Customer Satisfaction Metrics

Philip Cleave
March 6, 2024
Balloons depict happy customers

In today's competitive business landscape, customer satisfaction is of paramount importance. One popular statistic demonstrates that for every customer complaint you receive, there are another 26 who are unhappy but choose to remain silent.

Customer satisfaction, therefore, is an obvious and key factor in determining the success or failure of any organization. To gage and improve customer satisfaction, companies rely on various metrics and indicators. These metrics help businesses understand how well they are meeting customer expectations and identify areas for improvement. In this article, we will delve into the world of customer satisfaction metrics, exploring their significance, diverse types, pros and cons, best practices for measurement, and the role these metrics play in retention and continuous improvement.

Customer satisfaction metrics are not only valuable for maintaining current customers but also for attracting new ones. When potential customers see positive feedback and high satisfaction scores from existing clients, they are more likely to trust and choose your business over competitors. This is why companies often use customer testimonials and satisfaction ratings in their marketing materials to highlight their commitment to providing excellent service. Moreover, customer satisfaction metrics can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement within a business.

By analyzing feedback and satisfaction scores, companies can identify common pain points or issues that customers face. This data can then be used to make informed decisions on product development, customer service enhancements, or overall business strategies. By actively listening to customer feedback and addressing their concerns, businesses can foster stronger relationships with their customer base and drive long-term success.

Key components of customer satisfaction metrics

While there are various customer satisfaction metrics, they typically share some common components. These include understanding customer expectations, measuring customer satisfaction, analyzing data, identifying trends, and acting based on insights gained. By following these components, companies can effectively utilize customer satisfaction metrics to drive improvements across their organization.

Below we look at 3 of the most common and effective metrics to inform customer satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction Score, Customer Effort Score, and Net Promoter Score, before we go on to look at their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Customer Satisfaction Score

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is one of the most used customer satisfaction metrics. It provides businesses with a quantitative measurement of customer satisfaction. Using surveys or rating scales, customers are asked to rate their overall satisfaction with a product or service. The scores are usually presented as percentages, allowing companies to track changes over time and compare results between different customer segments or touchpoints.

Understanding CSAT scores can offer valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and overall sentiment towards a brand. By analyzing the data collected through CSAT surveys, businesses can identify areas for improvement, prioritize customer service initiatives, and enhance the overall customer experience. Moreover, CSAT scores can serve as a key performance indicator (KPI) for evaluating the success of customer service strategies and initiatives.

It is important to note that while CSAT provides a snapshot of customer satisfaction at a specific point in time, it may not capture the full spectrum of customer emotions and experiences. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of customer satisfaction, businesses often supplement CSAT with other metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Effort Score (CES). By leveraging multiple metrics in conjunction, companies can develop a more holistic view of customer satisfaction and drive strategic decision-making based on a well-rounded analysis of customer feedback.

How to measure CSAT

A customer’s satisfaction levels are typically measured by asking them the following question:

"How satisfied were you with our (product, service, support interaction)?"

Each customer is then asked to rate their experience on a 5-point scale ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied.

CSAT is then calculated by dividing all the positive responses you receive by your total number of responses and then multiplying this figure by 100, to leave you with a CSAT percentage.

Scores closest to 100% indicate the highest levels of satisfaction, while those at the other end of the scale the lowest.

Depending on the size of their customer base or how quickly it is growing, some companies can find themselves having to do these calculations more often than others. Fortunately, we offer a handy, free to use CSAT score calculator, to quickly do the maths for you.

Customer Effort Score

Another valuable metric is the Customer Effort Score (CES), which assesses the ease of the customer's experience when interacting with a company. By gaging the effort required to resolve an issue or complete a transaction, businesses can identify pain points and streamline their processes, improving customer satisfaction. A lower CES indicates that customers find it easier to do business with a company, positively impacting their overall experience.

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a key performance indicator that helps businesses understand the level of effort customers must put in when dealing with their products or services. It is measured by asking customers a simple question like, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy was it to resolve your issue today?" This straightforward approach provides valuable insights into the customer experience and allows companies to make data-driven decisions to enhance their services.

Companies that focus on reducing customer effort often see a direct correlation with increased loyalty and repeat business. By analyzing CES data, organizations can pinpoint areas where improvements are needed, such as simplifying processes, providing better training to customer service representatives, or enhancing self-service options. This proactive approach not only leads to higher customer satisfaction levels but also boosts brand reputation and fosters long-term customer relationships.

How to measure CES

There are two main ways that you can measure the amount of effort customers have had to take with you.

Firstly, using the original 1 to 5 scale, customers are invited to answer the question below.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, how much effort did you have to expend to handle your issue? (given that 1 represents very low effort and 5 very high effort)"

CES is calculated by dividing the sum of all individual customer effort scores by the number of customers providing responses. This method results in a score from 1 to 5 – the lower the score, the better

Under the second method using the 1 to 7 scale, customers are asked to answer the following question.

“On a scale of 1 to 7, how easy was it to get your issue resolved? (given that 1 represents extremely easy and 7 extremely difficult)

CES is calculated by dividing the sum of all individual customer effort scores by the number of customers who have responded. The lowest score is viewed as the most desirable.

If you are busy and do not fancy using these methods, you might like to use our quick, easy to use CES calculator.

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used metric in the business world to gage customer loyalty and satisfaction. It provides companies with valuable insights into how likely their customers are to recommend their products or services to others. This simple yet powerful tool involves customers rating, on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely they are to recommend the company to friends, family, or colleagues.

Once the customers have provided their ratings, they are categorized into three groups based on their responses. Those who rate the company between 0-6 are labeled as detractors, indicating they are not likely to recommend the company and may even speak negatively about it. Customers who give a score of 7 or 8 are considered passives, meaning they are satisfied but not enthusiastic enough to promote the company. The most coveted group is the promoters, who rate the company 9 or 10, showing high satisfaction levels and a strong willingness to recommend the company to others.

How to measure NPS

NPS is measured by asking customers to answer the following question:

"On a scale of 0 – 10, how likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or a colleague? (given that 0 represents not likely and 10 very likely)"

Each score is then grouped using the following classifications.

9-10 – Promoters (clients who love your company and are actively promoting it)

7-8 – Passives (customers who like your company but do not love it yet)

0-6 – Detractors (clients who are unhappy with your company and could be at risk of churning)

Next, to calculate your NPS score, you simply subtract your number of detractors from your number of promoters. This will leave you with a positive or negative number, which you will need to divide by your total number of survey responses and then multiply by 100. You will then be left with a number between 100 and –100. The higher your score the more desirable it will be.

For a simpler and more convenient way of calculating this, you might like to try our NPS calculator.

The advantages and disadvantages of each metric

Pros and cons of CSAT


Usually generates high response rates: the short, intuitive and simple nature of CSAT surveys, means more people are likely to respond to it.

Flexible and engaging: from numeric scales and stars to emojis and more. With lots of flexibility over the rating scales you’re able to use depending on the context of what you’re trying to measure, you can really engage your audience.

Suitable for any customer interaction: given the short, simple nature of this metric and survey type, it can provide a valuable insight for any customer interaction in a customer’s journey with you.


It only reflects short term sentiment: one of the biggest problems with CSAT, is that when it’s measured, it’s only really providing a snapshot of how customers are feeling on that day.

It can be subjective: the metric can be open to cultural bias. For example, people in more individualistic countries such as the US, Australia, UK and Germany, are more likely to choose ratings at the extreme end of each scale than those in more collective societies such as those in countries like China, Korea and Japan.

Your CSAT score could be skewed: this is because clients in the ‘neutral’ or ‘dissatisfied’ category may not bother filling out your whole survey. In addition, some scores could be inaccurate, particularly among frequent users of your brand’s customer service. They may choose not to provide negative feedback in the belief that it could harm future turn-around times or their ongoing business relationship with you.

Pros and cons of CES


Quickly identifies weaknesses: by the very nature of what you’re measuring in terms of the effort a customer must take with you, it can help you to quickly pinpoint any weaknesses in your service delivery or product’s ease of use.

Helps predict future purchase behavior: your CES score can provide a valuable barometer over whether a customer will buy from you again. This is because according to research from the Harvard Business Review, 94% of consumers who reported their interactions with a brand as being ‘low effort’ stated their intention to repurchase from that brand.

Offers some insight into their likelihood to recommend you: similarly to more ‘low effort’ customers repurchasing from you, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to others too. This can start to give you an idea of how many loyal customers you have.


Does not allow for any customer segmentation: one of the biggest problems with CES, is that it doesn’t really allow you to identify what type of customer had trouble interacting with your product or learn what kind of relationship you have with a specific customer.

Can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what your customer is struggling with: while CES can tell you that a customer is having a problem, it can’t tell you exactly what it is. To get this, you would have to send your customers some follow-up questions to expand on the problems they’re encountering.

Narrow in focus: CES is not very helpful if you’re looking to get a broader picture of how happy customers are with you. While you will find out the effort it took a customer to interact with you, it won’t provide any indication of what they think about your service or product quality, cost and any other key criteria.

Pros and cons of NPS


Typically generates a healthy response rate: similarly, to the CSAT metric, because it’s simple to understand and answer, the NPS survey metric question tends to generate a high response rate.

Provides some effective customer segmentation: compared with the other metrics, with NPS you can see exactly what types of clients you need to focus your efforts on (Promoters, Passives or Detractors) in order to get better results.

Easily benchmark yourself against others: given that this is the most popular metric used by companies, using it will enable you to compare how well you’re performing against your competitors.


Doesn’t provide any context behind the scores: while NPS can clearly flag up who your promoters, passives and detractors are, it can’t provide any context as to why they scored you this way. Therefore, it’s unhelpful if you’re trying to uncover the motives behind your detractors and work on improving their perception of you.

Tunnel vision on how well you’re actually performing: one problem with NPS, is that if a company is getting a fairly strong overall NPS score it can mislead them into thinking they’re on track and don’t need to do anything else. This is a mistake, as there are so many factors behind an individual giving you a strong score and you need to be keeping an eye on these.

Intent to recommend doesn’t automatically translate into it happening: just because someone has said they will recommend you; it doesn’t automatically mean they’ll do it. Therefore, you need to concentrate on continuing to raise standards.

The role of customer satisfaction in retention

A satisfied customer is more likely to be a loyal one. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, businesses can enhance customer loyalty, retain existing customers, and reduce customer churn. Delighted customers are also more inclined to provide valuable feedback, helping companies identify pain points and implement the necessary improvements. Therefore, customer satisfaction plays a crucial role in enhancing customer retention.

Moreover, customer satisfaction is not just about meeting expectations; it is about exceeding them. When businesses go above and beyond to ensure their customers are happy, it creates a positive emotional connection that goes beyond the transactional aspect of the relationship. This emotional bond can lead to customers becoming brand advocates, actively promoting the business to their friends and family.

Furthermore, customer satisfaction is linked to employee satisfaction. Happy and engaged employees are more likely to deliver exceptional customer service, which in turn leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Companies that invest in employee training, recognition programs, and a positive work culture often see a direct impact on customer retention rates. It is a symbiotic relationship where satisfied customers and satisfied employees feed off each other's positive energy, creating a cycle of loyalty and growth.

Best practices for measuring customer satisfaction

When measuring customer satisfaction, businesses should follow best practices to ensure accurate results. First, it is essential to utilize well-designed surveys and questionnaires to gather data effectively. Additionally, collecting feedback across various customer touchpoints and analyzing the data thoroughly is crucial. Companies should also consider conducting regular assessments to track changes over time and continuously seek feedback from customers to drive ongoing improvements.

Integrate customer satisfaction metrics

Customer satisfaction metrics should not exist in isolation. To optimize their effectiveness, it is crucial to integrate these metrics with other key performance indicators and business goals. By connecting customer satisfaction metrics with areas such as customer retention, revenue growth, and employee satisfaction, companies can gain a more holistic view of their overall performance and develop more effective strategies for success.

Commit to continuous improvement

Measuring customer satisfaction alone is not enough. To maximize the benefits of these metrics, companies must demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement. Analyzing customer feedback, identifying pain points, and taking action to address areas of concern are essential steps toward enhancing customer satisfaction. By continuously striving to improve, businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers and achieve long-term success.

In conclusion, customer satisfaction metrics play a pivotal role in understanding customer needs and improving overall business performance. By measuring metrics such as CSAT, CES, and NPS, companies can assess customer satisfaction, loyalty, and likelihood to recommend. Integrating these metrics with best practices and a commitment to continuous improvement allows businesses to enhance customer satisfaction, drive retention, and maintain a competitive edge in today's dynamic market.

Measure and improve your customer experience

If you use customer satisfaction tools and collect critical customer feedback, you can identify and make the changes your customers need. And by improving your understanding of your customer experience, you’re more likely to consistently deliver experiences that delight them. Not only is this good for customer retention but attracting more clients too.

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Author's note: this blog was originally published August 2022 and updated March 2024

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