What is CSAT Score & How to Measure It for Your Contact Center?

What is CSAT Score & How to Measure It for Your Contact Center?

What is a CSAT score, and how to measure and improve this customer satisfaction rating in your contact center.

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In the world of customer service, one key metric is consistently measured and considered the “gold standard” of contact center metrics. The CSAT Score.

What is a CSAT Score?

CSAT score or CSAT is a customer satisfaction score. This metric is typically measured by surveying customers at various points in their buying journey. CSAT scores can be measured after a purchase, whilst onboarding for a new service, or after an interaction with customer support. The score itself is vitally important to organizations. CSAT helps businesses determine in which areas they are excelling and which they could improve to ensure their customers are satisfied with their experience.

Studies have also shown that organizations that keep a close watch on CSAT scores have better customer retention which directly (and positively) impacts their revenue. This article will discuss the basics of CSAT, why monitoring this KPI in the call center environment makes good business sense, and why all organizations should be onboard.

What Are the Benefits of Measuring Customer Satisfaction for Contact Centers?

When reviewing customer satisfaction metrics, one of the biggest advantages is being able to utilize the data to improve customer experiences. This information can help you uncover and recognize various pain points or redundancies in your customer’s journey.

These insights can be then used to thoughtfully and strategically respond to feedback and implement changes. Keeping a focus on CSAT throughout your customer’s journey sets your organization up for success. Easily discover and pinpoint patterns in the data to help deliver improved experiences. A win for you and a win for your customers in our book.

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Who here has not been persuaded by a stellar online review? Ever heard about 4 out of 5 dentists recommending a certain sugar-free gum? What about looking at a product and seeing that 96% of users noticed an improvement? Those are all examples of customer satisfaction scores coming to life in ways that engage and influence prospective buyers. In a call center environment, if you are constantly delivering timely service and superior customer experiences, CSAT data will help you put an exact number of the positive outcomes of that service. Positive customer satisfaction scores and feedback can be instrumental to cultivating successful business objectives.

Loyalty Pays Off

Another benefit of measuring customer satisfaction? Inspiring loyalty in your users. Customer loyalty usually refers to how likely a customer is going to commit to repeated business with your company based on their experiences. This is important in a multitude of ways including being influential on Average Order Value (AOV) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which help gauge levels of engagement and retention over a span of time. Customer retention makes good, solid business sense. Fred Reichheld of Bain and Company and author of "Prescription for Cutting Costs”, notes that a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit.” As such, it's easy to see why you'd want to use satisfaction scores to inspire repeated purchasing or booking and overall reduce customer churn.

5 Metrics That Will Improve Your Contact Center's CSAT Score

Delivering exceptional customer experiences may sound simple enough. You want your customers to be completely satisfied with their interactions with your organization. However, many companies often struggle with this.In fact, a 2022 Netomi report “The State of Customer Service in 2022” found that over 50% of U.S consumers have not seen any improvement in their customer service experiences within the last 12 months. Contact center teams must constantly analyze their customer interactions to identify trends and areas of improvement. Identifying the right metrics to help teams reach their customer experience goals is the first step.

Here are 5 metrics to begin monitoring immediately in your contact center:

1. Abandonment Rate

There’s a common misconception that a contact center's abandonment rate should be as close to 0% as possible. While it’s true that you want as many customers connected with agents or being routed to the correct party as possible. You must also be mindful of a diminishing return on your investment if you invest too much into zeroing out your abandon rate.

Across multiple industries, a typical, healthy abandon rate is between 4% and 8%. Below 4% means you may be spending a lot of money on contact center staffing without a commensurate increase in customer satisfaction. An abandon rate above 8% indicates that you likely have customer service issues.

2. Wait Times

By measuring the wait time for abandoned interactions and comparing it to the overall wait time for the queue, you can make judgments about staffing levels. Test whether or not customers are willing to wait slightly longer than they are currently waiting for an agent. The willingness by customers to wait a little longer in queue gives tremendous flexibility around staffing level planning. This is especially true when combined with an analytics platform that can tell you when and under what circumstances customers are willing to wait longer. Now you can more dynamically and appropriately staff your contact center.

3. Average Handle Time

Average Handle Time is a metric that measures the complete length of a customer's call with one of your team members. Monitoring this common KPI offers insight into your agent's productivity and performance.

Imagine this scenario: Mary is a new agent in the Customer Support queue. She takes the same types of interactions as everyone else but has less experience answering the questions she is getting. It is likely that you would see a longer than Average Handle Time for Mary’s interactions because she is trying hard to solve the customer’s issues. But you might also see a higher than average (compared to the rest of the group) percentage transferred compared to the rest of the queue because, as hard as Mary is trying, she still has to transfer more interactions off to others for assistance than the more experienced representatives. This scenario is an indication that Mary likely needs additional training.

4. Agent Percentage Idle

Agent Idle is the time between the moment an agent wraps up a customer interaction to the moment the agent begins the next customer interaction. The value of this metric is dependent on the interaction distribution pattern for the group. If interactions are presented to the agents one at a time (round robin, longest idle, etc), this metric should be watched closely. However, if interactions are presented to all agents simultaneously, tracking this metric is of little value.

5. Wrap-Up

A wrap-up code is a “reason” code applied to the interaction during or after the interaction. The agent can generally select from a set of pre-defined codes for future reporting. Many contact center teams are tracking wrap-up codes but often don’t take the extra step to track the average time for each code. This is important because it can really drive automation and increase customer service throughout the organization.

Evaluate Your Tools

This will vary from industry to industry, but generally incorporating business solutions to address concerns will improve experiences for both your employees and your customers. A current trend is incorporating AI (artificial intelligence) bots that are programmed to take care of repeatable, “everyday” issues that your customers may have. This allows agents to work on more complex, subjective issues effectively ensuring that no matter the inquiry your customers are being taken care of quickly. Analytics is another business tool that can yield impressive, immediate results to CSAT scores.

Customer engagement analytics, like Brightmetrics™, help call center managers and agents make data-driven decisions concerning trends and real-time scenarios that are impacting customer experiences. With shareable public wallboards, teams can work cohesively in keeping an eye on call volume, wait times, resolution rates, agent activity, and more. Learn more about Brightmetrics analytics and reporting here.

How To Calculate CSAT for a Call Center: 3-step Guide

CSAT is most often calculated by having customers complete brief surveys. These surveys are often single-question forms, asking about the customer’s most recent experience with an organization. Follow these three easy steps to start collecting customer satisfaction data.

Step 1: Design Your Survey

Whether you utilize a sliding rating scale, smiley faces, or stars it is imperative that when you are designing customer satisfaction surveys you think about your end user. There are plenty of free online templates to choose from, and most likely you have participated in answering your fair share of CSAT questions as a consumer.Your respondents should have an easy time accessing your surveys and providing their feedback. Drill down to a simple question so you can solicit straightforward feedback. When you are designing your CSAT survey, use the easiest illustration of customer sentiment possible.

Step 2: Collect the Data

These survey questions can be sent via email, phone, social media, chat, or even via traditional means like direct mail. Keep in mind that these surveys are best utilized when they immediately follow an experience within the customer lifecycle and the interaction is top of mind for your customers.

You can also experiment with control and experimental groups when collecting data. If you are trying to see if a new product/process/ policy is impacting your customers you may send surveys to the experimental group and calculate the CSAT score separately from the “control group”.  

Step 3: Crunch the Numbers

When calculating a CSAT score from your survey data, you’ll use the responses of whatever signifies 4 (satisfied) and 5 (very satisfied). This is an industry-standard set as it has been shown that using the two highest values on feedback surveys are the most accurate predictors of customer retention. You will also track how many responses you received back from your customers.

Use this formula to arrive at a percentage score: (Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) / Number of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers

What Is a Good CSAT Score for a Call Center?

What constitutes a “good” customer satisfaction rating varies from industry to industry. Below is a list of some common industries and scores that are considered acceptable within the respective verticals.

IndustryBenchmark Score *

Apparel 79

Automobiles and Light Vehicles 78

Banks 78

Breweries 81

Cell Phones 79

Computer Software 76

Consumer Shipping 76

Credit Unions 77

Financial Advisors 77

Restaurants 79

Hotels 73

Internet Retailers 78

Internet Travel Services 74

Life Insurance 78

Specialty Retailers 77

*According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

CSAT Scores: Key Takeaways

Think of your business’s CSAT scores as the pulse for how your company is performing. These insights help you better understand the health of your relationship with your customers. It helps to measure the entire journey, the design and processing of the surveys, and the context of the feedback. CSAT scores enable businesses to improve their processes from “satisfactory” to “exemplary” when properly incorporated into business strategy.


What Types of Metrics Measure Customer Satisfaction?

NPS, CES, and CSAT all are metrics designed to measure customer satisfaction.

When Should You Measure CSAT?

CSAT surveys tend to be one-off surveys because they gauge satisfaction after a specific interaction. To keep response rates high, make sure you’re not over-surveying the same customer. You can also set auto-sends for surveys upon completion of an interaction.


Yes, customer satisfaction is an important KPI (key performance indicator). CSAT is one of the most heavily benchmarked customer experience metrics outside of NPS®. CSAT surveys provide a quantitative metric of how satisfied customers are, and more importantly, qualitative feedback that explains why.

What Are the Main Disadvantages of Using CSAT?

With any “pro” there is a “con” and CSAT metrics are no exception. We’ve hinted at a few of the disadvantages already when we talked about the importance of timing and design. Beyond just the potential for lack of participation or lack of meaningful results, there could also be cultural biases that skew the data one way or the other. Research findings in Psychological Science show that people who are from more individualistic cultures and countries opt for more polar sides than those who are from more collectivistic countries.

As an example, someone in America is far more likely to rate something as “amazing” or “very dissatisfied” but someone from Japan is more likely to stick with neutral “fine” or “not satisfactory” as their customer feedback. Ambiguity is another disadvantage. What one person views as “amazing” or “terrible” can vary drastically from person to person even day to day. One person might think it is “amazing” that they called, and had a direct contact center agent who offered no pleasantries but resolved the issue within 90 seconds.

Another person could view that as an impersonal, abrupt interaction that puts them off. Even the words “satisfied”, “amazing”, and “terrible” themselves are subjective.We also know from human behavior that people who have middle-of-the-road experiences where nothing stands out as impressive or distressing are the least likely to give any feedback.  

What is a CSAT Survey?

An effectively designed customer survey garners useful feedback while respecting your customer’s time. Here’s how the standard CSAT questionnaire works, and how you can customize it to suit your exact needs. Once you see what a simple and easy measuring method this is for both you and the customer, you’ll understand why CSAT surveys are so ubiquitous.

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