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Putting CSAT Actions into Perspective

by Paul Mitchell, Client Service Director at SmartWorld

November 2013

Measuring Customer Satisfaction can sometime focus organisations on the wrong thing - their satisfied customers rather than their dissatisfied customers.

Many organisations recognise the intrinsic

CSAT Action into Perspective1

value of capturing Customer Satisfaction
(CSAT) feedback. As a KPI that informs a
business of its performance through the
eyes of its actual customers, it provides a
tangible framework for companies to
identify areas where customer experience
could be improved.
The focus of any customer experience programme falls on the overall CSAT score and its underlying drivers. Managers will work hard to improve their scores in those areas where they identify action is required. There is a wealth of research available which demonstrates that more satisfied customers are more loyal and more likely to recommend, re-visit and spend higher amounts on each visit. Therefore any action taken to improve CSAT scores should lead to a growth in revenue (all other things being equal).


However, there are two key points which must be considered with this approach.
The first is that focusing on the more satisfied customers can lead a business to ignore its more disenfranchised customer base - the people most vocal in their displeasure and the potential source of customer churn. Reaching optimum, or near optimum, satisfaction levels leaves little room for improvement, and fails to address the issue of dissatisfied customers.

The second consideration is how companies can understand which areas of the customer experience will have the most positive impact on the overall CSAT score. A manager may review the results of the latest CSAT research and identify a low scoring area, immediately believing that resources should be allocated to addressing this. But what if this area has a low impact on overall satisfaction? What if it's not that important in the eyes of the customer? In this case, even a ten point improvement may not have as much impact on improving customer satisfaction as a two or three point improvement in a higher scoring area, which is more pertinent to the customer experience.

For example, in a fast food restaurant, a manager may identify a low score relating to the appearance of the food. By focusing staff on this area, this could result in an improvement in the score for food appearance, but potentially little or no uplift in overall CSAT because other areas of the experience are more important to customers. In the eyes of the customer the speed of service could be much more important and any improvement here would have a greater impact on overall satisfaction levels.

This is where the need to ascertain the

CSAT Action into Perspective2

importance of the different elements in the
customer experience journey comes into
play. Identifying the level of importance for
the different touchpoints of the customer
journey allows companies to focus on the
areas which will have most impact,
allowing valuable resources to be directed
to the areas which will have the greatest influence on improving overall CSAT.
The statistical means to identify the importance of different touchpoints within the customer journey is offered through correlation and/or regression analysis, measuring the unknown effect of changing one variable over another. If this isn't available, then, at the very least, a business should undertake careful consideration before simply taking action on the lowest scoring areas. Instead, remedial action should be taken based on considered discussion of the relative importance of the different elements, and not based on scores alone.


It is also possible to track the impact of the different customer touchpoints on specific stated outcomes such as the propensity to recommend, the potential to spend more and the likelihood to return. In this case, the impact would be measured in terms of any movement in overall satisfaction.

In order for any business to have an optimum customer experience measurement programme, that offers maximum value to the business, it is important to track, report and analyse the information. However, for this analysis to be most effective, the different elements of the customer experience must be put into context against one another, not just in terms of their scores, but in terms of their relative importance to overall satisfaction.