How to improve customer satisfaction with surveys

Today, measuring client satisfaction and correcting mistakes are not an option for a business, but an absolute must. Competition becomes fiercer, so you have to clearly understand your advantages and eliminate shortcomings. Moreover, it is crucial not only to corporate giants, but also to medium and small companies.

Why use customer satisfaction survey

Companies use surveys to understand how clients perceive their product and what problems they face when using it.

Regular surveys also demonstrate that the brand values its clients’ opinion. The research has shown that 77% of the polled are more loyal to brands that regularly ask for feedback.

Surveys can reveal growth areas of the business. You can learn why many people refuse to buy your products, and reduce the outflow of clients to competitors.

Surveys contribute to building long-lasting relationships with clients. You can gradually form brand loyalty by informing your clients about new products and services, asking for their opinion on the company’s work, demonstrating your achievements and plans, etc.

Surveys can reduce negative feedback rates. On average, a company needs 40 positive reviews to compensate for one very negative review. If a client has had unpleasant experience of dealing with the brand, they are more than likely to share their feelings with someone in person or on social media. If you ask what has happened on your own initiative and express a sincere intention to find a solution, the client will be more likely to give you a second chance.

Read How to create a survey

How to measure customer satisfaction using different types of customer experience survey


Net Promoter Score (NPS) shows clients’ readiness to recommend the product to friends and acquaintances and buy it again. To calculate NPS, brands ask respondents: “How likely are you to recommend the product to others?” They give a score on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “I will never recommend it”, and 10 is “I will definitely recommend it”.

Based on the results, consumers are divided into three groups: promoters (a score of 9–10), passives (7–8), and detractors (0–6). The final NPS is calculated by the formula: NPS = (number of promoters – number of detractors) / number of respondents * 100.


Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) shows to what extent the client liked interacting with the company. To calculate it, brands ask respondents: “Are you satisfied with the provided service?” Possible answers range from 1, which is “unsatisfied”, to 5, which is “satisfied”. The final CSAT is calculated by the formula: CSAT = (number of those who gave 6+ points) / (total number of respondents) * 100.


Customer Effort Score (CES) shows how much effort a client has to exert to get an issue resolved. To calculate it, brands ask respondents to rate the ease with which they resolved their issues using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “quite easy”, and 5 is “pretty hard”. A way to measure CES is to calculate the average score (sum of all scores / total number of respondents * 100).

How measuring customer satisfaction helps businesses

Many successful companies measure NPS on a regular basis and use the results to improve their work. This way Apple, Virgin Media, Lego, Mercedes Benz, eBay, Walmart, Dell, Amazon, Harley-Davidson and others manage to maintain NPS at 75%.

Four Seasons hotel chain conducted major research. Over the course of a year, it received questionnaires from 20 thousand guests at 93 locations around the world. A detailed questionnaire helped track the entire guest experience – from checking in to leaving the hotel – and reveal even minor flaws. As a result, NPS rose by 7 points.

Satisfaction surveys not only show the company’s current situation, but also highlight problems that clients face. For example, Slack (a popular messenger) management conducted a major survey among its users and obtained interesting results. Turned out that in most cases users want basic functions to work smoothly rather than get additional options.

What types of questions to ask in a customer satisfaction survey

Binary questions in a customer satisfaction survey

A binary question requires only one of two answers: yes or no. Such a question is the easiest one for the respondent, so it can be seamlessly integrated into the customer experience. For example, right after the client’s payment on the website, the company can ask whether they have been able to pay for the product on the first try. A high share of negative answers will highlight a problem to be thoroughly investigated.

Here are some examples of binary questions:

Did the consultant help you resolve the issue?

Did you find the answer to your question?

Was this article useful?

Rating scale questions in a customer satisfaction survey

As opposed to binary questions, rating scale questions allow a more detailed assessment. A scale can have 3 to 10 points. If you use a single scale for all questions, you can compare average scores against each other and over time. To make a questionnaire form visually attractive, you can replace the scale points with stars, color gradient, sole-colored or multicolored emojis.

Here are some examples of rating scale questions:

How much are you satisfied with the issue resolution?

How much are you satisfied with the product range in Category X?

Please rate the delivery service on a scale of 1 to 10.

Likert scale questions

With the Likert scale, we ask respondents to rate how much they agree (or disagree) with a statement on a scale of 1 to 5 (or 7). The first and last points of the scale are polar points of view: for example, “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”. The company uses judgments on its performance aspects as statements for a client to rate.

  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

Here are some examples of the Likert scale:

How much do you agree with the following statements:

The product page has all necessary information on the product

The desired product is always in stock

The products are sold at a reasonable price

The product is delivered within a reasonable time period

Delivery persons bring the product on the agreed time

Open-ended questions

An open-ended question gives a respondent the chance to freely express their opinion. As a result, you can learn previously unknown problems that consumers face regularly. Using this type of questions, you can formulate new hypotheses for further examination. You can ask an open-ended question independently or to clarify the answer to the previous question.

Here are some examples of open questions:

How can we improve your experience with the company?

What did you like the least/most?

What do we need to improve before anything else?

Read How to create good questions for a questionnaire

Types of questions to ask in customer satisfaction survey

Product and usage survey questions

Today, as consumers daily choose between a lot of alternatives, the manufacturer must anticipate clients’ needs to meet the cut. Continuous research becomes an instrument that helps the company to learn the needs of its audience.

Here are some examples of product usage questions:

What functions of the service do you value most?

If you could add one new function, what would it be?

Please specify your favorite service tool.

Demographic Questions

When modifying a product, marketing specialists focus on the group of consumers with specific characteristics who are the most likely to make a purchase. The profile of the target audience dictates a style and channels of communication, sales tactics, and a customer service format. The better the company knows its clients, the more in-demand products and services it can offer to them.

It’s no good asking a respondent about their age, marital status, or income right from the start. Such questions at the very beginning of a questionnaire may put the respondent on guard and deter them. Therefore, the general rule is to place personal questions at the end of the survey, when the respondent has answered to most questions and feels like finishing the survey. When asking the respondent about their personal life, stick to neutral wordings and add an option “Don’t want to answer”.

Here are some examples of demographic questions:

Please indicate your gender.

Please indicate your age.

Please indicate your marital status.

Psychographic survey questions

Psychographic questions are used to explore consumers’ living habits, values and interests. They reflect the goals and motives behind the purchase. They are aimed at finding the reason for the client’s behavior rather than at describing the client’s portrait.

Here are some examples of psychographic questions:

Do you shop more often online or offline?

How much time do you spend on social media X?

What makes it difficult to solve issue X?

Satisfaction category questions

If a company wants clients to come back time and again, it should continuously control and raise clients’ satisfaction with the product. The satisfaction with purchase consists of various aspects: from the sales assistant’s attitude to available parking spaces.

Here are some questions to rate satisfaction:

How likely are you to recommend our product to your friends and acquaintances?

How much are you satisfied with the issue resolution?

How likely are you to come back to purchase something again?

Action / follow-up questions

Add clarifying questions to make the respondent elaborate on the previous question. Survey builders make it possible to set a follow-up question depending on the respondent’s previously given answer. For example, first you ask the client to rate their satisfaction with the product, and then you ask those who have given low score what needs to be improved before anything else.

How to improve customer satisfaction

  1. Ask for feedback at each point of contact with the client
  2. Measure clients’ satisfaction regularly
  3. Respond to negative feedback
  4. Be proactive and show your willingness to help the client
  5. Adopt a case-by-case approach when dealing with clients
  6. Provide clients with omnichannel support

Ask for feedback at each point of contact with the client

In business, feedback is a hint on what works well and what requires some improvement. It helps gear the product for clients’ changing needs, retain loyal clients and attract new ones.

Collect feedback hot on the trail. Now online services for surveys offer various options to collect answers: you can insert a questionnaire as a separate block or a widget on the website, use email and SMS mailings, QR code, etc. This way you can ask for feedback right after the client has completed an action: made a payment, canceled a subscription, read a blog article, etc.

Website home page

The home page is a right place to explore users’ needs. Ask them how they learned about the product, what issues they want to resolve, if they managed to find something they were searching for. You can also conduct express usability testing: ask users to rate their satisfaction with the website interface as a whole and its specific elements (navigating, design, search filters).

As for complicated B2B-services, a questionnaire on the home page can become a tool for onboarding new users. Thus, you will manage to quickly scan requirements, choose a solution based on the client’s demand, and raise users’ satisfaction with the website.

Product catalog page

On the catalog page, you can ask users how much they are satisfied with the product range and quality-to-price ratio, what products or additional services you are lacking.

Payment confirmation page

Set up survey emailing right after the client’s payment on the website to get feedback on their satisfaction with the product range, delivery terms, payment process, etc. When reaching out to those who have already made a purchase, you can also test your hypotheses for the relevance of new products and additional services.

QR code on the package or receipt

Add the option to open the questionnaire using a QR code on the package or in the receipt. Thus, the client will be able to highlight challenges they faced when using the product. This way you will give the customer an opportunity to directly express their dissatisfaction and reduce the likelihood that they will leave angry review on your website or in social media.

Measure clients’ satisfaction regularly

As research shows, in the course of one year, a business can lose from 10 to 30% of unsatisfied clients. Moreover, they not just turn to your competitors but also share their negative experience with their friends and acquaintances. By comparison, satisfied clients regularly make purchases themselves and recommend the product to people around them. That way, the company saves the advertising budget to attract new clients.

Clients’ satisfaction is part of key metrics that contributes to improving the product. It shows if the product fully meets the client’s demand. The easiest way to measure clients’ satisfaction is using online surveys.

Respond to negative feedback

People hardly ever share their impressions of something they liked right away. That is why you should encourage clients to provide feedback. Positive reviews can be used as content on the website or the company’s profiles on external platforms.

But should you do with negative feedback?

If handled properly, negative feedback can become an instrument for business growth. The key is to sort out the situation and respond kindly and not too emotionally. Do your best to stick to the following rules:

Be sure to respond to negative feedback

People tend to pay more attention to negative events rather than positive cases. That is why negative messages are the most emotional and detailed ones. If you ignore them, the number of problems will definitely rise.

Respond promptly

You should respond to negative feedback without delay for the author not to duplicate it on other websites. Otherwise, potential clients can come to hasty conclusions.

Solve the problem

If a client has informed you of the problem, it is probable that other clients will face it too. So, it is important to solve the problem to show in word and deed that your company aspires to get better. Stay away from such answers as “Thank you for your feedback. We have sent your message to the Customer Relations Department”.

Do not delete criticism

It is a common misstep when dealing with negative feedback. The client is likely to go wild with it. They will duplicate their feedback on external platforms and mention the deleted message. This will put you in an unfavorable light and mobilize the public that will support the author with comments.

Explain your position

First, look into the problem: read the client’s message, ask for more details, carry out internal investigation and draw conclusions. Do your best to explain your position in a tactful but persuasive way not to repel potential clients.

Take care of your clients

As competition becomes fiercer, the role of customer service in making a decision on a purchase also gets more and more significant. According to Mastercard’s research in 2021, 74% of respondents were ready to buy more often from the brands that had taken care of clients during the pandemic.

How a brand can show concern for their clients:

  • Prevent possible problems
  • Solve problems encountered without involving the client
  • Communicate in a humane and friendly style

How a company can build client relationships in the P2P format:

  • Focus efforts on building relationships with clients rather than on gaining short-term benefits
  • Avoid hidden clauses in offers and other shady patterns, promote brand transparency and openness
  • Formulate basic principles of relations with clients: what helping the client means to you, how the company follows a case-by-case approach when dealing with the client, what kind of communication fits the brand’s values

Be proactive and show your willingness to help the client

Proactive service means that we start working on the problem before the client spots it, eliminate it and inform the client. This concerns both large-scale cases that affect a lot of clients at once and single cases. Examples of such an approach can be FAQ for clients before Black Friday, hints on the pay-back period in case of returning the product, notification in the personal account or app that the company’s office has moved to a new location.

How a company can follow a proactive approach:

  • Expand tool set for tracking potential problems to inform clients of possible risks in advance
  • Analyze frequent problems and create self-service tools to find easier problem solutions
  • Follow the “forewarned is forearmed” principle: if the client turns to you with one problem but you see that they can face another one, warn them of it to avoid misunderstanding

Adopt a case-by-case approach when dealing with clients

To build humane long-lasting relationships with the client, you should consider their personal profile. As research shows, personalization of dialog with clients increases their satisfaction and loyalty by one third.

How a company can follow a personalized approach:

  • Make full use of accumulated client data: previous correspondence, the client’s experience of using the product, data on message quantity and subjects, survey results
  • Take care of clients’ personal data safety to prevent data leak: for example, if a Customer Support specialist has requested the client’s phone number, encode it automatically
  • Evaluate any cases of integration with regard to their security protocols to protect the company and clients

Omnichannel support for clients

Today, the opportunity to interact with the company where and when clients want is no longer an advantage but a necessity. Social media and messengers become the most high-demand communication channels. Social media users follow brands, explore the product range, wait for special offers and count on the company’s reps for help.

This tendency is on the rise: companies combine departments that deal with the clients. According to research, by 2023, 25% of companies will have integrated sales, marketing and technical support into a single function to provide better client care throughout the entire customer journey. Such approach requires collaboration within the company and continuous improvement of processes.

How a company can follow an omnichannel approach:

  • Hold regular meetings with representatives of different departments to coordinate goals, track duplicated tasks, search for new ways to improve customer experience
  • Develop standards of client communicating to ensure even service quality in all departments and client support channels. Unified guidelines will help employees share a common language and follow a personalized approach.