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How to write a customer satisfaction survey


written by sales-i Marketing Team

sales-i 29081 2018-06-25 1440960

Mick Jagger famously sang about his lack of satisfaction, and if your customers ever feel that way, they won’t remain your customers for long. Monitoring customer satisfaction is a vital part of any customer relationship management strategy. No matter how frequently you’re in contact or ‘feel’ that things are going well, asking your customers how they rate your service or products will strengthen the relationship. You’ll know when is the right time to upsell, or dampen any relationship flames before they grow into a fire. Not only that, it will give you greater insight into what your customers’ needs are and give a future steer on R&D, changes needed to your processes or indeed, personnel.

Here, we look at ways of measuring customer satisfaction by creating an effective and insightful customer satisfaction survey. Firstly though, let’s look in more detail at why customer satisfaction is so important.

Why a customer satisfaction survey is worthwhile

It may feel like extra effort to compile, and make you feel a little apprehensive about potential negative results, but it’s vital to know how your customers feel about your business offering. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Happy customers are promoters – keeping your customers happy will make them far more likely to promote your service or products to others. Keeping them satisfied is therefore a major part of your marketing strategy, after all, word-of-mouth is the most cost-effective channel.
  • It shows that you care – by asking for feedback, you are showing your customers how much they are valued and how you are striving to keep them satisfied.
  • Customer insights drive decisions – whilst knowing what’s going on in the wider market is important, it can be costly and time consuming. Keeping abreast of your biggest customers’ opinions will have the biggest impact on your business in the short term, and will drive decisions in terms of changes (or successes that should be further replicated) in process, new product development and personnel working on certain accounts.
  • Knowing about issues early helps to solve them quicker – it’s much easier to save a relationship that is starting to crumble, than rebuild one that has collapsed.
  • Spot opportunities – knowing that a customer is happy makes it much easier to target them with an upsell, new product trial, or as the subject for a testimonial or case study for marketing purposes.


Your customers are integral to your business’ success and their satisfaction level impacts every department. Doesn’t that extra effort feel worthwhile?

How to measure customer satisfaction: survey metrics

There are two main lines of customer satisfaction survey metrics you can use, and which you choose will depend on your length of relationship with the customer, frequency of custom and what area of the business you want to assess the performance of. These are:

Net promoter score (NPS)

Regarded as the most popular line of questioning to measure customer affinity towards a company and centres around one question type – their likelihood to recommend your service/products to others. NPS is a quick survey that includes questions where answers are scored from 0-10 on a Likert scale. 1 is a sign of extreme discontent and 10 is highly positive. This quantitative scoring makes it easy to categorize your customers:

  • Scoring 0-6 = DETRACTORS, unsatisfied customers who could damage the brand with negative word of mouth.
  • Scoring 7-8 = PASSIVES, satisfied but not enthusiastic and could easily be poached by a better offering.
  • Scoring 9-10 = PROMOTERS, loyal, enthusiastic and can drive growth by promoting to others.


To calculate your overall NPS, you need to work out the percentage of promoters and detractors from your surveyed base of customers, then do the following sum:

% of PROMOTERS – % of DETRACTORS = NPS score.

Your NPS will give you a guide on how your customers feel, but the downside is that the line of questioning doesn’t tend to give great insight into which factors are driving that score. You’ll need to dig a little deeper post survey to learn more and possibly introduce the CSAT metric below.

An example: ‘On a scale of 1-10 (10 being extremely likely), how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend?

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

This is a common metric used in customer service questionnaires or to gather post purchase feedback on products or departments. CSAT uses a Likert scale, but this time a smaller scale of 1-5. Again, the higher the number, the greater the satisfaction.

To calculate a CSAT score, you will only consider the scores of 4-5 given per question. These are considered satisfied customers. The sum in this case is:

No. of customers who gave a score of 4-5 / the number of customers surveyed x 100 = % of satisfied customers.

CSAT focuses on short term views following a purchase or project delivery, while NPS gives insights into the customer’s feelings towards the longer-term relationship.

An example: ‘On a scale of 1-5 (5 being extremely satisfied) how would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [products/service] you received?

Getting more insight…

It’s important that your customer satisfaction survey questions garner some qualitative responses. Knowing your CSAT or NPS score is useful, but you will need more insight to understand what is making your customers happy, leaving them frustrated or shed more light on what’s making them passive.

An example: ‘What could we do better to improve the score given?’

Customer satisfaction survey questions: best practice

How you go about measuring customer satisfaction from the results of a customer satisfaction survey depends on the question format you use. Remember that old adage – to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions!

Make sure your survey…

  • Has a mix of closed, scale based questions and open questions for detailed feedback.
  • When using a likert scale, make sure that the scale is described clearly eg. 5 = extremely satisfied, 1 = extremely dissatisfied.
  • Has a limited number of questions – it’s meant to be a survey, not war and peace!
  • Avoids questions that can be misinterpreted – make sure they are simple and clear.
  • Features tailored questions – make sure the survey is relevant to your customers, you may need to tailor it to customers who buy a certain amount of products per year for example.
  • Isn’t just a standard template – make sure the customer can detect your brand and tone of voice from the questions asked. Familiarity is key to open and honest answers.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Templates

Below are two customer satisfaction survey templates. These include NPS and CSAT metrics as well as open qualitative questions.

Sample Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions: NPS
Considering only your most recent purchase experience, how likely would you be to recommend the purchase of a [PRODUCT] to others?

Not at All Likely (0)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
Extremely Likely (10)

Considering your long-term experience with [COMPANY], how likely would you be to recommend our company to others?

Not at All Likely (0)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
Extremely Likely (10)

Feedback for improvement – what can we do in the future to score, or maintain a 9 or 10?

If you have scored a 5 or below to either question, please could you explain your answer?

Sample Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions: Sales team CSAT
How satisfied are you with the overall performance of our sales representative?

Very satisfied
Satisfied
Neither
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

How satisfied are you that the sales representative understood your business needs?

Very satisfied
Satisfied
Neither
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

How satisfied are you with the knowledge shared by our sales representative?

Very satisfied
Satisfied
Neither
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

Please share with us anything you feel the representative could do better:

A customer satisfaction survey is a key part of your CRM strategy. Another is the right CRM software. To maintain effective customer relationships and give your company the best chance of receiving positive feedback every time, choose sales-i CRM software.

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Our marketing team have been working hard to bring insightful content to wholesale, manufacturing and distribution professionals.

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