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  • Tim Jordan

An Expert Guide to Increasing Your Zendesk Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score


customer satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a critical metric for understanding how satisfied your customers are with your business. It’s especially crucial in measuring support interactions—and for good reason.


Calabrio found that “60% of consumers say they switched brands due to a negative contact center experience.”


Low CSAT scores happen. Sometimes the reasons for low scores are out of your control—a technical bug, macroeconomic factors, and so on.


No one wants dissatisfied customers, but how exactly do you increase your CSAT score?


13 ways you can increase your CSAT score in Zendesk


CSAT scores are the key to maintaining a positive reputation with your customers, driving customer retention, and fostering customer loyalty. Here are 13 ways you can increase your CSAT score in Customer Support. We split these methods into three areas: customer support experience, internal processes, and tools. Let’s dive in.

  • Customer support experience. Everything involved with the experience your customers have when they call your support team

  • Internal processes. Usually what powers the support experience or helps you monitor and analyze the team

  • Tools. Make the support experience easier for either you or your customers


Customer support experience improvements to raise CSAT scores


1. Reduce response and resolution times


Customers appreciate timely assistance, which can greatly impact their satisfaction levels. Focus on reducing both your response times and resolution times. The faster you resolve issues, the more likely your response will satisfy customers. Monitor your resolution times, determine how you can reduce them, and then put those observations into action.


That being said, there will always be issues that, by nature, are not quickly resolvable. Communication is key. Respond quickly to these situations and set expectations up front. Then, follow through on those expectations so customers feel taken care of, even if it takes time to resolve their issue.


As a bonus, this approach reduces the number of follow-up tickets coming into your team. Your customers will be more satisfied if they don’t have to continually ask for updates.


2. Place the focus on the customer interaction and not things beyond your control


Let’s face it. There are a lot of things the customer support team has no control over. Technical bugs in software and a poor product experience are just two of the things support teams face that are out of their control. You may receive poor CSAT feedback because of things that have nothing to do with support.


It’s important to not just throw your hands up and say “oh well” in these situations. Instead, focus on the customer interaction.


This area is where support teams can improve the most. Microsoft found that 95% of customers they surveyed felt that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. So you have more control than you think. By placing an emphasis on the customer’s support interaction, you empower support to take ownership of what they can control.


Make the customer interaction incredible, and you’ll see your CSAT scores rise despite anything outside of your control.


3. Empathize and connect with your customers


SproutSocial calls connection the new currency. Their research shows that 76% of customers say they would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor, and 57% say they are more likely to increase how much they spend with a brand when they feel connected. Empathy is the key to fostering that connection.


Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Take complete ownership of the issue and see it resolved from start to finish. Apologize even if it isn’t your fault.


Empathize with how the customer is feeling when things go wrong and use that to form a closer connection with them. They’ll feel heard, taken care of, and ultimately satisfied, which will reflect in your CSAT scores.


4. Monitor team performance/QA


In order to increase CSAT scores, you need a way to monitor your team’s performance. There are two ways to do this: team metrics and quality monitoring.


Set team metrics that are realistic for your team to hit but also create a great support experience for your customers. Set targets around things that matter, like how fast you want to resolve issues, how much work your team is taking, and what their quality monitoring scores should be.


Having a quality monitoring program is also key. Scoring your team’s customer interactions will highlight areas of opportunity in how they support your customers and provide accountability for the things you’ve asked them to do.


5. Humanize the experience


In order to increase your CSAT score, you want to make your customers feel like humans that are interacting with other humans. Encourage your support team to personalize interactions by addressing customers by their names and referring to previous interactions. This practice shows you value their individual needs and also them as a person.


Use caution with canned responses as well. Canned responses are a godsend when it comes to efficiency, but if you’re not careful, they can sound impersonal and robotic. Customers can tell if you’re using the same templated response all the time, so personalize these messages and don’t rely solely on canned responses.


6. Train and retrain employees


The customer support team is the first line of support for your customers. They’re the experts. Over time, however, things change within the company and employees forget what they should be doing. This change can be a driver of low CSAT scores. You need to train and retrain your team to effectively serve your customers. Here are some ideas that can lead to improved CSAT scores to get you started:

  • Remind them of your product’s value proposition. Get your team on board with your company’s “why” and it’ll drive performance.

  • Train them to increase both the quality and quantity of communication. Communication is a key driver in customer satisfaction.

  • Teach your team how to empathize with your customers. Actively listen to customer concerns and understand why they’re upset.

  • Empower to take ownership. Give your support team the authority and autonomy to make decisions that can directly resolve customer issues.

  • Increase critical thinking. Teach your team to critically think so they don’t get hung up when issues aren’t presenting themselves as they normally do.

Teach your team what they need to know to create a great customer support experience and give them ownership, and watch the CX flourish into higher CSAT scores.


Internal process improvements to raise CSAT scores


1. Ask every customer to take the survey


One of the best ways to raise your CSAT score is to get more data from your customers, and that means asking your customers to take your CSAT survey after each interaction.


Customers won’t always take the initiative to give feedback, and they may not even see an automated request. But putting it on their radar will help remind them. BrightLocal found that “65% of consumers will leave a review at least some of the time if asked” so it’s important to train your team to ask your customers to take your CSAT survey.


More data helps raise your CSAT score for two reasons. First, reminding customers about the survey—especially after great interactions—will encourage your satisfied customers to share their experiences. Second, you’ll get more data from your dissatisfied customers on why they’re unhappy, which leads to faster improvement in your team’s level of support.


2. Analyze and action CSAT data


This one is pretty simple. Have a process in place to dig into CSAT scores and why you’re receiving that score. Monitor both CSAT scores and team metrics to identify trends and patterns that are holding back the customer service experience.


Then, take action on these trends by changing areas of improvement and tracking the impact of what you change. Data is nothing without action, so use the data to figure out what’s wrong and make changes moving forward.


3. Experience your support team as a customer


One of the best ways to understand your customers' journey and pain points is to experience what it’s like to be one of your customers. This insight can help you design a seamless experience that addresses customer needs at every touchpoint.


For this approach, you can do two things:

  • Monitor your high performers to analyze the customer experience when things are going well. See how they’re working and if there are any unnecessary detours in the customer journey that are intentional. What processes can you improve?

  • Monitor the entire team to see how they’re doing throughout the customer journey. Are there handoffs they can eliminate? What blockers prevent your team from providing a great customer experience?

Set up a process to regularly dive into your customer support experience. Change processes that don’t make it easier for your customers to get support or your support team to give support. Then, watch your CSAT score increase.


4. Partner with other areas of the business


Working in a support department can sometimes feel like you’re working in a silo, cut off from the rest of the business. Make a concerted effort to reach out to other areas of the business and start a fresh working relationship. This practice especially holds true if your low CSAT scores are primarily a factor of product design, user experience, or some other reason outside of your control.


Partner with your Product team or any other team responsible for the design and implementation of your product and give them that feedback. As you analyze the data, bring relevant data to your Product team and work with them regularly to ensure Support gets a seat at the table and can provide essential customer feedback.


Tool changes to help you raise CSAT scores


1. Use automation for monitoring


The more data you have, the more you know what to improve to increase your CSAT score.


But having to comb through all that data or tie it back to your support ticket manually is inefficient at best. This is made even worse by common situations that frustrate support agents, like when multiple tickets are submitted by the same customer and worked by multiple people (a frustration point you can eliminate for good with the auto-merge tickets app for Zendesk).


Find a dedicated QA tool like Klaus to quickly give you a bird’s eye view of your team’s quality. A customer feedback tool like Kapiche can make it easy to extract customer insights from various sources. Swifteq’s Zendesk ChatGPT app can also automatically extract feedback from your Zendesk tickets and tag it for review.


You can also explore using ChatGPT to automate ticket routing to ensure that each ticket reaches the right hands quickly, improving response times and customer satisfaction.


2. Enable self-service


Self-serve options are a form of proactive customer support.


There are a number of ways you can build and improve your help center.


If you’re unsure where your help center can use some attention to improve self-service, you probably need better analytics. Help Center Analytics is a Zendesk app that helps you understand how customers engage with your help center so you can make smart improvements.


Provide self-service resources such as FAQs and knowledge bases that allow your customers to help themselves without needing the support team.


How does this approach affect CSAT? First, proactive support can prevent customer frustration and enhance their experience before it even reaches the support team. It also has the effect of taking more mundane issues and updates off your team’s plate so they can provide an amazing experience to the more difficult inquiries that require a human touch.


3. Add context to your CSAT score


If you only receive a numerical score as part of your CSAT scores, it’ll be difficult to determine exactly what your customers are dissatisfied with. Add an optional text box to your CSAT survey asking why they gave the score they chose. Then, analyze the feedback your customers give to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes.


You can even contextualize it. If a customer indicates they’re satisfied, you can say, “That’s great to hear! What made your interaction so great?” If they’re dissatisfied, you can say “Sorry to hear that. Please let us know how we could have done better.”


This method opens up more avenues of conversation, allows you to make things right in a more personal way, and gives you some great positive feedback to celebrate if the customer is satisfied.


Improving CSAT scores is all about putting your customers first


There are three areas you can focus on to improve CSAT scores: customer interactions, internal processes, and the tools you use.


All three areas are interconnected, but by improving each distinct part you’ll see a positive impact on customer satisfaction.


Swifteq builds Zendesk apps that transform your Zendesk instance and supercharge your internal processes. From automatically translating tickets (using GPT-4) to providing better help center analytics, Swifteq apps are an easy way to uncover opportunities and improve your CSAT.



 

​​​Written by Tim Jordan

Tim is a support manager at Cars.com and a writer for Supported Content. When he’s not busy leading his team, you’ll find him spending time with his wife and two daughters, usually on some Disney-related activity. He also blogs about personal finance at Atypical Finance.


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