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What is a Customer Satisfaction Score and Why It Matters

Written by Alida

Published March 29, 2022

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. But at the same time, 92% of customers with just two or three negative experiences will abandon working with a company and never look back.

For businesses, that means that the quality of the customer experience will largely determine customer loyalty, customer lifecycle, and the overall growth potential of the company. 

Satisfied customers who provide positive responses to feedback requests are more likely to stick around for longer, buy more often, and even share your brand's message with their friends, colleagues, and family.

But to understand how your customers view your company, you need to have a reliable process for measuring customer feedback. And one of the best tools for doing that is using a customer satisfaction score, also known as a CSAT. 

In this article, let's look at what a customer satisfaction score is, why it matters, and how you can improve your CSAT by learning to match and exceed customer expectations.


What is a Customer Satisfaction Score?

A customer satisfaction score is a customer experience metric used to measure how happy your buyers are with your services, products, and overall brand experience.

It's used extensively as part of collecting voice-of-the-customer data and is often used together with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES), all of which provide different insights into customer satisfaction levels through survey questions.

A CSAT will typically be measured by a single-question survey, asking respondents to rate their overall satisfaction with the product or service they received. The customers have to pick one of five options, ranging from very unsatisfied to very satisfied. 

Because it's such a simple and low-effort question, you can expect a very good response rate, providing you a big-picture view of your customers’ satisfaction and telling you whether you have as many happy customers as you would like. It can be used at various stages of the customer journey to gauge whether you are doing a good job catering to the needs of your audience.

While it's not the end-all tool for ensuring consistent growth, understanding whether your customers are satisfied and receiving negative or positive responses can allow you to make more informed decisions on where to set your priorities.


Why Does It Matter?

There are many reasons why the customer satisfaction score has become a staple of understanding business performance. It offers a range of benefits to companies that regularly collect CSAT customer feedback, and can be used to make more informed decisions about moving the business forward.

But what are the specific benefits you can get from running CSAT customer satisfaction surveys? Here are a few that make the biggest difference.


Shows You Care

Your customers want to know that you care about making them happy and meeting their needs. And a customer satisfaction survey shows them that you care about what they think and are trying to improve, making them more likely to stay with your brand for longer.

At the same time, when something does go wrong, receiving survey responses and being willing to embrace feedback will make them more forgiving, compared to if you didn't show any initiative in understanding what you might be doing wrong.

The relationship between audiences and brands is continually evolving, and a CSAT customer survey is a great way to keep that interaction active through timely customer touchpoints.


Understand Your Customers

Merely making an effort to engage customers is not enough. You also need to generate actionable insights through a better understanding of who your customers are, what they want, and how satisfied they are with your products and services.

A good customer satisfaction score can be a great measure of your customer success, providing a clear-cut answer on whether your customers view the services and products you offer as satisfactory and effective.

You can use these surveys throughout the customer lifecycle, asking their opinion about your customer service throughout the onboarding process, especially after they have recently purchased a product. 

When you time your CSAT surveys effectively, you can gain insights about the customer satisfaction levels at each stage, which allows you to focus on customer satisfaction throughout their journey and know exactly how well different aspects of your business are performing.


Better Customer Retention

Unhappy customers don't stay with a company for very long. If you fail to meet their expectations throughout the customer journey, your buyers will inevitably start looking at the competition for better alternatives. 

But if you run a CSAT customer survey at crucial points, even such a simple question can point you in the right direction regarding what needs to be addressed. When you discover that something isn't working as it should, you can get ahead of the issue and dig for more feedback.

Then, you can implement changes that improve your score over time, reducing the rate of negative feedback and helping you get ahead of the issue before it negatively impacts more customers.



How Can You Improve Your Customer Satisfaction Score?

Since customer satisfaction is such a crucial factor in the long-term success of your business, you need to figure out how to get a consistently positive score that's on par or above industry benchmarks.

And the good news is that if you use a key performance indicator such as a CSAT score, you can take steps to improve the average customer satisfaction ratings and reduce customer churn.

Let's look at a few of the best steps you can take to improve the experience of your current customers throughout their entire customer journey.


Get to Know Your Customers

A poor customer satisfaction score can be frustrating, especially if you don't know what could have gone wrong. You need to have more context about the scores you receive if you are going to find a way to improve them.

Therefore, you should think about how you could get to know your customers on a deeper level, understanding their motivations for giving you poor or good scores and mapping out a process for doing better with potential customers in the future.

And the good news is that technology makes it very easy to continually interact with your customers and collect feedback. For example, you can organize interviews with customers where you can ask as many questions as you want and discover not just insights but also the language your customers use.

You could also run comprehensive surveys that build on the customer satisfaction score and give you specific insights about what's working and what isn't. 

Finally, you could analyze your social media interactions and customer reviews, seeing what people are saying and what a dissatisfied customer might want to see improved. 

As you learn more about your customers, you will get better at making assumptions about why they react one way or another and will be able to address the problems quickly and efficiently.


Train Your Team

Your team's interactions with customers can have a considerable impact on their satisfaction levels. Your employees need to understand how to keep customers happy and provide help efficiently, as that's the only way to ensure that any issues your customers face are resolved before they can get out of hand and cause frustration.

Your team also needs resources they can fall back on when dealing with problems. And one of the best ways to provide those resources is to implement a knowledge base system that can be used to quickly find the best solution to the common issues your customers are likely to face.

Using a knowledge base, your support staff can not only look up solutions themselves but can also direct customers to helpful articles or guides that walk them through a solution more effectively.


Revamp Your Customer Support

Being able to address issues quickly is an integral part of customer support. But it's also crucial to have multiple ways for your customers to reach you to get them to the conversation stage in the first place.

And for that to happen, it's crucial to make it very easy for customers to reach out in any method they'd like to use. Whether it's on your website's chatbox, through email, on the phone, or social media, having an omnichannel support system is a key step of matching and exceeding customer expectations and improving your customer satisfaction score in the process.

By providing timely help throughout the platforms your customers are using, you can get ahead of any issues and turn a potentially negative experience into an even better relationship with your customers. And these types of changes can be the difference-maker that drives the CSAT scores higher. 


Address Issues Quickly

When you're collecting feedback from customers in a variety of ways, you will inevitably discover the most pressing concerns and issues they want you to address. Each of those issues might not be too significant on their own, but combined, they form the overall customer experience and have a deciding impact on your customer satisfaction scores.

Because of that, you should have a process for promptly addressing the various issues you discover before they can affect more customers. Otherwise, each additional person who has to work through the challenge will form negative opinions about your brand.


Bottom Line

The customer satisfaction score is a popular metric for measuring how your customers perceive your products and services. But to use it effectively, it's essential not just to collect the feedback but also to try to understand and address it.

With the strategies listed above, you should be able to identify the most pressing reasons for poor customer satisfaction scores and come up with actionable solutions that help you attain more happy and loyal customers in the future.


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