Some people argue that customer satisfaction is the new marketing. If your customers aren’t satisfied with a product or experience, they won’t be shy talking about it. And, a good – or bad – review can speak louder than a pricey advertisement. But how do you know if your customers are satisfied without asking for feedback? The CSAT survey has long been a method for collecting customer feedback so you can find out how they feel (before you discover their reviews).
To understand how your customers feel, you have to ask them. Learning what your customers say about your company helps you improve the customer experience, and it teaches you what kind of buzz your brand generates in customer networks. But even though companies understand the importance of customer feedback, many don’t know how to obtain it.
The Important Role of CSAT Surveys
Let’s learn from a company that succeeds at gathering customer feedback. Starbucks excels at using customer feedback and gathering real sentiment about their brand through CSAT surveys.
How do they do this? The famous coffee brand sends occasional customer surveys to learn about their audience. They also have a unique customer survey format, asking a few more questions than the typical two-question survey. The survey’s grid format also makes the questions quick to read and answer.
But they don’t stop there. As a reward for answering the survey, they provide their customers with 10 bonus loyalty stars to use for a free drink or snack in the future.
Starbucks has seen the benefits of using customer satisfaction surveys to improve service and give customers a voice, maintaining a global following of happy customers.
You can do the same with effective CSAT surveys. Start by refining your CSAT survey. Ask the right questions and create a feedback loop (like the one below) with your customers. Gather feedback, organize your data, act on your feedback, and always follow up with your customers to show them you’re listening.
To help you get started with your CSAT survey, we’ve put together our five favorite questions to ask your customers.
>> Read Next: The Five Business Costs of a Low CSAT Score
Five Questions to Ask in Your CSAT Surveys
The questions below serve as an excellent template for your CSAT survey. Adapt the survey questions to fit your company’s voice and brand to meet your unique business goals.
As you choose questions for your CSAT survey, mix up the types of responses your customers can give. It’s helpful to avoid just “yes or no” questions or include only open-ended questions. Instead, be intentional about what you ask and what type of response would prove the most valuable to your customers and your company.
Question #1: How would you rate the quality of your most recent service interaction?
Write this question with clear and concise language so your customer doesn’t end up confused. Rating questions like this one should include a scale for customer responses. For example, give customers the option to drag a sliding scale or click to select a specific number on a numbered scale like in the image below. And, be clear about what each end of the scale represents.
If you create a scale numbered 1-5, label what each end of the spectrum means. Your customer should know right away that 1 means “poor quality” and 5 means “excellent quality.”
If you want even more specific results, use a sliding scale to give your customers more than just five options. Let’s say a customer would rather rate his experience a 4.5 instead of a 4 or a 5. A sliding scale gives him the freedom to choose a more specific range to give you more personalized and specific data.
>>Read Next: Why measuring customer satisfaction is the key to company success
Question #2: What was most memorable about this interaction?
Rating questions give you a snapshot of the customer’s experience, but they don’t get specific. So, follow up your initial question with one that’s a more personalized – but also more pointed – question.
This second question packs a punch because it reveals what really matters to your customers. Some may value speedy service over anything else. Others may prefer the friendly and helpful service your agent delivers. The feedback you gather from this question will help you know how to measure success in your contact center and where your agents need more coaching.
Use multiple choice for this question and give your customers a variety of options. To come up with the options, research what customers typically look for in their service interactions these days. Give your customers specific qualities in your service to evaluate to show that you’re listening to their service needs.
Let’s take a look at an example for this multiple choice question:
What was most memorable about this service interaction?
- swiftness of service
- accuracy of agent’s response
- friendliness of agent
- resolving my problem before ending the conversation
- ease of switching channels
Be sure to always include “other” as an option in any multiple-choice question. If a customer selects “other,” include an open field where they can share their unique response. Your customers are already taking the time to fill out your survey, so give them ample ways to share their feedback.
>>Read Next: 3 Projects to Refresh your Customer Service Strategy and Relieve Stress
Question #3: Tell us what you love – or what we can do better
The best CSAT surveys offer up a blend of quantitative and qualitative questions. You’re trying to collect hard data, but you’re also seeking personal feedback from your customers. Open-ended questions give your customers a chance to express their observations and experience in more detail.
Open-ended questions and statements like the one in the image above help to mix up your data set so you can get qualitative info. Give your customers the freedom and space to answer in as much detail as they’d like. Extra detail really helps to qualify and clarify their responses, yielding more accurate information and actionable insight for you. Help your customers feel heard when you give them room to share their personal experiences and suggestions.
With this CSAT question, you get details about your customers’ experience and suggestions on how you can improve. It’s an insanely valuable question that gives you actionable information to shape your customer journey going forward.
Question #4: How likely are you to do business with us again?
This question might sting a little if customers had a bad experience, but it helps you identify what’s pushing customers away or what’s attracting customers to your brand. This question lets you and your customer step outside of a single customer interaction and reflect on the larger customer experience with your company. Plus, you’ll see how a customer’s level of satisfaction impacts long-term customer loyalty.
This is another question where a sliding scale gives you the best intel. Offer up a sliding scale from “highly unlikely” to “highly likely” to see how many customers are your advocates – and how many may need a little TLC from your team.
Question #5: How did this experience live up to your expectations?
There’s often a gap in how companies perceive the expectations of their customers versus their actual customer experience. Most companies think they deliver fantastic experiences, and yet over 54% of customers report that companies fall short of their expectations. How is this possible?
This CSAT survey question helps you close the gap. It compares the real expectations your customer had going into a company experience with how your company actually met (or didn’t meet) specific customer needs.
Like question two, use multiple-choice options here but also leave an open field so customers can share longer responses. Allow them to air their excitement or frustration. You’ll gather more detail and insight into your customers’ journey. And, the more detail, the more information you have to coach your agents and align your team with customer expectations.
>>Learn More: Use Sharpen’s Customer Surveys to streamline your customer feedback loop and build a better CSAT survey
We originally wrote this post on February 15, 2019 and we updated it for new insight on October 28, 2021.