (KPI) that quantifies how satisfied customers are with doing business with you. It’s typically measured by asking customers to rate their satisfaction with a specific interaction, product, or overall experience on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 = “very dissatisfied” and 5 = “very satisfied.” CSAT surveys can give you valuable insight into short-term customer satisfaction and pinpoint areas for improvement. Most importantly, CSAT surveys provide an opportunity for your customers to voice their opinions and give direct feedback, which helps you build better customer relationships.
A CSAT survey template to collect CSAT responses on your website.

How to calculate your CSAT score

The CSAT score is based on the number of responses who rated their experience 4 or 5. To calculate your CSAT score, use the following formula:

CSAT Score = (Number of positive responses (4 or 5) / Total number of responses) x 100

For example, if you received 120 positive responses out of 200 total responses, the calculation would be as follows:

CSAT Score = (120 / 200) x 100 = 60%

In this case the CSAT score would be 60%, indicating that 60% of respondents had a positive experience. However, keep in mind that CSAT scores are generally quite high (80%+), and the score itself might not mean that much except that your users didn’t have a bad experience.

Instead of blindly focusing on the score, you want to look out for anomalies. For example, out of 120 positive responses, how many of these were neutral? Also, a sudden spike in neutral or low satisfaction results can indicate that something has happened on your website, or signal an issue that needs to be addressed.

CSAT Benchmarks

Benchmarking CSAT provides insights into how well you are performing compared to industry standards. Here are general benchmarks:

  • Bad: Below 50%
  • Average: 60-75%
  • Good: 75-85%
  • Excellent: Above 85%

CSAT vs NPS – When to use which survey type?

CSAT surveys are best for measuring short-term satisfaction, transactional interactions, and pinpointing specific areas of improvement throughout the customer journey.

NPS surveys are best for measuring long-term loyalty and benchmarking yourself against industry peers and competitors.

So, how do you decide which survey type to use? Well, it depends on what timeframe you are measuring and what you want to measure.

Use a CSAT survey if you want to find out:

  • What do your customers think about your overall shopping experience…
  • If your loyalty members are satisfied with their membership…
  • How your support reps are performing…
  • How satisfied your customers are with their last purchase…
  • If your customers can find all the information they need on the product page…

When to use a CSAT survey

1. Before and after a website redesign

Before you launch your new design, run a CSAT survey to all new customers on the thank-you page. This will act as your baseline result.

When you have launched your new design, run a CSAT survey for all new customers on the thank-you page again. This will help you gauge whether your new design was a success right off the bat, or if it needs some improvement.

2. After a purchase

This is one of the best times to get feedback from your customers. Why? Because they just bought something from you. Which means they’re super engaged with your brand. And they can tell you exactly how they feel about your product, delivery, and support. So make sure to show a CSAT survey right after they make a purchase.

3. After customer support interactions

According to a study by Zendesk, 66% of customers say that customer service is the most important factor in their loyalty. That’s why you want to ask for feedback every time a customer interacts with your support team. This way, you can measure how well your support reps are doing. And how happy your customers are with the help they received.

4. After product/service usage

If you sell a product or service that requires ongoing usage or subscription, you need to keep tabs on how your customers are using it. And how satisfied they are with the overall experience. The best way to do that? Send them periodic surveys through email or in-app. This will help you understand what they like and dislike about your product or service. And how you can improve it to make them happier.

5. After onsite interactions

Another smart way to use CSAT surveys is to trigger them based on specific events or milestones in the customer journey. Let’s say a customer attends a training session, completes a project, or reaches a significant milestone in using your product. These are all great opportunities to ask for feedback. Because they can tell you how satisfied your customers are with the value they’re getting from your product or service.

6. At or around abandonment and drop-off points

Sometimes customers leave and you have no idea why. You can hypothesize, but if you want to know for sure you need to ASK. They might abandon their shopping cart, cancel their subscription, or stop using your product or service altogether. When that happens, you want to know why, and the best way to find out is to send them a CSAT survey. This will help you uncover the reasons behind their decision. And maybe even win them back.

CSAT Examples and best practices

The standard CSAT template is as follows:

  • A question: “How would you rate your shopping experience on a scale of 1-5?”
  • A rating scale of 1-5 or 1-7
  • A follow-up question that asks the user to leave a comment or explain the reasoning behind their response
  • Optionally, you can add a third question that asks “Is it OK if we follow up on your response?”. This can help you both build your audience and get a chance to talk to your customers 1-on-1 to uncover even more insight.

At its core, CSAT is a super-simple survey, and since it only has two questions it naturally has with a pretty high completion rate.

However, if you want to maximize your response rates, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

Ask for the customer’s rating first
By asking your customers to leave a rating the first thing they do, you increase the validity of the answer. If they are answering a bunch of questions without knowing why they are doing it, they can become annoyed and give you a bad rating just because they don’t understand the purpose of the survey.

Don’t ask more questions than you need
You only need 2 questions in a CSAT survey. The rating and a feedback field. If you don’t need the data for your research, don’t ask for it. All it does is create an annoying survey that confuses customers as to why they are answering it.

Use reasonable wording for your response labels
If you have labels below the rating scale, use neutral wording like “wonderful” and “awful”, “great” and “not good”, or “best” and “worst”. The labels are just to give the user a hint to help them quickly understand what the scale rating means.

Use ONE scale for all your CSAT surveys
By using the same scale whenever you run a CSAT survey makes it easier to track your results over time. And more often than not, moving up from 1-5 to 1-7 just adds a lot of noise to your score without increasing the value of the result. Pick one scale (1-5 or 1-7), and stick to it.

Don’t get hung up on using numbers or smileys (they work equally well)
What type of question you use to measure CSAT depends entirely on your personal preference, and what fits your brand. If your brand is super serious, then go with plain numbers. If your brand is more playful, then why not go with a smiley-rating.


Felix Langlet
Felix Langlet

Felix is a self-taught marketer and the head of marketing at Triggerbee. He is specialized in SEO, content marketing, and copywriting. Outside of work, you can find him spending time with his family, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries.

Experience-Led Growth

Download now

Experience-Led Growth: The Ultimate CX Playbook