What are customer satisfaction surveys?

Customer satisfaction surveys are excellent ways to gather information about customers, their perceptions, and their interactions with the product or service.

An organization can work hard on a product or service while taking all the steps necessary to ensure customer satisfaction. But intent and execution don’t always align. It is crucial to take the time to gather information from customers to gauge their satisfaction with a product or service.

A customer satisfaction survey is a good way to understand that level of satisfaction. An organization can ask a series of questions or provide statements to gather data about all around satisfaction, as well as suggestions or additional points of clarification.

Customer satisfaction surveys are also a great way to test customer engagement and experience—a holistic look at products and services from the perspective of an end user. The aspects of customer engagement include:

  • Proactiveness: If a customer engages on their own, without any prompting.
  • Volume: The degree of interaction of a period of time.
  • Repetition and frequency: Whether there are multiple engagements, or more sporadic engagements with a brand.

Customer engagement can take place offline or online, depending on the engagement offerings from an organization. Sometimes it can show integration with the use of a product, like a comment on social media, a review, participation in an internal program, or providing feedback on an organization’s site.

Example of a customer satisfaction survey for IT.

Satisfaction indicates the degree to which a customer likes a business’s activities and services.

An organization may have created a negative experience for customers. A disengaged customer would not indicate that to the organization but may spread their negative experiences to other individuals. Positive experiences can strongly predict loyalty, customer retention, and repeat purchases. A proper customer satisfaction survey can dive deeper into a customer experience and gather detailed information that can help in the revision or continuation of products and services, which is ideal for a bottom line.

Improved engagement can help an organization achieve business goals like positive customer feedback, increased sales, loyalty, strong branding, and word of mouth marketing. Using customer satisfaction surveys, organizations will be able to:

  • Provide experiences that are better than a competitor.
  • Understand user interactions across the buying cycle.
  • Fix problems that were otherwise not seen by members of the organization.
  • Build a better picture of target audiences to better market and advertise to them.
  • Discover customer needs.
  • Optimize ideas based on survey feedback to ensure a better product in development.
  • Make informed decisions.

Overall satisfaction

A way to measure the total satisfaction of a customer with a product or service that they have used. The perception of satisfaction is measured in extent of fulfilled needs, overall quality, and perceived reliability of the company from the perspective of a customer or user.


A satisfied customer can become a loyal customer, which means that there is a chance that they will continue to return for products and services while recommending the product to others.

Intentions to use product or service again

A good experience doesn’t always indicate a repeat customer. Assess whether or not the customer has plans to recommend the product or service to other people, and whether they have intent to use the product and service again.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

CSAT is a metric that is commonly used to gauge all around customer service satisfaction and general product quality. A common question would be “how would you rate your satisfaction with (product or service)?”. The respondent would then provide a score, usually with corresponding feedback ranked between 1-5. The scores are then calculated and averaged out to find an all-around score that indicates customer satisfaction.

Net promoter score® (NPS)

NPS is a measure of customer loyalty to a product, service, or company. There is only one question: “how likely is it that you would recommend (product, service, company, etc.) to a friend or colleague?” There are usually rating options available between 0-10. Depending on the answer, the respondent falls into three categories:

  • Promoter: customers who are loyal and enthusiastic about the product, service, or company.
  • Passive: satisfied with the product, service, or company, but not satisfied enough to proactively promote the product.
  • Detractors: unhappy customers who likely won’t use the product or service again, and may even actively discourage others from using the product or service.

The NPS score is typically calculated by subtracting the average detractor score (0-6) from the average promoter score (9 or 10).

  • Relational NPS surveys are sent out on a somewhat regular basis and tend to measure perception of the company and the health of the customer’s relationship with the company.
  • Transactional NPS surveys are sent out after a customer completes a purchase or interacts with a member of the team. This is a way to measure more specific feedback after interaction with the organization.

Customer effort score (CES)

CES measures the extent to which a customer has to exert effort to get something done, such as an issue resolution or a request fulfillment. A typical question would ask how easy it was to interact with the organization, ranking from very difficult to very easy. An organization can implement measures to help a customer achieve satisfaction with the least amount of effort and stress:

  • Self-service tracks to navigate issues quickly.
  • Provide multiple points of contact for feedback.
  • Customer workflows speed up resolution time and improve the communication process.

Milestone survey

These surveys are sent out at important moments of the customer journey. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the customer experience. Automating surveys after key points can enhance customer experience and improve usually on a scheduled basis, 60 days after a customer interaction or after an onboarding is complete.

Dos and don'ts


  • Gather an all-around company rating as the first survey question.
  • Optimize for mobile use.
  • Allow open responses.


  • Make a survey that is too long.
  • Use jargon that a customer may not be familiar with.
  • Ask questions that touch on one than one thing at a time.

The different types of questions

Usage frequency: A method for gauging a user’s skill level with the product or service.

  • Daily
  • Bi-monthly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Yearly
  • Do not use

Satisfaction: A customer’s experience and the extent to which they are satisfied with a product or service.

  • Installation
  • Onboarding
  • Warranty
  • Repair experience
  • Value
  • Overall quality

Open text feedback: Provides the opportunity for the customer to provide unstructured and specific feedback about their experiences, at which point your team can review the specific feedback.

Examples of questions to include in your customer satisfaction survey


  1. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being unsatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied), how satisfied are you with our product/service?
  2. A scale that measures according to “satisfied” and “unsatisfied” without using numbers.
  3. Using emoticons, from happy to sad, that signify a level of satisfaction.
  4. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your interaction with our team?



  1. How can we do better?
  2. What is working for you and why?
  3. Do you have anything additional to say?
  4. How can we further improve your experience?
  5. Describe how you feel about the company.


Product usage:

  1. Did the product help you in your goals?
  2. What is your favorite part of the product or service?
  3. What can we do to improve your experience?
  4. How often do you use our product or service?
  5. Would you recommend our product to others?
  6. Would you use the product or service again?

Once the data has been monitored and analyzed, take the time to move toward improvements.

  • Identify the key factors in satisfaction: All-around satisfaction is ideal, but there may be individual factors that contribute more than others. Take the time to identify as many individual factors as possible and figure out how to expand on the success of certain factors.
  • Focus on employees: Customers are frequently in direct contact with customers, and their satisfaction also matters. Customers are more satisfied when the employees they interact with are satisfied, so take the time to focus on employee satisfaction as a core strategy for better customer experiences.
  • Close out with dissatisfied customers: An unhappy customer can turn into a promoter after a positive reconciliation. Make contact with dissatisfied customers and collect further feedback. Get the issue settled and provide means for reconciliation.
  • Identify problems: Feedback accurately marks the problem areas or consistent failures that can cause a reduction in all around customer experience. Mitigate these issues and work on turning them into successes.

Customer satisfaction surveys are important data points for every organization. They can help measure individual and organizational performance, as well as how customers perceive service options like chatbots and knowledge articles.

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