Every year, businesses lose a total of $75 billion due to poor customer service. To prevent bad experiences with support from limiting your company’s growth, you need to prioritize improving customer satisfaction with a fast, low-effort, and helpful customer experience.
Most brands would agree that customer satisfaction is important, but few realize just how much interactions with customer support matter for your revenue. In our analysis of over 10,000 online businesses, we found that raising CSAT score by just one point — from 4 to 4.9 — lifts overall revenue by 4%.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into a metric that tells you a lot about your company’s customer experience and revenue potential: customer satisfaction score (CSAT). We’ll offer nine strategies to help you measure and boost your CSAT score, and share some tips to get more customers to rate their satisfaction so you have the best data to work with.
The most important ways to improve CSAT scores and response rates
If you're looking for a quick summary, you've found it! Here are the top ways to raise CSAT and response rates:
- Review CSAT scores under four and look for common themes
- Reach out to low-scoring customers and ask them follow up questions
- Automate repetitive tasks to free up time for agents to help with more complex or unique questions
- Look for opportunities to improve the product experience and customer journey beyond the agent level
- Automate CSAT surveys after positive customer service interactions
- Personalize your CSAT email or incentivize longer CSAT responses
What is customer satisfaction (CSAT) score?
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is a customer support metric that measures how a customer feels after an interaction with your brand’s customer support. Brands measure CSAT by sending out customer satisfaction surveys as a follow-up to customer service interactions. The survey simply asks customers to rate the interaction on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.
While customers rate the interactions between 1 and 5, many company’s run scores through a formula that will spit out an overall CSAT score somewhere between 0 and 100. However, we at Gorgias keep CSAT simple and just average all CSAT responses for an overall score from 1-5. Our recommended goal for CSAT is 4.8.
On top of the numeric score, CSAT surveys also usually include a field for customers to explain why they chose that rating. This qualitative feedback is a hugely important benefit of measuring CSAT because they help you understand your customer support’s strengths and weaknesses.
One way to calculate your overall CSAT score is to divide the number of respondents who rated their interaction as 4/5 or 5/5 by your total number of CSAT survey responses. Then, multiply by 100. The number you are left with is your company's overall CSAT score.
For example, if you have 500 CSAT responses and 400 of those responses are positive (4/5 or 5/5), then your CSAT score is 400/500 x 100 = 80.
However, you can also keep things simple by taking the average of all your CSAT responses and using that as your CSAT score. That’s what we do at Gorgias: If a company’s CSAT responses are 50% 4 and 50% 5, their overall CSAT score is 4.5.
What’s a good benchmark for CSAT score?
The average CSAT score varies from industry to industry, but here’s a general breakdown of CSAT score by industry:
- Consulting: 85
- Healthcare: 79
- Ecommerce: 74
- Digital marketing agencies: 67
- B2B software and SaaS: 65
- Education: 47
- Consumer services: 20
- Communication and media: 16
As mentioned, we at Gorgias simply average all CSAT responses to result in a score from 1-5. We recommend our customers, all of whom are ecommerce merchants, aim for a CSAT score of 4.8.
That said, if your CSAT score doesn’t line up with your industry, don’t be discouraged. Every brand starts somewhere. Rather than focusing on your industry’s benchmarks, focus on the changes you can make to improve your CSAT score one point at a time, month after month. You might even see your CSAT score shoot up when you start collecting more responses or start tweaking your customer service offerings.
9 strategies to improve CSAT score fast
The main point in tracking your CSAT score is to look for ways to improve it. If you would like to start creating more satisfied customers, here are nine effective tips to try:
- Audit CSAT scores under 4/5 and look for common themes
- Use natural language processing (NLP) to find common themes in CSAT feedback
- Reach out to low-scoring customers for deeper feedback
- Create a system to measure ticket quality objectively
- Bolster your customer service training and resources around problem areas
- Automate repetitive tickets to free up more time for agents
- Look for opportunities to improve the product experience and customer journey beyond the agent level
- Implement customer service best practices like omnichannel, proactive, and self-service support
- Activate instant messaging channels like live chat, social media DMs, and SMS
1) Audit CSAT scores under 4/5 and look for common themes
Positive CSAT survey responses are great, but negative responses tend to offer the most value. Auditing CSAT responses lower than 4/5 can help you identify common themes and issues harming customer satisfaction.
If you use Gorgias, you can go to Statistics > Satisfaction to see every single ticket in chronological order and investigate tickets four stars and under:
Jot down common themes that pop up and tally up the number of tickets that mention those issues: Wait times, unclear answers, and unresolved product issues are all common offenders. Issues with lots of tallies are likely to be high-impact opportunities for improvement. For instance, if long wait times are a common theme in your negative CSAT responses, then you know what your support team will need to do in order to improve customer satisfaction — find ways to reduce wait times.
2) Use natural language processing (NLP) to find common themes in CSAT feedback
As your brand grows and receives more tickets, analyzing every single low-scoring CSAT response may not be possible. If you don’t have an internal team to help you analyze large amount of data, a thematic analysis tool that uses natural language processing (NLP) can quickly scan all your tickets and look for common themes.
Here’s how the process works:
- Download all your CSAT scores — if you use Gorgias, you’ll find a CSV download button in your Satisfaction dashboard
- Run your downloaded file through a thematic analysis tool like Thematic
- Watch the tool turn a mountain of scattered responses into a list of common keywords, pain points, and themes
- Study those themes to gain important insight into your customers’ needs
Just like we described above, these themes help you isolate one or two areas to work on at a time, which is the most strategic way to improve your CSAT score.
3) Reach out to low-scoring customers for deeper feedback
CSAT surveys are great for forming a general idea of a customer's satisfaction level, but they don't always tell you everything you need to know. Even with the open-ended field, you may not get much detail about why customers pick a certain rating. In cases where customers give your company a low CSAT score, reaching out to them to get detailed feedback could reveal more about how you can prevent low scores in the future.
4) Create a system to measure ticket quality objectively
One issue that may cause lower CSAT scores is poor or inconsistent responses coming from your team. Creating a detailed rubric that breaks down what a quality ticket response looks like can provide both a valuable template for your agents and a more comprehensive system for objectively measuring ticket quality. By aligning your team’s efforts around this kind of rubric, you’ll be much closer to providing satisfying responses to all customer inquiries.
In the rubric, you can include aspects like response time, accuracy (with company policy), alignment with brand voice and tone, and anything else you believe contributes to a great customer service interaction for your brand.
While the purpose of the rubric is to help agents create responses that get high satisfaction scores, that may not always be the case. For example, if your brand voice is very punny and whimsical, a response with lots of puns will score high on the rubric. However, that ticket might not be clear enough to be satisfying for the customers. If you notice that interactions score high on your rubric but low on CSAT, then you may need to update the rubric.
5) Bolster your customer service training and resources around problem areas
Once you use CSAT surveys to identify areas with room for improvement, it's time to put that data into action. Bolstering your customer service training and resources can help you eliminate specific issues harming the customer experience and improve your CSAT score.
Creating an internal knowledge base so that agents have easy access to the information they need to assist customers can be one effective way to bolster the quality of your customer support. Providing your agents with templated responses is another way to ensure that every customer interaction is satisfactory and on brand.
6) Automate repetitive tickets to free up more time for agents
When agents have more time to give each support ticket their undivided attention and A+ effort, customer satisfaction is bound to improve. But chances are that most tickets that your company receives don't actually need an in-depth response from a live agent. And if those repetitive tickets take up too much time, agents won’t be able to take the time to give a high-quality response when it’s needed.
Support tickets such as "where is my order?" inquiries, common product questions, and other repetitive tickets take time and resources away from more complex tickets requiring a more detailed and personalized response.
By using Gorgias to create automated responses to these repetitive tickets, you can free up time in your support team's daily schedule so that they can put more focus and effort into high-value or complex tickets. Specifically, you can use:
- Variable Macros to create high-quality, personalized templates
- Automated Rules to fire responses and trigger actions like “Refund order”
- Self-Service Flows to let customers find answers and modify orders themselves
7) Look for opportunities to improve the product experience and customer journey beyond the agent level
Customer satisfaction doesn't begin with customer support, and it doesn't end there, either. Along with boosting customer satisfaction by improving your customer support quality, you can also improve your CSAT score by searching for opportunities to improve the customer experience beyond the agent level.
This can include:
- Improving the quality of your product
- Creating clearer product descriptions to set expectations
- Improving your product photography
- Improving your shipping speed and reliability
- Offering free shipping to qualifying customers
- Creating a more helpful post-purchase experience
- A wide range of other opportunities to create a more satisfying customer journey
Of course, your support team will need to pass along customer feedback with ideas to improve the product and customer experience. Check out our post on collecting and sharing customer feedback for tips.
8) Implement customer service best practices like omnichannel, proactive, and self-service support
Meeting customer expectations regarding customer support is one crucial key to high CSAT scores. Consider incorporating customer support best practices like the following three suggestions to meet those customer expectations.
Omnichannel support is the strategy of creating and uniting customer touchpoints on many channels: email, social media, SMS texting, and more. An omnichannel approach gives you more chances to meet customers where they’re at. Plus, with a helpdesk that combines all of these channels, you can easily manage incoming messages without having to spend half your day switching between windows.
Customer self-service is any tool or resource that helps customers answer questions without having to reach out to an agent — resources like FAQ pages and knowledge bases, self-service flows, or chatbots. 88% of customers expect self-service resources because they are fast and low-effort. Fortunately, self-service resources also reduce the number of repetitive tickets your agents receive on a day-to-day basis.
Proactive customer service is a strategy to reach out to customers before they think to reach out to support. Common self-service tactics include live chat campaigns that ask customers if they need help while browsing your site or welcoming customers with a DM when they follow your social media profiles. Proactive customer support gives you more opportunities to answer customer questions, offer discounts that boost your conversion rate, or find new ways to make happy customers.
9) Activate instant messaging channels like live chat, social media DMs, and SMS
Slow response times are another common customer support issue that can harm customer satisfaction. If you notice that long wait times are a recurring complaint in your low-scoring CSAT responses, introducing touchpoints that allow fast, one-to-one interactions can lower your response times (and hopefully, by extension, your CSAT score).
The most effective of these conversational channels include live chat, social media DMs, and SMS texting. These real-time support channels enable your agents to quickly handle multiple tickets at a time, without hours of delay, which is common in emails.
If you have the bandwidth to keep up with these channels, they can dramatically improve response times and resolution times. That said, be sure you’ve hired enough agents to respond to requests on these live channels within the first few minutes to keep your customer experience great.
Tips to improve CSAT survey response rate
CSAT survey responses are valuable, and collecting as many of them as possible is important. However, customers aren't always going to jump at the opportunity to fill out a survey. To improve your CSAT survey response rate and start collecting more valuable customer feedback, here are a few effective tips:
- Automate CSAT surveys after customer service interactions
- Send CSAT surveys while the interaction is still fresh
- Keep CSAT surveys simple — at least 90% of the time
- Make the survey visual
- Personalize your CSAT survey email
- Give incentives for CSAT responses
1) Automate CSAT surveys after customer service interactions
You should send out a CSAT survey following every customer interaction. One great way to ensure that every customer is sent a survey without further burdening your support team is to send these surveys out automatically.
With Gorgias, you can create CSAT surveys that send automatically following every customer service interaction, ensuring that every customer gets the opportunity to leave feedback.
2) Send CSAT surveys while the interaction is still fresh
Customers are more likely to respond to a CSAT survey when the interaction is still fresh on their minds. It is typically best to send out CSAT surveys immediately following a customer interaction.
The only exception is if you have a particularly complicated product, like a piece of software that the customer needs to set up. That’s because the customer might still need to configure something before they know whether or not your support team effectively addressed the pain point. But for most products, the sooner the better.
3) Keep CSAT surveys simple — at least 90% of the time
While detailed feedback is great, most of your customers won't be willing to answer dozens of survey questions. It's usually best to keep your CSAT surveys short and simple. A single question that asks customers to rank their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5, along with an optional form for providing more detailed feedback, is the tried-and-true best format for CSAT surveys.
With that said, there are certainly times when you will want to reach out to customers for more detailed feedback. We've already mentioned how reaching out to low-scoring customers can be a great way to identify issues and take another stab at satisfying them. However, it's best to use these long-form surveys and feedback requests as a follow-up to low-scoring CSAT survey responses instead of the initial survey.
4) Make the survey visual
Making it fun and interesting for customers to fill out your CSAT surveys can go a long way toward boosting your response rate. One simple way to make your surveys more appealing is to include visually engaging elements such as buttons, images, and stars:
5) Personalize your CSAT survey email
Something as simple as including the customer's name in your CSAT survey email can add a professional touch to these emails and help ensure that customers don't mistake them for spam. Referencing the ticket number in question is another effective practice for personalizing CSAT survey emails.
6) Give incentives for CSAT responses (or long-form feedback)
It might not be sustainable long term, but offering incentives such as discount codes or gift cards for CSAT responses can certainly improve your CSAT response rate. If you can't afford to offer incentives for every CSAT response, offering incentives for customers to complete your more long-form feedback surveys can effectively gather more detailed customer feedback.
Why is keeping track of your CSAT score important?
We recommend all brands measure customer satisfaction and use CSAT scores as a key performance indicator (KPI) for the customer support team. That’s true whether you have a large in-house support crew, outsource to a call center, or are a one-person business. Regardless, keeping tabs on your customer satisfaction will pay off. Here’s why:
It’s a leading indicator of customer loyalty and revenue growth
According to Shopify data, even small ecommerce companies with less than four employees spend between $21 to $533 on average to acquire a new customer, depending on the industry. So if your strategy is too focused on customer acquisition — and not customer retention — you’re building a ship with a hole. In other words, you’ll leak revenue from existing customer churn and sink under ocean-sized acquisition costs.
A high CSAT score indicates you don’t have a hole in your ship: Your customer loyalty is high and you’ll stay afloat at a much lower cost. And the best way to keep customer loyalty high is to deliver a customer experience that satisfies your customers.
In our CX Growth Playbook, which analyzed data from over 10,000 ecommerce merchants, we also found that raising your CSAT from 4 to 4.9 could raise overall revenue by 4%, thanks to the number of repeat purchases that follow high CSAT responses.
It measures the quality of your customer experience
Customer experience is complex and multi-dimensional. Everything, from the quality of your website’s FAQ page to the email customers receive after a purchase, stacks up into a customer experience that’s either satisfying or frustrating.
Tracking CSAT scores is one of your best bets to measure the overall quality of your customer support experience. And measuring the quality of your customer support experience is the first step to identifying where you excel and where you have an opportunity to better satisfy customer needs.
It correlates to other customer service KPIs like FRT and AHT
CSAT scores tend to directly correlate with other important customer service KPIs such as first-response time (FRT), average handle time (AHT), average reply times, and resolution times. Tracking all of these KPIs gives you a fuller picture of your customer support experience.
For example, if your CSAT score and resolution times start to fall but your response times are high, the takeaway is that your support team needs to focus on quality responses, not just fast ones. Low CSAT scores and resolution times indicate that your responses — even if they’re near-instant — aren’t solving customer needs. For example, a cause of this might agents blindly applying canned responses, or Macros, without updating information or making it relevant for the customer.
It helps you identify areas to train your customer service team
Tracking customer satisfaction can help you pinpoint the root cause of issues harming the customer experience, whether that’s slow responses, low-quality responses, or some other aspect of the customer experience that customers find dissatisfying. For example, while auditing, you might find that many customers are upset about a discount code not applying at checkout. Only once you realize it’s a pattern might you realize that you’ve been communicating the wrong discount code to customers.
By measuring your CSAT and digging into themes across qualitative responses, you may be able to triangulate issues that need customer service training or new resources like a knowledge base. Plus, with the right helpdesk, you may be able to see CSAT broken down by a customer service agent so you can see which agents need additional training or quality assurance.
It surfaces customer feedback you can share with other teams
Above, we explained how you can use the customer feedback from CSAT surveys to improve your customer support service quality. However, you can also use it to improve other areas of your business, too. For example, your team can pass feedback regarding the product itself to your product development team. Similarly, feedback regarding your website can be routed to your marketing or software development team.
Don't use CSAT as your end-all-be-all customer satisfaction metric
CSAT is an insightful metric for customer support teams to track, but it doesn't tell the whole story about customer satisfaction. For example, you could have a high CSAT but never get to 10% of your tickets — those customers would not be satisfied but never get the chance to fill out a survey. Similarly, CSAT may give you a skewed sample population if only your most engaged and happy customers respond to your survey requests.
For that reason, keep an eye on other signals of customer satisfaction, like social media mentions and customer referrals. Other important metrics to track include net promoter score (NPS), first-response time (FRT), average handle time (AHT), and customer effort score (CES).
Gorgias developed a new metric called support performance score, which is our best shot at creating a single north-star metric that measures the overall quality of your support. Support performance score combines CSAT, first-response time, and resolution time to estimate how fast, helpful, and satisfying your support is. If you use Gorgias, you’ll find your support performance score in your Statistics dashboard:
By tracking multiple customer support and customer satisfaction metrics, you can form a comprehensive view of how satisfied customers are with your company and better identify areas where there is room for improvement.
Boost your CSAT score — and revenue — with Gorgias
Improving your ecommerce store's CSAT score can improve customer retention, boost referrals, limit negative reviews, and provide a wide range of other business-boosting benefits.
From freeing up your team via automated responses to repetitive tickets to speeding up first-response times via SMS and live chat support, Gorgias enables you to move faster, make more happy customers, and grow your store.
Our platform also offers tools for collecting and analyzing customer feedback automatically so that the valuable information you need to improve your customer experience further is always at your fingertips. See how our customer, Ohh Deer, uses Gorgias' live chat to maintain a 4.95 CSAT score (and generate $50,000 in revenue annually.)
Get started with Gorgias now to see how our industry-leading customer support platform can help you track and improve your CSAT score.