The Customer Satisfaction Survey Question Guide

The Customer Satisfaction Survey Question Guide

Customer survey questions are the lifeblood of any survey pertaining to customer respondents. 

They help your business carry out research on customer satisfaction, the measurement of happiness your customers harbor for your product, experiences and overall company.

To determine your business’s level of customer satisfaction, it is apt to use the customer satisfaction survey. This survey can be configured in four survey types. There are countless kinds of questions to use for measuring customer satisfaction. 

There are 7 main types of questions to incorporate into your customer survey. There are also specialized questions your brand will benefit from inquiring. This article will cover both so you can deliver better services, experiences and products for your customers.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Formats

As you’ve learned from our previous article, customer satisfaction surveys are facilitated through 5 types of survey formats. Before we get into the weeds of the suitable questions to use in your customer survey, let’s recap these 5 crucial types of customer surveys.

  • Net Promoter Score Surveys (NPS)
      1. Asks customers how likely they would recommend your company/product on a scale of 0-10. Then you compare the percentage of detractors (0-6 answers) to promoters (9-10 answers) to see where your company stands.
      2. Assesses your brand’s appeal and uniqueness.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
      1. Measures customer satisfaction with a particular situation, by asking how satisfied they were with a product or interaction? (Uses a scale of 1-5)
      2. Unearths valuable information about a customer’s overall happiness with your product or service.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)
      1. Uses 5-point scale to gauge the ease of customers’ to complete an action. It commonly asks how easy was it to find this product on our site?” 
      2. The options range from “very difficult,” to “somewhat difficult.” Divide the number of responses in the agree range (4 and 5) by the total number of respondents.
  • Visual Rating Surveys
      1. A quick-to-conduct survey on a current experience.
      2. Uses emojis (smileys, hearts, stars, etc.) to gauge customer feedback.
  • Custom Surveys
    1. Uses targeted questions, specific to your market, product, or service to find details about customer experience (CX).
    2. Ask follow-up questions to elaborate on what respondents answered prior.

All of these survey types play a major role in gauging different aspects of customer satisfaction. As such, you should understand their unique capabilities and how they each differ from one another.

Once you have a solid understanding of them, you can find various questions within this topic and filter the questions with their corresponding survey type.  

Filtering the 7 Customer Survey Satisfaction Question Types

There are 6 main types of questions that are applicable to measuring customer satisfaction. You’ll find that some of these types of questions fit under more than one label of survey types, whereas others are only suitable for one type of survey.

Multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions place limits on the number of answers responders can give per question. Unlike open-ended questions, which require respondents to type in answers, multiple-choice questions require less labor to answer and are easier to tabulate.

Additionally, unlike open-ended questions, which can give rise to long answers, multiple-choice questions typically have shorter answers.

These questions can encompass a wide range of question styles such as nominal questions, rating scale questions, binary scale questions, Likert scale questions, and semantic differential questions.

Rating scale (ordinal) questions  

As their name implies, rating scale questions are multiple-choice questions that rely on a scale for rating an aspect of customer satisfaction. 

These can exist in two of the survey types aforementioned: in a Net Promotion (NPS) Survey or a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey.

An example of the former: Please rate the likelihood of you recommending our product to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10.

An example of the latter: Please rate how satisfied you were with your interaction with our customer support representative on a scale of 1-5. 

Binary scale questions

Binary scale questions rely on a limit of two answers per question, hence the name “binary.” These can exist simple, yes or no questions, along with questions that can be answered with graphics such as thumbs up/ thumbs down, or with happy face/ sad face emojis.

As such, these questions are used with visual rating surveys. However, they can also function within custom surveys, should there be any obscurity to previous answers in them.

That is because these questions are used to clear any ambiguity surrounding some rating scale questions. For example, the 3-star experience of one responder can be the 5-star experience of another. But were they both satisfied with the experience overall?

An example of a binary scale question: Did you find the product you were looking for on our website? Yes / No

Nominal questions

Nominal questions are naming scales, which pinpoint different categories of questions. These answers cannot be assigned a numerical value. In addition, the answers are not created to be connected in any way, unless you add an option for “all of the above.”

The answers to nominal questions have no specific order; they are meant to carry significance for variable labels only.

An example of a nominal question: Which brand of laptops from our store do you prefer?

Answers:  Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Acer, Samsung, Asos

As you can see, the order of these answers doesn’t matter, neither are they tied to any number. The significance lies in the label only; it shows researchers which brand its customers prefer.

These can be used in custom surveys or even in visual ratings surveys, if you use an emoji for each option. This can be done to test branding, with each emoji taking the form of a brand’s logo.

Likert scale questions

Likert scale questions are used in Likert scale surveys. The answers exist as a 5- or 7- point scale to determine how customers feel. The bottom number (always 1) represents the lowest extreme view, while the top number (either a 5 or 7) represents the highest extreme view. 

The numbers 3 (on a 5-point scale) and 4 (on a 7-point scale), represent the middle, aka the moderate view. 

An example of a Likert scale question:

On a scale of 1-5, how strongly do you agree with the following:

[Your product]’s had an easy to use and understand our instruction manual.

1 - Strongly disagree

2 - Somewhat disagree

3 - Neither agree nor disagree

4 - Somewhat agree

5 - Strongly agree

Semantic differential questions

Like Likert scale questions, Semantic differential questions also feature a 5- or 7-point scale. These questions, however, offer a differentiator, in that they ask for more descriptive answers. 

Instead of asking responders to either agree or disagree to a statement, semantic differential questions ask the customer to select an option that most accurately represents their opinion on a product, service or experience.  

An example of a semantic differential question:

How helpful was our interactive website experience?

1 - Not helpful at all

2 - Barely helpful

3 - Neither helpful nor unhelpful

4 - Somewhat helpful

5 - Very helpful

Open-ended questions

An open-ended question can be used to buttress virtually any of the mentioned survey types in this article. That is because these questions use an open field for customers to type out their answers.

Usually, these questions ask for clarity or elaboration on a previous multiple-choice or ratings question. These questions are best used to cut back on any ambiguity or to delve further into an issue without the need to ask multiple questions.

Since the answer is in a field that customers can type, they can express themselves more fully and add all the details present in a problem, concern or preference. 

This type of question is more difficult to process since it is longer and unique to each respondent, however, it is excellent for finding new ideas and opportunities for betterment. 

An example of an open-ended question:

Is there anything on our website we could improve for a better digital experience? If so, what is it?

More Examples of Specific Questions for Customer Satisfaction

The above was designed so that you can become fully acquainted with the main question types in customer satisfaction surveys. 

But with so many questions out there in relation to customer satisfaction, it may be confusing to tie specific ones to a question type, let alone a survey type. Here are a few more examples of specific questions you may potentially use for your customer feedback survey.

  1. How would you rate the interaction you had with our salesman, on a scale of 1-5?
    1. Question type: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  2. Can you rate how likely you are to recommend our brand to a friend or family member on a scale of 0-10?
    1. Question type: NPS survey question
  3. How easy was it to solve your issue with us? (Select from 1-5)
    1. Question type: Customer Effort Score (CES)
  4. Why did you feel you had an overwhelmingly positive experience? (multiple-choice)
    1. Question type: Custom question
  5. How can we improve this product? Please provide all the feedback you can.
    1. Question type: Open-ended

Excelling in the Customer Satisfaction Front

Customer satisfaction can be a tough nut to crack, even when you build a seemingly perfect customer survey. To put insult to injury, customer satisfaction surveys have low response rates, as they hover between 10-30%.

You should remember that these surveys should only be sent to customers, ie, the portion of your target market that has made purchases. 

Also, keep in mind that in some cases, you may combine all survey questions and even all survey types into one survey, so long as it is relevant to your case.

Make sure each survey you create to study customer satisfaction is centered around topics relevant to your customers’ recent purchases and experiences. Apply best practices and you’ll improve the low response rate in no time. 


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.