A Guide to Creating Great Customer Satisfaction Surveys

/ 9 min read
Vrinda Singh

Customer satisfaction surveys provide you with game-changing insights and feedback that allow you to tap into your customers' psyche and boost customer experience.

Utilizing this one crucial tool can transform your business from a struggling startup into a traction-building machine full of loyal customers.

However, creating the perfect survey requires more research and thoughtful strategy than you’d initially assume. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know to create the customer satisfaction survey of your dreams.

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

Customer satisfaction surveys (also known as CSAT) are surveys sent to customers to assess their satisfaction levels with different aspects of your organization.

It may be your products, services, your approach in the market, or the level of customer service you provide—pretty much any factor your company needs to optimize.

Customer satisfaction surveys are critical for companies to gauge the opinion of new customers, potential clients, or random visitors about what they bring to the market.

The resulting insights can be analyzed and used to implement a new product or service, make changes in the company’s policies, or even completely change a company’s brand identity.

The answers will tell you what you need to implement or remove to improve customer experience, enjoy higher customer retention, and get satisfied customers.

What are the different types of customer satisfaction surveys?

Not all customer satisfaction surveys have the same goal. Some are designed to measure the satisfaction of a particular product or service. Others are to grade the performance of the company in a specific market segment.

Different types of customer satisfaction surveys fit a specific situation. Let's take a quick look at the most common types below—with templates that you can apply to your account.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score surveys

The customer satisfaction score survey, or CSAT, is one of the most popular survey methods to measure satisfaction.

CSAT is a survey that tests the customer’s satisfaction by asking a question about the relevant subject and then offering a corresponding survey scale that fits the survey goals.

The scoring scale can be a 1 to 3 scale, a 1 to 5, 1 to 10, or a different scale designed for the survey you’re conducting.

They are widely used for their simplicity and efficiency. The results are easy to read as they are numerical in a clearly defined range, so it’s easier to get an idea of what the customers think about the specific subject.

They’re also relatively simple to answer for customers, so it’s easier to get their opinion with score surveys than other, more lengthy survey methodologies.

Companies typically conduct CSAT surveys periodically to check the efficiency of their strategy, project, or the results of a change in the company’s policies.

2. Net Promoter Score surveys

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are developed from one single question: “on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend or colleague?”.

They are used to test the loyalty of your customers and the likeliness of them promoting your brand, products, or services to those around them.

Respondents in NPS surveys are asked to answer the question by selecting a rating of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not likely at all” to recommend, while 10 is “very likely” to recommend.

Respondents that give a 1 to 6 recommendation rating are called “Detractors,” those that give a 7-8 rating are called “Passives” while the ones that select a 9-10 recommendation rating are called “Promoters.”

To calculate the Net Promoter Score from the survey, the percent of Detractors is subtracted from the percent of Promoters to get a number that can range anywhere from -100 to 100.

You want to have as many 9-10 respondents as possible and a Net Promoter Score closer to 100 to have a growing pool of customers for your business.

NPS surveys are typically used by companies that want to assess customer satisfaction of their products, services, or the overall brand of the organization from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.

It gives you a snapshot of how many Detractors and Promoters you have for your business and what the Detractors would like to see improved from your follow-up questions. Leading global companies like Apple, Netflix, and Amazon use NPS surveys to assess their work.

3. Customer Effort Score surveys

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys are designed to evaluate how much effort is required for a customer to complete a specific action.

For example, if you’re a SaaS business, you might use a CES survey to assess how easy or difficult it is for new customers to complete onboarding for your platform.

To find the Customer Effort Score, you simply take the number of respondents that gave an “agree” response of 4 or 5 (very easy or easy) and divide them by the total number of respondents.

This way, you would get to a percentage of customers that agree with the statement you tested, which is your CES score. The higher your CES score, the more effortless the experience you provide is.

CES surveys are widely used to predict customer behaviour and satisfaction. It's also a measure of brand loyalty. The easier it is for someone to use your products or services, the more likely they are to recommend your brand.

💡 Tip: CES questions should be carefully designed to give the company the required benchmark to understand what they need to improve and what areas they need to work on.

How to boost your customer satisfaction with surveys

Surveys are a powerful (see: underrated) way to improve your business, and there are some strategies you can use to get the most out of them.

1. Have a clearly defined goal

To create an effective customer satisfaction survey, you first need to have a clearly defined goal.

  • What do you want to find out from this survey?
  • How will you use the information from it?
  • What will the next steps be after getting the results?

These are all critical questions you need to answer before conducting the survey. Without a clear goal, the survey will just be a waste of time and resources, so make sure you know why you’re running the study before starting.

2. Form your questions carefully

The next step is to form the survey questions, which is an essential part of creating customer satisfaction surveys. The questions need to be clear and precise, so the answers given can be analyzed.

If you’re asking broad questions, you won’t be able to use the answers to identify areas you could improve on. When you complete the questions you intend to use in the surveys, review them before sending them to your website.

A final check may reveal some flaws in the questions like typos, grammar errors, or mistakes. Sending surveys with errors makes your business look unprofessional, so respondents may not bother with answering them at all.

3. Think before sharing

If you are sending your surveys through email, decide which people you will send it to. Sometimes, sending the survey to all customers on your email list will be less effective than sending it out to customers that have bought your product/services in the last 30 days.

When sending the emails, make sure you write an enticing and short invitation. Include information on how long answering the survey would take, instructions on how to access the survey, and a call to action button to direct respondents to the online survey.

If you’re sharing your survey on social media, make sure to collect demographic data so that you can create data clusters to understand your audience better.

💡 Tip: Working in hospitality or a brick-and-mortar store? A great, low-friction way to direct customers to your survey is through a custom QR code solution. You can add these to product packaging or attach them to surfaces in-store to facilitate engagement and improve your customer experience

Questions to ask in your customer satisfaction surveys

As we mentioned in a few paragraphs, customer satisfaction survey questions have to be short, straightforward, and specific. You need to ask a variety of questions to get the most out of your survey—and your audience.

1. Demographic questions

Example of a demographic question

Demographic questions are personal questions that let you understand the background characteristics of the survey respondents.

They will help you get a better idea of the respondents’ identity and which factors and basic characteristics determine their answers and how you can offer a better product/service to them depending on their answers.

The answer to these questions in surveys can help you split your customer pool into segments based on specific characteristics. You can then tailor your marketing strategy to fit each component in your customer pool or just the segment where your target group is.

2. Open-ended questions

An example of an open-ended question

Open-ended questions are free-form questions that give the survey respondents the choice of answering them as they want in an open text format.

The answer to open-ended questions is not limited to a predefined, closed number of responses. Respondents can answer the question based on their knowledge and understanding of the subject.

The most significant advantage of open-ended questions is that you can get unbiased, honest feedback about the relevant subject directly from the customers.

3. Closed-ended questions

Example of a closed-ended question

Closed-ended survey questions are questions with a predefined, fixed number of responses the respondents can choose an answer from.

The answer choices in closed-ended questions should meet two criteria: they must be mutually exclusive, and exhaustive.

Mutually exclusive means that none of the answers shouldn’t overlap in conceptual meaning with another answer. Being exhaustive means the answer choices have to cover all logically possible answers.

Almost all surveys contain closed-ended questions as they are most fit to gather quantitative data companies can use to determine their next strategy.

Closed-ended questions are also used to obtain quantitative insights, allocate value to each answer, and make a statistical analysis of the survey findings.

4. Nominal questions

Nominal questions give numerical variables (tags or labels) in the answers that respondents can choose from. Instead of listing the actual answers, the survey lists tags or labels instead.

For instance, for the question “what is your gender?” The survey could list

  • 1 - Male
  • 2 - Female
  • 3 - Other

The tags on the answers are used purely for counting and analysis purposes. When tags and labels are assigned to different answers, it’s easier to group and analyze them compared to when the answers are textual.

Note that nominal questions aren’t necessarily close-ended questions and can also have open-ended answer options.

5. Likert scale questions

Likert scale questions are where the respondents are required to answer the extent to which they agree or disagree with the statement presented in the survey.

A good example of a Likert scale question is “How satisfied are you with our customer service?” and an offered range of answers from very dissatisfied through to very satisfied.

6. Rating scale questions

Rating scale questions, or ordinal questions, display a scale of answer options for the respondent to select. They are most commonly used to determine how likely or unlikely customers are to recommend a company’s product or service.

In these surveys, the main question is, “How likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend or colleague?” with an answer scale ranging from 1 to 10 below it. Most commonly, choosing 1 means “Not at all likely” while picking a 10 rating means “Extremely likely” to recommend.

Rating-scale questions give the survey conductors an exact numerical value of the customer’s opinion, which can be easily analyzed later to gauge their customers’ needs and opinions about the company.

Customer satisfaction survey templates you can apply right now

With Paperform's 600+ templates you can shorten your survey creation time, and build forms that work for your business without the hassle of starting from a blank slate.

Best of all, all our templates are pre-loaded with relevant questions. That means you don't have to research what questions to ask for your customer satisfaction surveys—simply apply the templates to your account and start collecting data.

Here are a few relevant customer satisfaction survey templates to get started with:

Customer Effort Score
Customer Satisfaction
Anonymous Feedback
Call Center survey
Demographic survey

Once you click on the button “Use this template”, the template will get imported into your Paperform account, and you will be able to start editing and customizing it to your needs. You can change the colors, fonts, add images, and a logo to make the surveys entirely your own.

Not yet a customer? Get started today with Paperform's 14-day free trial, no credit card required.


About the author
Vrinda Singh
Growth Manager
Vrinda is the Growth Manager at Paperform. In her spare time, she loves learning all things marketing, design & automation-related, and NOT watching reality TV. No, not at all... vrinda@paperform.co

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