How to measure CSAT: Traditional methods and a new approach

Victoria Beverly

May 29, 2024

We live in an era where a positive customer experience is the biggest factor impacting brand loyalty. Measuring customer satisfaction (CSAT) is vital for customer experience and contact center leaders. Customer satisfaction is traditionally measured through post-interaction surveys. But is this enough?

As customer expectations evolve, so must your approach to measuring satisfaction. Enter the new wave of CSAT measurement—a blend of advanced analytics, timely feedback, and AI-driven insights that can revolutionize how you understand and enhance customer experience. Read below to learn more about what CSAT is, how it’s measured, and how you can now use AI to better understand how your customers really feel about their experiences with your business.

What is CSAT?

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric businesses use to understand how satisfied customers are with a specific product, service, or experience.  Contact center leaders should understand how to measure CSAT to effectively gauge the customer experience. They should also explore new methods available to enhance the reliability and impact of this metric. This is crucial for improving customer satisfaction.

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How to measure CSAT

The most common way to measure CSAT has always been through sending customer surveys. Companies typically send out surveys at specific intervals, such as after a purchase or after interacting with customer service. Surveys usually have one question where customers rate their satisfaction from 1-5 or 1-10. 

The traditional survey method explained

CX leaders think using CSAT surveys lets customers easily share their satisfaction levels. Here's what they typically look like:


Image of an example CSAT survey

Two ways to calculate CSAT scores

There are two common approaches companies use to calculate their overall CSAT score. Here's a breakdown of both:

  1. Composite CSAT score

The Composite CSAT score averages all survey scores to form an overall satisfaction score.

  • Formula: Composite CSAT Score = (Sum of All Scores) / (Number of Responses)

If you received 100 responses and the total score was 450 out of 500, the Composite CSAT score would be 4.5. You calculate this by dividing the total score by the number of responses.

  1. Detailed CSAT score

The Detailed CSAT score focuses on a single question but is specifically looking at positive or satisfied scores.

  • Formula: Detailed CSAT Score = (Number of 'Satisfied' or 'Extremely Satisfied' Responses) / (Total Number of Responses) * 100

For example, If 80 out of 100 customers are happy, then the Detailed CSAT score is 80%. You calculate this by dividing the total number of satisfied or extremely satisfied responses by the total number of responses.

Pros and cons of tracking CSAT through survey responses

Many CX and contact leaders like CSAT surveys for a host of reasons, but we narrowed it down to three that have the greatest impact. 

First, surveys are simple. They’re formatted and delivered in a way that is often very easy to complete and simple to understand.  Second, surveys are an efficient way to obtain direct feedback from customers about their experience. Finally, leaders can also benchmark survey data over time to compare with competitors or industry standards. 

While the traditional CSAT survey method and the two common ways to calculate CSAT scores may seem sufficient, there are several limitations to using surveys to measure CSAT. 

First off, customers may not always respond truthfully or accurately. Customers with extreme experiences are more likely to give feedback, which impacts the results. They also could exaggerate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction levels, leading to biased results. 

The timing of the survey can also impact the feedback received. When or how often you send a survey can affect the answers you get. For example, sending a survey right after purchase may show short-term satisfaction, not long-term feelings about the brand. On the other hand, customers may forget everything they experienced if they receive a survey long after interacting with the company. This could lead to them giving a score that doesn’t reflect their true experience.

Further, a CSAT survey only gives you a number indicating a customer's satisfaction level (quantitative data), but it doesn’t tell you why the customer rated their experience that way.  This makes it challenging for companies to identify areas for improvement.

Finally, another limitation is survey fatigue–where customers become weary of frequent surveys altogether. This leads to lower response rates and less reliable data. 

Illustration of pros and cons of measuring CSAT with customer satisfaction surveys

Surveys are helpful, but it's important to augment them with other CSAT measurement methods to fully understand customer satisfaction.

CSATai: A new approach to measuring CSAT

How CSATai works

Tethr's CSATai leverages artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and machine learning to provide a predictive customer satisfaction score for every customer interaction. Unlike traditional surveys, CSATai eliminates the need for direct customer input, thus avoiding survey fatigue and other biases associated with manual feedback collection. Because Tethr tracks and categorizes points of interest in conversations, you can see the factors associated with dissatisfaction–and address those factors to increase satisfaction.

By analyzing the actual content of conversations, CSATai provides an unbiased measure of customer satisfaction. Because CSATai gives you predictive scores in near-real time, you get the insights you need to make improvements fast. Because CSATai provides a satisfaction score for every interaction, you learn about the experiences of all your customers, not just those who submitted surveys.

Augmenting CSAT surveys with CSATai

Traditional CSAT surveys are simple and easy to administer. They let customers tell you how they're feeling using one consistent question and scale so that you can keep a pulse on overall satisfaction over time. 

However, using CSATai allows CX and contact center leaders to discover the “why” behind the “what.” By leveraging both tools, organizations can gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers' satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. 

Here's what using both strategies together to inform CX can provide:

  • Enhanced Accuracy: Compare your survey scores to your CSATai scores to ensure accuracy.
  • Deeper Insights: Gain additional context on elements of the customer experience that surveys might miss.
  • Immediate Action: Act on timely data to address issues promptly and improve overall CX.


Measuring customer satisfaction is crucial for understanding and enhancing customer experience. Traditional methods using surveys offer valuable insights but come with limitations such as bias and delayed results. CSATai represents a groundbreaking approach to measuring CSAT, providing real-time, unbiased feedback on every customer interaction.

Time to level up your CX strategy and keep your customers happy. Businesses can better understand customer satisfaction and make improvements by combining both methods of collecting customer survey data.

Ready to elevate your CSAT insights and survey program? Learn more about CSATai and how it can transform your business here.

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