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How to write customer satisfaction survey questions to master your market [with examples]

Happy, successful customers are the lifeblood of any business. They’re what transforms your growth from a funnel into a flywheel. You can create happy customers, but to do it you have to truly understand them and how they think about you.

So how do you know what they’re thinking? You have to ask!

User research

Last updated

13 Sep 2022

My name is Michael Redbord, and I helped build HubSpot's support and service teams, working with customers for over eight years. Today, I’m the General Manager of HubSpot's newest product line, Service Hub, which helps our customers grow through exceptional service.

At HubSpot, we use feedback to understand our customers and what the market demands. This approach has driven dramatic changes over the years—taking us from a small marketing app to the more complete front-office software suite we are today.

Today, I’m sharing the most important things I’ve learned about customer satisfaction surveys, so you can take some of my learnings and use them to adopt a practice of customer feedback at your business and grow better by mastering your market. I cover:

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

A customer satisfaction survey is a questionnaire designed to help businesses understand what their customers think about their products or services, their brand, and their customer support. Customer satisfaction surveys allow companies to improve products strategically, optimize user experience, and deliver exactly what the market demands.

At HubSpot, we use customer satisfaction surveys to understand the micro-level experiences of individual users and address their concerns, but we always return to macro-level questions like “Where is the market going,” “How is our product on the cutting edge,” and “Where do we need to improve?” as well. 

4 types of customer satisfaction surveys

There are several ways to understand if your customers are happy, loyal, and satisfied with your product or service, and each can help you learn something about your users' experience. Here are four of the most effective surveys you can use to understand your customers.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction surveys usually contain a simple question with a binary response (e.g., yes/no, happy face/sad face). They ask things like “Did our product do what you wanted it to do?”

These scores are usually high (in the 98%+ range), so a sudden spike in negative scores tells you there’s an issue that needs immediate attention.

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS®)

Net Promoter Score survey asks customers to rate how likely they are to recommend your company/product to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10. You then compare your percentage of detractors (0-6 answers) to that of promoters (9-10 answers) to see where your company stands—the more promoters you have, the more you can infer people are satisfied with you.

We've done the hard work for you and pre-built a CSAT & NPS survey.

Get started with this survey today (it takes just 1 minute to set up).

💡 An NPS software tool like Hotjar can help you learn more about your customers' needs

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Customer Effort Score measures how much effort it takes for customers to either use your product or fix a problem through customer support.

At HubSpot, we send a CES survey after we close each support ticket. A CES question will ask “How easy was it to solve your problem?,” and customers are typically given a 5-point scale with options like ‘very difficult’, ‘somewhat difficult’, ‘about as easy as I expected’, ‘somewhat easy’, ‘very easy'.

4. Milestone surveys

Milestone surveys are questionnaires sent out at key moments in the customer journey to help understand the user experience better. A milestone can either be time-based (e.g., sending a survey 60-days after signup) or experience-based (e.g., sending after onboarding is complete).

Final word of advice: by following these steps, you will be able to build a solid foundation for understanding your customers, addressing their needs and concerns on an individual or micro-level, and improving their overall experience on a larger scale. Of course, you might not see an immediate increase in your scores when you start making improvements, but if you collect solid data and trust in the process, your scores will improve over time—and your satisfied customers will ultimately drive your success.
Michael Redbord
General Manager-Service Hub, Hubspot

Editor's note: we added the following section to Michael's original article to help you get started with your customer satisfaction surveys. 

5 customer satisfaction survey templates to jump-start your customer satisfaction survey

To get started right away, we created and shared five customer satisfaction survey templates you can follow.

🔥 How it works: click on each image to see a live version of the survey; you can interact with each to see how they work—if you submit your feedback, we'll see it! Each survey will also direct you to a Google Doc template where we listed all the relevant questions, so you can simply copy-paste them into your own survey as they are or tweak them as needed.

1. Net Promoter Score® (NPS) survey template

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2. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey template

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3. Customer effort score (CES) survey template

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4. Point-of-conversion survey template

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5. Retention survey template

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4 other ways to understand your customers

User personas

User personas are semi-fictional characters based on real data about the people who use your website. Getting to know your users will help you stay on top of the market by giving them what they want.

Market research

Market research is a collection of techniques used to understand your target market. Good research identifies customer needs, fears, drives, and frustrations. You can use this information to design better products and improve the customer experience.

Heatmaps

Hotjar Heatmaps are a visual representation of user behavior that shows where users click, tap, and scroll. They help you understand what page elements are being interacted with or ignored, so you can start forming a clearer idea of what works, and doesn’t, on your website.

Session recordings

Hotjar Session recordings can show the anonymous activity of individual users, which you can tie to their survey answers. In other words, if someone tells you they’re having a hard time using your product, you can watch a recording of their activity to gain insights about their experience.

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Have you ever used customer satisfaction surveys to better understand your market? Tell us what you learned and how you used the data to improve your business.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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