Customer satisfaction (CSat) is a key performance indicator that measures how happy customers are with different aspects of a company’s products, services, or customer interactions. It is an outcome metric that shows how well a company’s performance matches up to customer expectations.
Customer satisfaction survey questions focus on analyzing customer happiness with individual interactions or products of a company, and do not measure customers’ overall relationship with the brand. They are widely used in almost all customer surveys.
Companies may also measure customers’ happiness with their services using other metrics, but these are separate measures and do not fall under the umbrella of CSat.
Customer satisfaction is usually measured using a survey question similar to the following: Overall, how satisfied are you with [product, service, transaction, or other aspect of the customer experience]? The end result of customer satisfaction questions, the CSat score, is the percentage of respondents who answered “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” on a 5-point scale.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measures customer satisfaction with the market overall. It uses customer interviews to understand the components and results of customer satisfaction, as seen below.
Companies can find many reasons to measure customer satisfaction. But the most important reason for companies to measure CSat is that customer satisfaction is tied directly to business outcomes. Most other popular CX metrics, like net promoter score (NPS) and customer effort score (CES), also correlate to business results; however, these measures do not explain and predict changes in the bottom line nearly as intuitively and clearly as does customer satisfaction.
The theoretical basis of CSat comes back to customer expectations. Customers are satisfied if their expectations are met. As expectations are met consistently, overall customer satisfaction increases, whether the customer experience is enjoyable, easy, or simply meets needs. By repeatedly fulfilling a customer’s expectations at a transactional level, a company can move its satisfied customers up the relationship ladder into the loyalty group.
MaritzCX has worked with customer satisfaction surveys for many years. We’ve powered some of the most famous CSat programs in existence today. Yet as a company that focuses on helping businesses make better experiences for their customers, we also recognize that there are many metric options, and our own research indicates that the metric a company chooses is not as important as the firm’s commitment to developing CX competencies within an organization, which will enable it to make the most of its VOC data, improving CX while also impacting the bottom line. The most important thing is to find a metric that works for your specific customer experience and overall business strategy.
Contact MaritzCX to learn more about customer satisfaction and other ways to drive business outcomes through customer experience improvement.