Customer Satisfaction Surveys: A Comprehensive Guide


Customer satisfaction surveys offer the chance to ask users questions that might otherwise go unanswered, even if one of our favorite methods of getting customer feedback focuses on active listening during one-on-one sessions with clients.

But here’s the thing: Customer satisfaction surveys only have value if they are conducted at the ideal moment and with the best questions possible. Because of this, developing and implementing an efficient and worthwhile customer satisfaction survey is no easy task.

Today, we’ll examine several tried-and-true techniques for transforming your surveys into a dependable source of meaningful customer data.

Why polls of customer satisfaction are crucial

First, let’s discuss the importance of customer satisfaction surveys for modern firms.

One of the few levers brands can still use to stand out in crowded and competitive marketplaces is customer happiness. The brand today that provides the best customer experience typically prevails.

Due to the fact that “high levels of customer satisfaction… are strong predictors of customer and client retention, loyalty, and product repurchase,” in the words of Qualtrics.

Additionally, unsatisfied customers might actively damage your brand. When a client has a bad experience, the average American will tell 16 other people, and it takes brands 12 positive experiences on average to make up for one unresolved unfavorable one.

Customer satisfaction (or CSAT) surveys are one of the most efficient ways for your brand to keep an eye on how customers are feeling because the stakes are high when it comes to customer satisfaction and experiences today.

You can actually take action to increase your customer satisfaction and become more proactive about the issues customers confront when you have access to the data customer satisfaction surveys provide.

This means you can improve your total product and service to please more customers and turn around bad customer experiences, which will improve customer loyalty and retention, increase sales, and decrease churn.

5 top techniques for customer satisfaction surveys

Obtaining truthful and precise responses from your consumers is essential to the effectiveness of your customer satisfaction data. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the majority of issues we encounter with customer satisfaction surveys center around obtaining truthful responses from respondents:

Research has demonstrated that no matter what you do, a small percentage of respondents will always lie on your survey, especially if the questions are about the three Bs: behavior, beliefs, or belonging. (A review of this subject from Cornell University is available here.)

  1. Make it brief

Finding the shortest way to ask a question without losing its meaning is your major objective. You must eliminate superfluous wording from your queries in addition to lowering the character count.

However, overall survey length is still crucial for preserving low abandonment rates. Consider the last time you eagerly spent 30 minutes filling out a questionnaire. Most likely, it has never occurred.

  1. Just raise issues that advance your objectives.

Be harsh when removing pointless questions from your surveys, in other words.

Every question you include should have a clear purpose and a compelling justification for being there. Otherwise, put it on the cutting room floor.

For instance, depending on the goal of the survey, it might not be important how a client discovered your website. Don’t inquire as to how they learned about you if that is the case. Do you actually need to know the name of a customer? Do not inquire if not.

Including questions you “felt it wouldn’t hurt to ask” merely makes your survey longer than necessary, which can cause respondents to click the “back” button.

  1. Create intelligent, in-depth inquiries

Open-ended questions that let clients express their true thoughts on the page will yield some of your most insightful feedback, despite the temptation to remain with multiple-choice tests and scales.

A large text box associated with the first question, however, is what makes a survey the most daunting. It’s ideal to start with quick questions so that you can feel like you’re moving forward. Give those who have completed the survey and reached the final questions the chance to elaborate.

One tactic is to ask a direct question, gain people’s attention, and then ask an open-ended question like, “Why do you feel this way?”

  1. Only raise one query at a time.

We’ve all been bombarded with a long list of inquiries like, “How did you locate our site? Are you aware of what our product accomplishes? If not, why not?

You can start to feel as though you’re being questioned by someone who won’t let you finish your thoughts. Give individuals enough time to consider each question in detail if you want thoughtful responses.

If respondents are bombarded with too many questions at once, they will only give you half-hearted responses in an effort to get to the end, if they don’t leave you before that. Instead, simplify things by focusing on one core idea at a time.

  1. Consistency of rating systems

When the environment starts to change, common survey scales can become complicated and difficult to understand.

Here’s an illustration: You are instructed to select your response from 1 to 5, where 1 is “Strongly Disagree” and 5 is “Strongly Agree,” in response to the survey’s opening questions.

But later on in the survey, you are required to rate the significance of several items. The issue: Although 1 is now designated as “Most Important,” you always used 5 as the acceptable response to the earlier questions. That is very perplexing. How many people omitted this modification and unintentionally provided false information?