What is CSAT and how do you measure it in your contact center?

Celia Cerdeira

By Celia Cerdeira

0 min read

Man with a bag talking to a woman with a headset in the middle of a semi-circle with icons for CSAT scores

CSAT measures the level of customer satisfaction with a product, transaction, or interaction. It is commonly measured using a customer satisfaction score (CSAT score) obtained through feedback surveys. This score signifies the percentage of satisfied customers, with 100% indicating an exceptional experience and 0% representing a poor one.

We recently wrote about the importance of leveraging data in the call center and the impact of Net Promoter Score® (NPS). We learned about how NPS is measured, how it applies to the call center, and how to use NPS to improve the caller experience. When it comes to measuring caller sentiment, however, NPS isn’t the only player in the game.

One other popular measurement is the CSAT score, or customer satisfaction score. CSAT is often used in lieu or tandem with NPS by many businesses. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at CSAT and explore what role it plays in the call center.

A Guide For Effectively Measuring And Tracking Contact Center Kpis


A guide for effectively measuring and tracking contact center KPIs


How is CSAT measured?

To measure CSAT, businesses directly ask the applicable customer base to rate their satisfaction with an event, product, or service. This typically comes in the form of a survey communicated through some channel to the customer (direct mail, email, phone, etc).

The exact wording of the CSAT question and the corresponding rating system used in surveys varies from organization to organization. This means that there is no industry-standard way to measure CSAT. A few commonly used questions include:

  • Were you satisfied with ___? (Yes/No)
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with ___?
  • How would you rate your satisfaction with ___? (Unsatisfied, Somewhat Satisfied, Very Satisfied, etc)

For CSAT questions that don’t simply require a binary answer, it’s up to your business to decide which answers count as “satisfied” and which do not. You may decide that, on a scale of 1-10, anything above a ‘6′ rating counts will be deemed as satisfied.

A CSAT score does not have one unified measurement. The numerical score itself will depend on exactly what question is being asked. That being said, one could perform this general calculation to determine the proportion of satisfied customers.

What is a good CSAT score?

Since CSAT scores vary widely based on the type of CSAT question asked, there is no one definition of what  a good CSAT score is. A general rule of thumb is to try to get your percentage of satisfied customers as close as possible to 100%. It may also be useful to benchmark your scores against other companies in your industry.

Depending on what exactly your business is having customers rate their satisfaction on, your CSAT score may also constantly be in flux. For example, a customer service team’s CSAT score of interactions with customers will change in real-time with the conclusion of every new interaction. On the flip side, a company that sends out a quarterly survey to measure CSAT on a specific product will only have one score until the next survey is sent out.

All in all, there is no standard definition for what a good CSAT score is. Rather, most businesses have their own internal definition, and it is usually a reflection of how customer-centric the organization is when it comes to its overall strategy. For example, a company with no CSAT measurement or definition likely hasn’t made customer satisfaction a priority while another company might have a 5-point scale and set a high bar of 4 or better as “good.”

How is a CSAT score different from NPS?

While both CSAT and NPS are measurements of customer sentiment, they are very different in practice. The first major difference between the two is that NPS has a very defined process and measurement trademarked by specific organizations, while CSAT is a more general concept. This is apparent in the “guidelines” (or lack thereof) for each. For instance, NPS is a registered trademark there is a standard customer survey question to ask when measuring NPS. CSAT, on the other hand, is fluid.

The second major difference is in what the two values measure. NPS is typically said to be a measurement of customer loyalty to a brand. In contrast, CSAT scores are strictly a measurement of customer happiness.

This means that while CSAT scores can help predict customer churn, they cannot predict customer retention.

This is because low satisfaction generally leads to attrition, while high satisfaction does not necessarily guarantee that a customer will return for repeat business.

Although CSAT cannot predict customer loyalty, it can be used to capture the sentiments of your customers at any given moment. The measurement also provides more flexibility than NPS, which is limited to one set of survey questions. A business could choose its customize their CSAT question according to its needs, ultimately allowing them to identify and explore its  strengths and weaknesses.

How does CSAT apply to the call center?

Given how frequently call centers interact directly with customers, it is common for them to employ CSAT surveys to help gauge their quality of service. The most common use case is to have customers rate their satisfaction on a call after it ends. This survey is usually delivered over the phone immediately after the call ends or via email at a later time. More innovative approaches include surveying via SMS for a fast, low-friction experience.

Another common use case is to have customers rate their satisfaction after a case or ticket has been closed. Unlike the first use case where the survey is sent as soon as the call is over, the CSAT survey is sent out after the customer’s issue has been resolved. In this instance, the customer is rating their satisfaction with how their inquiry was handled, from first to the last contact.

CSAT is a particularly good fit for call centers due to its versatility. Call center managers can tailor the CSAT survey question in a variety of different ways to pinpoint areas they suspect may cause frustration for callers. For example, questions can be general, like How satisfied are you with the help you received? or more specific, such as How satisfied are you with your wait time during your call today?

What are some CSAT best practices?

1. Be consistent.

The key to ensuring your CSAT measurement efforts are valid is to stay consistent. This means asking the same CSAT survey question every time. In addition, the survey must be is sent out at the correct time, whether it be every quarter or after every interaction. Consistency makes for proper tracking to give you an accurate picture of your customer’s satisfaction.

2. Use targeted survey questions.

CSAT is a great way to gauge your customers’ feelings on just about anything. As you brainstorm potential survey questions, think about the factors that go into the product, service or interaction. Use these factors to guide the creation of your question. Be sure to use unambiguous wording to ensure your customers are in fact answering the question you are asking. This helps keep survey results accurate and valid.

3. Consider using other measurements in tandem.

The beauty of CSAT is that it plays well with other sentiment measurements such as NPS or the increasingly popular customer effort score (CES). There’s no reason to limit yourself to employing only one of these measures. In fact, using a variety can help provide a more nuanced understanding of your business’ performance.

Measuring CSAT is a great way to determine how your business is performing in the eyes of your customers. It’s simple, yet adaptable for a variety of circumstances and can be used in conjunction with other sentiment measurements.

When should you measure CSAT?

CSAT should be measured on a regular cadence, whether that be quarterly, monthly, or after every customer interaction. The specific time frame should be chosen based on your organization’s goals for obtaining customer feedback. Generally speaking, it can be a good idea to request feedback directly after an interaction or transaction, while it is still fresh in the mind of the customer.

It is also beneficial to measure CSAT when you are collecting other metrics, such as NPS or CES. This way, you can get a more full picture of the overall satisfaction level of your customers. These efforts help to reduce customer churn by continually finding ways to improve the customer experience.

What is the difference between CSAT, Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES)?

While they are all ways of collecting metrics on customer sentiment, CSAT, NPS, and CES are obtained in different ways. CSAT is a way of measuring customer satisfaction with an interaction, usually taken right after the interaction happens. It focuses on a general feeling of satisfaction with a particular channel, product, or service. Net promoter score (NPS), on the other hand, gathers an idea of how a customer sees the brand as a whole and if they would be willing to recommend the product to others. Customer effort score (CES) measures whether or not the customer had difficulty getting into contact with the company.

Call Center Call Scoring Evaluation Form Items


Call center call scoring evaluation form items

Download and print this call scoring evaluation form and begin using it to monitor calls.



What is meant by customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a score that shows whether or not a customer found a particular product, transaction, or interaction to be satisfactory. This survey is often sent out right after a significant transaction or interaction takes place, or after a help ticket case has been closed. If a customer responds positively to the questions inside a CSAT survey, it is a good indication that they are a happy customer.

What are the 3 C’s of customer satisfaction?

The 3 C’s of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency. This mantra helps to remind businesses that when conducting surveys to calculate their customer satisfaction scores (CSAT scores), they must do so on a regular, timely cadence. Otherwise, they will not be effective in revealing the company’s overall level of customer satisfaction.


Celia Cerdeira

Celia Cerdeira

Célia Cerdeira has more than 20 years experience in the contact center industry. She imagines, designs, and brings to life the right content for awesome customer journeys. When she's not writing, you can find her chilling on the beach enjoying a freshly squeezed juice and reading a novel by some of her favorite authors.