How do you know what a customer feels about your company or products or service?
How do you decide on the next product or new feature to create that will satisfy your customers?
How certain can you be that your customers are getting what they expect from you?
The answers to these questions and many more important ones can be found by running customer satisfaction surveys.
Getting feedback from your customers is the only surefire way to know what they’re thinking and feeling, what they want, what they like and dislike, and how you can deliver the solutions they desire.
We’ll dive into a number of different customer satisfaction surveys you can send out, show you some sample survey questions, and then show you a few real examples of surveys sent by successful online companies.
Let’s start by defining these surveys.
What are Customer Satisfaction Surveys?
A customer satisfaction survey, or customer feedback survey is both the name of a specific type of survey and the general term for any survey that seeks to understand customers’ sentiments related to your products and services.
The customer survey questions are designed to draw out piercing responses that can be analyzed, organized, and acted upon for higher-quality service and solutions.
Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey
A CSAT is the eponymous customer satisfaction survey that directly asks customers about their satisfaction level with your service or solutions.
It usually consists of a variation of a single question:
How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the products/service you received?
Then, the customer is given one of five choices to choose from:
1. Very unsatisfied
5. Very satisfied
You can consider a customer satisfied only if they choose options 4 and 5. Option 3 tells you there’s room for improvement and that there may be a bigger issue you’re unaware of. Options 1 and 2 are the clearest indicators there’s a problem that needs to be immediately addressed.
The data collected can be analyzed to generate your “CSAT score.”
Calculating your score is simple:
Take the number of satisfied customers (those who chose options 4 and 5) and divide it by the total number of survey respondents, then multiply by 100.
If you have 100 survey respondents and 80 of them said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied,” your score would be 80%.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey
NPS essentially measures the loyalty your customers have toward your brand and if they’ll spread the good word about you to others.
This survey asks just one question:
“How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”
Customers are given the option to score their answers from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely).
Here’s how to break down the results of an NPS survey:
- Detractors: Scores of 1 to 6; Customers who are strongly dissatisfied with your services or products and may even speak out against your company.
- Passives: Scores of 7 or 8; Customers are satisfied but not motivated to promote your business.
- Promoters: Scores of 9 or 10; Your most enthusiastic customers who are excited to share your products or services with their network. May be social media influencers. They are also likely to be long-term, repeat customers.
To calculate your net promoter “score,” subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
If you have 100 survey results and 20 scored between 0 and 6, 30 scored between 7 and 8, and 50 scored between 9 and 10, you would have:
- 20% detractors
- 30% passives
- 50% promoters
50% promoters - 20% detractors = 30%, making your net promoter score 30.
Customer Effort Score (CES) Surveys
Customer effort score (CES) surveys measure how customers feel about the amount of work it took for them to interact with you and your customer service or support team.
The initial concept was pioneered in the book, The Effortless Experience.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 94% of customers who report a low level of effort would repurchase products from the business while 88% would spend more.
The way a CES survey works is similar to the previous ones; it asks one question along the lines of:
“How easy was it to get the help you wanted from us today?”
Then you may provide a shortlist of responses, like:
- Not sure
Another way you may structure the survey is by making a statement and asking if respondents agree or disagree.
The statement could be “the customer service rep helped you easily solve your issue.”
The choices for respondents may be:
- Strongly agree
- Strongly disagree
Some companies go the extra mile and add in a clever open-ended question that follows these choices, asking respondents to “briefly describe why you chose your selected number.”
This is a smart move because it allows customers who have a lot to say to elaborate and provide deeper insights into their state of mind and your customer service.
A post-purchase survey is sent after customers buy a product or service from your company.
They’re meant to gauge the experience customers had during their transactions.
Unlike the NPS survey which seeks to understand customer loyalty generally, post-purchase surveys are specific and focused on a particular interaction between the customer and your company.
This survey can determine 3 things:
- Quality of customer service.
- Quality of checkout.
- Quality of products.
The customer will tell you which one gave them problems.
Because these surveys are so specific, they vary greatly from company to company. But generally, they ask an open-ended question like “are you satisfied with the products you purchased?”
Then you can give customers the same choices as the question from a CSAT survey, from Very Satisfied to Very Dissatisfied.
Product Development Survey
A product development survey is unique in that it tries to understand what customers want in the future, instead of how they feel in the present.
This is sometimes known as concept testing and is performed before you launch or begin developing a new product to get a feel for how much interest there is in this new product. The last thing you want to do is commit tons of time and money into a project that fails to satisfy customer expectations and requirements.
To run this survey, you want to ideally show customers a sample of the product you’re developing, either in-person or online, including the price, and then ask pointed questions about the product.
The people you should these surveys to are the most loyal ones who are virtually guaranteed to give you more valuable advice.
Usability surveys, or user experience (UX) surveys, are used to understand how easy or difficult it is to navigate your product, app, service, website, or any other customer-facing solution.
It’s most commonly used on websites, and many companies include these surveys as a popup shown to customers who are browsing.
You can ask customers a bunch of different types of survey questions (which we’ll cover in the next section), and you usually want to include some that ask about:
- Demographics, so you know who is using your solution.
- How they use your solution.
- What are the most important tasks they perform with your solution.
- Specific problems customers have with your solution.
- The reason why behind the answers they provide.
Like product development surveys, usability surveys help you upgrade or improve your current product offering.
Types of Customer Survey Questions
There are many types of customer service survey questions you can use in your surveys. And there are many more types of surveys you can use than the ones we just listed.
The following types of customer survey questions range from what you should ask, to how you can ask.
Customer Satisfaction Questions
We couldn’t start this list with any other type of survey question than customer satisfaction.
Asking customers directly about how they feel is the surest way to measure the effectiveness of your products and customer service.
These questions work best on a scale, like 1-10 with NPS surveys, or with emotional range, like satisfied to dissatisfied on a CSAT survey.
Product Use Questions
Product use questions ask customers about their interaction with your solution, whether it does what it’s intended to, they’re feelings about it, and anything else regarding their experience with your product.
Product development questions fit into this category, along with usability and post-purchase surveys.
Product use questions you may ask are:
- How often do you use [product or service]?
- Does the [product or service] help you achieve your goals?
- What would you improve if you could?
Customer Demographics Questions
Customer demographic questions are all about your customers and who they really are.
Gathering this information makes it much easier to create buyer personas and segment customers into different groups based on their characteristics. This helps you understand what your customers really want and how to best sell it to them.
Common questions to ask in these surveys are:
- What is your age?
- What would best describe you? (This question is followed with a list of ethnicities to choose from.)
- Which gender do you identify most with? (Follow this with the answers “male,” “female,” and “prefer not to comment.”)
Future Action Questions
What we’re calling “future action” questions are those that allow your customer service team to follow-up with participants and find out if they’d be willing to take more surveys again.
These types of questions are especially helpful with product development surveys where you may want to get feedback from the same customers in the future after applying an update or rolling out a new product.
Here are some questions you might ask:
- May we contact you to follow up on these responses?
- In the future, would you be willing to take this survey again?
- If we were to apply an update to [product or service], would you be willing to provide us with your feedback again?
Multiple Choice Questions
Multiple choice questions are definitely the most popular.
They’re also the easiest to collect and analyze. You can quickly draw up charts and graphs based on these results.
The big surveys, like CSAT, NPS, and CES all rely on some form of multiple choice options.
Not only do these make your job easier, but they also make it much more likely that customers will give you an answer and complete the survey.
Open-ended questions may be more difficult to analyze, but they offer far more insight into the minds of your customers.
They also give you a feel for your customers’ voice, what say and think, the words they use.
These types of questions encourage the most honest answers and can be critical in understanding exactly what your customers really care about and what they don’t.
Here are some questions worth asking:
- In your own words, describe how you feel about (insert company name or product here).
- How can we improve your experience with the company?
- Do you have any additional comments or feedback for us?
Sample Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions
Imitation is a key part of learning anything.
So if you’re a little uncertain about how to put these surveys out there and exactly what questions to ask, or how they should be structured on the page, here are a few examples you would do well to follow.
Alignable connects businesses with freelancers.
Below is the email they send to customers encouraging them to take a brief, 5-minute survey.
You’ll notice they tell you how long it will take and how many questions there are. That’s because if it’s too long and asks too many questions, responders will become fatigued and fail to finish the survey.
After you click the link, you’re redirected to a page with a couple of questions. There were more than those shown below, but Alignable started with demographic questions, which is something you should consider doing as well.
Ramit Sethi is one of the world’s most popular personal finance and internet marketing gurus.
Here is one of the emails he sends out with a survey inside:
Ramit tells you that you’ll only have to answer a single question. When you click the link, you’ll see this screen:
This is most definitely a product development survey email. He’s asking what I’m most interested in “getting off my plate” so he knows what problem his next product should solve.
Indiegogo is the crowdfunding alternative to Kickstarter.
We don’t have an email from them, but we do have a survey they run with customers after they contribute money to someone’s project:
By now you should know what type of survey this is, right?
Net promoter score.
They ask this question immediately after you make a contribution to a project to find out if you’re likely to tell your friends and family about Indiegogo so they’ll visit the site, too.
Going Beyond Surveys to Boost Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction surveys will tell you what people like, dislike, and what needs to be improved…
But you need to put these insights into action.
What that will mean for most companies is improving their customer service.
One excellent tactic for providing a better user experience, to make more people excited to tell others about you, and to leave customers feeling truly satisfied is by using visual communication.
Meaning, annotated screenshots, GIF creation, and screen recordings for helping customers faster and communicating with them in the way they prefer (since most online users would rather watch videos than read text).
And CloudApp can help you do it in our easy-to-use, enterprise-grade app.
Plus, we’re one of the best out there. G2 Crowd ranked us as one of the top sales enablement tools.
We help your customer support team:
- Easily create support materials and tutorials
- Optimize customer support workflows
- Provide customers with detailed answers and close Zendesk tickets faster
- Improve your team's CSAT scores
- Track bugs and document problems
- Improve customer support initiatives
And plenty more.