Customer Service Surveys: What to ask?

Learn how to build customer service surveys and create an exceptional customer experience that will help your business thrive.

Article

Brittany Klokkenga

September 29, 2020

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Happy, satisfied customers are the foundation of business success. They’re often vocal advocates for your company, recommending your products and services to their colleagues, friends, and family. 

But how do you really know if your current customers are pleased with your company’s customer service? It can be difficult to judge. Merely making purchases doesn’t mean they’re satisfied with your service, as they could jump to a competitor with a compelling offer. 

The best way to know how your company’s customer service is performing is to ask your customers directly. Customer service surveys help you do just this, so you can assess where your business stands and pinpoint places for improvement. And once you’re learned how to build customer service surveys, you’re well on your way to creating an exceptional customer experience that will help your business thrive. 

What are customer service surveys? 

What is a customer service survey? It’s a method of gathering feedback from your customers, listening to their thoughts about your brand, product, or services to understand if they’re happy or dissatisfied with what you offer. 

These surveys are typically made up of a selection of open-ended questions that encourage customers to share their thoughts and experiences in detail. They may also include a quantitative component like asking customers to rate an experience on a scale from 1-10, which allows you to track trends using data over time. These surveys can be conducted online so you can gather information from customers no matter where they’re located with ease, ensuring you have a robust geographical representation. 

Use customer feedback data to drive survey questions to better understand the current state of your overall customer experience. This deeper understanding can drive better, more thoughtful business decisions that help you gain and retain more customers over the long term.  

Why are customer service surveys important? 

Customer service surveys are an important listening tool for businesses. They offer a path to continuous learning and improvement. By allowing you to hear directly from your customers about how your products and services can be improved, you gain valuable insights in real-time. You can use these insights to fix pain points, increase sales, and continuously improve your customer service experience. 

Surveys are also highly flexible. They can be used for market research when you’re looking to find out what customers are experiencing and the challenges they’re facing. This can help your business improve weak spots while allowing you to determine how to market your products and services effectively. Customer service surveys can also be used to check in with customers periodically to gather their feedback and ideas for improvement. 

Finally, surveys are a powerful tool for understanding and improving your company’s brand image. When you take the time to ask customers what they think about their experience with your business, it showcases you are committed to improving the products and services you offer them. This helps build a stronger relationship between your business and your customers and creates a more positive brand image.  

Questions to ask in a customer service survey 

Asking the right questions is vital to the success of your customer service survey. It can be tempting to stick to general questions like “How was our customer service?” But those questions are too vague and the information you gather from them will likely not be actionable over time. 

Instead, try a more targeted and strategic approach. There are several different kinds of customer service survey questions. The first step in your survey creation process is to determine your goals and objectives f. For example, investigate levels of customer loyalty, pain points in your customer service channels, or track the performance of individuals and teams in your customer service department. 

Knowing what you want your survey to yield will help you select the best customer service survey questions for your needs. Here are some examples to get you started. 

Agent-specific survey questions

It’s important to understand how your customer service agents are serving your customers when they have a question or when an issue arises.  Since these employees interact directly with customers every day, they have a big impact on the customer journey and experience. Asking your customers about their interactions with these agents ensures you know whether your team is meeting your company’s commitment to customers. 

Agent-specific survey questions gather insights into individual agent performance, empowering your team to address weak performers with training and coaching. Conversely, you’ll identify top-performing customer service agents so you can reward them and find out how they’re delighting customers. 

Examples 

  • Based on your recent interaction regarding [incident], how satisfied or dissatisfied were you with our service team member?

  • How courteous or uncourteous would you say our team member was?

  • How knowledgeable or unknowledgeable would you say our service team member was?

  • Did you feel confident in your agent’s ability to help you?

  • What can our employees do to improve?

Channel-specific survey questions

Employees aren’t the only ones who have a strong impact on the customer experience.  The channels your business uses to communicate with and support customers are also essential. 

Surveys uncover which customer support channels are serving your customer effectively. For example, if you have an FAQ page on your website, send out a survey to customers who have recently accessed it to check if it solved their problem. You can do the same for other support channels like a chatbot or automated helpline. 

With surveys in place, you can determine which channels are supporting your customers, the problems they solve, and pain points that should be addressed to improve the customer experience.  

Examples

  • Was this your first interaction with [channel]?

  • Would you use [channel] again, based on your experience today?

  • Were you able to locate what you were looking for on [channel]?

  • What other channels have you used in the past?

  • Which specific channels do you like to use? (Customers can choose from options like live chat, call center, mobile app, etc.)

  • How could we improve [channel]?

Customer Effort Score (CES) survey questions 

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a customer loyalty metric that helps you measure how easy your company makes it for customers to do business with you. CES is critical. Your organization may have the most innovative products or services on the market but if it’s difficult for customers to complete simple tasks, like paying bills, they may become frustrated and look for another option. 

CES is measured by asking customers who have recently requested assistance with an issue how easy your business made solving it. Survey respondents choose from seven answer choices, ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). 

Calculate CES by finding the average of all the responses: taking the total sum of responses and dividing it by the total number of survey respondents. The equation looks like this: (Total sum of responses) ÷ (Number of responses) = CES score. Typically you want to see a CES of 5 or 6. A score of 4 or lower indicates there are pain points that need to be addressed. 

CES is most relevant to customer service surveys when you ask how much effort customers needed to exert to get a question answered or an issue resolved. With this information, you can set clear goals, use data to measure your performance over time, and see where you should make improvements. 

Examples 

  • On a scale of ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult’, how was your interaction with [company name]? What made your experience like that?

  • Were you able to accomplish your goal today?

  • If you needed to interact with an agent to accomplish your goal, did the agent fulfill your expectations?

  • Did the service agent contact you to let you know your issue had been resolved?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share that could make your experience better?

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey questions 

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is another customer loyalty metric that you can use to measure how satisfied customers are with a particular interaction, your products and services, or their overall experience with your company. CSAT is an important metric because satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal. 

To calculate CSAT, ask customers a question and to respond on a five-point scale: very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied, and very satisfied. You should also include one open-ended question so they can explain their answer in detail if they wish. 

Once you’ve collected information via your customer feedback survey, you can calculate your CSAT score by calculating the percentage of those customers who consider themselves satisfied (the 4-5 scores). Divide the total number of customers who selected very satisfied (5) or satisfied (4) by the total number of responses and multiply that by 100. 

Asking one or more of the following customer satisfaction questions can give you a clear view of your current satisfaction rates and point out areas for improvement in your products, services, and overall customer experience. 

Examples 

  • Overall, how satisfied were you with [company name or brand]?

  • How often do you use our products or services?

  • Based on your recent purchases, please rate your satisfaction with [a service or product attribute, like its value, purchase options, etc.]?

  • How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [product/service] you received?

  • How does the product or service help you achieve your goal?

Net Promoter Score (NPS®) survey questions 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer perception based on one simple question: how likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X / Product Y / Service Z] to a friend or colleague? It’s proven to be a strong predictor of loyalty as well as customer retention. 

Then, customers have the chance to respond using the Likert scale from 0-10. A respondent who rates their likelihood to recommend as a 9 or 10 is considered a Promoter. A person who responds with a 7 or 8 is labeled as a Passive. And anyone who answers with a 6 or below is a Detractor. To calculate your NPS, you subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters (% Promoters – % Detractors = NPS). A score above 50 is great, while over 70 is truly exceptional. 

NPS helps you determine how positively customers feel about your brand, your products or services, or specific interactions with your business. You can use this survey question to find how many customers might be singing your praises to their network or how many could be damaging your reputation because they’re sharing their negative experiences and impressions. 

Customer service surveys best practices

Here are best practices that will help you gather accurate, actionable data so you can improve and refine your customer service experience. 

Keep your survey short. Your customers are busy people. They’re much more likely to complete a survey if it’s short and to the point. It’s often most effective to have just one quantitative question (such as rating on a scale from 1-10) followed by an optional open-ended question where they can add detail to their rating. When surveys are too long, customers are likely to become distracted or discouraged and leave the survey without completing it. Higher response rates give you more accurate data, so keeping surveys short leads to greater accuracy as well. 

Avoid asking unnecessary questions. When conducting a customer service survey, it can be tempting to ask about multiple components of the customer experience as. But keeping your survey focused on just one business goal will help increase your response rates. Asking too many questions about different topics can confuse customers, and that may cause them to abandon the survey or answer inaccurately. 

Consider a pre-built solution to act faster. Building and sending surveys can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. With pre-built solutions, you can launch your customer service survey, and even an entire customer experience platform, in days rather than months. A pre-built solution takes the guesswork out of your survey campaign and allows you to focus only on asking the right questions, quickly. 

Act on your information in a structured, customer-centric way. Once you’ve received feedback from your customers, you will have a pile of valuable information and data at your fingertips. But the hardest part isn’t gathering the information, it’s acting on it. Your customers have taken the time to offer you insights that can benefit your business, and they expect you to improve what you provide. Have a plan in place for taking action in a structured way once you’re gathered your data, and ensure those solutions benefit the customer and your business priorities. 

Key takeaways 

Learning how to make a customer service survey begins with knowing the right questions to ask. You should begin by deciding on the goal of your survey campaign and matching the questions you ask to the business objective you’re looking to achieve. The questions and metrics above should give you an excellent starting place. 

Once you know which questions you want to ask, you’ll need a customer feedback solution that helps you build the survey, send it out, and analyze and act on the results. That’s exactly what GetFeedback does. Check out our pricing to find the option that’s right for your business. 

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