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Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Why is it Important?

Nicola Thomas
Meet Nicola Thomas, an expert in insight gathering to inform behavioural change and organisational transformation. Since her PhD, awarded in 2005, Nicola has become a trusted authority on how to build robust insight tools and programmes to drive significant change for a range of stakeholders, including employees, leaders, and customers.
8 min read
Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Why is it Important?

Customer Satisfaction Surveys : Why is it Important?

In the early stages of education, we learned that the production process is only complete when the finished product gets to the consumer. What we didn’t learn at the time is that a consumer/customer’s satisfaction keeps the producer in the business. Today, customer satisfaction surveys is a vital part of any business.

In recent times, customer satisfaction is studied in business schools and faculties. Many corporate organizations have a customer satisfaction department and dedicate a lot of time and money to finding the best way to keep their consumers interested in their products. One of such ways is by creating a customer satisfaction survey.

While there is no standard definition for it, a customer satisfaction survey can be described as a tool that helps to determine the level of satisfaction a product gives its consumer. It helps to put into perspective how much the customer likes, enjoys, prefers, or dislikes a particular product. This product could be a good or service. It is the feedback or review received regarding a product.

Let’s go down memory lane.

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History of Customer Satisfaction Survey

For as long as trade between two people has existed, there has been some evidence of customer satisfaction in businesses. Business owners have engaged in a customer satisfaction survey by simply asking customers about their purchases. However, over time, there rose a need for the standardization of the survey. Especially when the scale of production increased, and with the industrial revolution business owners needed to take it more seriously.

Clarity was provided for both producers and consumers by a move made by the National Quality Research Center (NQRC) at the University of Michigan. The agency came together to create a standard measure of customer satisfaction called the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This Index helped measure the quality of products consumed by the American populace.


Thousands of consumers were consulted to give their honest reviews. Several products were placed under this study, and reasonable time was given for evaluation and analysis before releasing a conclusion in the form of the Index.

Many companies and government bodies saw the efficiency of the ACSI and thus welcomed it into their planning processes. Since its inception, the Index has become a standard measure of customer satisfaction to date.

However, companies have also created their surveys, something that can be customized to their realities. Since products differ in all ramifications, product reviews would also take different forms. Also, customers are not alike and their needs are addressed in different ways.

How do Customer Satisfaction Surveys Work?

As mentioned earlier, these surveys take different forms, especially these days when companies are concerned with tailoring their customer satisfaction surveys to the realities and conditions of their consumers. Therefore, there are several forms of surveys and they work differently. You can conduct such surveys through messages, emails or even by using call center services for more personalized interactions with respondents. However, despite these disparities, all customer surveys have one thing in common – their function. The goal of every kind of these surveys is to determine and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. In the end, no matter what forms they take, this is their objective.

Types of Customer Satisfaction Survey?

To properly understand how a customer satisfaction survey works, it is best to know the different types of these surveys. After describing each, we will see how they work and where they are typically used. For the sake of this write-up, we will consider five kinds of these surveys;

1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey

The CSAT survey is quite popular and widely accepted for determining the level of contentment of consumers. CSAT surveys are quite popular among producers who are considered about customer satisfaction and improving their products. It is applicable for both goods and services.

How does it work?

Most CSAT surveys come as questionnaires. Typically, the CSAT survey is composed of several questions tailored to the nature of the products. The answers are in multiple choices which allow consumers to express their level of satisfaction. For example, if a question such as “How would you rate your satisfaction with our product X?” The answers to this question would be as follows;

  • Very Unsatisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied

By presenting the answers in this manner, the survey makes it possible for its participants to express their thoughts in an unambiguous manner. When such surveys are filled only consumers who ticked Satisfied and Very Satisfied can be said to enjoy the product. When other options are selected, it could be said that there is a problem with the product or its delivery. A comprehensive analysis is employed to determine the conclusion of the CSAT survey.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

The CSAT survey is one of the most fundamentally important surveys for every customer-oriented organization. Periodical consumer satisfaction surveys not only improve the product’s value in the eyes of the consumer, but it also shows the customer that you value them.

2. Product Development Survey

These surveys are quite unique and unlike other kinds of surveys. The reason for this difference is the timeline for releasing these surveys. As the name implies, the Product Development Survey helps to determine the public perception of a particular product. Enquires are made while the product is still in its stage of development or nearing completion. A product development survey helps to evaluate the feasibility and viability of a product or service.

How does it work?

Before rolling out a product for mass production, companies usually release samples of that product to the public. In most cases, the samples go to pre-existing customers, retailers, and other relevant individuals. The same concept goes for service providers. If a business is offering a new service, a selected number of customers test-run them and give feedback.

This survey helps to determine several details about a new product. The surveys could reveal what people think of the design, color, and usability, among other things. Also, a properly crafted product or service can help determine an appropriate price for the product or service. Therefore, businesses can include such findings in the financial plan of their product.

Product development surveys could be in the form of questionnaires, physical interviews, volunteer sampling, open-house food tasting, etc. Typically, the questions presented in this survey are specific, addressing features and specific details. Customers who participate in this survey are given multiple choice answers to select from and in some cases supply reasons behind their answers. This feature allows customers to be as expressive as possible.


How to Improve Your Customer Experience with Customer Surveys

Do you want to create an excellent customer journey? Gain competitive advantages, increase profits, and have more satisfied customers?

3. Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey

This is another popular form of a customer satisfaction survey. However, it is unique because it helps to determine the trust and confidence customers have in the product and or the brand. It is also a good measure for determining customer loyalty. The NPS survey is especially useful for growing businesses with a promising product seeking public approval. Essentially the questions found in this survey inquire if a consumer is willing to recommend the product or service to other people. It could also indicate customer satisfaction since people are willing to recommend only products that they are satisfied with.

How does it work?

The NPS question is expressed as “How likely is it that you would recommend [product/organization] to a friend or colleague?” with a scale of 0-10; 0 being highly unlikely and 10 being highly likely.

The purpose of the survey is to determine the loyalty of customers to your brand. It also helps to check the willingness of customers to tell others what they think about your brand. So, from the survey, you can see those who are detractors, neutrals, and those passionate about both your product and the brand – called promoters.

Read more in our guide about the Net Promoter Score

Customer satisfaction surveys

4. Customer Effort Score (CES) Survey

CES surveys are effective when used to evaluate services. The nature of the survey makes it suitable for determining what people think about how they were treated.

How does it work?

CES is a metric that tries to evaluate the level of effort a customer had to exert in order to get a resolution to an issue. It can thus give the company an idea on how fricitionles the experience with the organization is. It is commonly asked in terms of ‘how easy was it to interact with company today?’ and uses a scale from very easy to very difficult like this one:

  • Very Easy
  • Easy
  • Unsure
  • Difficult
  • Very Difficult

In some cases, the responses are accompanied by a free text input to explain what the service really felt like. That way, customers can express in greater detail what they think about the effort exerted.

5. Usability (UX) Survey

The Usability or User Experience (UX) survey is a tool for determining the level of difficulty experienced by customers who use web applications or other forms of digital technology. These surveys are especially important since many organizations that deal in this business have a department that works on user experience. They create, design, and manage the interface we see on web applications, web pages, etc.

How does it work?

Just like many surveys, a UX survey works by asking questions to determine how hard or easy it is to use a website, an application, or software. The answers can be presented in a number scale for a rating or multiple-choice responses for selection. A typical example is, “How would you rate using (product X)?” or “What’s your experience using (application)?” etc.

These days, simplicity is the hallmark of technological innovations. Although they perform very complex tasks, digital technologies should be easy to operate. Therefore, if on the survey customers respond that they are having a hard time using these tools, their needs should be properly addressed.

User Experience Customer Satisfaction Survey

Benefits of carrying out Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The importance of the various kinds of customer satisfaction surveys stated above can’t be overemphasized. Producers and business organizations who care about customer experience and product sustainability execute these surveys frequently and when the need arises. Let’s see some general benefits of these surveys;

  • Better Customer Relation: The whole point of these surveys is to increase customer satisfaction. Therefore, it follows that only when a customer is reasonably satisfied will there be a good relationship.
  • Product Optimization: The feedback gotten from these surveys is capable of providing insights that could prove helpful in creating a product that can gain public approval.
  • Fostering Brand’s Image: When a brand shows commitment to its community of customers, its image is projected better to society. Such brands can gain referrals and new customers from their loyal ones.

Final Note

Customer Satisfaction Surveys are necessary for every business, product, or service. Although we have considered some common surveys which are quite popular today, there are several others worthy of mention. They include; the Post-Purchase Survey and Product-Market Fit Score among others.


A CSAT Survey is short for Customer Satisfaction Survey and tracks how satisfied customers are with a product or service. The CSAT survey is one of the most fundamentally important surveys for every customer-oriented organization.

A CES Survey is short for Customer Effort Score Survey. The customer rates how easy it was to resolve a problem with the help of the organization. The customer can rate the experience in a range between 'Very easy' to 'Very difficult'.

A Customer Satisfaction Survey can be describe as a tool that helps to determine the level of satisfaction a product gives its consumer. It helps to put into perspective how much the customer likes, enjoys, prefers, or dislikes a particular product.

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