Discover what your customers think about your business, goods and services with our guide to creating a customer survey and the questions to include.
The main goal for any start up isn’t just about increasing revenue. Your true goal should be about creating happy customers. This is the heart of your offering that will in turn grow your business and your revenue. Ensuring that customers are satisfied with your products or services and enjoy buying from and interacting with you is essential to your bottom line and business viability.
Not only will satisfied customers return and buy more, they’re likely to recommend your business to others too – and may even be happy to pay more for doing business with a trusted supplier.
Measuring customer satisfaction accurately isn’t easy and a large industry has sprung up dedicated to the subject, with lots of confusing jargon about the best approach to take. There are lots of strategies for measuring customer satisfaction.
A customer satisfaction survey is a popular way to assess customer happiness. Consisting of questions that ask your customers how satisfied they are with your business, it’s an invaluable tool in helping you improve your products and services, and retain customers.
A survey is cheap and easy to create. You can carry out the survey in person or ask customers to fill in a survey in store, online, in the post or via email.
Watch this: Never written a customer satisfaction survey? Howcast has a free video that gives an overview of the types of questions you should include in a survey and why you should include them:
Uses of customer satisfaction surveys
Businesses can use customer satisfaction surveys to gain feedback in number of ways:
- Product or service satisfaction – Customers who have recently purchased from your company can be surveyed to find out if the product/service bought met expectations. How satisfied were they with the quality, price and selection of products? How do your products compare to those of competitors?
- Customer experience – How satisfied were customers with their recent buying experience? Did they find what they wanted easily? Was the service they received exceptional or a disappointment? What are the areas that could be improved?
- Customer retention – Actively listening to your customers and acting on their suggestions transforms them into invaluable advocates for your company.
Customer satisfaction surveys can also be used for product development by identifying what your customers want but can’t find, as well as for market research, customer communications and staff engagement.
Planning a customer satisfaction survey
First, decide what you want your customer survey to achieve. Do you need feedback on a specific product or a newly launched website? Do you want to understand why customer retention rates are low? Establishing the goal of your survey and the information you’d like to collect will help you to choose the right survey questions.
Another important consideration is who will receive the survey. By identifying your target audience you can create a survey that uses the appropriate questions, language and definitions.
Make sure that your survey questions are clear, written in plain English, and are easy to understand. Your aim is to get the best, most considered answer from a customer completing the survey. Survey questions that are ambiguous, long-winded or confusing mean a customer might not be sure of their answer. They’ll either skip the question or give a quick answer without too much thought so they can move onto the next question.
Learn more about what makes good customer service and boost your customer satisfaction.
Popular customer satisfaction survey questions
Here are the most commonly used question types in customer satisfaction surveys.
- Multiple choice questions – Here you ask respondents to select one or more options from a list of given answers. Use multiple choice questions when you’ve a fixed number of options and want a clear picture of what type of option most people choose. Think of it as a show of hands by customers.
- Rating scales – Respondents are asked to select a single rating as an answer to your question along a scale of possible choices such as ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Strongly disagree.’ Most customer surveys use a Likert scale to measure either positive or negative response to a statement. Experts recommend using a scale 5 or 7 response choices.
- Comment box question – Open-ended questions require respondents to type their answer into a comment box. Useful for getting feedback on complex issues, they allow customers to write about issues they want you know in as much detail as they like. However, busy customers keen to complete a survey often stick to a few words when answering comment box questions. This can make it hard to decipher what they mean. Encourage them to write a few sentences to get more meaningful responses.
- Demographic questions – Useful if you need information about respondents such as their gender, age or income level. Be careful how you ask demographic questions. For questions that together can identify the participant, such as address, age, gender, postcode or race, you’ll need to give the option to not answer and ensure you adhere to all relevant data protection and data capture laws.
Watch this: Need help understanding customer survey rating scales? SurveyMonkey has a helpful guide to writing rating scales – including examples of good and bad rating scales – in its free video:
Top questions to include in your survey
You can create a customer survey using software such as Microsoft Word and print out surveys for people to fill in, or send customers an email with the questions, or create an online survey for people to answer.
Whatever route you choose, setting up the survey is the simple part. Deciding the questions to include is harder and will depend on your goals and the type of information you wish to collect.
General satisfaction questions
Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our company?
o Very satisfied
o Somewhat satisfied
o Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
o Somewhat dissatisfied
o Very dissatisfied
This multiple-choice question lets you generate a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – a common metric that shows how satisfied your customers are. Tally up the responses for each of the options and see which has the most votes.
For example, if most respondents replied with ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ then you’d need to focus some more effort on improving satisfaction.
How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?
Not Likely to Very likely
Scale: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
This rating scale question generates a Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a popular metric to measure customer loyalty. This is a basic version, but add up all the response scores and divide by the number of respondents. For example, if 10 customers responded and the total score was 77, the average would be 7.7/10 – which is a pretty good satisfaction score.
Use the two questions above on a regular basis so you can measure if customer satisfaction is improving or declining as your business develops.
Customer usage questions
These questions get into a bit more detail about the usage habits of your customers and their opinion for a few key measures. Use them to help understand why they’re scoring the general customer satisfaction questions above.
How long have you used our product/service?
o Once per week or more
o 2 to 3 time per month
o Once per month
o Less than once per month
How well do our products/services meet your needs?
o Extremely well
o Very well
o Somewhat well
o Not so well
o Not at all well
How would you rate the quality of the product?
o Very high quality
o High quality
o Neither high nor low quality
o Low quality
o Very low quality
How would you rate the value for money of the product?
o Above average
o Below average
Would you purchase our product/service again?
o Extremely likely
o Very likely
o Somewhat likely
o Not so likely
o Not at all likely
Considering your recent experience with [company], how was the quality of customer service you received?
o Very satisfactory
o Somewhat unsatisfactory
o Very poor
How responsive have we been to your questions or concerns about our products?
o Extremely responsive
o Very responsive
o Somewhat responsive
o Not so responsive
o Not at all responsive
o Not applicable
Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
This open-ended question lets you gather qualitative data on customer likes and dislikes. It can also help you spot areas of customer complaint, praise, or interest that you might not be aware of.
Customer demographics questions
Knowing more details about your customers can help you better target your marketing. You may suspect that many of your customers are older for example, but by finding out for sure you can carry out further research – such as what media they read or watch – so you know where to advertise.
What is your gender?
o Prefer not to answer
How old are you?
o Under 18
o 64 or over
o Prefer not to answer
What is your current marital status?
o Married without children
o Married with children
o Living with partner
o Prefer not to answer
Which of the following categories best describes your target customer’s employment status? (Please check all that apply)
o Employed, working 1-39 hours per week
o Employed, working 40 or more hours per week
o Not employed, looking for work
o Not employed, NOT looking for work
o Self employed
o Disabled, not able to work
o Prefer not to answer