Customer Satisfaction Surveys: The Complete Guide

This is the most comprehensive guide you would find online on customer satisfaction surveys. It includes examples, templates, best practices and more.

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If you are running a customer-centric business, then knowing your customer satisfaction becomes too important. Your customer has to be completely satisfied with the value they are driving from your product. While they are using the product and you are practicing your own customer success initiatives, sometimes there is a gap between the two. You might not know what your customers feel about your product and your brand. Hence, customer satisfaction surveys are important to get both the parties on the same page.

Customer satisfaction surveys are nothing but the sets of questionnaires designed for your customers to answer through which you can understand what they think of your product, brand and customer support.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, you can not rely on your own subjective opinion. You need to drill down your customer on many specific areas to understand their perspective of your product. There can be many points that show up during these surveys which illuminate you of your practices towards customer success. These findings must be then converted to actionable steps that you can deploy for further enhancement of your customer experience.

Why are Customer Satisfaction Surveys important?

In today’s business world, especially in SaaS businesses, companies are more dependent on customers to stay subscribed for long-term. The customer loyalty and retention are impossible to achieve if the customer is not happy with your service. 

When their expectations are getting fulfilled through your brand then they help you attract more business. And the inverse of this fact is also true. When the customers are getting poor experiences from your brand, they tell more people about it and that harms your business a lot. 

Through surveys you can get the pulse of your customers and that gives you data to act upon. You can take proactive steps to improve their experiences with your product. This would help you achieve better retention rate, loyalty, sales opportunities and reduce churn.

Types of Customer Satisfaction Survey

There are many ways to measure your customer experience but the most commonly used metrics in surveys are these three:

  1. Net Promoter Score: This is the simplest and shortest survey designed by Bain & Company that you can send to your customers. It has just one question that asks your customers how likely they are to recommend your product to others. Their response is measured in the scale from 0 to 10 with 10 being most likely and 0 being least likely.
  1. Customer Effort Score: This survey asks your customers about their experience when dealing with your customer support or service team. It is usually asked immediately after they had an interaction with your customer representative. The question goes like “how easy was it to deal with our company in your today’s interaction?”
  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: This is the question you ask your existing customer about how satisfied they are with your product or service. You ask them to rate their satisfaction level on the scale between 0 to 5 with 5 being most satisfied and 0 being least satisfied.

How to design Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

When you are designing a survey there are several points you need to take care. You have to create a well structured survey around those points. You must avoid just getting started without a proper plan. Let’s look at those points in detail below.

Identify your end goal

Before you even begin creating the survey, you must know in advance towards what end you are building one. What actions do you want to take based on the data you would gather? How would it improve in the growth of your business? These are few of the questions you must ask yourself before creating the survey. It will help you align the further steps to fulfill the goal identified in this step.

Choose the right audience

Based upon your goal, you must choose the right audience towards which you want to direct your survey. For example if you want to improve your product’s experience then you must direct your customer satisfaction surveys to the end users. Your CRM must be having the contact details of many stakeholders of your client’s company. So, you can’t send your survey to all of them. Hence, choosing the right audience would be the second step towards designing your survey.

Create Questions

You must decide the ratio between statistical questions and qualitative feedback you want to get from your customers. Then based on that you must decide the kind of questions to include in your survey. Below are categories of questions you must choose from:

  1. Binary questions: Questions with either yes or no as their response. For example, did our product meet your expectations? Doing A/B testing for your webpage or app could be another example for this kind of question.
  2. Multiple choice questions: This would allow them to select multiple options in response. An example could be asking them to choose two or three features they like most from the list.
  3. Scale questions: Questions like these are helpful in gaining statistical analysis. You can ask them to rate something from the scale between 0 to 10 or 0 to 5. 
  4. Open-ended questions: These questions help you obtain qualitative feedback from your customers. Asking them questions like “why do you like our product?” give you a lot of insightful information that above questions can’t.

Once you have designed the survey, you must send it at the right time. Usually the best time would be when they have achieved a milestone in customer journey and your relationship evolves into the next stage. You can also conduct annual customer surveys to keep this as a regular process in your evolution of the business.

Customer Survey Example Questions

While the categories mentioned in the above section is helpful, there are few examples that you can use to get more clarity on the kind of questions you can include.

General Questions

  1. What do you feel when you think of our brand?
  2. How is your experience usually when interacting with our company?
  3. What improvement do you suggest to our support team?

 Product Specific Questions

  1. How frequently do you usually use the product and for how long?
  2. How is our product helping you achieve your goals?
  3. What is your favourite feature in the product?
  4. What would be the one thing that you would like to change in our product?

Customer Experience Questions

  1. Are you satisfied with the kind of support you get from us for resolving your issues?
  2. How would you rate the expertise level of our technical support staff?
  3. Do you feel valued by our support team while interacting with them?

Best Practices of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

While few points of best practices have been covered above during the design of the survey, there are few more steps you must take to enhance the efficacy of your customer surveys.

  1. Out of all the survey types mentioned above, choose the right survey type that suits your needs.
  2. Create the right questions that help you gain both quantitative and qualitative feedback of your customers.
  3. Time your surveys to send at the right time. Basically, after your customer has achieved a milestone in their journey.
  4. Make it a regular practice to conduct every quarterly or semi-annually.
  5. Optimize the number of questions to maintain the right balance between how much information you want and prevent them from survey fatigue.
  6. Send a note of thanks to customers for completing the survey with a follow up note specific to their feedback. This will help you ensure that they would always participate in these kinds of surveys.
  7. Take actions based on the survey. Your survey would be of no use if you don’t take proactive measures to improve upon the actionable feedback you got from the customers.
  8. Always ask the customers the overall feedback rating they want to give to the customer survey. If you try to go the other way around by asking smaller questions instead of the bigger, dynamic questions, chances are, the customers might lose their enthusiasm. The best workaround solution to this problem is to get straight to the point of getting the overall feedback rating and then go around asking questions. This makes the customers feel that you value their opinion.
  9. Have a reasonable number of questions in the survey. It should not be too many or too less. There needs to be a proper balance between the questions being asked in the customer satisfaction survey. If you prepare a too-long survey, the customers will have to spend a lot of time filling it. Hence, it is advised to have a moderate amount of direct and easy questions to answer.
  10. Never expect your customers to do hardcore calculations in the survey. For example, if you ask the customers to rate your chances of getting back to the website to get more information on product updates in terms of a percentage of 100. This will frustrate not only the customers but also confuse them further.
  11. Always be ready to accept negative feedback. Never take it personally. Rather make it a point to respond to the negative feedback by asking relevant questions that can help you understand the customers’ psyche. Then try to work around to convert these dissatisfied customers into loyal customers.
  12. Always send thank you notes to the customers who are spending time filling out the survey. It is a good practice to send a handwritten note, but it is not always feasible in this digital era. An email can also do wonders in such a situation as long as you are addressing a real person and not a boilerplate.

How to Make the Most Out of Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

Here are some of the pointers that will help you make the most out of customer satisfaction surveys:

Have a clear-cut objective for the customer satisfaction survey

The first thing you will ever need before creating a customer satisfaction survey is to plan and draft the survey questions. This is where the ultimate objective of the survey comes into the picture.

 There can be several objectives that you can achieve using the customer satisfaction surveys:

  • Track the overall website experience
  • Improving the speed and quality of customer support
  • Understanding the psyche of customers during the onboarding phase
  • Decoding the customer sentiment towards your product post-subscription

Having a clear-cut objective in your mind helps set the right tone for the customer satisfaction survey. This includes determining the type of questions you are going to ask or the length of the survey in general.

Getting rid of survey fatigue

Survey fatigue is a real thing that is quite prevalent in the B2B SaaS world. According to recent research, only 9% of people complete a long survey by dwelling hard on the questions. The worst part is approximately 70% of respondents abandon the survey before completing it.

To avoid survey fatigue, you need to ensure that:

  • You keep the survey short and to the point
  • Never upsell your products during the survey
  • Provide an adequate incentive for the customers to complete the survey
  • Never get personal while asking questions
  • Do not make every question compulsive

Here are some of the things that you can try to avoid survey fatigue in your customer satisfaction survey:

  • Have a good mixture of questions to engage the attention of the customers
  • Never have long customer surveys as it makes the customers feel bored. Always have the survey, which is less than 5 minutes.
  • In case you are deep diving into the survey, and there is no scope to curtain the questions, provide an incentive to the customers to complete the survey

Send the customer satisfaction survey at the right time

Keep in mind: Whenever you send the customer satisfaction survey, you ask the customers to take out 4-5 minutes of their life. This is where it becomes essential to know when to send the survey.

If you do not reach the customers at the right moment, chances are, they will simply ignore the survey. The timing of the survey is contingent upon the objectives that you have defined at the very first stage.

In case your objective is to monitor the quality of customer support, the best time to send the customer satisfaction survey would be after the end of every support interaction. However, if you are looking for broader strategic metrics like NPS, you can send it every quarterly.

Before sending the actual customer satisfaction survey, please test it

It is recommended that before you send the actual customer satisfaction survey, always run the test survey with a small target audience. This will give you a fair idea of the response rate you are likely to get from the actual survey. It will also help you to understand the effectiveness of your customer satisfaction survey.

Sending a test survey will help you observe certain things like: is the survey too lengthy? Are there any questions that are confusing the customers? Are you getting skewed responses? If that is the case, what should you do next?

Having a test survey helps you to determine the survey loopholes that might have gone unnoticed earlier. This way, you can optimize your survey and boost response rates. This will have an overall positive impact on the precision of the customer satisfaction survey.

Best Templates for Customer Satisfaction Surveys

There are many templates available online for this kind of survey but the very few best templates are mentioned below:32

  1. SurveyMonkey Template: This is an interactive and well presented survey that you would like to use. 
  2. Microsoft Template: Here’s another survey from Microsoft which is widely used by many companies.
  3. QuestionPro: This is another survey template which you can use. They have several templates according to different business niches and processes.
  4. Zoho: There is a list of surveys you can find on this Zoho’s website. You just need to sign up and you are good to go.

You might also like:

  • The SaaS Churn Handbook – Everything you need to know for understanding and preventing customer churn.
  • To understand how SmartKarrot helps SaaS companies keep and grow satisfied customers, Request a Demo.


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