Nearly nine out of 10 CX professionals say their company’s customer experience is a leading contributor to churn. Because of this, measuring and continuously improving your customer satisfaction has never been more important.
However, many CX pros have found that getting the data they need is a major struggle, with 35% of survey respondents citing a lack of customer data and insights as one of their top challenges.
Without the right customer data and insights, it can be almost impossible for CX teams to accurately understand what’s working and not working. That’s why improving your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) response rate is critical. It can help you capture enough data, gain actionable insight, and get ahead of customer churn.
In this blog, we dive into what CSAT scores are, why it’s important to measure, and 23 practical tips to improve your CSAT response rates and get the data and insights you need.
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures customer satisfaction, typically in response to a specific interaction like making a purchase or completing a support ticket. CSAT scores let you know whether the service or action was satisfactory. CSAT surveys typically revolve around the question: “How would you rate your experience with [placeholder of brand name]?” The customer rates their experience on a scale of 1-5 (very dissatisfied to very satisfied).
CSAT is an invaluable tool for getting a pulse on your customer experience, showing you where you're hitting the mark and where you need to improve. Measuring CSAT can help you fine-tune your products or services and plays a critical role in building customer loyalty, retaining customers, and growing your business.
Since you’re only asking one to two questions per CSAT survey, it’s important to get it right. Not only does asking the right questions encourage responses, but it also helps ensure those responses accurately represent how your customers feel about their experience so you can take meaningful action.
Here are a few practical tips to help you craft the perfect CSAT questions:
1. Avoid double-barreled questions
Make sure that each question addresses only one aspect of the customer experience. Avoid questions that ask about multiple issues simultaneously, as this can confuse respondents and make them less likely to complete the survey. And even if they do respond, you’ll get unclear data that’s nearly impossible to act on.
For example, here’s a double-barreled question: "Are you satisfied with the quality of our product and the speed of our customer support?" This question asks customers to rate two completely different aspects of their experience on a single scale.
Instead, choose one aspect to focus on: “How satisfied are you with the speed of our customer support?” That’s much better. Now the customer can easily rate the promptness of your customer support without any confusion.
2. Include an open-ended question
In addition to the numerical scale, consider including an optional open-ended question that allows customers to explain why they responded the way they did. Some customers will feel more comfortable responding to a survey when they can explain their reasoning–whether to clarify something that frustrated them or just let your team know to keep up the good work.
Consider using skip logic to ask different open-ended questions depending on how the customer rated their recent interaction. For example, you can ask satisfied customers to elaborate on what’s working for them and why. Meanwhile, you can ask dissatisfied customers what your team could have done better.
3. Keep questions short and to the point
Avoid overly wordy questions. If there’s a more concise way to ask the question, do it. While you might think the extra detail will make it easier for customers to accurately rate their experience, a verbose question is an ignored question.
Consider this example:
“How would you rate your level of satisfaction with the experience you had when you first started using our product or service?”
“How satisfied are you with our onboarding experience?”
With this shorter question, the customer instantly knows exactly what you’re asking and can easily respond in seconds.
4. Be as specific as possible
Make it easy for customers to respond: don’t make them think too hard about what you’re asking. As a bonus, well-crafted, highly specific questions will yield more actionable insights for your team.
Some great examples of clear, concise, and specific CSAT questions include:
Now that you have the right questions, you’ve got to get your CSAT survey in front of your customers. Here are some helpful tips to effectively distribute your CSAT surveys to drive a high response rate:
5. Use multiple distribution channels
Email is a tried-and-true channel to get in front of customers, but it’s far from the only way to reach them. To maximize your CSAT survey response rate, you’ll want to use a variety of distribution channels. Depending on your industry and customers, you might consider using a combination of email communications, SMS messages, in-app notifications, or even social media. See more ways to send your surveys.
6. Make sure your surveys are mobile-friendly
It probably goes without saying, but in this day and age, your customers are always on the go. So, make it easy for them to engage with your survey no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Be sure to test your surveys on multiple devices to confirm that they display and function well on desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
7. Embed surveys directly into emails
Requiring customers to navigate to a new page introduces friction and can discourage users from completing a survey. Instead, embed the survey question(s) directly in the body of the email, so customers can seamlessly submit their responses right from their inboxes.
8. Leverage in-app surveys
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get customer feedback in real time. In-app surveys can be an incredibly effective tool because they catch customers at the moment of interaction, when their experiences are most relevant and fresh in their minds. Incorporate well-timed, non-intrusive in-app surveys to capture real-time feedback and improve user satisfaction.
9. Address customers by their first name
Email personalization can make a big difference in survey response rates because people are more likely to respond when they feel a personal connection. Be sure to include your recipient’s first name in the survey invitation and salutation to make the communication feel more individual and engaging.
10. Craft compelling subject lines
Your survey invitation's subject line is the first thing customers will see. A well-crafted subject line can pique the recipient’s interest and encourage them to open the email and respond to the survey. While there’s no right or wrong answer with subject lines, be sure to keep them short and to the point.
You can also A/B test different subject lines to understand what resonates best with your audience and drives the highest open rates. Plus, don’t neglect the preheader text - this brief preview sentence is another great way to drive engagement and clicks.
11. Speak to customers in their language
This tip is both figurative and literal. For one, you’ll want to write your survey communications in language that will resonate with your customer: avoid jargon, stay on brand, and be conversational and friendly.
In a more literal sense, it’s also important to tailor your survey content to your audience's language preferences. For example, if your customers primarily speak languages other than English, consider offering the survey in their native tongue to encourage participation.
12. Don’t neglect visual appeal
Getting your survey in front of your customers is more than just the words on the page. The design and layout of your survey is equally important. Make sure that your survey is laid out in a way that makes the action clear.
13. Send reminder and follow-up emails
Requesting survey responses isn’t a once-and-done task. Follow up with customers who didn’t fill out the survey after your first email. A great way to do this is to set up automated reminder emails that trigger after a certain amount of time has passed without a response. Don’t forget to reiterate how much you value their feedback!
Deliverability is a fundamental aspect of any successful survey campaign. Use these tips to improve your email deliverability, minimize the risk of your surveys being flagged as spam, and ultimately, increase the likelihood of getting valuable customer feedback.
14. Send from a trusted email service provider
Using a reputable email service provider (ESP) ensures that your CSAT surveys are more likely to reach your customers' inboxes. Trusted ESPs have established relationships with email providers and maintain good sender reputations, reducing the chance of your survey being marked as spam.
15. Send surveys from your domain
Sending surveys from your domain instead of a generic one (e.g., email@example.com vs. firstname.lastname@example.org) adds authenticity to your emails. This helps build trust with recipients and decreases the likelihood of your surveys being flagged as suspicious.
16. Send survey emails from a real person
Using a real person as the sender rather than a generic email address adds a human touch and increases the chances your customers will open and respond to your emails. Customers are more likely to engage when they feel they are interacting with a genuine individual rather than an automated system.
17. Maintain a clean email list
Regularly clean and update your email list by removing invalid or inactive email addresses. Sending surveys to a clean list improves your deliverability rates and ensures that your CSAT surveys always reach the right audience.
18. Segment your email list
Segmenting your email list allows you to send CSAT surveys to specific customer groups based on their preferences, behaviors, demographics, and even where they are in the customer journey. This targeted approach increases the relevance of your surveys, making customers more likely to engage and share their feedback.
Timing is critical in ensuring that your surveys yield the most accurate and meaningful feedback from your customers.
19. Send surveys immediately after a customer interaction
Time is of the essence when it comes to CSAT surveys. Sending surveys promptly after a customer interacts with your product or service ensures that the experience is fresh in their minds. This increases the likelihood of a response and provides more accurate feedback, as customers can provide specific details about their recent interactions.
20. Send CSAT surveys after key touchpoints
According to the State of CX Report, some of the most common touchpoints in the customer journey where CX professionals solicit customer feedback include:
21. Don’t send too many surveys
Avoid overwhelming your customers with an excessive number of surveys. Sending too many surveys can lead to survey fatigue, causing customers to ignore or mark your emails as spam. Prioritize and be selective about when and how often you send surveys to ensure that they remain effective and don't annoy your customers.
Ultimately, your goal is to make it as easy and appealing as possible for customers to provide feedback while respecting their time and preferences. Test and iterate on these strategies to find what works best for your specific audience and industry.
22. Build a reputation for acting on feedback promptly
Review the feedback and take quick action to address any issues or suggestions. And don’t forget to follow up with customers when you do implement their feedback! Promptly resolving customer concerns and closing the feedback loop not only improves customer satisfaction and increases trust in your brand, but it can also make customers more likely to fill out future surveys because they know that their feedback really matters and will make a difference.
23. Measure your response rate and adjust as needed
Regularly monitor the response rates of your CSAT surveys and analyze the results. Use this data to improve your survey process, like adjusting your surveys' timing, wording, or format. Continuous iteration can help ensure your survey campaigns effectively capture valuable customer insights and drive tangible improvement.
Improving your CSAT response rate can help you gain valuable insights into your customers' experiences and, ultimately, improve business outcomes. Keep in mind that increasing your CSAT response rate isn't just about the numbers. It's also about connecting with your customers, understanding their needs, and continuously improving your products or services in response to their feedback.
Learn more about identifying and addressing customer pain points, boosting CSAT scores, and driving revenue growth with SurveyMonkey.
Save time and get great ideas with one of our free customer satisfaction survey templates. Get the feedback you need today.
Discover how Box uses SurveyMonkey to get a 360-degree view of its customer journey and gather feedback in one place.
Capture stories and testimonials directly from your customers and transform feedback into case studies, testimonials, and reviews that fuel sales and marketing.
Learn everything you need to know about using CSAT to improve the customer experience.