Do you usually answer a customer satisfaction survey or skip it? And how important is the service level when you buy goods or services?
I’d assume it’s one of the most important things. Nailing the survey question types you’ll ask in this form is crucial for the company selling you this good or service.
Not the right questions?
You guessed it? Not the right feedback. And thus, the experience will never match your expectations.
First of all, when having a deal with the company, people expect to satisfy their needs first. However, today, we are often ready to spend more money on some goods or services if those are of high-quality service.
So any business wishes to know what experience does the customer gets when using the product this business suggests. Customer-centricity is the crucial work principle in different companies. A lot of corporations improve the quality of their goods and services, along with advancing customer service.
Secondly, people do not usually consider the fact that there could be thousands of others that use the same product. So each customer wants to get personal attitude and high-level customer service like he/she is the only client, and all the attention should be on his/her needs.
That’s why companies may use different types of questions for customer satisfaction surveys, depending on age, gender, wage level, hobbies, career, etc. so they can analyze them separately.
Before delving into the types of customer experience surveys widely used nowadays, let’s reiterate why conducting them is essential.
Every day unsatisfied customers cost businesses lots of money. Studies show that 80% of respondents will switch companies after one poor service experience. The first step to overcome this is to admit that there is room for improvement. The second step is to measure customer satisfaction to find out where you currently stand.
And I’m not talking about this kind of feedback, I’m talking serious customer satisfaction feedback with detailed questions.
Depending on the kind of business, the goals it has, and the audience, a company uses a specific way to get feedback from clients.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in and start with the multiple-choice survey question types.
Survey Question Types with Predefined Answers
Companies give numerous variants of responses in their surveys to simplify the feedback process. When there are multiple choices available respondent should provide one or several answers.
Multiple Choice (Single Answer)
The most common type of question is a single-answer one. Companies using this system in their survey asking respondents to pick just one option from a predetermined list. These types are typical for most demographic questions such as age, gender, education, and income.
The questions can be more specific questions when the company needs to get a better understanding of customers’ experience with goods or services on all stages. They may ask the clients about overall quality, value, purchase experience, installation/onboarding, warranty/repair experience, etc.
Here is a good example of a multiple-choice survey question, completely unbiased and simple to answer.
Multiple Choice (Multiple Answers)
When answering a question with various options, customers can choose a few among the variants of responses that are suggested. Or they can stick to only one.
For this type of multiple-choice question, it is important to consider including an “other” category. For instance, there can be numerous ways of how a person first heard about your site.
It’s important to note that multiple-choice questions can also use images to make them more appealing and user-friendly.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES is the system that measures how much effort does it cost the customer to get an issue resolved or a need satisfied. Such surveys have a scale from ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult.’ This determines how likely customers are to continue paying for the company’s goods or services.
Based on an HBR study, 94% of clients who left negative feedback also check an answer and give the product another shot. If there is no reply and improvement the second time, they will refrain from repurchasing the company’s goods or services.
However, applying this particular system does not provide information about the overall relationship with the customer. It’s always important to pay attention to the clients who have left unhappy or not satisfied with experiencing the company.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
CSAT surveys reflect the client’s satisfaction with specific experience from some good or service. The question “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the goods/services you received?”.
It usually appears at the end of a customer feedback survey.
Respondents use the following 1 to 5 scale:
- Very unsatisfied
- Very satisfied
CSAT can also use multiple questions to focus on specific parts of the person’s experience, e.g.: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the telephone service you received/helpfulness of assistant/delivery?”.
“Yes-No” Guttman Scale Questions
In the 20th century, an American mathematician and sociologist, Louis Guttman, did research in the fields of scale analysis.
His prominent work is known as the Guttman scale. It is based on a hierarchy of related questions when respondents need to answer “yes” or “no.”
Questions on a Guttman scale gradually increase in specificity. They were developed this way to measure the specific subject.
The main idea of such a survey is to understand the real opinion of the customer to some phenomenon by asking the same question in different ways.
Guttman scaling is mainly used in social psychology and in education
If the respondent disagrees, for example, with statement 3 (having agreed with statements 1 to 2), then the respondent will disagree with statement 4 and further because those will represent more extreme expressions of the issue being investigated.
This scale measures to what degree a person has a positive or negative attitude to something.
Likert Scale for “How Likely” Questions
Likert scale is one of the most popular systems that is often used in customer surveys. It was named after an American social psychologist Rensis Likert.
This rating system is used to assess the opinions, attitudes, satisfaction, and experiences of customers regarding brands, products, and services.
The Likert scale is a five or 7-point scale that ranges from one extreme to another, like “extremely likely” to “not at all likely.” Typically, there is a moderate or neutral midpoint included.
Here is a perfect example from Google Cloud Services, although the design of the form doesn’t match Google’s work. We have written more about the importance of form design and its impact on the response rate here.
A typical “odd” Likert scale question might be:
“How satisfied are you with the service you have received from the company?”.
The respondent might be offered this 5 point Likert scale from which they select their response.
- Very satisfied.
- Moderately satisfied.
- Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
- Moderately dissatisfied.
- Very dissatisfied.
This form of 5 points Likert scale came into existence in 1932 and is likely to be the most common format for surveys.
Likert scales are great for digging down deep into one specific topic to find out what respondents think about it.
Companies may use it to get answers to such questions, as:
- How are people reacting to a new product?
- How do clients feel about the service the company offers?
- What do people think about the new design of a product?
That could be any other question where the company needs to measure something specific.
One of the most popular and easy to formulate the type of questions is slider questions. It is an interactive questionnaire that allows respondents to select values from a continuous range by dragging a slider along with a scale.
Respondents can answer a slider question in three ways:
- Click and drag the slider to the desired position
- Type a numerical answer directly into the textbox
- Click anywhere on the track—the slider will jump directly to that position.
I also tend to include smiley questions as a derivative of the slider ones. Although not numerical, they convey a notion of rating and are used for the same purpose.
Here is an example from the French retailer Decathlon asking about my level of satisfaction on different items: staff kindness, skills of the staff, recommendations, price, quality, etc.
The slider is an excellent way to engage your respondents with an interactive numeric sliding scale.
Slider survey question types are typically used for questions “How much do you agree with the following statement?” or “How do you like the following?”.
Asking such a question, the company may attract more respondents to answer. Also, it looks more attractive, and the standard survey could become interactive.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is the score, ranging from -100 to 100, calculated by asking respondents one question. Usually, it is formulated as follows: how likely are you to recommend a product/company to a friend or colleague?
This is a slider question with its one reporting method.
As a business metric, NPS helps companies set a goal – increase their score by attracting more enthusiastic customers.
In this system, clients are divided into three groups: promoters, detractors, passives. Promoters – customers who choose the answer 9-10 – are the most enthusiastic ones. They are also called brand ambassadors since they impact the company’s growth directly.
Passives are the clients answering 7-8. They are not actively recommending a product company produces, but are also unlikely to damage it with negative feedback.
The Detractors group is composed of customers who answer 0-6. Those are unlikely to recommend a company. They probably won’t stick around or repeat purchases.
Let’s add some examples. London-based jeweler, Taylor and Hart, used NPS to increase monthly revenue by 70%. This story inspired plenty of other companies to use NPS as a useful feature in increasing profit.
Although proven to be very effective, the NPS relies on potential future action and can turn into a skewed metric.
A study was recently published on HBR, it analyzed the reliability of the NPS so as to confirm it aligns with effective customer behavior data.
They surveyed over 2,000 consumers, asking them to rate 10 brands they have bought with.
Where it gets interesting is the method. Instead of just asking if they WOULD recommend the brand, they also asked if they HAD recommended, or HAD discouraged someone from using.
HUGE differences in the results.
“51% of American Express customers were promoters and 19% detractors, NPS of 32. 45% of Burger King customers were promoters and 15% detractors, NPS of 30. …the 2 brands didn’t look nearly as similar. […] 79% of BK customers had actively recommended the chain, and only 2% had actively urged others to avoid it. BK’s earned advocacy score was 77 and AE’s was 52.”
Asking about past behavior can be more reliable than assuming people would do it.
Benchmarks give context to the company’s survey results by allowing a respondent to compare results to those of others who used the same question bank questions.
Such kinds of questions can be used to measure satisfaction, employee engagement, loyalty, website feedback, etc.
Once respondents answer the question company, they may compare results with the help of a graph. It’s the easiest way to check the overall condition in a specific question, so companies widely use benchmarkable questions in their surveys.
In a variety of question systems, this one can be slightly misleading. Such kind of questions are usually used in politics and called double-barrelled questions.
A double-barrelled question is designed to influence a respondent by connecting two unrelated things, making a person provide two answers at once.
It’s not extremely efficient in determining the attitude of the respondent to the company, or it’s goods and services, but can be used in court, for example, as part of a strategy.
Demographic questions help a business develop accurate buyer personas.
Buyer personas influence the company’s marketing campaigns, sales tactics, and the level of customer service. The process of identification is similar to developing a character outline one can remember from the college years. The more accurate identification is, the better the entity understands the needs and values of its audience.
Therefore, it’s easier to satisfy those needs and make business work effectively.
Demographic questions include age, ethnicity, education, household composition, and employment status questions.
Other such questions may concern:
- household income;
- the number of children in a household;
- geographic location, etc.
Because some demographic questions are sensitive, the company should always give the respondent the option to refuse to complete a question by providing a ‘prefer not to answer’ option.
It’s also recommended to include them at the end of the survey, not the outset, so as to not put off the respondent.
This kind of question is useful for any type of business and perfect to begin a customer satisfaction survey. They form a basic understanding of the audience and have an impact on the quality of doing business in the future.
Open-Ended Feedback Questions
A company uses open text feedback questions rarely, but such a survey ensures a clearer understanding of the leading problems of the entity related to customer service.
Open-ended questions in surveys help apply the test-and-learn strategy of continuous improvement. Those can be often-used general questions or inquiries on a specific theme to verify the attitude of the audience to a particular good or service.
However, it’s better to add one or two questions like these, no more. We all know that it can be boring to answer tons of them.
There are a lot of customers satisfaction surveys that use a combination of different questions to make them more interactive for the respondent.
In such a case, people are more likely to give a response, and you will get more information.
Open-ended questions are used to getting an independent point of view. They give people a chance to describe what they’re experiencing in their own voices.
The hardest part is the analysis of the results, so it’s essential to understand how to research answers properly.
When obtaining valuable feedback from the audience, the company has to ask the right questions. To get effective results and use them in a company’s strategy, it’s essential to understand the difference in the range of questions and systems the company can use.
That’s the first step on the way of increasing the customer service level and attracting more customers. After all, providing high-quality products, services, and customer care brings money to the bank.