What are customer satisfaction surveys?
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are used to understand your customer’s satisfaction levels with your organisations products, services, or experiences. This is one type of customer experience survey and can be used to gauge customers needs, understand problems with your products and/or services, or segment customers by their score. They often use rating scales to measure changes over time, and gain a deeper understanding of whether or not you are meeting the customer’s expectations.
Why is customer satisfaction important?
Customer satisfaction is at the core of human experience, reflecting our liking of a company’s business activities. For example, Americans will mention a positive experience to an average of nine people and a negative experience to an average of 16.
High levels of customer satisfaction (with pleasurable experiences) are strong predictors of customer and client retention, loyalty, and product repurchase. Data that answers why a customer or client enjoyed their experience helps the company recreate these experiences in the future. Effective businesses focus on creating and reinforcing pleasurable experiences so that they might retain existing customers and add new customers.
Types of customer experience surveys
There are a few ways you can measure customer experience through surveys. The first question you need to answer is what metrics you want to use. The most commonly used metrics are:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) ® – Probably the most popular measure of customer affinity towards your company. Created and trademarked by Bain & Company, NPS is a quick survey that typically asks “How likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend” with a Likert scale question from 0-10
- Customer Effort Score (CES) – This metric measures how hard it was for a customer to be able to complete the task that prompted their interaction. This survey question could look like, “How easy was it to deal with our company today?” This survey and measurement system can be useful for post interaction surveys with customer service or support teams
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – This is a commonly used measure for product and services to rate how happy consumers are with what they purchased. The typical survey question to collect this feedback looks like, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [product/service] you received?” then offers a Likert scale question type between 1-5 with 5 being “highly satisfied” and 1 being “highly unsatisfied”
In this article we will be focusing on customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys.
Dos and don’ts for customer satisfaction survey design
Properly constructed customer satisfaction surveys and questionnaires provide the insights that are the foundation for benchmarking customer happiness. Depending on what customer metrics you intend to use, it will determine what type of survey questions you need to ask your customers. Below are a few best practices:
- Ask for overall company rating first– This satisfaction survey question gives you great initial insight and allows you to compare to industry and internal benchmarks over time.
- Allow for open text feedback– Open text questions allow you to collect open-ended responses from your respondents. You can gain more detail about your customer’s experiences and you might uncover new insights you didn’t expect.
- Optimise for mobile– Many consumers are now completing surveys on mobile devices or within mobile apps, so your survey must be optimised for mobile devices. If it is too complicated for a mobile respondent, survey participation will decrease.
- Ask double-barrel questions– These questions touch on more than one issue, but only allow for one response. They are confusing for the respondent and you’ll get skewed data because you don’t know which question the respondent is answering.
- Make the survey too long– The majority of CSAT surveys should be less than 10 questions. People won’t finish long surveys.
- Use internal or industry jargon- Your customers must be able to clearly understand each question without hesitation and using internal or industry jargon is confusing to respondents.
When and where you should send your satisfaction surveys to your customers
Proper timing of customer satisfaction surveys depends on the type of product or service provided, the type and number of customers served, the longevity and frequency of customer/supplier interactions, and the intended use of the results. Nevertheless, timing surveys is extremely important. The experience should be fresh in your respondent’s mind so you get the most honest answers. You can solicit feedback face-to-face when they leave your shop, email, online survey, phone, or within your mobile app.
For example, let’s look at the airline industry. Customer satisfaction surveys can be sent at every touchpoint in the process.
- After the customer books their flight– Feedback after the initial purchase is important because you want to understand if the person was satisfied with their checkout or purchase experience. Send an email with a link to an online survey after the customer purchases their flight to find out how satisfied they were with the booking process. Consumers want easy transactions, so look for ease-of-use in your data.
- After the actual flight– Post-purchase evaluations reflect the satisfaction of the individual customer at the time of product or service delivery (or shortly thereafter). This can be a transactional NPS or CSAT survey and sent by email.
- After a customer service encounter- If the customer initiates contact with customer service, a CES survey should be sent immediately after the issue was resolved. For airlines, this could be a call to change a flight date or report lost baggage. The goal is to see how much effort it took to resolve the issue.
- Six months after the flight– To measure the long-term customer loyalty, relational NPS or CSAT surveys can be sent months after the transaction occurred to see if your customers are still loyal to your brand.
- In-app mobile feedback– You can request customer feedback on the mobile app or customer experience through a feedback tab in the app. Getting mobile app feedback is important only your customers can tell you what will make them more satisfied with their experience.
Other questions to ask in your satisfaction survey
Adding additional questions can help you sort through and take action on your customer feedback, just remember that shorter is generally better when it comes to survey completion rate.
Want a jump start? You can download our prebuilt customer satisfaction survey template to begin closing experience gaps with your customers.
Edit the usage frequency options below so that they are relevant to your industry or product. This helps you understand the users skill level with your product/service.
- Once a Month
- Every 2-3 Months
- 2-3 Times a Month
- Do Not Use
Demographic questions can be helpful in understanding what audiences or customer segments you are excelling with or under serving. Qualtrics recommends getting as much of this data from your customer database or CRM as opposed to asking for it in a survey whenever possible. Below are some potential demographic question you can add to your survey.
- Employment Status
- Household Income
- Marital Status
- Location (zip code)
- Ethnic background
Satisfaction category questions
This helps you identify satisfaction drivers highlighting the areas of a customers experience that are important, allowing you to align product and service priorities around that. Below are potential categories of drivers.
- Overall Quality
- Purchase Experience
- Guarantee/Repair Experience
Open text feedback question
This question allows customers to provide unsolicited open-text feedback and mention specific topics or experiences for your team to review.
Action/ followup questions
This is a simple question asking if its okay if a rep reaches out to the respondent to try and understand and resolve any pain points.
How to turn customer satisfaction survey results into action
Measuring customer satisfaction is important but what you do with the data is essential. If your customers take the time to fill out a survey, it’s important they know you’re serious about more their experience better.
- Close the loop– Respond quickly after receiving negative feedback from your customers. This is a chance to keep your customer loyal. 70 percent of consumers said they would be more likely to do business with an organisation again if their complaint was handled well the first time.
- Analyse for trends– Understand what metrics you’re looking to improve and see if there are patterns on these specific items. For instance, if 30 percent of respondents say the customer service wait time was too long, you know you need to improve in that area.
- Company-wide effort- Every department must be on board to keep the customer satisfied. If customers complain about a product feature, the product department must be willing to receive the data and fix. If customers complain about the service, customer service representatives need to understand how to fix the issues better. Make sure the right people have the right visibility with role-based CX dashboards and analytics.
Customer satisfaction survey template
Do you want to go deeper into customer insights and create loyal and satisfied customers?
Here is a prebuilt customer satisfaction survey template you can use in your customer experience management (CXM) to start properly measuring customer satisfaction. Keep in mind, all of these customer satisfaction surveys can be used today when you sign up for a FREE Qualtrics account.
Other Customer Feedback Resources: