How to Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey & Get Your Clients to Actually Complete It

October 3, 2022 5 min read

Amelia Willson

Amelia Willson

Customer Satisfaction

96% of consumers say customer service is a key factor in whether they choose to be loyal to a brand. At the same time, 89% switched to a competitor after a poor customer experience.

Clearly, customer satisfaction can make or break a business. But you already know that. 

You’re here to get a gauge on your own customer satisfaction rates. One of the best ways to do that is with a customer satisfaction survey. 

There’s only one problem. The average response rate for customer satisfaction surveys ranges from 13% to 57%, with the average hovering around 33%.

The average response rate for customer satisfaction surveys ranges from 13% to 57%, with the average hovering around 33%.

Your mission: Make a survey your customers can’t wait to answer. Read on for best practices to do just that. 

3 keys to creating a customer satisfaction survey that succeeds

We’ll make this simple. There are three key things you’ll want to consider when creating your customer satisfaction survey:

  1. Ask the right questions
  2. Ask those questions in the right way
  3. Motivate your clients to respond

All three of these elements impact your clients’ likelihood of completing a survey. Let’s dig into each one below.

how to create a successful customer survey - ask the right questions, ask those questions the right way, motivate your clients to respond

1. Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions not only ensures you get the answers you’re looking for. It also increases your survey response rate. When survey questions feel irrelevant, clients get frustrated and confused, leading them to abandon the survey altogether.

As a business owner, you’d ask every question in the world if you could (we all would!) But a survey that long is unlikely to be answered. So, how do you ask the right questions? 

First, know your goals. How will this survey improve your business? What information are you looking for? Perhaps you want feedback on a specific product line or a customer service interaction. The questions for each of those surveys would be different and tailored to each experience. 

Pro Tip: Keep your survey focused to one issue. If you want to get feedback on a product line and your customer service experience, you should create two separate surveys. Be thoughtful of your customers’ time.

Then, once you know the main pieces of information you need, craft thoughtful survey questions that extract the most useful information. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of 60+ customer service questions.

2. Ask in the right way

Once you’ve got your questions drafted, it’s time to polish and prioritize them. Follow these five tips for success:

  • Speak your audience’s language. How do they think and talk? Frame your survey questions so they match your audience’s speaking style.
  • Let your audience inform your survey format, too. Will you collect your responses via email, phone, mail, or mobile app? Certain personas may respond better to one format over another.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Research shows shorter surveys are more likely to get a higher response rate. You can always add an optional bonus section if customers feel like answering more questions.
  • Keep the answers short, too. If you’re asking multiple choice questions, limit the answers to five or less. Juggling more than that in your head at one time is a lot to ask! 
  • Pay attention to your question order. Here’s a secret survey best practice: place your demographic questions at the end. Asking them upfront can exhaust respondents before they get started. 

3. Motivate your clients to respond

By now, you have a fantastic survey just waiting to be answered. All that’s left to do is give clients that extra push. Try these techniques for boosting your survey response rates.

Thank them for responding.

Always be appreciative. Clients don’t owe you their responses. Expressing your gratitude, whether with a post-survey discount code or a simple thank you, can go a long way toward building your client relationships and encouraging them to answer your next survey.

Make feedback a habit.

Humans are creatures of habit. Check in at regular intervals for customer feedback. Once you establish that habit with your clients, they’ll be more likely to keep up the habit of responding. Did we mention that 77% of consumers view a brand more favorably if they proactively ask for and accept customer feedback?

77% of consumers view a brand more favorably if they proactively ask for and accept customer feedback

Explain how you’ll use the results.

Clients appreciate feeling heard. By sharing how you plan on using the survey results (e.g. improving processes, making things faster or more convenient for your clients, developing better products, etc.), customers feel confident that you’re not wasting their time. They also feel valued, which strengthens their relationship with your brand. 

Pro Tip: When the survey responses turn into a tangible result, such as a product improvement, let your customers know! You can mention it in your general marketing or — better yet — follow up with the survey respondents directly. 

Use an incentive.

Some people need a little extra nudge to respond to a survey. In fact, roughly two-thirds of them do. That’s the number of consumers who say they will happily respond to surveys — as long as they get something in return. So, give them an incentive for completing the survey, such as an exclusive promo code or a chance to be entered to win a gift card.

Get more from your survey responses 

Now that you’ve made and distributed your survey, it’s time for the best part: sitting back, relaxing, and watching those responses roll in. 

Once they do, what’s your plan for using them? Sure, you could view them all in a spreadsheet and scroll and scroll. But, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pull a client’s relevant survey response before you call them? Ask for future responses at the end of a CS interaction? And, see that information from the same tool you use to create, collaborate, and communicate internally and externally?

It’s all possible with Nextiva. Nextiva’s business software, you can ask for feedback right from the ongoing thread of a customer conversation. Before you even pick up the phone, you can see customer survey scores, real-time sentiment, and more.

And, here’s the part that will really wow you (and your customers): threaded conversations let you see every interaction from a customer in one place. That means no more awkwardly stalling for time while you frantically shuffle to find the past interaction your customer is talking about.

Ready to learn more about surveys? Chat with an expert now.

Amelia Willson


Amelia Willson

Amelia Willson is a marketer-turned-freelance writer, based in sunny southern California. She covers health, technology, and digital marketing. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her at the beach or walking her dog Rockefeller.

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