Customer Satisfaction Metrics

Philip Cleave
August 2, 2022
Balloons depict happy customers

With statistics demonstrating that for every customer complaint you receive, there are another 26 who are unhappy but choose to remain silent, the likelihood of these customers leaving you if you don’t take proper resolution actions is very high. In addition, if some of these customer complaints go viral on online, the harm to your brand image and damage to your business could be extremely serious.

Fortunately, if you’re using customer satisfaction tools and collecting critical customer feedback, you’ll 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.

So, what are the tools that can help you improve customer satisfaction and deliver a better customer experience?

These tools are commonly known as customer experience (CX) metrics, which we will go on to explore next.

Key customer experience metrics

To improve your customer experience, you need to know how satisfying, easy, and enjoyable customers find interacting with you.

This is where the benefit of these three key CX metrics comes into play. Each helps measure one of these aspects in turn.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

What does it measure?

The customer satisfaction score metric, typically included as a question in a CSAT survey  measures levels of satisfaction among customers.

How to measure it

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’s 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.

When to use this metric

The CSAT metric could be used in a variety of scenarios. However, it’s typically used to measure a customer’s satisfaction following the completion of a service or support interaction, or after a key stage of a product journey, such as the end of a free trial.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

What does it measure?

The customer effort score metric works on the belief that customer contentment will be influenced by how easy you make it for them to interact with your business’ products and services.

The idea behind the customer effort survey and associated metric, is if customers are having a hard time performing certain actions when interacting with your brand, you’ll get the insight you need to change and improve this.

How to measure it

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’ve responded. The lowest score is viewed as the most desirable.

If you’re really busy and don’t fancy using these methods, you might like to use our quick, easy to use CES calculator.

When to use this metric

Similarly, to CSAT, the CES metric can be used for a variety of situations. This could include following a support call, or a specific action, that include anything from trying to sign up to attempting to make a purchase on a website.

Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

What does it measure?

The NPS score metric, typically outlined in the form of a question in an NSP survey, assesses customer contentment by measuring customer’s loyalty to your brand, through how willing they are to recommend your company to others.

How to measure it

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 don’t 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’ll 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.

When to use this metric

The short, easy format of NPS surveys using this metric, means they can be easily distributed via a variety of survey channels, to meet a wide range of customer scenarios, such as.

  • Following a customer purchase or product trial
  • After a client contacts your support team
  • Following a specific user interaction on your website
  • Whenever you’re looking to measure how well a relationship with a client is progressing
  • A few weeks before a long-term subscription expires

The Pros and Cons of each metric

Having outlined each metric, which are also key metrics for customer satisfaction, we’ll now explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you’re better informed when it comes to using them.



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.



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 behaviour

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.


It doesn’t 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.

It 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.

It’s very 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.



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.

What are you doing to improve your customer experience?

From your customer’s initial awareness of you and consideration of your products and services, to their first purchase, retention and advocacy. Keeping your customers engaged and satisfied with great experiences is crucial to turning them into long term brand advocates.

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