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How to use CSAT Score Intelligently to your Advantage



Majority of the customer service companies us Customer Satisfaction – CSAT, to measure the customer experience with the organization. A CSAT survey not only deals with most of the customer touch points, but also is multi-dimensional.

A higher CSAT score provides:

  1. The rate of change in customer comprehension of the offered services
  2. A clear state of improvement in the customer service performance

With CSAT survey, it is very easy to spot the reason(s) for customer dissatisfaction, compared to any other system of customer loyalty measurement. The scores also provide a great comparative basis for the company’s performance against those of the competitors.

Many do not realize that when they are asked by call center agents to rate their services on a scale of 1 to 5, or 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘highly dissatisfied’, and 5 or 10 being ‘highly satisfied’ – it is actually the framework called RATER model for measuring customer satisfaction or SERVQUAL. It was developed by Zeithmal, Parasuraman, and Berry in the 1980s.


RATER is not only a measurement framework, but also a management model. While initially working on the framework, the following GAPs were identified. These are the gaps between:

  1. The management perception of customer expectations and customer expected service
  2. The management perception of customer expectations and service quality specification
  3. The service quality specification and service delivery
  4. The service delivery and external communication
  5. The expected service and experienced service

Causal Factors

They also came up with ten causal factors, which influence the gaps, such as:

  1. Access – The ease of contact and approachability
  2. Communication – This involves both – informing the customers in a manner they are best able to understand what the agent is trying to say, and more importantly listening to them actively
  3. Competence – Having the required skills and knowledge to perform the service
  4. Courtesy – A warm consideration got customer’s property and a manifestation of politeness, respect, and friendliness
  5. Credibility – This involves having the customer’s best interests as the priority, and upholding factors like trustworthiness, belief and honesty
  6. Knowing the customer (KYC) – Making a true effort to understand the customer’s individual needs, giving undivided attention etc.
  7. Reliability – The ability to perform assured services in an accurate and dependable manner
  8. Responsiveness – The willingness and readiness of agents to help customers by providing prompt, proactive, and timely services.  
  9. Security – Total confidentiality
  10. Tangibles – The equipments of service, skillfulness of agents, and presence of other customers

From the GAPs and Causal Factors came the Acronym RATER

  1. Reliability – The ability to perform pledged services accurately and dependability
  2. Assurance – The courtesy and knowledge of agents to impart confidence and trust
  3. Tangibles – The equipments, facilities, agents, and communication materials
  4. Empathy – The provision of personal, warm, individualized attention to customers
  5. Responsiveness – The willingness to help customers and to provide proactive and prompt service

This simplified RATER system allows customer service experiences to be assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Interpreting CSAT Scores

CSAT has an error though – the basic assumption is that satisfaction equals loyalty. In reality, satisfied customers are not loyal customers. Research shows that 20% of satisfied customers intend to leave the company and about 28% of dissatisfied ones intend to stay. Low scores, meaning lesser levels of satisfaction actually show that the customers are not confident in the viability of the offerings. A better CSAT score means that they believe that the company is there to stay and is competent. Low satisfaction though surely leads to attrition, but high satisfaction does not necessarily mean retention.

The natural focus ought to be on enriching customer experience and exceeding customer expectations. However, in real world, this endeavor usually generates confusion, takes a lot of time, and costs too much.

Use CSAT in an Intelligent Way to your Advantage  

Usually, companies trying to improve the low CSAT scores go for quick fixes. These never work, and what is infinitely worse is that it hurt organizations in the long run.

The statistical skill required for high volume data handling is high, as this activity happens only a few times a year and insights from this should be used to decide future business policy, in medium and long term.

Use CSAT when the focus is on customer churn, rather than on customer retention. It is best in a stable environment like B2B, with longer frequency time. A satisfied client over a longer time period has a higher probability of being retained for future, when business volumes are high.



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