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Survey Design

What is a Customer
Satisfaction Survey?

Customer satisfaction surveys collect information about how happy customers are with the experiences your company provides. There are many kinds, but the most effective ones have four qualities:

  • are based on a concrete business goals
  • deliver actionable insights
  • are an extension of your brand
  • are directly relevant to the customer’s experience with your company. 

These qualities help ensure that the survey will collect only the most important feedback — and that employees will be able to use that feedback to improve the business.

Expert Tips

How exactly can you go about designing a great customer satisfaction survey? Check out the videos below for a walkthrough of the design process, as well as expert tips.

The Survey Design Process

Designing great customer satisfaction surveys requires collaboration with people across your whole organization and detailed insight into the journeys customers are currently taking with your company. The steps below outline a process you can use to gain this collaboration and insight and use it to create the survey program of your dreams:

  1. Align with key stakeholders. Before you start designing actual surveys, get broad agreement on what they’ll ask about and how their results will be used. The exact people to speak with will vary by company, but try to seek out three groups:
    1. Business leaders: to determine the survey’s business purpose and decide which customer journeys it will cover.
    2. Frontline experts: to learn what qualities drive customer satisfaction in key journeys.
    3. IT experts: to learn what other demographic and behavioral information your company has about its customers, and how that information can be combined with survey data for analysis.
  2. Map key customer journeys. Take a deep dive into the customer journeys your surveys will ask about. Which steps make up each journey? Through which channels can customers complete those steps? What determines whether they’re satisfied when the journey is done?  Be sure to describe journeys in terms of what the customer hopes to accomplish, rather than the actions your company completes. This will help you write survey questions that feel relevant.
  3. Create a survey framework. This framework document describes what the survey will ask about, as well as how it will fit into a broader survey program. It should include:
    1. The key metric the survey will use to measure customer satisfaction
    2. Drivers of customer satisfaction
    3. Sampling guidelines
    4. Descriptions of the channels through which the survey will be sent
  4. Outline the survey’s structure. Decide in which order you’ll put questions about your primary success metric, key drivers of customer satisfaction, customer demographic information, and open-ended comments. Remembering that diving too quickly into key drivers can skew how your customers will respond to more general questions later on.
  5. Write survey questions. To improve the quality of the feedback you collect, avoid questions that push customers towards a positive answer (e.g. “would you agree that your sales associate did an excellent job of meeting your needs?”) or ask about more than one element of the customer experience (e.g. “how satisfied were you with the timeliness and helpfulness of this interaction?”).
  6. Finalize sampling rules. This includes deciding which actions will trigger a survey being sent, as well as how frequently that trigger should activate.
  7. Review results. Work with key stakeholders to decide what about the survey is working, what isn’t, and how you can improve.

Frequently Asked Questions
About Survey Design

How long should my survey be?

What questions should I include in my survey?

What KPI or metric should I use to measure customer satisfaction?

How often should I survey my customers?

How do I increase survey response rates?