What Is a Customer Satisfaction Score?

A customer satisfaction score is a composite measure of the overall satisfaction customers report with the service received from a business. This score, which is supposed to represent the average feeling of satisfaction from customers, can be obtained when businesses ask customers at the end of their service to rate their experiences. While businesses may ask several questions on surveys that can be answered both with numerical ranges and open-ended questions, the customer satisfaction score of a business is typically taken from the average numbers given to one particular question asked.

There are several types of questions that might be used to extrapolate the data that determine a customer satisfaction score. One question might deal with a specific interaction with a business. Another might cover the customer’s overall impression of the business, while yet another might ask the customer how likely he or she would be to recommend the business to a friend.

Methods of obtaining this measure vary. Some businesses might hand out a quick paper survey at the end of every transaction, asking the customer to rate the quality of his or her customer service experience. Other businesses might include a comment card seeking numerical ratings and open-ended comments with the bill or at the counter, giving customers the option to fill it out if desired. Businesses might mail a survey to customers after they made a purchase, asking them to rate their buying experience. Still other businesses might obtain their customer satisfaction score by having customers complete a short phone survey after a visit.

One advantage of obtaining a customer satisfaction score is that it will give a business an idea of the level at which it and its employees are providing products and customer service. Businesses can use this score, which is an average of all numbers provided by customers within a certain time period, to tout their services in advertisements. One problem with customer satisfaction scores is that not every customer will provide the information requested, especially if he or she is only mildly satisfied or mildly dissatisfied. It also may not be an accurate reflection of the average feeling of customers, because some customer service representatives may give clients subtle pressure to provide them with superior ratings. Problems such as these — along with biased survey questions — may skew the results of customer satisfactions scores, making them higher than they would be if they were totally accurate.


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