June 14, 2022

The Different Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

One of the best ways to truly measure customer satisfaction and deliver better experiences is through the distribution of various types of customer satisfaction surveys. 

In order to truly demonstrate your company’s commitment to customers, you have to be able to understand them first — their thoughts and feelings, their wants, needs, opinions, and expectations. You also have to be able to understand and measure the kind of customer experience you’re delivering — so that you can gain the insights essential to fostering improvement and showing genuine customer love. 

A customer satisfaction survey can help you learn what you need to know and more. It’s a great tool for collecting valuable feedback and information — directly from customers — about the experiences that they have with your business.

Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

What are the different types of customer satisfaction surveys you can use? In this blog post, we’ll examine the options most commonly used by business organizations today, how they vary from each other, and what types of customer satisfaction metrics you can track or calculate using these surveys.

Before we dive in, keep in mind these quick pointers in order to get valuable results from your surveys.

  • Keep it short. As a rule of thumb, keep the survey to 10 questions or less so that it takes no more than 10 minutes to complete.
  • Ask questions that will capture useful information. Decide what you want to know and why you want to know it, so you will get actionable information from your customer satisfaction survey. 
  • Use open-ended questions. Limiting your survey to multiple-choice questions may limit your customer’s ability to give you a comprehensive review. Open-ended questions provide opportunities for customers to truly express their feelings.

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Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score Survey

The Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score survey attempts to capture how satisfied customers are with a company’s goods and services.

A survey asks a customer to rate their satisfaction, typically on a scale from 1 to 5. ​The standard question is usually, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our company or business?”​ 

Sometimes, instead of numerical scales, emojis (smileys, frowns) are used to overcome any language barrier. Even though approaches vary, the standard way to measure CSAT scores is to express customers’ responses as a percentage between 0 to 100 percent, with higher percentage scores corresponding to higher customer satisfaction levels.

As one of the most popular and commonly used types of customer satisfaction surveys, the CSAT method lets companies track customer happiness with their products and services using a single number: part of the reason why it is so appealing to leadership and investor teams.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey is one that many organizations are using in order to measure customer loyalty. First introduced by Frederick Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article, this type of customer satisfaction survey consists of one main question:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company, product, or service to a friend or colleague?”

Based on their response to the question, you’ll quickly be able to categorize customers into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. 

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts and satisfied customers who will help fuel your business growth by buying regularly and referring other customers to your business (through word-of-mouth marketing).
  • Passives (score 7-8) are also satisfied customers, but their lack of enthusiasm may render them vulnerable to offerings from the competition. 
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are dissatisfied, unhappy customers who may impede your growth and spread negative word of mouth about your business.

To calculate your Net Promoter Score and use it as one of your customer satisfaction metrics, all you have to do is subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

Related reading: How Your Company Can Use NPS to Drive Reviews

Customer Effort Score (CES) Survey

The Customer Effort Score (CES) survey measures how much effort customers have put into their experiences or interactions with your company. 

Usually, the questions are phrased as “Did the company make it easy for you to handle your issue?, or “How much effort did you have to make for your issue to be resolved?”

As one of the most popular types of customer satisfaction surveys, the CES methodology usually lets respondents choose from a 5- or 7-point scale. Scores are calculated simply by averaging the collected responses.

Surveys Designed for Online Reviews

Another increasingly common type of customer satisfaction survey is one designed to help companies generate much-needed social proof through online reviews

These are typically distributed through channels where customers are most likely to respond: SMS, email, business review sites, and custom branded landing pages. Oftentimes, the survey includes links to a company’s review website profiles, making it easy for respondents to share their feedback and leave a review.

The Key to Customer Satisfaction Surveys is Follow-up

Customer-focused organizations know that understanding the customer is key to driving business growth. This is why it’s important to take the guesswork out of your strategy and take time to get into customers’ heads. Instead of making assumptions about how customers feel, ask them. 

The multiple types of customer satisfaction surveys should be able to provide your team with direct feedback, straight from the customer’s mouth (or keyboard), which will go far in developing your brand, reaching your sales goals, and improving customer satisfaction levels.

Once you get your responses, your company should run a survey report and analyze the data. Follow up with any unhappy customers and treat their survey comments much like you would a negative online review: try to find a solution that will make the customer happy.

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