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4 Types of Customer Satisfaction Survey and Their Best Practices

 A customer satisfaction survey is a fantastic tool for gathering information from current and past users. They can help your customer success teams understand the areas where your business is doing well — and where you’re lacking. Leveraging this information allows you to improve the customer experience, retain users, and even build loyalty.

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In this article, we'll look at the four most valuable types of customer satisfaction surveys and some of the best practices you can employ to make them work.

What is customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction measures how your products or services meet customer demand. It's a strong gauge of the overall customer experience users have with your brand.

Customer satisfaction can seem like a nebulous concept. However, there are many great surveys that can help you understand how your users feel about your product or service.

Benefits of customer satisfaction surveys

Running a customer satisfaction survey has many benefits. They're a solid indicator of customer success because they allow you to understand how your users feel. Here are some of the reasons you need them in your life.

  • Get feedback: Get valuable feedback for your product and your overall service.

  • Data-driven decisions: Gut feeling has its place, but you need to support your decisions with solid data.

  • Reduce churn: When you understand how your customers feel about your product or service, you can intervene or make changes that reduce customer churn or attrition.

  • A better understanding of customers: Surveys help you keep on top of the customer experience and provide a greater understanding of who your users are and what they want.

  • Drive customer loyalty: Customer satisfaction surveys help you double down on your strengths and identify your weaknesses, which means you can offer the type of service that encourages customer success, engagement, and loyalty.

The four best types of customer satisfaction survey

Here are the four best types of customer satisfaction surveys that you can use to measure customer success.

#1. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

CSAT form in Usetiful

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a deceptively simple way to get feedback about your business. You can use these surveys to learn about products, services, or customer success interactions.


CSAT surveys use some variation of the following question:

How satisfied were you with your experience today?

Then the customers answer on a scale of, for example, 1 to 5, with one being very dissatisfied and five being very satisfied.

Sometimes CSAT surveys are used as part of a broader review; other times, they're standalone questions.

Finally, CSAT questions are flexible. You can use them at any stage of the customer journey when you need to gather feedback.

How to measure CSAT

CSAT scores are generally expressed as a percentage. You can use the following formula to find your CSAT score.

CSAT score = (total scores / total respondents) x 100.

#2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net promoter score (NPS) surveys help you measure customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall sentiment.

Again, they use a straightforward question that helps you get to the heart of how your customers feel. Typically, it's some variation of:

On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend <insert brand> to a friend or colleague?

While you can use NPS to see how your overall business is performing, you can also use it for individual products or services.

When your users answer the questions, you can assign them to one of three groups based on the answer. They are:

Detractors (Score 0 to 6): Detractors are a big problem. They're not happy with your service, hard to retain, and, worse still, could be badmouthing your business on social media or leaving negative reviews.

Passives (Score 7 to 8):  Passives are relatively happy with your service, but they're unlikely to be singing your praises to friends and colleagues. 

Promotors (Score 9 to 10): Promoters are delighted with your business. They're most likely to provide return custom, recommend your product, and drive growth and referrals.

How to calculate NPS 

NPS is expressed by (±) 100 or as a percentage score.

You can calculate NPS with the following formula:

NPS = (% of promoters - % of detractors)

As you can see, passives are not included in the calculation. NPS doesn't consider these users as making a positive or negative contribution to your overall brand reputation.

However, just because they don't affect the NPS score doesn't mean you should ignore them. Passives give a score of 7-8, which means they are pretty close to becoming promoters. As such, even minor fixes or interventions can improve customer satisfaction among these groups and turn them into loyal users or advocates for your brand.

#3. Product-Market Fit (PMF)

Emoji survey is a simple and popular way of measuring customer satisfaction.

Product-market fit (PMF) is another simple yet effective way to understand customer satisfaction. For clarity, product-market fit measures how well your product or service satisfies market demand.

It marries a simple question to a 1-3 Likert scale of very/somewhat/not disappointed. For example, you can ask your customer:

How disappointed would you be if you couldn't use this product?

  • Very disappointed

  • Somewhat disappointed

  • Not disappointed

The idea here is you want 40% or more people to answer "Very disappointed." As such, that would indicate that your product is essential for a core set of users. Entrepreneur Sean Ellis discovered that a PMF score of over 40% was a strong indicator of success for early start-ups.

How to measure PMF

You can get your PMF score by adding up the total number of people who said they would be very dissatisfied if the product were no longer available. Per Sean Ellis, if that score is above 40%, you've got a solid product-market fit.

#4. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer effort score (CES) measures how much effort it takes users to achieve a goal or objective with your product. It can be something as simple as completing a task or getting help or support.

In our hyper-competitive era, you want a low CES score. Friction is the enemy of activation and retention, so CES can help you identify blockages that you need to remedy if you're going to drive customer success.

You can find your customer effort score (CES) by asking simple questions like:

How easy was it to use our product to achieve <insert goal or objective>?

Then, you can use a Likert scale of "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree" or a 1-10 scale.

How to measure CES

You can use this formula to measure CES:

CES = (total score / total respondents) 

If you've used the Likert Scale, you can calculate the percentage of positive or negative scores instead. 

Customer satisfaction survey best practices

Now that you know the four best customer satisfaction survey types, it's time to learn a few best practices.

#1. Keep things short and punchy

Make your surveys simple and accessible so everyone answers them. Otherwise, you risk skewing your results to only represent users who were happy to invest a lot of time in a survey.

#2. Limit answer options

Where possible, limit the answers. Some customer satisfaction surveys dictate 1 to 10, i.e., NPS. But try to keep it simple where possible because it's hard to know the difference between a six and a seven, whereas lower scales like 1-3 are more meaningful.

#3. Get the timing right

It's best to ask about customer satisfaction after an interaction. For example, if your users engage with customer support, ask them how satisfied they are straight after the exchanget  while the experience is fresh in their minds.

If you're measuring overall experience with a product, you can take a more long-term approach. 

#4. Don't be too pushy

Customer satisfaction surveys are great because they provide valuable feedback and insights. But they don't give your users direct benefits. As such, you shouldn't harass your customers to fill out the results.

#5. Leave room for more expansive responses

Using Likert or rating scales means analyzing responses is pretty straightforward. However, beware of leaving essential data on the table. Sometimes you need a mix of quantitative and qualitative information.

There are a few ways to resolve this. You could follow up on negative responses to help your users feel heard. Alternatively, you could leave an optional text box that allows respondents to expand on their answers.

#6. Be grateful

Customer satisfaction surveys are super helpful to you. So thank any user that takes the time to fill them out. You can build this into your survey to trigger after it's completed.

Final thoughts

Running a customer satisfaction survey is an excellent way to keep on top of customer success. Measuring how happy (or unhappy) your users are will provide the feedback and insights you need to improve your service.

Usetiful allows you to offer a range of in-app surveys. This feature means you can ask the right questions and the right time. What's more, you can send the answers to your CRM or analytic tools, meaning you always have a solid picture of customer success.

So add surveys to your product today and start reaping the rewards of better feedback and customer loyalty and retention.

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