Why am I receiving unexpected bad satisfaction ratings?

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  • Rusty Wilson

    I am ABSOLUTLEY seeing the same thing. Zendesk keeps saying, "We didn't change anything." but it is 100% clear they did. Our satisfaction ratings have dropped over 10 pts, and I reached out to THREE HUNDRED customers to confirm that all but 1 of them did NOT rate us negative - most didn't rate us at all.

    This metric is now so useless to me I can't even report it - and Zendesk has shown no interest in fixing it other than to point me to this article.

    Please - before anyone refers me back to the "solution" in this article, consider why this article is needed in the first place. If the problem is impacting this many people, we should not have to customize our install.

    And lastly, I can see very specifically that this started happening a LOT in the OCT timeframe - and never before. So there has been SOME change in the Zendesk code that has triggered this.

  • Bill Habegger

    I am pretty much abandoning the use of the ZenDesk CSAT.  This is unfortunate because it was one of the reasons we purchased ZenDesk.  I am actually looking into other third-party apps to do CSAT so that I can get an accurate rating.  

    I am asking these companies how they deal with false clicks like we are seeing.  They indicate they utilize technologies that work to filter out these types of false clicks.  ZenDesk, have you considered anything like that?

    I would really like someone at ZenDesk to take this thread more seriously and help their customers find a way to use the functionality the way it was built.

    I would be happy to talk with anyone at ZenDesk about what I have experienced and show them how many false negatives I have been receiving lately. I know there are false positives, as well, but I am not tracking those. ZenDesk always speaks about Customer Experience, but unfortunately, there are a large number of us frustrated by this problem and the lack of response to it.

  • Itay Taragano

    We're also seeing it here! Zendesk is aware of this issue for so long, and it is indeed so much worse in Q4/21 (and already a few more in Q1/22). It was raised multiple times on multiple channels, and it seems Zendesk simply doesn't care. Zendesk has been too focused on becoming a multi-product enterprise and they completely stopped giving love to "Support". Zendesk has to remember that most of us became customers because of THIS product, and that CSAT is a CRUCIAL part of it. It is so unfortunate that we, and other folks here on the thread need to spend our time looking for solutions and/or alternatives.

  • Rusty Wilson

    Itay Taragano - You are so correct. I've been (was) an vocal proponent for Zendesk for many years - I've been using it about 12 years now. My first experience was, "WOW! Someone with a support background MUST have written this software because it's obviously written to makes an agents life easier". Over the years they continue to stray farther and farther from this with "fluffy" features while core needs go un-addressed. Zendesk is literally forcing me to consider alternatives.

    The utter lack of reply from Zendesk on this issue speaks volumes.

    At this point I would be 100% satisfied with the simple acknowledgement from Zendesk that they made a change (I want to know exactly what the change was), and that it's resulted in massive spikes in negative reviews for EVERYONE. Right now, they won't even acknowledge it's a (relatively recent) issue clearly precipitated by something THEY did.

  • Andrea Beck

    Zendesk Support certainly seems like an afterthought on so many levels at this point. 

    The options provided in this article certainly don't help. Did anyone mention that the {{satisfaction.rating_url}} also looks incredibly UGLY in an email? 

    50% of my CSAT last week was due to this issue - in this case; what is the point in even using this feature? 

    Also, knowing what I know now, I kind of understand why clients were taken aback when we asked them for the reasons for the negative rating. 

    WE: hey, client, we were wondering if we could talk to you about this rating on XXXXX ticket, we do want to improve our service and would appreciate additional feedback on what we can improve. 
    CLIENT: What do you mean, I didn't give any rating...


  • Bill Habegger

    As suggested in the article, I have looked at third-party vendors for our CSAT.  Some seem very promising and offer additional value beyond the ZenDesk CSAT, however, I have to pay for that value.  It would be my preference to continue using the built-in ZenDesk CSAT, but until they add some backend technology to reduce the number of false clicks, I can't justify using it.

    That being said, all of the third-party vendors have to deal with the potential of False Clicks.  Most of them use some sort of technology on the back end to determine if it is an automated click or a real person.  They admit this helps significantly, but does not eliminate all false clicks, and at times may wrongly disregard some CSAT responses.


  • Bill Habegger

    For those experiencing this issue, is your CSAT survey email coming from support@mydomain.zendesk.com or do you have Zendesk setup to send directly using an email address from your domain such as support@mydomain.com?

    I am still using support@mydomain.zendesk.com and am wondering if I would see fewer false clicks if I set up Zeneesk to use support@mydomain.com.

  • Paul Schneider

    My organization and I are also experiencing a significant influx of "false negative" ratings since late October.  It has gotten so bad that I've had to start:

    • Manually going through each ticket that was rated
    • Review all internal and external notes
    • Discern if it's truly meant to be negative
    • If more info is needed, additional touch points with the customer
    • Then I manually record the "true" Good, Bad, Bad to Good ratings and then try to come up with what the CSat should be

    Based upon our volume of tickets each day and month, it's very time consuming to do through every ticket manually.  Because CSat is a huge metric for us, I don't have any alternative options at the moment and have started researching other tools.

  • Bill Habegger

    I am also going through tickets manually to record the "true" ratings.  One thing that has helped me is to send myself an email with every ticket that is rated "Bad" without comments.  I include in it a link to the "events" view of the ticket. The CSAT survey is "offered" a minute or two after the top of an hour.  If the bad review is received exactly on the next hour, I know it is a false click.

    In addition, we changed the timing of the CSAT survey to be sent 10 hours after the ticket was solved.  This pushed the bulk of our surveys into the overnight time period when our team members were not working.  That also helped us have confidence in considering them fake results.  Not likely for us to receive a CSAT survey at 4AM in the morning.

    I am currently considering Simplesat, StreetHawk, and Customer Thermometer to handle our CSAT.  Both Simplesat and Customer Thermometer indicated they have mechanisms in place to limit false clicks.  Street Hawk did not, but indicated that they had not seen it happen on their surveys.

  • Steven Major

    It seems our template is different and not sure how to apply the workaround: This is our template:

    Hello {{ticket.requester.name}},

    We'd love to hear what you think of our customer service on this ticket. Please take a moment to answer one simple question by clicking either link below:


    Here's a reminder of what this request was about:



    What do I need to change or is this format just bad overall? We're seeing this issue on a regular basis as well.

  • Steven Major

    Also, has anyone had issues where the links are expiring after a period of time?

  • Bill Habegger

    Steven Major You need replace {{satisfaction.rating_section}} with {{satisfaction.rating_url}}.  Basically what that does is sends your users directly to the survey page and does not offer them the ability to rate "Good" or "Bad" within the email.  When the click the link in the email it will take them to the survey page where they can select "Good" or "Bad" add comments, and click.  You will not receive a rating from the user unless the click submit.  I believe this will lower your response rate, that's why I have opted not to use their recomendation.

  • Nikki

    I'm assuming that {{satisfaction.rating_url}} works in both triggers and automations... but for some reason it's not offered as a placeholder in triggers - only in automations. Let me know if my assumption is wrong. Going to try switching to this. Our volume is very low, which means every single rating has a big impact - so false negatives are a major problem. Of course, switching to {{satisfaction.rating_url}} also means that the number of people who actually leave ratings will probably drop. That's a bummer. 

  • Andrew Chu

    we are facing the same issue and if Zendesk does not fix this soon it's a huge loss for them

  • Todd Dover

    Andrew, apparently that is NOT the case, because this has been a known issue for a while, and they have taken no action to resolve it.  So, we get to live with it and our poor ratings.  Maybe Zendedsk should start getting some "Bad" ratings and see how it feels.

  • Nikki

    Note: I have been able to switch them from Bad to Good once I confirm from the user that it was an accident, but of course that provides us with false positives from people who may have otherwise not been passionate enough to rate at all.

    If I recall correctly, the way I've done it is by adding an internal note that includes the placeholder  {{satisfaction.rating_url}} and then when the internal note is saved, it spits out the proper URL to update the rating. I believe I had to copy the link and then paste it into a browser where I was not logged in (to get around the "agents can't rate tickets") -- shhhh don't tell your bad agents or else they'll change all their own ratings haha

  • Ola Timpson

    This is a huge pain point for us, but I can also see it's not a simple one for Zendesk to solve. What we're asking them for is a webpage that behaves differently if accessed by an email scanner than if accessed by a person. Except if that was easy to achieve then every dodgy website would just present themselves as safe to scanners.

    We look into all our 'bad' ratings anyway, but if there is no comment, the ticket looks fine, and the rating is approx 1 hour after survey send then we approach the customer differently.

  • Martin Cubitt

    When we first came across the issue, we reverted to the workaround, to use a CSAT link rather than embedded options but noticed the response rate nose dived. As CSAT responses are an important metric we use in KPIs, this was very disappointing, so we reverted to the original CSAT email and managed exceptions, as only a handful of customers appeared to experience the issue.

    However, like many others, we have seen a significant increase in instances of this issue from December 2021 (perhaps more people are now using security software which triggers the issue or maybe the software has become more aggressive with its protection). Reviewing each 'bad' CSAT response to see if it is a false response takes time and can be an awkward conversation with a customer. We flag customers who have experienced the issue to use the CSAT survey with a browser links next time, but this is becoming a maintenance overhead in itself. We also have to exclude these tickets from CSAT reporting which is yet another overhead and means we cannot use some standard Explore metrics. Plus it always feels wrong to exclude information, even if it is to maintain accuracy.

    Although I understand that there may be technical difficulties to avoid the auto response from the email scanning software, there may be something Zendesk can do to help reduce the occurrences.

    Since the last option is always taken by the auto response (so for 'Good or Bad' it will pick Bad) perhaps a third, passive option can be introduced, like Good | Bad | Respond-Later (or similar). The response of 'Respond-Later' will do nothing, not registering as a response at all.

    Whatever the solution, I would like to see Zendesk do their part in owning the issue as, from many of the comments above, this is a key part of Zendesk functionality which is not working as expected and affecting many Zendesk customers, to the point some are no longer able to use it.


  • Puneet Misra

    Zendesk It does not seem like there is any priority to fix this issue. Can you consider allowing admins or end-users to remove ratings? Good and Bad? This can help us use some of the workarounds. Or maybe you can consider making it a requirement to add a comment to a bad rating so that way it's not accepted without comment. Do you have an intake process for feedback?

  • Bill Habegger

    I almost hate to say this, but I have seen a dramatic drop in False Negatives.  I had over 50 in March and only have 3 so far in April.  Has anyone else experienced a change?  I am trying to decide if something changed with Zendesk or it was something on our side?

  • David Brown

    It was still happening for my instance through yesterday as I had both customers and agents reporting it, but now I have deployed the fix removing the rating on click and just providing a hyperlink to the survey site. I tested for bot clicks in my sandbox with this setup and had no bot clicks in >100 opportunities. I'm hopeful that this is resolved with this new CSAT method, however I would still not trust the original CSAT survey.

  • Pablo Kenney
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hi folks, 

    My name is Pablo Kenney, and I'm a vice president of product here at Zendesk. I wanted to take a moment to jump into this thread and lay out a few responses on this issue. 

    First, the relative lack of response on this thread is not an indication of our lack of interest in the issue. We are aware of this issue, and appreciate the difficulty of the situation for those experiencing this problem. If you hop over to the Support Topic, you'll see that we have been engaging on this topic over there. 

    Here's what I can tell you: 

    1) We have not changed how CSAT operates in any way that would lead to the issues mentioned in this thread. Instead, as mentioned above, what is likely happening in these instances is the end-user has a link expander, like an anti-virus checker, installed on their machine or running on their mail server. 

    2) We have seen that a set of customers have received false CSAT scores over time, increasing in the October-December 2021 period. This is likely tied to a change in link-expansion behavior, but we have not tied it to a specific service or set of services. Obviously, the impact is significant for those who are experiencing the issue, but it is not widespread and does not seem related to how the Zendesk product behaves. 

    3) We’ve thoroughly investigated this issue, and we continue to recommend the suggestions in the article listed above. The suggestions in that article will resolve this for anyone experiencing the issue. 

    4) We have been thinking about how to improve CSAT functionality (including avoiding issues like this one) and look forward to delivering those improvements in the future. Those investments remain in the planning stage. 

    Note: In the interest of keeping related conversations in the same space, product managers primarily respond to product feedback in the feedback topic threads, so while we will continue to allow comments on this article for questions, if you wish to provide feedback on this issue, please do so in the Support Feedback Topic.

    A special thanks to those who have provided their knowhow to help others implement the workarounds from the article.

  • Jimmy Rufo

    Hi Pablo Kenney,

    Can your PMs or moderators be more proactive at redirecting users towards posts/channels where PM is actively reviewing?  Doesn't seem like that happened here, but thanks for letting us know of the alternative page to follow.

  • Pablo Kenney
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hi Jimmy Rufo, that's fair ask. We should be more proactive guiding people on active threads like this one into the appropriate support topics and threads. Thank you.

  • Lenka Brozmanova

    Hello everyone. This is Lenka from Nicereply. Also, there is a third way to resolve this issue. We see this happen to a lot of our customers. In most cases, bots or people randomly clicking on the survey link multiple times cause the problem. Some survey apps available on the Zendesk Marketplace (Nicereply is one of them) allow you to disable "instant ratings". The ability to collect feedback after just one click is fantastic, but you should also have the option to disable the feature. CSAT/CES/NPS performance results will not be affected by random clicks on your surveys. 

  • Scott Allison
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hey everyone. I wanted to share an update with you all. After analyzing patterns on different accounts, we have seen that accounts that have two optional email authentication protocols enabled are much less likely to be affected by mail scanners clicking links and leaving unexpected CSAT responses. We believe this is because using both of these makes the emails more likely to be seen as legitimate by the receiving mail servers.  

    While the best way to avoid any issues is to follow the guidance at the top of this article and direct end users to the survey landing page, for those of you who want to stick with using the links in the body of the email we recommend you make sure both SPF and DKIM are set up. There are no downsides in doing so; in fact, this should increase deliverability for all of your Zendesk emails, not just the CSAT ones.

    We will update the main body of this article soon, but I wanted to share this with you all in advance.

  • Bill Habegger

    Scott Allison I want to thank you for taking the time to dive into this and offer further suggestions.  My earlier frustration was based on limited to no action from Zendesk.  Thank you for your service and assistance!

  • Rusty Wilson

    Thank you so much Scott Allison

  • J. & J. Denholm Limited

    We have had a massive increase in false bad reviews in the last 3 weeks, we have tried implementing the code change as specified by Tim Sexton but this has made no change, we have now had over 118 negative reviews in the last month, previous to this was around 8 maximum a month, i have contacted the majority of user who have advised they have not given any feedback. As this is something reviewed by senior management and myself, I'd like some sort of resolution

    As a measure of trying to prevent this' I'd like a postholder adding for bad with comment so we can have good, or bad with comment so we can at least drill down into bad reviews

  • Wlad

    We are experiencing the same as J. & J. Denholm Limited.
    We have SPF and DKIM enabled, as Scott Allison suggested and always had tons of false bad surveys. In the last weeks, we also have experienced an increase in false bad surveys.

    Is anybody investigating it?


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