We’ve talked about customer insight and customer happiness, underlining how important it is to keep customers satisfied and happy with your brand. But how do you know what makes the customer tick?
One of the most popular ways (no wonder it has been used for so long) is to act directly, through customer experience surveys or customer satisfaction surveys. The key to the customer’s mind and heart is in the satisfaction survey questions.
The Importance of Customer Satisfaction Surveys
You probably know about the Customer Satisfaction Score CSAT, which is calculated based on the customers’ answers to a question about their level of satisfaction with a brand or product. However, satisfaction survey questions go far beyond the simple “how satisfied were you with…?”
Given the effort you need to put into building and analysing such surveys, you may ask yourself why to bother in the first place. Let’s see why it is important to invest in customer satisfaction survey questions.
Build a relationship with your customers. People increasingly seek the human side of the interaction with brands. The more you manage to engage in a conversation with your clients, the better the brand experience. People need to feel seen and listened to. Do that for your clients and it is more likely to turn them into loyal customers.
Get valuable product feedback. The client is the person who knows best how well the product or service works for him and what he expects from it. Survey data can show you what works and what doesn’t. You can avoid unnecessary or even damaging changes. Fixing issues will improve customer satisfaction and product experience. This is especially important because many people avoid complaining when something is less than expected. They just turn to a different brand. By going to them and asking, you’ll learn what needs improving and avoid losing the customer. Even more, you can improve customer retention just by showing that you care, through simple customer service surveys.
Discover new brand opportunities. When given the chance, customers will be happy to share their expectations and ideas with you. Experience surveys may be the chance they’ve been waiting to let you know what else they would love to see or get from your brand. Use the survey data to explore new ideas for the product line. Learn from the customer journey mapping how to create new customer service experience and build brand loyalty.
How to find the right questions
All shiny and bright, but how do you ask the right satisfaction survey questions to get useful, actionable answers?
Let’s see what makes a question suited for customer service survey questions.
Less effort. Surely there are lots of details you want to ask your clients but bear in mind that their time and patience are limited. If you want a good-enough success rate for the survey response, try to make the survey experience as effortless as possible. Make the answering process simple either by giving multiple options (not too many, though, but enough so that the client doesn’t spend much time thinking about what to write). A Likert scale is also a good option, as it offers clear intervals for the degrees of appreciation.
Clear and neutral questions. You need honest, unbiased answers to be of real use for customer experience management. So, the questions need to be very clear (ask one thing at a time) and without any hinting of an answer you may expect or favour.
More closed-end questions. The closed-end questions (with multiple choice or rating scale) offer you quantitative data, which can be very useful for quality management or the marketing department, for instance, as it represents solid data for decision-making.
Open-end questions to understand the client. While quantitative data is important and helpful, you also need qualitative data to understand the Why behind the what and how much. Give the customers the opportunity to explain the reasons behind the scores they gave, and to tell more about their brand experience. Such answers can indicate new opportunities and ways to improve customer experience.
Let’s explore some question types.
Questions for customer satisfaction metrics
These are the common questions used to measure metrics such as the Customer Satisfaction CSAT indicator, Net Promoter Score (NPS), or Customer Effort (CSET).
These questions require a scale rating. Here’s an example of a CSAT survey:
On a scale from 1 to 5 (or 1 to 10, your choice), how satisfied are you with the online shopping experience you had on our website today?
NPS surveys measure the likeliness of a client recommending the brand to someone else (indicating the degree of satisfaction, as mentioned before). Such a question can be integrated into a larger survey and can sound like this:
On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our services to a friend or colleague?
Usually, customer satisfaction metrics are measured separately, in single-questions surveys, following the action of a client (website visit, online shopping, in-store experience, etc.). They tend to measure the immediate impact of their experience with the brand. However, if you send surveys to learn more about your customers, you can also include this type of question along with the other satisfaction survey questions.
Questions about the product
This type of question is meant to go beyond product satisfaction inquiry. It explores the needs of motivations that lead the customer to choose your brand. You can investigate their perceptions about design, price, and functionalities, and even ask for improvement suggestions. You can use product-related questions for an AB test or concept testing. The answers can guide your product roadmap toward a better market fit.
Some product survey examples:
How often do you use our product/ website/ platform?
On a scale from 1 to 5, how difficult was choosing our product?
What are the key drivers that determined you to buy this product/ service?
Which features/ functionalities of our product do you use the most?
Which features do you use rarely (or not at all)?
Questions about the use case and customer effort
These questions will take you closer to understanding the customer’s habits and purchase behaviours. An experience survey question is meant to reveal the hidden needs behind the shopping experience or product use case.
As for customer effort, it is usually measured by specific CES surveys. The client is asked to rate, on a scale, the effort associated with a recent purchase or website search. It can sound like this:
On a scale from 1 to 5, how difficult was it for you to find on our website the product you needed?
Further, you can also ask about the use case for your product or service:
When do you usually use the product you purchased?
On a scale from 1 to 7, how well does the product/ service answer your need?
How much time did you spend on our website?
How difficult was it to decide to purchase this product/ service?
How many hours do you spend (an activity related to the use of the product)?
What factors do you consider when deciding to buy this type of product?
On a scale from 1 to 10, how much does the impact on the environment matter to you when choosing a product?
Do you prefer online shopping or brick & mortar shops?
This type of question can also be used as website feedback or app feedback because you can explore search patterns, online behaviours, or the effort required to navigate various pages and use different features.
Questions about the experience with the company
The answers to these kinds of questions can predict customer loyalty. A valuable brand experience is what draws clients to return to your products and services. In 2020, a Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Reportrevealed that 75% of consumers admitted they were willing to spend more money with businesses „that give them a good customer experience”. The same survey also showed that bad experiences are a strong enough argument for 80% of the clients to switch to a competitor.
These questions explore not only the customer journey and the experience during the shop visits but also their experience with customer service representatives and other brand ambassadors.
How fast did our representatives manage to resolve your issue?
On a scale from 1 to 5, how do you rate the onboarding experience on our app?
How would you rate the overall experience in our shop? (on a scale from Very dissatisfying to Very Satisfying)
Was your complaint resolved by our customer service representatives?
How did you find our employees’ attitude towards you?
Name three elements that you appreciated the most in your experience with our company.
The answers are a good compass for both experience management and employee experience. You can tweak the organizational culture based on customer feedback regarding the experience with your company (encompassing products, services, and people).
An excellent customer experience is hard to obtain. Experiences depend much on people and no one is perfect. But with such satisfaction survey questions, you can get closer to creating the ideal brand experience for your clients, as well as for your employees.
Top Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions
Now let’s see a selection of the “must have” customer satisfaction questions (apart from the demographic questions).
1. Net Promoter Score question (the likeliness to recommend to a friend or colleague).
2. Customer satisfaction score CSAT question (the general level of satisfaction).
3. Customer Effort Score question.
4. On a scale from 1 to 7, how well does the product/ service answer your need?
5. What factors do you consider when deciding to buy this type of product?
6. Name three elements that you appreciated the most in your experience with our company.
How long should a customer satisfaction survey be?
You would be tempted to think that the shorter, the better because no one has now the patience to answer a ton of customer satisfaction survey questions. While this is true (our online attention span has decreased to 8 seconds from 12 seconds in 2000), it is also important that you get as much valuable customer insight as you can. You won’t be able to understand much from 2 or 3 questions that can be answered in under 3 minutes.
Customer metrics (like customer satisfaction score CSAT or net promoter score), however, can be measured with dedicated questions at various moments in the purchase process. This will give you a partial, yet useful view.
For further analysis of customer behaviour and needs, you can consider longer surveys, with a maximum of 20 questions. To make sure you get it right, you can use survey software or a customer satisfaction survey template that have it already figured out a length that is efficient and relevant.
Also, if you design the satisfaction survey questions yourself, don’t forget about the demographics questions at the end. These are important to identify and segment your customer pool. Demographic information may even help you with identifying new markets or product opportunities.
When should you send a survey to your customers?
There have been studies conducted on the best time to send customer surveys. Their conclusions don’t seem very helpful, as they give different best days and times.
For instance, according to CheckMarket, if you are a B2B company, it appears that the best days to send surveys to your clients are every 2 days starting on Monday, including Sunday. The best moments are in the first part of the day (until noon) and after 15:00 up to midnight.
For B2C surveys, things are very different. The only days when a long survey is welcomed are Wednesday and Friday, while short surveys are best to be sent on Tuesdays. As for the time of the day, from 18:00 to 20:59 are the recommended hours.
SurveyMonkey, on the other hand, found that Monday is the best day to inquire customers about their shopping experience. The same result was also found by Zendesk, but with small differences from the other days of the week.
The best way to find out is to try it yourself. An AB test is a good way to check a different hypothesis. Learn directly from your clients when they are willing to open and answer your satisfaction survey questions. No one can tell better than your actual customers.
Best practices to build a good survey
Set clear objectives for the survey. What do you need to learn? How will you use the customer insights?
Ask clear questions. Make sure you are as precise as possible (for example, the word “moment” can be detailed as ”hour of the day”; “how many hours” is more specific than
“how much time”)
Make it to the point. Don’t repeat things you’ve already asked, unless for a very good reason. The client’s patience is limited.
Make it easy to answer. Whenever possible, use rating scales and answer options. It will increase the response rate and also make it easier to interpret quantitative answers.
Friendly tone. Use familiar words and phrasing, so it doesn’t sound like an examination.
Test the survey. Before sending it to thousands of clients, check it first with a small sample to see if the questions are clear enough if it takes too long to answer, and if the kind of answers you get are relevant to your objectives.
How do you track customer feedback?
The short answer is to use a customer feedback tool. But then another question rises: what kind of tool?
If we’re talking about feedback coming from satisfaction surveys, survey software is preferable, as it provides not only customer satisfaction survey examples and templates but also a general analysis of the answers. Such survey tools automatically calculate satisfaction metrics (NPS, CSAT, CES), so you’ll only focus on drawing conclusions from the results.
If we refer to various types of feedback, then a more sophisticated feedback analytics software is due, one that can also analyse survey answers. Such software can track various types of feedback, from emails, online reviews, and customer service tickets, and analyse the topics or sentiments expressed across different platforms.
What is a customer feedback tool?
As we explained, a customer feedback tool is an online tool (mobile or website app) that integrates the client’s feedback from various sources (platforms).
Such a tool, like ClientZen, uses machine learning and AI to automate ticket tagging on the most often mentioned subjects, reveal the general sentiments related to the product or specific features, and many more. It is very relevant in revealing customer pain points, mainly when the company deals with hundreds of pieces of feedback from multiple sources.
What can be used for customer feedback tool?
Besides a dedicated feedback analysis tool like ClientZen, you can use several other tools to gather customer feedback.
Surveys. If you have read this far, you know already that with the right questions, surveys are a great way to understand your clients, whether you use survey software or build it yourself.
Reviews. Use a review platform (Google or Facebook reviews are very at hand) to give voice to your customers. Don’t be afraid of the low review scores. Use negative feedback to improve your product and customer experience and good ratings to endorse your brand.
Help desk platform. Customers are more inclined to give feedback when they encounter a problem, especially if there is a dedicated platform to communicate. Apart from product issues, they may offer precious positive feedback, too. If not, complaints alone are valuable feedback about what needs improving.
Website feedback widgets. These tools that allow screen recording or capture make it easy for the support team to understand the issues that are communicated. Also, tools like heat maps give important feedback about the user behaviour on the website/ app.
How do you store customer feedback?
Customer feedback is not of much use if you store it in its raw form. Depending on the tools you used to collect the feedback, you’ll have access to both the texts database, but also to the analytics and demographics.
Cloud storing is the best solution, as you can access it anytime anywhere. Survey software and feedback analytics tools offer such processed data as reports and graphs, making it easy to read and interpret.
However you decide to store the feedback – physically or cloud-based, the real question is what do you do with the customer feedback you obtained?
Use the analysis results to make improvements to the customer experience, integrate the feedback in the product roadmap, explore market opportunities, and communicate better with your clients, once you learn about their needs and behaviours.