What Customer Service Survey Questions Should You Be Asking?

August 12th, 2021

In this guide, you'll find a list of excellent customer service survey questions and learn when to use them. We won't bog you down with all the science, so you can start delivering a great customer experience the second you're done reading.

With customer acquisition costs through the roof, today’s companies are investing in the customer experience to guarantee tomorrow’s success. Here’s a few reasons why:

With negligible switching costs and all the world’s information in one’s hands due to the internet, the only way you’ll stay afloat is if you get to know your customers and give them exactly what they need.

How do you start?

A 3-step framework for customer experience success

Customer experience might be hard, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Guaranteeing that your customers have the best experience can be boiled down to 3 key steps:

  • Figure out the easiest way to capture feedback from your customers.
  • Ask them the right questions.
  • Analyze customer feedback, get insights, and implement.

The first step is to figure out the best (read: most non-intrusive) way for customers to leave you feedback. This requires you to understand your customer’s journey. Do they shop online? Do they visit a physical location? Does your product or service require a detailed conversation with customers, or are customers in and out the door in less than a minute?

Depending on your customer’s journey, you can then decide what feedback collectors fit best. You can use online surveys distributed through SMS, QR codes or email. You could also use smiley terminals to capture in-the-moment sentiment. You could even have embedded widgets on your website if e-commerce is more your groove.

With the right collectors in place, it’s time to ask the right questions. There’s no universally right or wrong question to ask, only the ones that are most appropriate for your customers and what you want to measure.

You might want to ask questions to determine your Customer Effort Score (CES), or the amount of effort a customer must dedicate to resolve an issue. You could also direct your questions to understand your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score, which indicates satisfaction with your company’s products and services. If you’re looking to measure brand loyalty, you can structure your questions to capture the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

As you gather feedback, it is then up to you to analyze customer responses and respond accordingly. While plenty of services have fancy charts which can help you track a plethora of KPIs, others such as OMBEA do the data-crunching for you and give you an actionable to-do list so you can start improving customer experience right after you’re finished with this article.

What are some good feedback questions?

This guide focuses on step 2 of the 3-step customer experience framework: asking the right questions. We’ll go over what a customer survey should include and what questions you should ask your customers. We won’t burden you with all the science behind asking the right questions. With this guide, we want you to start applying the information as soon as you’re done reading.

Without further ado, let’s get to it

Smiley-based sentiment questions

Also called Likert-type questions, they are perfect for when you want customers to rate an experience. They’re especially powerful if you want to understand how your customers feel during and immediately after an event.

Related: 5-Point Likert Scale: The Key to Understanding Your Audience

Agent-specific questions

  • How friendly was our staff today?
  • How friendly was [team member name] today?
  • How knowledgeable do you feel our team was today?
  • Did you feel confident in our team’s ability to help you?
  • How approachable was our staff?

Channel-specific questions

  • What did you think about our [chat/FAQ/phone/SMS etc] today?
  • How complete was the information found in [the FAQ, the HELP page, the switchboard]?
  • How do you want us to get in touch with you? [multiple choice options like chat, phone, email, sms]

Customer Effort Score (CES) questions

  • Were you able to accomplish your goal today?
  • How easy was it to interact with our staff today?
  • On a scale from very easy to very difficult, how difficult was it to use our product/service?

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) questions

  • Overall, how satisfied were you with our product/service?
  • Please rate how often you use our product/service
  • Please rate how satisfied you were with [specific product feature, specific service point]

Net Promoter Score (NPS) questions

  • How likely would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?

Open-text questions

While smiley-based Likert questions are great for quick temperature readings, there are times where you need to understand more. Or perhaps you don’t even know where to start looking for potential customer experience issues, and would like a clue. This is where open-text questions come in handy.

You could even pair them up with smiley-based questions to uncover the reasons behind specific answers.

For example:

If you’re asking “How was your experience today?” and someone pressed the sad button, you can follow-up with “Sorry to hear that! Please tell us how we could have avoided this unpleasant experience.”

Agent-specific questions

  • What can our staff do to get a perfect rating?
  • What was perfect during your visit with us?
  • What needed to improve during your visit with us?
  • (After positive feedback) Great! Tell us how our staff could have been even more helpful?
  • (After negative feedback) Sorry to hear that! Please tell us how our staff could avoid this in the future.

Channel-specific questions

  • What channels do you normally use?
  • What other channels have you used in the past?
  • How could we improve [specific channel]?
  • How would you like for us to communicate with you?
  • (After negative feedback) How could we avoid your negative experience with [channel]?

Customer Effort Score (CES) questions

  • How could we have improved your overall experience?
  • What made using our product/service easy for you?
  • What made using our product/service difficult for you?
  • What could we do to make our product/service easier for you to use?

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) questions

  • What were the highlights of your experience with us today?
  • What were the low points of your experience with us today?
  • How does our product/service help you solve your problem?

Final thoughts

Asking the right questions is the key to providing an excellent customer experience -- which means more sales. Each question above covers specific aspects of the customer experience, so there is no such thing as the “right” question set.

All you have to do right now is get started. Even if it’s a simple “How was your experience today?”, the more questions you ask -- and the longer you ask them for -- the better you’ll service your customers.

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