4 ways to improve customer satisfaction scores (CSAT, NPS, and CES) with digital customer service
  • Digital Care

4 ways to improve customer satisfaction scores (CSAT, NPS, and CES) with digital customer service

by Lisa Boe, Marketing Programs Manager, Khoros Care | Sep 09, 2020

Satisfied customers are a mark of success for any businesses. They’re likely to spend more money, be more loyal, and recommend your brand to others. However, the opposite can also be said about unsatisfied customers. According to Dimensional Research, 95% of customers will share poor customer service experiences with others.

Measuring customer satisfaction allows brands to gauge how well they are serving customers, what experiences and channels drive the most satisfaction, and what customer pain points are holding them back. And static scores aren’t the only reason these metrics have value; by benchmarking scores against industry standards and monitoring change over time, brands can access valuable information about the quality of their customer care.

Satisfaction can be measured in a number of ways, most commonly using NPS, CES, and CSAT. Each calculation gives a numerical value that can be used as a benchmark and leading indicator when making improvements to customer service operations or when reconsidering your brand’s customer journey.

What’s the difference between NPS, CES, and CSAT?

CSAT, NPS, and CES scores are all used to quantify customer satisfaction, each with its own uses and limitations. Businesses can use these metrics together to identify where there may be room for improvement in terms of customer care, including interactions, workflows, and technology. These metrics often represent customer impressions of the brand, its products, and maybe its corporate identity as a whole — but they’re best used when granularly measuring the places where customers engage your brand to ask questions, get help, or make a purchase.


Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores measure the degree to which customers are pleased with a product, service, or experience. To measure CSAT, customers receive a short survey asking them to rate their experience on a scale. Scales can range from poor to excellent, 1 – 5, or even happy face to angry face.

CSAT is then calculated by averaging customer responses, whether it’s positive versus negative, happy versus angry, or on a numerical scale. The resulting value is a percentage ranging from 0 – 100. The higher the score, the better.


Net promoter scores (NPS) calculate customers’ willingness to recommend, or “promote,” a company’s products or services, which can be used as a signal for overall satisfaction and loyalty. To measure NPS, customers are asked how likely they are to recommend a company or product to a family member, friend, or colleague on a scale of 1 – 10.

Based on the responses, customers are scored into three categories:

  • Promoters — Customers who responded with a score of 9 or 10. These are your most loyal and enthusiastic customers.
  • Passives — Customers who responded with a score of 7 or 8. These customers are satisfied with your business, but not as likely to recommend it as promoters.
  • Detractors — Customers who responded with a score of 0-6. These customers are unsatisfied and may discourage friends and colleagues from engaging with your business.

To calculate NPS, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of respondents who are promoters and the percentage who are detractors. To get your final score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. You will end up with a number between -100 and 100. The higher your number, the better your NPS score.


Customer effort scores (CES) measure how easy it is to engage and interact with your brand. While this doesn’t measure satisfaction directly, it can be an excellent indicator of customers’ experiences when they’re looking for information, making purchases, asking questions, or looking for support. To measure CES, customers are typically asked to rank their experience with a business from one (very easy) to five (very difficult).

CES surveys are most commonly used:

  • After a customer touchpoint that has led to a purchase
  • Immediately after a customer service interaction
  • To track the overall customer experience with your product or brand

To calculate CES, divide the sum of all scores by the number of respondents. The lower the score, the better.

How to improve NPS, CES, and CSAT scores

We’ve established that it’s important to track these scores. According to the Harvard Business Review, Satisfied customers spend 140% more compared to those who have had bad customer care experiences with a brand. Satisfied customers are also more likely to remain loyal to a brand compared to unsatisfied customers. Customers who respond positively on customer satisfaction surveys have a 74% chance of remaining a brand’s customer for at least another year, while those who respond negatively only have a 43% chance of remaining a customer for another year.

But once you know what your brand’s customer satisfaction scores are, how can you improve them? Here are four ways to get started.

1. Speed up customer service interactions

In a recent Khoros survey, around 50% of respondents said that they have interacted with brands on social media. Of customers who do interact with brands on social media, 65% expect brands to respond to their message and around 30% said they would stop giving a brand their business if the brand did not meet the customer’s timeframe expectations for a response. It’s neither easy nor satisfying to spend hours trying to resolve customer service issues. Speeding up customer service interactions can help improve customer satisfaction and make customers willing to spend more.

The best way to achieve this is to modernize your contact center. More modern contact centers deflect calls to digital channels and automate repetitive and predictable tasks with chatbots, which streamlines workflows and resolves customer needs more quickly.

An online community is also a great resource for any enterprise looking to reduce customer resolution time. Instead of relying on a phone or chat agent to help with an issue, online communities give customers the resources they need to solve their own problems. Online communities can scale organically as a business grows, as they often rely on user-generated content (UGC) to resolve issues and answer questions. HP, for example, reduced first response time by 37% and resolution time by 41% with a Khoros-powered community.

Modernizing your contact center

2. Boost customer service interactions

Sometimes a customer’s problem can’t be resolved in a single customer service interaction. Should an interaction need to span sessions or transfer between agents or chatbots, make sure that the customer’s conversation transcript and interaction history transfers with it. If agents aren’t able to refer back to conversation history and notes, customers have to repeat themselves. This causes frustration and ultimately lowers customer satisfaction. In Salesforce's State of the Connect Customer report, 68% of customers say that it is “absolutely critical” for customer service agents to know their service history so they don’t have to spend time explaining it to them.

3. Be where customers need you

Make it easy for your customers to get help. In a Khoros study of consumer preferences, the biggest gaps between what channels consumers want to use and what brands actually make available is in SMS and web chat. You can bridge this gap by diversifying your customer care channels. Offer people the ability to contact you through web chat, SMS, social, messaging, review sites, and peer-to-peer communities. This will allow customers to reach you on the digital channel of their choice, saving them from seeking you out (and we already know that saving customers time is a good thing).

4. Increase the number of customers who participate in customer satisfaction surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys can give you a better understanding of how your customers feel, but if the total number of survey respondents isn’t large enough to represent your customer base as a whole, you might not be getting the most accurate data. The more consumers who participate in customer satisfaction surveys, the better your data will be.

You can improve your survey’s response rate through personalization. According to research by Linkdex, 79% of customers expect brands to get to know them on a deeper level and provide tailored offers and experiences, including customer communication experiences. To personalize your survey notifications you can A/B test email subject lines and body content, include the customers name, send the survey in the customer’s preferred language, and more.

See how Khoros helped increase Midco’s CSAT survey completion rate by 460% in our case study.

AI-powered digital customer service, made better by Khoros Care

Modernize your contact center with Khoros Care. Let AI and automation streamline your workflows so you can listen, filter, categorize, and route incoming conversations to the best possible bot, human agent, or self-service resource to resolve the customer’s inquiry (which has been proven to boost customer satisfaction).

Want to learn more about our digital customer care solutions? Request a demo today.

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