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Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer Satisfaction Surveys
All You Need to Know

Gain valuable insights into your customers’ experience with your business by learning all about customer satisfaction surveys, including their benefits, design best practices, distribution methods, and analysis techniques. Improve customer loyalty and drive revenue growth by leveraging the power of customer feedback.

The success of every business relies on having satisfied customers. Their happiness is the cornerstone of growth, and to achieve it, you must genuinely understand who your customers are and what they think of you. In other words, you have to ask for feedback, which is where customer satisfaction surveys come into play.

What are Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

Customer satisfaction surveys (also known as CSAT surveys) are among the most popular kind of online surveys used by companies and organizations to understand how happy their clients are with various touchpoints, from branding and goods to customer support.

Besides trying to gauge satisfaction levels, these questionnaires are also used for pinpointing areas that need improvement. For example, uncovering and eliminating bottlenecks that have a detrimental impact on customer experiences, figuring out ways to improve said experiences, and generating and/or expanding ideas for new products and services.

Why are Customer Satisfaction Surveys Important?

Thanks to valuable insights into customer preferences, opinions, and behavior, customer satisfaction surveys offer a wide array of benefits:

  1. Identifying areas for improvement
    By regularly measuring customer satisfaction, it’s fairly straightforward to determine when and where customers are becoming dissatisfied. The information collected can be quickly leveraged to make changes that will increase customer satisfaction and ultimately, the bottom line. For instance, customer satisfaction surveys can assist with measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by asking customers how they heard about the company and what factors influenced their purchasing decisions. From there, businesses can pick out specific marketing channels that are most effective and modify their strategy accordingly.
  2. Boosting customer retention
    It’s a simple fact that when customers are satisfied with a business, they are inclined to come back for more. Hence, keeping a close eye on customer satisfaction means being able to distinguish what works and double down on it to retain the clientele.
  3. Increasing customer loyalty
    Happy customers are also great referrals. As such, they are more likely to recommend a business to a friend, family member, or online world. By keeping a close eye on customer satisfaction, businesses can discover what factors are driving customer loyalty and focus on strengthening those areas.
  4. Understanding customer needs and preferences
    What customers want from a product or service, what they like and dislike, and what changes they would like to see are extremely valuable insights to have at any moment. These facts can be utilized to make data-driven decisions that will raise the level of customer satisfaction and business performance.
  5. Enhancing customer service
    In a similar fashion, customer satisfaction surveys can help understand how well customer needs and expectations are met, thus ensuring customers are always receiving the support and assistance they need.
  6. Better business reputation
    When companies listen to their consumers and take steps to address their concerns, the end result is an improved reputation in the marketplace. This can lead to positive word-of-mouth and increased sales.

Types of Customer Satisfaction Metrics

There is no shortage of ways to gauge customer satisfaction, particularly specific aspects of their experience. It all depends on the product strategy in question and the metrics you want to track.
Here are the most widely used types:

Customer Satisfaction Metric
  1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

    This is the standard questionnaire that offers the simplest and basic customer satisfaction metric regarding how pleased customers are with a company’s product and/or service. On an index normally ranging from 1 to 5, customers are asked to rate their satisfaction level with the lowest number being the least satisfied and the highest number being the most satisfied.

    Apart from numerical value, some surveys offer textual choices such as very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied, or very satisfied. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to see emojis with corresponding levels of smiles and frowns. The data gathered is then analyzed to generate your CSAT score. Despite these various approaches, calculating the score is standardized by expressing customers’ responses as percentages.

    A customer is considered satisfied only if they choose options 4 and 5. The neutral option indicates there is room for improvement and that there may be something customers are having trouble with. Options 1 and 2 clearly signal there is a major issue that needs instant addressing. Use the following formula to determine the score:

    Divide the number of satisfied customers by the total number of respondents, then multiply by 100. Let’s say you have 100 survey respondents and 90 of them were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’. The score would be 90%.

  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

    On a similar basis, NPS tackles the question of how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to others. Basically, it measures the level of loyalty toward your business.

    Customers can score their answers on a scale between 1 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely), indicating their willingness to promote your brand. They are categorized into three groups:

    • Those who fall in the 0-6 range are labeled as ‘detractors’ due to their strong dissatisfaction with your offering, so much so that they may even speak against you sometimes.
    • Scores of 7 or 8 fall in the ‘passives’ category as they’re happy but not quite motivated to spread the good word.
    • Those with scores of 9 and 10 are considered ‘promoters’ and represent the most enthusiastic part of the customer base. These are people who are likely to be long-term, repeat customers.

    To calculate the final score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Once again, let’s say you have 100 survey respondents. 10 scored between 0 and 6, 40 scored between 7 and 8, and 50 scored between 9 and 10. That means you have 50% of promoters minus the 10% of detractors, resulting in your net promoter score of 40.

  3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

    The idea behind the PMF score is to get an idea of how necessary your product/service is in the eyes of customers. Expressing their sentiment if they could no longer use your product or service, respondents must usually choose between ‘very disappointed’, ‘somewhat disappointed’, and ‘not disappointed’.

    The PMF score is a percentage of all those who picked ‘very disappointed’ (aka ‘promoters’) from the total number of responses. The rule of thumb is that if at least 40% of respondents are very disappointed, then you have achieved product-market fit.

    Once again, follow up on your survey and ask for more details by adapting the question to the user’s score. This will ultimately aid you in taking precise actions to remove friction and replicate what users enjoy.

  4. Product-Market Fit Score (PMF)

    This type calculates the level of effort consumers put forth during their interactions or experiences with your business, such as using a specific feature or asking for help. Companies primarily use CES surveys to detect what users perceive to be straightforward, along with friction points.

    The CES approach, one of the most frequent customer satisfaction survey examples, typically offers respondents to choose from a 5-point scale, ranging from ‘very difficult’ to ‘very easy’. In addition, some companies make a statement and ask respondents to agree or disagree, ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. Scores are calculated by averaging the collected responses.

    For the most accurate results, initiate the CES survey directly after a user completes a specific action. This includes reaching a certain milestone, opting for an upgrade, and other similar interactions.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Examples

Depending on your goals (what you’re aiming to learn), you can use various questions and templates. Here are some of the customer satisfaction survey examples:

  1. CSAT survey

    “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the product/service you received?”

    • Very unsatisfied
    • Unsatisfied
    • Neutral
    • Satisfied
    • Very satisfied

    You can also use an additional question or two to focus on specific parts of the customer experience, like: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the email service you received?”

  2. NPS survey

    “On a scale from 0 to 5, how likely is it that you would recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?”

    NPS Question Example

    It’s a good idea to insert a follow-up question and narrow down the scope such as:
    “What is the main reason for your score?” or
    “If we could do anything to improve, what should we do?”

  3. CES survey

    “How easy was it to get the help you wanted from us?” or
    “How challenging was it for you to get your issue resolved?”

    • Very difficult
    • Difficult
    • Neither
    • Easy
    • Very easy
  4. Open-text survey

    This is a broad category of surveys that allows customers to be more detailed with their responses. As such, they provide a better feel for customers’ voices. Here are some questions you should consider asking, either in a standalone survey or to supplement one:

    • “We’re sorry that you aren’t satisfied with your recent experience. Please elaborate why you were dissatisfied so we can improve.“
    • “In your own words, describe how you feel about ____.”
    • “How can we improve your experience?”
    • “Do you have any additional comments or feedback for us?”

    You can also use an additional question or two to focus on specific parts of the customer experience, like: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the email service you received?”

Tips for Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Before performing a customer satisfaction survey, there are certain steps you should take to maximize the effort:

  1. Define the objectives – Your first step should be establishing what you hope to achieve with the survey. If it’s to boost sales, for instance, then you want to collect information that paints a picture of why customers prefer your offering – maybe it’s a specific feature, lower price, better customer service, and so on. A good start is having a talk with your team members who have direct contact with customers. They’ll have the best point of view when it comes to purchasing habits and signs of satisfaction among your customer base.
  2. Determine the length and format of the survey – Figuring out the right length and way to capture information should be based on survey objectives and demographics in question. A shorter survey may be more effective for younger customers with limited attention spans, while a longer survey may be more appropriate for older customers who have more time. In the same manner, you should focus on the type of information you want to obtain – qualitative feedback, quantitative data, or both. Open-ended questions allow customers to provide more in-depth responses describing their experiences, while closed-ended questions and multiple choices are easier to analyze.
  3. Segment your target audience – Showing the same survey to everyone is a major mistake as context matters. Customers are at different points in their journey, so asking someone about their level of satisfaction as they sign up for a trial and/or barely interact with your offering just doesn’t make sense.
  4. Keep it on-brand – Make sure that each survey you send reflects your branding. Depending on the survey tool you use, you should make an effort to customize the color palette, typography, and imagery, maybe even add a custom code, if possible. Running a survey that aligns with your brand’s style reinforces the feel of the survey and increases the chances of getting not only more responses but more meaningful ones.
  5. Ask well-defined and specific questions – The questions should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Cut everything you deem unnecessary as you have limited space and attention spans at your disposal. If the question isn’t strategic and won’t yield usable information, then you shouldn’t incorporate it. The language and terminology you use will be key here as you want to be precise with your words but avoid any leading and assumptions. The goal is to honestly learn something by asking customers to explain their reasoning, not get replies you want to see.
  6. Pretest the survey – Make it a habit to always pretest on a small sample of customers to ensure that it is effective in achieving the objectives of the survey. The pretest should identify any issues with the questionnaire, such as ambiguous questions or confusing response options.
  7. Pay special attention to timing – With online surveys, timing is vital. Ideally, you should set triggers for specific moments in the buyer journey like onboarding, a month before the renewal of the subscription, after interaction with your sales or customer success team, during advanced usage, etc.

Advantages of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are invaluable tools for businesses to gain valuable feedback, understand customer perspectives and identify patterns in their responses. By understanding what customers want and value, businesses can take steps to improve customer satisfaction and generate more business value. Additionally, these surveys can be used to inform new ideas for products, services or customer solutions, as well as to track improvements and refine customer service levels.

Surveys can also provide useful insights into problems and patterns that lead to customer success, helping to reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value. The benefits of conducting customer surveys are not just limited to understanding what customers think, but also why they think it, and what that means for the business. Taking action on the insights gathered can result in more satisfied customers and more loyal customers, who are worth even 10 times more than their initial purchase.

Drawbacks of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The drawbacks of customer satisfaction surveys include getting accurate responses from respondents, as some people may choose to lie or give inaccurate answers. Additionally, surveys may fail to provide enough detail to get an understanding of customer satisfaction, as they require the responses to be streamlined. Furthermore, surveys rely on customers actually responding to requests, and even if they do, predicting future intentions can be difficult.


Customer satisfaction surveys can do a whole lot for you – but only if you don’t fall into the trap of overwhelming users. With such a direct line of communication, it’s tempting to try to get as many invaluable insights straight from the source. However, people are easily distracted when online. It’s in your best interest to make it as easy for them as possible to follow along and answer to the best of their abilities.

So, it’s crucial to keep your survey short. The industry consensus is that anything beyond seven minutes will result in a poor completion rate with people quitting before the end. Cut down on the number of questions, especially open-ended ones, to circumvent repetitive or uninspired answers and blank fields. With the customer satisfaction survey examples shown here, you have everything you need to apply the same best practices to your campaigns.

Learn about further Types of Online Surveys

FAQs on Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Why should I conduct a customer satisfaction survey?

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey is important for several reasons. It can help you identify areas where your business is excelling, as well as areas where you need to improve. It can also help you understand your customers' needs and preferences, which can inform your product and service offerings. Additionally, it can help you build stronger relationships with your customers by showing that you value their feedback and are committed to improving their experience.

How should I design a customer satisfaction survey?

When designing a customer satisfaction survey, it's important to keep it short and focused on the most important aspects of the customer experience. You should also use clear and concise language, avoid leading questions, and provide response options that are easy to understand and use. It's also a good idea to pilot test your survey with a small group of customers before sending it out more widely.

How should I distribute my customer satisfaction survey?

There are several ways to distribute a customer satisfaction survey, including email, social media, and your company's website. You should choose a distribution method that is convenient for your customers and easy to use. You should also provide clear instructions on how to complete the survey and a deadline for responses.

How should I analyze and act on the results of my customer satisfaction survey?

Once you have collected responses to your customer satisfaction survey, you should analyze the results to identify patterns and trends. You should then use this information to develop an action plan for addressing any areas of concern and improving the overall customer experience. It's also important to communicate the results of the survey to your customers and let them know how you plan to act on their feedback.

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