Diving Into the Customer Satisfaction Survey

Diving Into the Customer Satisfaction Survey

Customer satisfaction. This lofty achievement is often, if not always, the main objective for businesses small and large. 

It goes without saying that this concept is attributed to revenue, continued purchases, customer loyalty and brand awareness (via reviews and mentions by happy customers).

So how can your business accomplish customer satisfaction? By putting the customer satisfaction survey into practice. 

This survey is specifically tailored to gauge customer satisfaction within your niche, and most importantly, within your company. This article will explore this survey type and how you can optimize it for all your business needs, including market research, marketing and more. 

Defining Customer Satisfaction

This term appears to be self-evident, but for business purposes, it is best to understand it precisely before you venture out on any efforts to perfect it — or if you’re a startup — reach it. 

Customer satisfaction denotes the measurement that ascertains the degree to which customers are satisfied with a company’s products, services and experiences. In short, it reveals whether your customers are happy with your offering and by how much. 

Your business can determine its own levels of customer satisfaction with the customer satisfaction survey.

The Customer Satisfaction Survey & its Applications

As its name implies, a customer satisfaction survey is a survey developed for businesses to understand what their customers think about their products, services and company at large.

As such, this kind of survey can cover all the bases of customer satisfaction, such as user experience, mobile experience, customer support and all the other facets of doing business/ interacting with your company. 

The customer satisfaction survey can take the form of a questionnaire, or a ratings-based survey (think numerical values, stars and other icons used to express good or poor satisfaction). 

This kind of survey can be used in a number of different campaigns, based on their macro applications. These include:

These applications may seem too broad to be used for uncovering customer satisfaction alone — and they are. These macro applications serve as the starting points of survey research, which in turn can be used to buttress them. The same applies to a customer satisfaction survey, which can be used in relation to these campaigns.

For example, you can test how satisfied customers are with a product, as it relates to an advertising campaign around it. 

Or, perhaps you need to test your customer support satisfaction for branding. You may conduct a survey that asks about specific wording your representatives may have used.

There are several ways to form a customer satisfaction survey.

5 Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

You can design these surveys in a number of ways, but there are five main types of formats that these surveys take. Each survey type provides a different kind of angle into customer satisfaction. As such, they should be used at different points in the customer journey.  

Net Promoter Score Surveys (NPS)

Conceived in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, of Bain & Company, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey has become prominent across industries. This score-based survey asks customers to rate the likelihood of their recommending your business, on a scale of 0-10. 

The respondents who ranked their likelihood between 0-6 are known as the detractors, those who are generally unhappy with your product, service or experience. 

Those who respond in the 7-8 range are called passives, as they are not impressed with your company, but aren’t dissatisfied either. They are situated in the middle of this score, despite their numbers going slightly past the mid-section.

Respondents in the 9-10 range are the most ideal, as they represent the promoters of your business; they are on the higher end of satisfaction.

To calculate your NPS, subtract the percent of detractors away from the percent of promoters. For example, if 60% of responses were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your Net Promoter Score would be 45. (The NPS is expressed as a digit, not a percentage.

Pro tip: Always add a follow-up open-ended question, so that your customers can explain why they selected their rating. 

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The CSAT represents a customer’s fulfillment in a particular situation. This is where you can apply this survey to a wide range of applications. For example, you can assess customer happiness during an interaction with a salesperson or with a product feature.

The Customer Satisfaction Score is made up of two parts: a numerically-based question and an open-ended question. The numerically-based question is a scale representing satisfaction.

The CSAT can ask, for example, to rate satisfaction with an experience from a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied to 5 (very satisfied). 

To calculate the CSAT, use the following formula: The total number of satisfied responses / total number of responses) x 100. Round the result to the nearest whole number.

Respondents who answer this with either 4 or 5 are considered to be satisfied customers.

Pro tip: Use the CSAT to understand your customer sentiment at a specific point in time. This includes after a product demo, after a technical support call, after visiting a service center or store. 

Customer Effort Score (CES)

This type of survey measures the amount of effort that was required for a customer to take part in an action. This survey focuses solely on the process of achieving an end result. Also called the effort, measuring the process determines how easy or difficult the flow is in your product/service. 

As such, even if the result may be enjoyable to the customer, the process itself may not be.

This service is important, as brands today must provide quality experiences; the product or service alone is not enough. To fully satisfy customers, brands must make it smooth and easy to complete any process, whether it’s signing up for a subscription or ordering a product.

To calculate the CES, use a 5-point scale to gauge the ease of the customers’ actions. For example, it is common to ask: “how easy was it to find this product on our site?” The options should range from “very difficult,” to “somewhat difficult,” to “somewhat easy” and so on.

The answers on the “disagree” side of the spectrum would be number 1 and 2. 3 would be neutral, while 4 and 5 would be on the “agree” side. The CES is centered around the “agree” answers.

As such, to find the CES add all the “agree” answers (either 4 or 5), then divide them by the total number of respondents. 

For example, if 100 customers replied with a 4 or 5, but there are 200 of them who took the survey, 50% of them are in the “agree” range. That means your CES score is 50. Brands ought to aim for high CES scores, as it points to customers happy in achieving an intended outcome.

Visual Rating Surveys

Also called emoji surveys, visual rating surveys allow customers to respond with graphic, rather than with a number. All the choices they can select are composed of a graphic and there are various ones you can use.

Each answer shows a different amount of each graphic to express the level of satisfaction. For example, a question on how satisfied customers are with a service can range from 1 to 5 stars or other emojis. 

Here are a few examples of the types of visual rating surveys:

  • Star surveys
  • Heart surveys
  • Thumbs up/down surveys
  • Smiley surveys

These kinds of surveys are visually appealing, easy to complete and take little to no time to finish.

Custom Surveys

Best used to understand how and why customer satisfaction was exceeded, met or failed to reach expectations, these surveys are often used as follow-ups to previous surveys.

Custom surveys include questions that delve further into customer satisfaction to discover specifics that other surveys could not make readily available.

To piggyback on previous surveys or previous responses, you can ask follow-up questions by way of advanced skip logic. This will automatically direct your respondents to different question paths, depending on the answers they provided. 

You should organize your custom survey feedback into three segments: fix now, fix later and fine as is. This will allow you to see which issues and experiences are the most pressing and which can be amended later. 

6 Types of Questions to Use in a Customer Satisfaction Survey

The types of questions you use will largely depend on the kind of survey type you implement into your customer satisfaction campaign. 

However, since they all fall under the same research campaign and measure virtually the same thing, there is going to be a lot of overlap between the questions you use for each survey type.

The following lays out the 6 question types to use for measuring customer satisfaction.

  1. Multiple-choice questions: limit the number of answers a respondent can use. Little effort is required to answer (as opposed to open-ended questions). 
    1. They can include rating scale questions, binary scale questions, nominal questions, Likert scale questions, and semantic differential questions.
  2. Rating scale questions: use multiple-choice questions that correspond to a scale, such as the CSAT, for customer support, or the probability of product recommendation (NPS)
    1. These are also called ordinal questions.
  3. Binary scale questions: Allow for only two answers, such as yes or no, or a thumbs up or down.
    1. These are used to cut back on obscure results.
      An example of a binary scale question

       

  4. Nominal questions: Use different categories of answers with no numbers attached.
  5. Likert scale questions: Questions on a 5-7-point scale to assess customer sentiment.
    1. 1 represents the lowest end of the view (strongly disagree) while 7 is at the highest end of the opinion (strongly agree)
  6. Semantic differential questions: Uses a 5-7-point scale, but goes beyond agreeing and disagreeing. 

Using this Survey to Lure in New Customers

Unlike other surveys, which are used to scrutinize your target market, identify it or segment it further, the customer satisfaction survey deals solely with customers, ie, the segment that has already bought from you.

Not everyone in your target market is a customer, as this group denotes the people most likely to buy from you — not the people who already made a purchase. 

Customers are every bit as important to study as prospects, as they help you discover what your company exceeds at and where there’s room for improvement. Measuring customer satisfaction will inform your business on how to better prepare your service, experiences and offerings for everyone in your target market.

As such, you’ll know how to better lure in new customers and upkeep their satisfaction. But most importantly, a customer satisfaction survey helps bridge the gap between one-time purchasers and loyal customers. Retaining your customers is key to keeping your business afloat, as they represent a continuous stream of revenue and revenue opportunities.