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Improve customer satisfaction with surveys

Effectively gauge customer satisfaction and turn feedback into customer loyalty.

What is customer satisfaction (CSAT)?

Customer satisfaction is defined as a measurement that determines how happy customers are with a company’s products, services, and capabilities. 

How does CSAT work? 

Customer satisfaction feedback generated through a range of methods, including surveys and ratings, can help identify your strengths and  determine the best ways to improve or update products and services.

Why should I continuously measure customer satisfaction? 

Yes, tracking CSAT is key to the ongoing success of your company. It provides a data-backed check-in to make sure that you are keeping pace with your customers expectations.

What are common ways to gather customer feedback?

From convenience to professionalism, customer surveys let you effectively gather valuable customer feedback to help you build a stronger business strategy. Here are a few ways to start:

Understand the experience within customer touchpoints

Remove the guesswork from your customer satisfaction surveys
Take our CSAT questions and make them yours with our survey template.
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Types of customer satisfaction survey questions

Getting useful and actionable answers requires asking the right types of questions for your customer satisfaction surveys. Here’s how to use question types to effectively measure customer satisfaction.

Likert scale responses for customer service are very flexible and can be used to measure a variety of sentiments; from agreement, to satisfaction, frequency, and desirability. 

For example, you might be interested in how often customers use your online help portal, in which case a frequency response (ie: Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Frequently) would be useful. 

Below is an example of a customer service Likert scale survey question.

  • Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our company?
survey-types-tabs

Your best customers are the ones you already have

It’s crucial to keep customers happy and coming back for more. Focusing on customer satisfaction will help your business meet customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.

Turn your customers into repeat buyers

Improve repeat business by identifying customer loyalty trends.

See Net Promoter Score (NPS ®) survey

Make customers fiercely loyal to your brand

Help retain your current customers while attracting new ones.

See customer loyalty surveys

Create advocates for your products and services

Use feedback surveys to show customers you’re listening.

See product feedback surveys

Why is customer satisfaction important?

Your customers may have already been through a costly acquisition process and many are often repeat buyers. Your best customers can become evangelists for your brand, and a steady source of ongoing referrals can help build your customer base. Customer satisfaction can be a moving target. You can’t assume that a customer who was thrilled with your product at the time of purchase continues to be satisfied over time. 

One poor customer service interaction or a wonky product that does not deliver on its promise can quickly turn an advocate into a skeptic or even a detractor. This can lead to declining customer satisfaction that can be a significant drag on your business. 

Some customers may start taking their business elsewhere. Or, worse, they become disgruntled to the point they criticize your products and services through negative online reviews or social media posts. This can lead to a vicious cycle of declining brand loyalty and flagging sales.

How can customer satisfaction be measured?

Avoiding the pitfalls of declining customer satisfaction requires ongoing measurement that can generate key customer satisfaction metrics that you can track, analyze and act on. Fortunately, there are proven ways to consistently capture what’s going on in the hearts and minds of your customers. 

There are a range of options for measuring customer satisfaction, and smart companies employ all of them. One method is to monitor indirect feedback which involves tracking website traffic and activity, including time spent on specific web pages and frequency of shared content. 

Regularly monitoring social media can also keep your finger on the pulse of how customers and others are talking about your products and services. 

Yet often the most useful measures of customer satisfaction can be derived through surveys that offer you the powerful ability to capture direct feedback from your current customers.

Breaking down scoring in customer satisfaction surveys

Surveys should be the core of your customer satisfaction program as they offer the most relevant and timely insights from your customers and generate key customer satisfaction metrics. Customer satisfaction surveys can take on many different forms. There are some well established customer satisfaction survey methods that companies across many industries use to provide a consistent snapshot of satisfaction levels.

Customer satisfaction score

The customer satisfaction score targets the customer with variations of a basic question:

 “How would you rate your experience interacting with our sales/customer service/support department?” 

Within this scoring, more positive answers from respondents reflect in higher scores. Here’s a typical scale used for CSAT: 

  • Very unsatisfactory
  • Unsatisfactory
  • Neutral 
  • Satisfactory 
  • Very satisfactory

The scoring derived from CSAT survey questions is designed to alert you to evolving consumer trends, behaviors, and attitudes that may influence how your current customers view your company, products, and services. 

Leverage social proof for marketing

Customer satisfaction scoring can help you back up marketing claims with data. TechValidate by SurveyMonkey helps you gather data from your customers that you can use directly in case studies, customer testimonials, and more.

Create a better customer experienceBuild customer satisfaction scoring into a customer experience (CX) program. GetFeedback, also by the maker of SurveyMonkey, can help you launch your program.

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score provides a quick and reliable measurement of customer satisfaction by asking respondents to rate their willingness to recommend your products or services. As such, it poses this straightforward question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend?”

This organizes respondents into three groups rated from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). 

Depending on the responses, customers fall into one of 3 categories:

  • Promoters - Customers who respond with a score of 9 or 10. Typically, these customers are loyal and enthusiastic customers.
  • Passives - Customers who respond with a score of 7 or 8. These customers are satisfied with your service but not happy enough to be considered promoters.
  • Detractors - Respondents with a score of 0 to 6. These are unhappy customers who are unlikely to buy from you again, and may even discourage others from buying from you.

Calculate your NPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from that of promoters. The higher your score, the better.

See our most popular plans for collecting customer feedback

Get an individual plan with features that fit your CSAT needs, or create a team instead!

How to use customer satisfaction surveys

What should be in your customer satisfaction questionnaire, and how can you get it in front of customers? This all depends on your goals and what exactly you’re trying to find out or improve. Here are a few common ways businesses use customer satisfaction surveys.

Determine product or service performance

Survey clients who haven’t used your services for months to identify what went wrong, and what you can do to win them back. A customer feedback survey can be a good tool to get outside feedback on employee performance and how each person’s role is tied to client satisfaction.

Collect product feedback

Creating online survey questionnaires to send to customers who’ve just made a purchase is an effective way to collect product feedback because you are capturing their first reactions to your products. Did that new and revolutionary tent fabric weather the elements? The results could reveal valuable insights on how to improve product features or address design flaws.

Develop new products

Identify opportunities for new products by using a customer satisfaction survey to see what expectations aren’t met by existing choices.

Measure customer loyalty

Surveys can help you discover your most loyal customers and influencers. Brand champions, power users, brand loyalists, brand heroes. No matter what you call them, they’re your answer to knowing exactly what you’re doing right, what to keep doing, and what to start doing. Showing customers that you’re listening goes a long way.

Improve the customer experience

Customer satisfaction surveys are a great tool to drive regular communication between you and your customers. They can act as a reminder that you’re there—and that you value their business. Poll them on how they’re doing, what suggestions they might have, and consider offering loyal customers swag or rewards for answering your surveys.

Conduct market research surveys

Want to grow a new service area? Need to make sure your marketing is addressing the right consumer niche? Get to know potential markets by first sending out an online market research survey to find out more about demographics, such as age, gender, income, hobbies, etc. 

Establish performance goals

Now that you’ve got all of this great actionable data, you need to make sure feedback is implemented. Use customer feedback surveys to reach back out to customers and measure your progress over regular periods of time. Leverage what you’ve learned from this valuable data to rake in revenue and improve customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty. Compare results over time to see how you’ve improved.

Management reporting

Data from customer satisfaction questionnaires can also help with management reporting. Managers can identify key drivers and metrics they should track across departments and roles.

Keep your employees engaged

When you offer excellent customer service, you’re much more likely to find and retain customers. Make employee engagement a priority to improve customer satisfaction and your level of customer service. Regularly checking in with employees to see what makes them tick and creating performance benchmarks can go a long way toward keeping your customers happy.

Benefits of customer satisfaction surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys give you the insights you need to make better decisions. In fact, we’ve found that businesses who measure customer satisfaction are 33% more likely to describe themselves as successful than those who don’t.

A consumer survey will help you understand your customers’ likes, dislikes, and where you need to make improvements. For example, what does the average customer think about your prices? Too high? Just right? How well is your staff doing on customer service, or how well does your client success team understand the growing needs of your customers—and prospects? Is there anything at all about the customer experience that turns off your customers? You might even poll clients on why they stop doing business with you, how you might win them back, and how you can prevent customer losses in the future.

Empower your employees to meet milestones based on client needs. And, if you’re developing a new product or updating an existing one, customers can provide you with invaluable feedback about design and functionality. Oftentimes, customers will show you problems that would have otherwise been missed.

How customer surveys can improve customer satisfaction

Customer surveys do a lot of heavy lifting for you, providing myriad benefits. For starters, simply the act of asking your customers for feedback can be extremely beneficial. It sends a clear message to them that you care about their opinions and experiences with your products or services and that you value their feedback. 

Beyond that, customer satisfaction surveys offer you an informed roadmap to addressing key issues and making improvements based directly from customer feedback. This avoids wasting time and money focusing on issues that might not be priorities for your customers, so you can focus resources on changes that will resonate with them. And because you are making changes based directly on feedback, you can let your customers know that you heard them loud and clear and are taking action to ensure that your company continues to meet their needs.

How to create effective customer surveys

In addition to using methodologically-sound questions in the key areas already mentioned, you’ll also want to follow these tips for creating a great consumer survey.

1. Aim for clarity

Say you’re surveying customer satisfaction for a hotel stay. Don’t make your respondents guess what you mean by asking generally about different aspects of their stay. Tell them what the standard should be. Ask if the room service was prompt, if the swimming pool was clean, if the check-in clerk was friendly, if their bed was comfortable, and so on.

2. Be specific

Don’t ask questions about broad concepts or ideas; ask about specific concepts or ideas (i.e. being “a good person” is general; being “polite to waiters” is specific). Specific questions and answers will make it easier to identify things to improve.

3. Ask more than one specific question

Asking multiple specific questions instead of one general question will not only make your questions easier to answer for your respondents, but it will also make your data easier to analyze and act on. Did your waiter let you know about the specials of the day? Did he take your order promptly? Was he able to answer all of your questions? Was he able to coordinate the timing of your courses? Just be careful not to ask too many questions. We’ve seen consumers’ response rates go down when answering surveys becomes a burden.

4. Keep survey length short 

When it comes to the length of your survey it’s important to find the right balance. Too short, and you won’t get enough insights to be useful. But go too long, and you run the risk of overwhelming respondents that presents the risk of lower participation or some respondents bailing out midway through the survey. Put yourself in the respondents shoes, and consider what would be a reasonable amount of questions that you would answer. You can also get feedback from colleagues on survey length.

5. Avoid leading & loaded questions 

Asking biased questions can be a survey killer, potentially turning off respondents and skewing results. Two common sources of biased survey questions are loaded and leading questions. Each sways respondents to answer in ways that don’t account for their true feelings and preferences.

A leading question subtly guides respondents to answer a certain way. More often than not, leading questions influence respondents to provide feedback in a manner that aligns with the survey creator’s opinion.

Meanwhile, a loaded question makes an assumption about the respondent that forces them to provide an answer on something they may not agree or be familiar with. Make sure you and your colleagues closely review your survey prior to it going live to make sure that it is free of leading or loaded questions. 

Staying in the know about how your customers view your products and services will keep them loyal and also provide a blueprint for attracting new customers.

Out-of-the-box customer survey templates, written by experts

Explore more than 150 pre-written survey templates to help you reach your customers.

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