CSAT Score vs. NPS (and How to Raise Both)

There are lots of metrics floating around the customer service industry—it’s hard to keep them straight! But the two we hear most often are CSAT scores and NPS®.

You know they’re both important, but what’s the difference?

They’re both short, often one-question surveys that use numerical scales. The big difference? CSAT scores (customer satisfaction) measure one specific interaction, while NPS (Net Promoter Score®) evaluates the overall opinion of your business.

Hint: You need both in your business.

Keep reading to learn how to use CSAT and NPS surveys, and what you can do to raise your scores.

What is a CSAT score?

A customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey asks customers a single question: On a scale from one to five, how satisfied were you with [company/service/product/interaction]?

To get the CSAT score, you take the average number of respondents who answered either fours (satisfied) or fives (very satisfied).

The CSAT formula
Total number if 4 and 5 responses ÷ Total number of responses x 100 = % of
satisfied customers

Simple, right? That’s the beauty of CSAT surveys. They’re easy to answer because it’s multiple-choice and comes immediately after the interaction. Customer responses tend to be higher than other forms of surveys.

What makes CSAT scores such powerful metrics is their ability to be used across the organization in a variety of ways. The best way to use it in customer service? Immediately after a customer interaction.

It can also evaluate products and services, the e-commerce experience, a piece of content, and more.

How do you use CSAT scores in your business?

Customer satisfaction scores are a quick and easy way to get immediate customer feedback. And with Zendesk reporting that over 60% of customers admitting that the pandemic has raised their customer service expectations, staying on top of customer satisfaction is critical to business success.

CSAT is a numbers game. The more customers you get to answer the survey, the better picture you’ll have of your customer service as a whole. While responses tend to be higher than those of other surveys, customers already show signs of survey fatigue.

Here are a few ways to increase response rates.

Best practices to increase CSAT score response rates

  • Include the survey in their preferred messaging channel. Don’t rely on an email after the interaction (which comes with a meager open rate and an even lower response rate). Instead, send customers the survey right within the messaging platform they’re already using. If the conversation happened over text messaging, send the survey via text at the end.
  • Use a chatbot to administer the survey. Automate survey distribution and capture sentiment while it’s still fresh in your customers’ minds. Program your chatbot to jump into the conversation once the customer’s problem is solved. Better yet? Have your agent introduce the bot for a streamlined handoff. Then your customer knows it’s coming before they sign off.
  • Make the survey visually engaging. Use rich messaging to make your surveys stand out. Try emojis when appropriate, test out stars vs. a number scale, or even try incorporating gifs. See what it’ll take to get your customers to click!
  • Be specific. Make sure you say exactly what you’re asking for. A vague “rate us” won’t elicit a good response, but something like “How did Jenny do on this request?” might.

If you’re thinking, “This is great! But what does it really tell me about our customer service team?”, then it’s time for some deeper questions.

Live-Chat-Software-Chatbot-Messaging-WindowYou have a few options. Consider adding an optional question that asks why your customers scored the way they did. This captures in-the-moment information to help you discern the problem or what made that customer service experience stand out.

But adding additional questions (even optional ones) could keep customers from answering the survey altogether. Maybe they feel like they need to think through their answers a bit more or feel like it’s just too much.

If that’s the case, you can also let them opt-in to receive a follow-up survey that goes into more details. If they agree, send them an email with questions that dig into the heart of the problem. For severe issues or standout surveys, you can even request an interview (and offer an incentive to participate).

It’s also important to note that you’re more likely to hear from customers on either end of the spectrum. The people who had very positive experiences (fives) and extremely dissatisfying experiences (ones) are the most likely to respond to your surveys. Keep that in mind when assessing your customer service experience.

What can you do to improve your CSAT score?

That depends on what you’re measuring.

Let’s assume you’re measuring your customer service interactions. Every customer wants a few key things when they reach out to your support team.

  • Quick resolutions: 61% of customers define a good customer service experience as one that solves their problems quickly. Make sure your staff is well-trained and has access to all the information they need to serve your customers.
  • Timely responses: Customers expect access to support agents 24/7. While this isn’t always possible, there are several options to serve customers when agents aren’t available. Many customers want self-service options, so spend the time and effort to enhance your knowledge base. You can also rely on chatbots to answer common questions and set expectations for when an agent will be available. Relying on asynchronous messaging, like text messaging, will also help with more flexible response times.
  • A friendly customer service agent: Now more than ever, customers are looking for empathy from your customer service agents. Train your agents to practice patience and kindness (and ensure they can translate those emotions into text), and empower them to flex the rules and do what it takes to make the customer happy.

What is NPS?

NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, and it calculates how likely your customers are to recommend your brand.

An NPS survey asks the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?” Customers then rate their likelihood from 0–10, with zero being not at all likely and ten being extremely likely.

csat score vs. NPS

When calculating your NPS, only customers who select nine or ten are considered your promoters, while passives score seven and eight, and detractors score zero through six. So calculating your NPS looks a little different than calculating your CSAT score.

The NPS formula
% of promoters — % of detractors = NPS

Pros and Cons of Net Promoter Scores (NPS)

Your NPS identifies overall brand perception rather than a specific transaction. This leads to several pros and cons.

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Pros Cons
There’s a strong correlation between NPS (which measures loyalty) and business growth. Since NPS measures perception instead of performance, it’s harder to pinpoint specific problem areas.
NPS is standardized across brands, so it’s better at providing benchmark numbers on which to base your business’ performance. It requires a deep analysis of both industry-wide and internal trends to decipher the results.


Like CSAT surveys, NPS surveys often need a little help to get usable feedback from your customers. Ask respondents to explain their reasoning in a follow-up question. While asking another question may limit your responses, it’s better to have insights on what matters most to your customers.

So how often should you measure NPS? Since it’s an assessment of your overall experience, you’ll need to evaluate the best frequency and delivery method for your brand. Opt for at least once a year.

If your customer base is large and you change tactics frequently, you might want to consider sending out surveys once a quarter to get more immediate feedback.

What is considered a good NPS?

Since NPS scores are standardized, it’s easy to identify a benchmark score.

According to Sametrix, the average NPS for online shopping brands in 2021 was 41, and the industry leader’s NPS was 59.

Once you start tracking your own data, pay attention to internal and external trends that influence your score. For example, many brands may be experiencing lower than average scores due to supply shortages or long wait times.

How do you increase your NPS?

Once you’ve established your NPS baseline, you have a benchmark for future results. But since you aren’t measuring a specific interaction, it’ll take a little more digging to identify ways to improve it. Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Dive into the data: Instead of looking at your NPS as a standalone metric, compare it to what you know about your customers. Are your promoters Gen Z and your detractors Gen X? Did all your promoters buy a particular service? Look at what other metrics you can pull in so you have a bigger picture of the results.
  2. Look at the internal context: What was going on when you sent out that survey? Had you just released a new product? Was your customer service team understaffed? See what could have influenced your responses. It may not give you the whole picture, but it can help you identify where to start.
  3. Review industry-wide trends: It’s no secret that the pandemic caused net promoter scores to drop due to a variety of factors. But it doesn’t have to be a global problem to impact your customer service. See what external trends may have contributed to the score.

To increase your NPS, you need to do some investigating and then rally your customer service team around the solutions. With the right tools and understanding, it’s absolutely possible to increase your scores.

Should you use NPS or CSAT to evaluate your customer service?

Ideally, you should use both NPS and CSAT scores to get a full understanding of how your brand is performing. While NPS is great at measuring the overall sentiment around your customer service, product, etc., CSAT surveys will provide specific, actionable insights into support interactions.

Unlock your customer metrics with Quiq

Not just another conversational platform. Quiq uses powerful AI to connect your customer service team with your customers.

  • Meet customers where they are with multi-channel support
  • Use chatbots to automatically deploy CSAT and other surveys
  • Serve more customers with asynchronous messaging and efficiency tools

Interested in seeing what Quiq is all about? Watch our video here.

3 Key Customer Success Metrics to Go After in 2022

With jingle bells ringing and cash registers chiming, it’s clear we’re still smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush. But off in the distance, you can hear an orchestra play the first few familiar notes of Auld Lang Syne.

2022 is quickly approaching, and you’re likely gearing up for new initiatives, process changes, and everything else that comes with the beginning of a new year.

Have you figured out how to measure it yet?

The beginning of the year is a great time to start tracking your customer success metrics. Measuring how happy your customers are with your service and how likely they are to return is a great predictor of overall business success.

Use success metrics to:

  • Gauge the success of new initiatives
  • Identify weak points in the customer journey
  • Measure the success of your customer service team
  • Track the growth of individual team members
  • Predict customer loyalty

But the world of customer data is massive. Where do you start?

There are many ways to gauge and improve your customer service, but we’ve identified three customer success metrics that will give you the best, well-rounded view of how you’re performing in your customers’ eyes.

Keep reading to see what they are and how to use them. 

Why should you measure customer success?

To put it simply, you can’t make customer-centric decisions without any input from the customer. While we always have our customers’ best interests at heart, what we think customers want and what they actually want can be vastly different.

But more than identifying needs, giving customers the opportunity to provide feedback makes them feel valued. Customers with service issues often just want to be heard, which also applies to the feedback they offer. They want to know their complaint has been taken and addressed.

Plus, 1 in 3 customers share their contact center experiences with others, and half of those do so on social media, according to a 2020 report from the CFI Group. Hearing about customer issues from social media has the potential to damage your brand.

That’s where customer surveys come in. 

Success metric #1: Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, often asks customers one question: How satisfied are you with your experience? 

Customers respond using a numerical scale to rate their experience from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Numerical scales are typically 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, but they can vary based on your business’s preference.

How do you calculate CSAT scores?

Number of satisfied customers ÷ Total number of respondents x 100 = CSAT

On a 1 to 5 scale, 4s and 5s are typically the highest predictors of customer retention.

This short survey works best when asked immediately after a specific experience. You can offer the survey after a purchase, an interaction with your customer service team, or a return.

What can you do to improve your CSAT scores?

  • Improve response times
  • Resolve issues quickly
  • Ask follow-up questions to discern the context behind customer dissatisfaction

While CSAT is an excellent monitoring tool, it has its limitations. It works best when measuring specific interactions but doesn’t give you an overall picture of the customer experience. While it can indicate customer satisfaction, it isn’t the best at identifying whether a customer is likely to return or recommend your business to someone else.

You’re also more likely to hear from customers at either extreme: either terrible experiences or outstanding experiences. Customers in the middle are less likely to take the time and fill out the survey.

Success metric #2: Customer effort score

Customer effort score, or CES, measures how easy it is to do business with your company. For this survey, you ask customers to rate the ease of interaction with your customer service team, typically from 1 to 7, with low numbers corresponding to very difficult and high numbers very easy.

How do you calculate CES?

Sum of all scores ÷ total number of responses = CES average

This more recent measurement originates from a Harvard Business Review study that found “little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty.”

Their main conclusion?

“When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.”

So while customer delight and satisfaction are vital goals, HBR concluded that the level of effort required is a greater predictor of disloyalty. The more effort customers have to expend, the less likely they are to continue patronizing your business.

What can you do to improve your CES?

  • Simplify the checkout process with message-based payments
  • Solve customer issues with fewer interactions
  • Give customers self-service options on your website

The main issue that pops up with CES is that it’s ambiguous. Customers don’t always interpret “effort” in a manner that is useful to your business. It also doesn’t translate well across cultures.

Success metric #3: Net Promoter Score®

A Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is a proprietary customer success metric that asks the question: How likely are you to recommend [business/product/service] to someone you know?

Customers answer based on a 10-point scale, and answers are categorized as follows:

  • Detractors: 0 to 6
  • Passives: 7 and 8
  • Promoters: 9 and 10

Detractors are customers who were completely dissatisfied with your service and have the potential to damage your business. It’s best to follow up with these customers to ask them why they feel the way they do and to solve any persistent problems they might have.

Passives are typically customers who were satisfied with your business but overall unenthusiastic about it. They’re more likely to switch to competitors depending on their needs.

Promoters are the ultimate goal. They’re enthusiastic about your brand. Promoters are most likely to purchase frequently and share your business with people they know. According to Bain & Company, a promoter has a lifetime value 6 to 14 times that of a detractor.

How do you calculate NPS?

% of promoters — % of detractors = NPS

While NPS is designed to gauge the overall performance of your business, you can also use it transactionally to measure the success of products or services. If your goal is overall company reputation, it’s best to send out the survey at regular intervals, like quarterly or yearly. If you’re measuring a specific product or service, send the survey shortly after the purchase is complete.

What can you do to improve your NPS?

Since NPS is measuring your customers’ perception of your brand, there aren’t one or two things that can drastically improve it. Everything matters.

NPS brings a different dynamic to survey results, but the answers without any context aren’t constructive. Since you’re more likely looking at the overall impression of your brand instead of specific interactions or customer emotions, it can be pretty hard to decipher the results in a meaningful way.

That’s why it’s essential to ask for reasonings either within your survey or as a follow-up. Give your customers the opportunity to explain their decisions, and then use that information to improve your score.

Customer success survey best practices

What do all of these customer success metrics have in common? They require surveying your customers.

Here are some best practices to help increase your response rates.

  • Send surveys using the method customers prefer. If they reached out to you via web chat, Facebook Messenger, or Google’s Business Messages, send a survey immediately after their interaction. 
  • Combine communications. If you send an email thanking customers for their patronage, add the survey to that message. If you send a text with their order details, include it with the message. They’re less likely to ignore it when it’s paired with important information.
  • Use chatbots. Set up your chatbot to trigger a survey message immediately after a ticket is closed, so you can ensure you’re serving every customer.
  • Offer incentives. Low response rates can skew your data. Encourage customer participation with discounts, free shipping, or an entry into larger giveaways.

While there are some tricks to encourage customer participation, there’s no silver bullet. Regularly engaging with your customers will get them used to frequent conversations with your brand and make them more likely to get involved.

Capture customer success metrics with Quiq

Measuring customer success metrics is an essential part of your customer experience. But you need a reliable way to capture feedback, no matter which platform your customers prefer.

Quiq’s integrated surveys let customers answer questions directly within the conversation, and it doesn’t send them to another page. Use these in-conversation surveys to increase your response rates—and even increase your CSAT scores.

What’s Quiq all about?