How to run a CSAT Survey that gets results

You are not your customer, and that’s why you need real-world feedback from your customers.

One of the many important ways you can gather feedback is with a CSAT (customer satisfaction) survey. Customer satisfaction surveys are simple, low-cost, quick and actionable, allowing you to collect useful data about your customers. They are easy to set up, and the results you get may surprise you.

Unfortunately, only 2% of customers are likely to complete a questionnaire, so it’s important to get it right and attract as many respondents as possible. Regularly gathering feedback—and acting on it—helps you increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, thereby improving retention rates and revenue for your business.

What is a CSAT survey

A CSAT survey is a Customer Satisfaction survey used to understand how satisfied a customer is with your company. It can be in reference to a specific customer service interaction or about how they feel about your organization overall.

There is no set format for a CSAT survey, as every company has different feedback needs. Nevertheless, a CSAT survey tends to follow a specific pattern by using a single question to measure CSAT score. This question may be something like, "how satisfied were you with your experience?" Customers answer by selecting a rating on a survey scale, such as one to three, one to five, or one to 10. The final result is shown as a percentage, meaning a 90% CSAT score is the equivalent of getting nine positive reviews out of 10.

CSAT is just one type of popular customer feedback survey (along with Net Promoter Score and Customer Experience Score). You can use it to assess your customers’ needs, understand their problems with your products or services, and segment customers by their rating.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) setup

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) only measures customer satisfaction, so it can be one of the most revealing customer feedback methodologies.

Be sure to include a variation of “how satisfied were you with your experience?” in your survey. You can build a bigger survey around this question, or just keep it to this one question. You can rephrase the question in different ways to suit your business.

Some examples of other CSAT questions are:

  • How nice was my reply?
  • How was the help you received today?
  • Are you satisfied with the resolution of our last conversation?

There are also multiple formats for answers you can collect for your CSAT survey. These include:

  • Binary scale - good/bad
  • Multiple choice - a range of options
  • Likert scale questions - very unsatisfied along a scale towards very satisfied
  • Semantic differential - two choices which are opposed, such as love/hate
  • Open-ended questions - allowing a customer to answer in their own words

You can add more questions to your survey if you want to collect more insightful feedback, as many companies do.

Tips for running a successful CSAT survey

To run a successful CSAT survey, first define what success means to you. This could be a large number of survey respondents, a CSAT score above 80%, or something else. Then pursue that goal relentlessly using these tips.

Make it about them

Your customers are probably frustrated and annoyed after having to contact customer support, especially if they had a problem that was directly caused by your company. They might resent being asked to fill out a survey as well.

Phrase your request it in a way that shows you value their feedback. Avoid survey fatigue by making your survey genuinely very easy for them to complete. Consider offering an incentive or reward for filling out the survey, such as an entry in a prize draw.

Be transparent

Accurately inform customers about how long it will take to fill out the survey so they can decide if they want to commit their time. This is an example of reciprocity in web design. Being honest reduces the likelihood of survey abandonment.

Keep your survey simple and short to show customers you respect their time. A CSAT survey is perfect for this since it’s usually so short.

Think about timing

Ask your customers to complete your survey at an appropriate time. Customers don’t want to take a survey in the middle of troubleshooting a problem, and if they do the results will skew towards the negative.

Wait at least 48 hours after a support interaction to make sure the ticket is closed. Sometimes customers take a while to send a follow-up reply, for example. You can experiment with different timing for sending your CSAT survey to see which results in the best engagement.

Pay attention to UX

Many customer surveys look embarrassingly outdated, and this gives the impression you don’t care enough to invest in the latest software even though it’s readily available. Your genuine request for feedback ends up looking like a box-ticking exercise.

Appealing surveys that are enjoyable to fill out will get better responses, so make your survey into a fun experience with modern UX (user experience). Tools like Nicereply enable you to easily create beautiful surveys your customers will be delighted to complete.

Follow up on results

Customers normally expect their survey results to land in an inbox which nobody checks. This decreases their motivation to complete the survey and adds to underlying resentment when customers don’t feel their feedback was really heard.

Follow up on your survey respondents to show you’re listening, and be sure to thank them for completing your survey. Surprise your customers by responding to their survey with a personal email or call.

Look at the full picture

Link the results of your customer’s CSAT survey with their ticket history for a more nuanced look at their feedback. Focusing on the whole picture will enable you to decide whether you need to take urgent action or not.

If a customer gives you a very negative rating and has a long history of support tickets, you should look into it before they churn. Create an escalation process for when a customer’s satisfaction rating falls below a certain score, as well as a re-engagement program to help address the problems.

Standardize your survey

You need to standardize at least some of your survey so you can compare the results over time. At the same time, try to make the questions or phrasing specific to your customer’s chosen product or service.

You can use rating scales to measure how your score changes over time and see more accurately if you’re meeting your customer’s expectations.

Benefits of a CSAT survey

One major benefit of a CSAT survey is that you can record the answers and analyze the results over time. Use insights from your CSAT survey to improve your product and CX with the aim of boosting customer retention and reducing churn. You can also use it to evaluate your individual support agents’ performance and help them improve.

CSAT surveys are also useful in understanding unsatisfied customers. Take your CSAT results seriously and assume that for every bad rating you receive, you will have many more unsatisfied customers. Because customers are more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one, the reality is your company will never hear from most of your unhappy customers.

On the other hand, you can also use your CSAT survey results to identify your happiest customers. They might be willing to become advocates for your company who you can interview, use in marketing materials, and ask for testimonials.

Administering a CSAT survey in itself can show customers that you care about their feedback and want to improve, but this only works if your survey is good quality and you follow up afterward. “We can’t just sit back and wait for feedback to be offered, particularly when we’re in a leadership role,” says leadership coach Ed Batista. “If we want feedback to take root in the culture, we need to explicitly ask for it.”

Over to you!

A CSAT survey is a chance to gather insightful feedback from your customers, then turn it into actionable changes for your business. You will never be able to satisfy everyone, but evaluating your impact is an important part of ongoing business development and growth.

Keep your survey in the same format so you can compare results over time. You can’t just look at one CSAT score in isolation, and your data is only as good as what you do with it.

Designing and automating your own CSAT survey is easy with a tool like Nicereply. Set up a beautiful survey in seconds.

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