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How to Craft the Perfect Customer Satisfaction Survey





Let’s start with the most basic question…What exactly is a Customer Satisfaction Survey?

While they can come in many different forms, customer satisfaction surveys are used to gauge how your customers feel about your company or reveal details about an experience with your company. This knowledge is crucial and knowing how your customers feel about your product, services, and team is imperative to understanding how to grow as a company and improve customer experiences.

Why Conduct Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

If you don’t allow your customers a place to complain, you risk them doing so to all their friends, family, or anyone who will listen. And this negative feedback can break a business. It’s been said that angry customers will tell 9 of their friends about their bad experience. Regardless of the specific number, you know that you’re much more likely to talk about a frustrating experience than a mildly positive one.

How do you Create a Successful Customer Satisfaction Survey?

There are several different styles of questions that can be asked on a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The first type is a simple Yes/No distinction:

  1. Was your experience satisfying?
  2. Did our product meet expectations?
  3. Did this article provide the answer you were seeking?
  4. Did you find what you were looking for?

The benefit of this is its simplicity. Most customers will only spend a few minutes filling out a survey so you want to gather as much information as you can before they lose interest and abandon ship.

Scale Questions

While Yes/No questions are easiest and quickest to answer, they do not provide the meaty responses that tell you how customers really feel. Almost all popular satisfaction surveys are based on scale questions.

Ask a question like “How satisfied are you with your experience?” and provide a scale. The survey scale could be comprised of numbers or you could use labels, such as “strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree.”



There are many pros to using scale questions.

  • It’s pretty standard and your customers will completely understand what to do when presented with the question.
  • You can very easily segment your data to make decisions based on individual survey responses.
Open-Ended Questions

While scale questions are important, they still don’t allow for qualitative insights. In other words, they don’t get at the “why” of an experience, only the “what.”

Open ended questions allow customers to speak freely about a product or experience and allow you to gain more feedback regarding what needs improving or what is working well.

Some examples include:

  • What do you like most about our new product?
  • What changes would most improve our new product?
  • What other products would you like to see in our store?
  • Would you recommend our products to a friend/family           member?
  • Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Following Up on Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Now that you’ve got insights on your customer satisfaction levels, what do you do with the data?

Follow up with survey respondents. The most important and oftentimes most-ignored step in a successful customer satisfaction survey campaign is contacting the valuable customers that complete your satisfaction survey. Making sure your team acknowledges and thanks anyone that completed the survey is critical to ensuring that customers will continue to provide you feedback — because it’s about building trust and showing them value.

You can’t always change your methods or practices to please all customer feedback, but you can address every piece of feedback that comes through in some way. Providing a response, even if what the customer is requesting is not something you will do, is always better than no response at all.

One of the biggest mistakes is putting all that effort into data collection and analysis, and then not acting on it. We collect data to make informed decisions in order to grow our business.

Ready to get the ball rolling? Start with a simple survey and ask customers how their experience was.


“Have The Courage To Start With The Customer”


This was the one piece of advice Groupon’s ex-CEO shared with his staff in his resignation to his employees last week. The full quote of the memo reads:


“If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.”


This can be true for employees too – don’t let the numbers get the best of you, your employees, or your customers. It’s a no win situation.


This quote led me to thinking about experiences others have shared in the workplace that speak to this very quote. These are instances in which data seems to be overriding what is in the best interest of customers and employees:


1. One retail chain sent a memo to its staff saying that it’s taking them too long to clock out once their shift is over. The “policy” is that all employees clock out within 5 minutes of leaving their register – data shows it is taking an average of 5 minutes, 30 seconds. Management stated the employees would be watched to make sure the 30 seconds is shaved off their timings. Never mind that the time clock is in the very back of the store, and employees are required to put away returns once they are off the register before they can leave.


2. I was a customer in a store recently and stopped an employee walking by to ask for help. The employee said, “I’m so sorry I can’t help you. I’m getting back from lunch and not on the clock. I can get in trouble if they see me helping you off the clock.” What? I can see the logic, but again, it would take two seconds for the employee to answer my question. As a customer, this not only sends the message to me that employees can’t help me if they’re not “on the clock” but it also made me wonder what kind of environment the employees are working in.


3. A grocery chain employee shared that their location keeps registered understaffed to keep “numbers down.” As a result, customer complaints have risen and long lines ensued. Staff and customers shared this insight with management, but it fell on deaf ears. Meeting numbers was more important than customer satisfaction.


4. An employee with a company truck recently shared a story of how the company has installed GPS systems on each company owned vehicle to track driving time, etc. Definitely a good concept to ensure that staff are where they are supposed to be, not using the company vehicle for excessive personal purposes, and the like, but imagine the employee’s surprise when he received an angry call from the boss about an “unexplained deviation” from his route.


He was working near his child’s school when they called to say she was running a high fever and needed to go home. His wife was at work an hour away and could not leave to pick the child up. He alerted his supervisor that he would be stopping to pick his child up and take her home, which was all in close proximity to the job site. This was approved, but the boss didn’t see eye to eye with this and offered a lecture on personal use of the vehicle. While definitely understood, this was an extreme case by an employee who has never once broken this rule and did ask for permission beforehand. The boss explained that they need to keep “with the numbers” on vehicle use and expenditures, and he was written up for his “deviant behavior.”


All of these examples show that data is overriding decisions that are in the best interest for the employees and customers. Times are tough, no doubt, and everyone is trying to do as much as possible with as little as possible, but at what cost?




Customer Service Statistics


Customer service and customer experience are two buzz phrases used frequently in the business world – companies are trying hard to make sure customers are satisfied and continue to return. But, how are we doing?


I came across an interesting Slideshare presentation that includes 75 customer service facts and quotes. I’ve shared it below, but wanted to highlight some of the more interesting figures:


Of your dissatisfied customers, you will only hear from 4% of them. The other 96% don’t complain, and 91% of them just won’t come back. Customer feedback can be hard to obtain – people don’t always want to share feedback or take time to fill out a survey. There are others who think that they shouldn’t “waste their time” giving feedback because a company won’t do anything about it.


What you can do: make sure feedback options are plentiful. Offer multiple ways to offer feedback so customers are more inclined to do so. Try a more “in the moment” feedback option, such as a Feedbox program. When you do hear negative feedback, be sure to address it publicly to let customers know you care and will do something to make the next experience better.


70% of customers will do business with you again if you address their complaints. Listening to customers and trying to “make it right” with them can pay off big time in the long run. You can reduce that 91% statistic above if you take the time to resolve customer conflicts and dissatisfaction.


80% of businesses feel they provide superior customer service, while only 8% of their customers think they do. That number is staggering; if you are seeing this disconnect in numbers, it’s time to investigate why customers do not feel you are providing the service you think you do.


75% of consumers feel it takes too long to reach a live person on the phone. With phone tree hell and voice activated prompts, customers can easily get frustrated. Use an objective method to evaluate the process by which customers are assisted on the phone. Incorporate subjective feedback into the process to make sure your customers are heard. There could be some easy fixes to make the phone experience more efficient and pleasant for your customers.


Take a look at the other statistics and quotes, and use it as a discussion point within your company. How do you perceive your customer service levels? How does your customer perceive them? If you haven’t done research in some time to learn what your customer and employees are thinking, you may want to invest in programs to measure the experience from all angles to make sure you’re doing all you can to provide excellent customer service.