How to measure CSAT in Zendesk using AirOps

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): What it is, why it’s important, and how to (easily) measure it.

August 19, 2022
AirOps Team

What is customer satisfaction score (CSAT)?

A customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a measurement of how satisfied customers are with a product, service, or encounter. While CSAT is a metric that can be heavily influenced by the customer service function, these scores aren’t always explicitly related to service. 

CSAT can be calculated in various ways, but the most common way is to ask customers to respond on a scale of 1-5 about their experience. The more satisfied your customer is, the higher your CSAT.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a measurement of how satisfied customers are with a product, service, or encounter.

When using a 5-point scale, 4 and 5 are typically considered satisfied. Sometimes, a simple thumbs up / thumbs down scale is used, especially for support interactions (e.g., “Did we fully resolve your concern today?”)

How to calculate your organization's CSAT

Most organizations will track CSAT in a customer support tool like Zendesk (or another ticketing tool), which streamlines the measurement process and makes staying up-to-date a lot easier. You can also use this basic formula to calculate CSAT:

CSAT = Number of satisfied respondents ÷ Number of total respondents

So, if 75 respondents answered with a 4 or 5, and you received 100 total responses, your CSAT score would be 75.

How to set up and calculate CSAT in Zendesk

In order to track CSAT in Zendesk, you need to enable CSAT within the platform: 

  • Navigate to the Admin section of Zendesk
  • Click on the "CSAT" tab
  • Follow the prompts to set up your CSAT survey

CSAT surveys for Zendesk Support are sent via email one day after the ticket is marked as solved. For Zendesk web, mobile, and social messaging, CSAT surveys are presented in the messaging interface immediately after the ticket is set to solved.

To calculate CSAT in Zendesk, you will need to:

  • Go to the "Reports" tab
  • Select the "CSAT" report
  • Select the date range you want to measure
  • Select the "Export" button

You will then be able to see the percentage of customers who rated their experience as "Good" or "Excellent".

CSAT alone won’t provide a complete picture of your organization’s customer service, though. While it’s a helpful metric, you need to assess it alongside other data points if you want to measure overall performance and effectiveness. 

Track CSAT scores alongside other important metrics

On its own, CSAT doesn’t provide a complete picture of customer satisfaction. If you want to get a real handle on how your customers feel (and why they feel how they feel), CSAT should be tracked alongside other metrics.

And while tools like Zendesk are powerful, our experience has shown that customer service reps (CSRs) and managers find it way more convenient and powerful to access and analyze data in operating documents that they already know and love, like Google Sheets ❤️. 

Getting high-quality data into an operating document like a GSheet isn’t necessarily easy, though. Especially if it requires you to spend hours manually downloading CSVs from different sources and copying the data into a rickety, VLOOKUP-filled spreadsheet 👎.

Luckily, there’s an easier way: AirOps.

Screenshot of the AirOps Service Metrics Toolkit, which includes metrics like CSAT, open tickets, and more.

With AirOps, business teams can create amazing sheets, docs, and tools using data from Zendesk, Hubspot, and countless other data sources. In addition to CSAT, AirOps makes it easy to track and assess other service-related metrics such as:

… and more! Get in touch with our team to learn more and get started.

Frequently asked questions about CSAT

Should my organization measure CSAT?

Like so many data-related questions, the answer to this one is “Yes, and… ”

There's no single answer to whether or not your organization should measure CSAT. Ultimately, it depends on your specific goals and needs. Measuring CSAT can be a helpful way to gauge customer satisfaction and track progress over time, but this metric alone isn’t going to provide a comprehensive overview of your customer service team’s performance.

Here’s an example: All too often, it’s the angriest customers that are the most vocal and opinionated. If you’re seeing low CSAT scores and high Net Promoter Scores (NPS), figure out how to encourage more happy customers to fill out your surveys, too. 

Basically, CSAT is a helpful metric that can help you begin to assess how customers feel about your organization. It should always be considered alongside other customer service-related metrics, like Average Response Time and Average Resolution Time, because these metrics can have a direct impact on your CSAT.

Why measure CSAT – what are the benefits?

There are many benefits of measuring CSAT. 

For starters, it’s a handy metric that helps customer service teams track performance and identify areas for improvement. When you track customer satisfaction over time, it’s also easier to gauge the success (or failure) of any changes that have been made to your customer service function. CSAT can also help your team determine which channels are most effective for customer service and engagement.

Ultimately, the goal of most customer support teams is to provide excellent customer service. CSAT is a solid KPI for measuring the quality of the service being provided and tracking how your team is performing against its goals. 

What is a good CSAT score?

What constitutes a “good” CSAT score varies by industry. Generally, CSAT scores can be categorized into these ranges:

😬 Below 50% – Needs improvement

😐 50-70% – Fair

😊 70-90% – Good

🥇 Above 90% – Excellent 

Because CSAT scores vary by industry, it's important to benchmark your score against others in your same field. For example, a score of 80% would be average for a restaurant, but an internet service provider with the same score would be knocking it out of the park.

The good news is that CSAT is a popular metric for customer service teams to track, so benchmark reports tend to be widely available. A good place to look for these reports is the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI measures customer satisfaction across the U.S. economy for a wide range of industries. You can also check out Zendesk’s Industry Benchmark Analysis on Customer Service and Freshdesk’s Customer Happiness Benchmark Report.

There’s an important caveat to keep in mind when benchmarking your CSAT scores against peers, though: While industry benchmarks are great for getting a general idea of how your customer service stacks up, every business is unique. Every organization has different customers, different systems, and different products. These factors, and others, all play a role in customer satisfaction. 

Additionally, benchmark reports generally don’t include information about how teams measure CSAT – survey methodology has a big impact on the type of responses you’ll receive. For example, if you only survey customers when they're having a support interaction, your CSAT score might skew lower because you're only reaching customers who have experienced an issue.

TLDR; Take CSAT industry benchmarks with a grain of salt. They’re certainly useful, but they’re just one piece of the puzzle when determining what a “good” CSAT score is. 

What are the limitations of CSAT?

CSAT can be a valuable metric for measuring customer satisfaction, but it’s not without limitations:

  • Not all tools track CSAT in the same way, which can lead to artificially inflated (or deflated) scores.
  • Getting customers to respond to your CSAT surveys can be difficult. Since you’ll always have customers who don’t respond, it’s difficult to get a complete picture of how satisfied they are.
  • People who do respond are often outliers, meaning they’re either incredibly happy or incredibly unhappy. Generally, people who are in the middle aren’t as likely to respond.
  • Customers sometimes misinterpret the questions being asked and/or the scale being used. For example, a customer might use the survey to rate the whole brand, not just their most recent interaction with your customer support team. 
  • CSAT isn’t directly linked to business outcomes and correlating CSAT scores to revenue (or other metrics directly linked to business outcomes) can be quite tenuous, at best.

Additionally, a customer might feel frustrated because it was difficult to reach support in the first place… even if the service they eventually received was great. In this case, there’s another metric that can help you understand whether your customers are able to get the help they need when they need it: Customer Effort Score (CES).

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

CSAT isn’t the only metric that measures customer satisfaction, CES and NPS also help organizations measure the customer experience. And while all three metrics rely on customer surveys, each one focuses on a different aspect of the customer’s experience:

  • Customer effort score, aka CES, is a measure of how easy it is for customers to use your product or service. Customers are asked to rate their level of effort on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult.
  • Net Promoter Score, aka NPS, is a measure of how likely customers are to recommend your product or service to others. Customers are generally asked to rate their level of recommendation on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least likely and 10 being the most likely.

So, which metric should you use to measure the experience that customers have with your brand? Like so many other data-related questions, it all depends on your goals. If your goal is to make your product or service easier to use, CES is a good choice. If you want to focus on customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, then the NPS will be a better fit for your goals.

How can organizations improve their CSAT?

If you want to improve a low CSAT score, here are some things you can do:

Focus on employee training

Sometimes, low CSAT scores are the result of an issue with training. If you suspect this could be the case, review negative scores in greater detail and see if you can identify any trends. For example, you might learn that your customer service team needs some extra training on how to properly handle customer complaints.

Communicate your goals

If you want to improve your CSAT score, one of the best things you can do is communicate this goal to your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what you're trying to achieve in terms of customer satisfaction. Once your team is aware of your goals, everyone can work together to come up with a plan to improve your CSAT score.

Assess related metrics

Another thing to keep in mind is that your CSAT score is not the only metric you should be focusing on. While it's important to have a good score, you should also be looking at other metrics like Average Response Time, Average Resolution Time, and other metrics related to customer service. By improving these areas, you'll likely see an improvement in your CSAT score as well.

Embrace automation

Automate as much of your customer support process as possible – this will free up your team's time so they can focus on delivering excellent support. (Within reason, of course… chatbots can only take you so far before customers become frustrated, after all.)

Any automations that you implement should also fit into the wider customer support process. Organizations should have a clear, concise, and well-documented process for handling customer support issues. This will help to ensure that each issue is resolved in a timely and efficient manner, which improves customer satisfaction.

Improve First Response Time (FRT)

There are a number of things you can do to improve your CSAT score, but one of the most important is to focus on reducing your First Response Time (FRT).

FRT is the amount of time it takes for a support representative to respond to a customer's initial contact. The faster the response, the better your CSAT score will (theoretically) be – a positive first experience with your brand can be a powerful differentiating factor that entices customers to stay loyal and spend more.

There are a number of ways to reduce your FRT. One is to make sure you have enough staff on hand to handle customer inquiries in a timely manner. Another is to use automation to triage inquiries and route them to the appropriate team member.

Bear in mind that one side effect of tracking FRT is that agents may be incentivized to respond to cases quickly to "stop the clock" without truly addressing a customer's concern. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this underlies why it's important to not over-index on any one metric.

Prioritize quality conversations with customers

If you're looking to improve your CSAT score, one of the best things you can do is to focus on having quality conversations with your customers. This means taking the time to really listen to what they have to say and then responding in a way that is helpful and professional.

Some tips for having quality conversations:

  • Review negative CSAT responses (even better if you can convince the unsatisfied customer to share what went wrong) 
  • Share details from customer chats with the broader customer service team so people understand what a high-quality conversation looks like
  • Remind customer service reps to be patient and respectful, no matter what (easier said than done sometimes!0

If you can focus on having quality conversations with your customers, you will be well on your way to improving your CSAT score.

Meet your customer's expectations

It's important to remember that your customers are the ones who will be using your product or service, so it's crucial to make sure that you're meeting their expectations. There are a few key ways to do this:

  • Make sure you're providing quality products or services. This is the most important factor in determining whether or not your customers will be satisfied.
  • Be responsive to your customer's needs and concerns. If they're not happy with something, take the time to listen to their feedback and make changes accordingly.
  • Keep your promises. If you say you're going to do something, make sure you follow through.

What are some best practices for measuring CSAT?

Some best practices for measuring CSAT are:

  • Use a consistent scale (e.g., 1-5, 1-10, thumbs up/down)
  • Use the same question wording each time
  • Ask the question at the right time (e.g., after the customer has received service)
  • Make it easy for the customer to respond (e.g., via a link in an email)
  • Use multiple question types (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale)
  • Analyze the results over time to identify trends

What are some common mistakes in measuring CSAT?

While customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a useful metric, it is important to avoid some common mistakes in measuring it. These include:

  • Asking leading or loaded questions
  • Asking for ratings too soon after an interaction
  • Not providing an adequate sample size
  • Not using consistent question wording
  • Not using a reliable or valid statistical method

Recommended resources related to CSAT

15 common customer service metrics and how to use them

How to measure average response time in Zendesk using AirOps 

How to design a winning metrics framework 

Building your metrics framework: A 7-step guide