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The Ultimate Guide to Customer Feedback and Satisfaction Surveys

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Feedback and Satisfaction Surveys

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Right now, you may know what your customers experience when they interact with your organization. But do you know what they’re thinking? How they’re feeling? What they tell others when the experience is over?

It’s okay. You’re not a mindreader. The good news is, you can get pretty darn close. With the right feedback and satisfaction survey strategy, you can put yourself into your customer’s place in order to help understand their experience and pinpoint their needs and expectations.

Why is this important? So you can take those real-time insights and turn them into actions, elevate your customer experience, and grow your business.

Easy, right?

Sort of. The problem is, implementing a customer feedback and satisfaction survey strategy isn’t easy to do alone. That’s why we’ve created this guide. To give you everything you need to know about customer surveys and make it easy to understand the needs of your customers and provide the type of experience that exceeds their expectations and promotes brand loyalty.

What are customer feedback and satisfaction surveys?


What are customer feedback and satisfaction surveys?

Customer surveys are necessary tools that organizations can use to measure their customers’ levels of satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

Fully custom surveys can be quickly deployed across your key customer channels and touchpoints, with results integrated into a secure analytics and reporting portal for stakeholder interaction.

Analytics and data serve as the most vital parts of survey programs because, without relevant data, organizations have little to no insight into their current level of customer experience. And that means they don’t see the reasons behind particular successes and failures.

Brands that invest the proper time and resources into this measurement and analytic process will find that they yield insightful, actionable data that ultimately leads to enhanced service and profitability.

Whether you’re measuring how much a customer likes or dislikes a specific product or service or how pleasant the overall customer service experience was, surveys provide the knowledge that leads to impactful changes in your business at every level.

Why should your organization use customer surveys?

Why should your organization use customer surveys?

The answer is simple. Happy or unhappy customers tell you a lot about your organization.

Sometimes, low customer satisfaction can point to specific causes like continually long wait times. Most often, however, low customer satisfaction scores indicate employee engagement issues. When you measure the customer experience with an open dialogue via surveys, you reveal internal weaknesses you may not have noticed.

Ultimately, if you aren’t staying on the pulse of the customer experience, you risk a lot more than a few necessary operational tweaks. You risk:

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Customer churn
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Employee turnover
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Poor brand reputation
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Falling behind competition
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Missing growth opportunities
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Consistent negative reviews

On the other hand, high customer satisfaction and recommendation scores are indicators of healthy employee engagement, and an engaged employee is more likely to stick around and be more productive for your business.

As a result, your customers get the best experience possible and tell everyone (including you) all about it. Your customers are happy for a reason, and when you find out that reason through data-driven surveys, you can reward your staff accordingly and encourage that level of service to continue.

Our Engage program, in particular, uses text analytics, so we can analyze customer survey responses and search out positive phrases as evidence of your associates going above and beyond.

Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer surveys come in various forms. As you move forward with a customer survey program, you want to make sure to use both relationship and transactional surveys.

Relationship vs. Transactional Surveys

Relationship surveys:
The purpose is to determine customer loyalty by focusing on the overall experience and satisfaction the customer has with the company.

Transactional surveys:
The purpose is to determine the quality of a specific service or product so that you can improve individual relationships with customers after they have engaged with your company.

Surveys By Customer

Every business has customers, but the types of customers can vary. Think about customer surveys through this lens.

B2C Surveys

A business-to-consumer (B2C) customer survey is straightforward. With this type of survey, you are collecting data from the end-user or consumer. Some examples include a consumer who is reviewing service at a restaurant or a stay at a hotel.

Offering your customer an outlet to voice their concerns and praise will help with managing your customer relationships, providing objective measures that allow for comparison across your locations and competitors. Benchmarking your service sets the groundwork for improvement.

We’ll discuss consumer surveys more in-depth further down this page, but it’s worth emphasizing here that B2C Survey success is often dependent on how it is positioned in the organization, so early consideration should be given to the following:

  • Gaining buy-in from senior stakeholders
  • Assigning a survey champion advocate
  • Creating an action team to close feedback loops
  • Aligning training programs with findings

B2B Surveys

A business-to-business (B2B) survey is centered around companies surveying business partners and clients. These relationships are just as meaningful as relationships with end-users and must be measured to ensure a healthy partnership.

While B2C is about the experience, B2B is about the relationship. When you track that relationship, good things happen:

  • You reduce customer churn
  • You maximize sales to existing customers
  • You increase prices, as customers now know your value

When it comes to implementing B2B surveys, you want to avoid these common mistakes:

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Not focusing on top accounts
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Not getting qualitative data (why customers feel the way they do) and only procuring quantitative data (numbers)
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Not thanking customers for taking the survey
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Not sending the feedback down the organization
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Not setting goals for improvement

With the right partner, it’s easy to avoid these B2B pitfalls.

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Top 6 Customer Service KPIs You Should Track

Top 6 Customer Service KPIs You Should Track

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow an organization to visualize and track its progress toward key business objectives. In the customer experience domain, KPIs provide insight based on consumer data.

Here are the top 6 KPIs you should track as you collect data through your customer survey program.

1) Net Promoter Score (NPS):

NPS® is an increasingly popular metric used to calculate a customer’s likelihood to recommend a brand to their friends and family.

2) Customer Satisfaction (CSAT):

CSAT measures the level of satisfaction that customers feel towards your service or product at a given moment.

3) Customer Effort Score (CES):

Customer Effort Score measures your service’s level of complexity.

4) Churn Rate:

Churn rate refers to the percentage of customers lost over the course of a specified period of time.

5) Retention Rate:

Retention rate measures the percentage of returning customers over the course of a specified period of time.

6) Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):

CLV is a measure of the predicted revenue earned from a single customer account over the entire duration of their relationship with a company.

How To Design A Feedback Survey Program

How To Design A Feedback Survey Program

Designing a customer survey program isn’t easy to do alone, but we want to provide some best practices here to get you started.

Best Practices for Creating Customer Surveys 

Here are some best practices for creating feedback surveys for your brand’s customer-centric measures.

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Determine a clear, attainable goal for the survey program.
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Test a specific hypothesis within each survey question.
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Make it as convenient as possible to take the survey (e.g., on a well-developed website).
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Make sure completion doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to avoid survey fatigue.
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Put personal questions toward the end, if you must include them.
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Offer incentives for those who complete the survey.
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Use mostly closed-ended questions (multiple choice or checkbox questions).
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Don’t ask leading questions.
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Stay away from absolutes.
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Do a test run on a small number of people to ensure that your questions are clear.

Using the Voice of the Customer (VoC) to Make Changes

Using the Voice of the Customer (VoC) to Make Changes

Ultimately, your brand needs to adjust its customer-centric measures to match the respective customer base you serve. Voice of Customer (VoC) survey programs are an effective way of capturing the information you need to do that. Still, the challenge lies in finding ways to integrate survey participation into the customer journey.

Follow these tips to increase the participation rate for your VoC survey program.

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Make the survey optimized for mobile devices.
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Make the survey accessible via social media and/or easily accessible from your website.
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Train employees to promote the survey at the point of sale or automate the invitation post-transaction.
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Wait 3-5 days before reaching out after a purchase.

The Most Common Types of VoC Questions

How likely are you to recommend [insert company name] to a friend or family member?
Results/Success and value received
Were all your questions answered? Did you find what you were looking for?
How easy was it to do what you came in for?
How did you feel about your visit?
Marketing measures (customer origin)
How did you hear about our company, product, or service?
Brand perception questions
When you think about our company, product, or service, what comes to mind?
Shopper profile
How often do you visit this location?
What is your age?

4 Steps to Weave the VoC up through the organization:

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Make it mandatory to use customer feedback in annual planning and other pivotal routines.
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Embed customer feedback insights into training material and criteria for recognition, reviews, and promotions.
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Find exciting ways to encourage employees to immerse themselves in customers’ realities (podcasts, videos, live webinars, etc.)
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Determine ownership of responding and follow-up. Create an action plan for the areas for improvement found within the results.

Survey, Survey, and Survey Again

Survey, Survey, and Survey Again

An essential piece of your survey program will be to resurvey—because as customer engagement and perception evolves, you should continue to identify the actions that build positive momentum. Consistency is key, though you will want to be mindful of not over-surveying and creating survey fatigue.

How Frequently Should You Survey Customers?

Decisions regarding survey distribution are often related to the instrument’s ease of use, length, and the intended customer. A 3-question transactional survey could justifiably be sent after each customer interaction. Whereas a respondent should be given a break from survey invitations after completing a longer survey. Too many invitations show a lack of appreciation for the effort the respondent already gave or may even give the impression of disorganization or lack of attention to detail.

Why do Feedback Surveys Plateau?

Surveys plateau when they are no longer providing insights, or the insights are not driving change. Some ways to prevent this include:

  • Launching a survey with the right client team.
  • Offering dynamic, positive incentives.
  • Changing the questions asked as your business needs evolve.

How To Keep Surveys Fresh and Relevant

Surveys can stay fresh by avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach to design. Create a short, visually appealing survey that asks questions relevant to the respondent and utilizes question/response branching, piping, and logic. These measures serve to reduce customer effort in taking the survey, increasing their likelihood to participate again in the future.

Net Promoter® Surveys

Net Promoter® Surveys

One widely adopted approach in the customer feedback survey space is utilizing Net Promoter Scores® as a fundamental component of the survey. This is a popular methodology that asks customers to rank their likelihood to recommend a product or service on a scale of 0-10, then segments customers into the distinct categories of Promoter, Neutral, or Detractor, according to their score.

Net Promoter Score® surveys focus on these core insights:

  • The likelihood of your customer to recommend your product, service, or brand
  • The likelihood of your customer to utilize your service or purchase from you in the future

Three significant benefits of the NPS® approach are:

  • Its ability to galvanize effort toward critical customer-centric business objectives
  • Simplicity
  • Its link to financial performance

In addition to Net Promoter Score® Surveys, the Second To None platform consists of:

  • Data Visualization
  • Dashboard Reporting
  • Action Priorities
  • Sentiment Analysis
  • Text Analytics

Read more about using the Net Promoter Score in your surveys: 

Second To None is officially licensed to design and deploy NPS surveys, to analyze and report on the findings, and to consult with our clients on best practices for business performance improvement. Our associates are additionally NPS certified.

Are surveys valuable for my industry?

Are surveys valuable for my industry?

Every brand, regardless of industry, can gain valuable insights at scale and quite cost-effectively, through carefully designed ongoing feedback and satisfaction survey programs. Your customers have greater choice, and you have more competition than ever. Give yourself an advantage by continuously listening to your customers.

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Consumer Services Surveys

General consumer services can be brick-and-mortar, online, or phone-based and can all benefit from a continual customer listening post and closed-loop system for gathering customer sentiment, perceptions, and ideas, and then leveraging this knowledge for iterative improvements to drive competitive advantage.

Those businesses set up in a franchise structure are unique with an emphasized goal to unite brand perception across markets and attain experience consistency. The ability to monitor this effort continuously with the customer, especially as new owners onboard, is critical.

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Retail Customer Surveys

The retail industry has undergone significant changes, with the rise of omnichannel customer touchpoints in order to meet customer expectations when, where, and how they wish to interact with your brand. Through customer surveys, you can uncover and pinpoint areas of high customer effort, gaps in the customer experience across channels, and understand exactly where to focus resources on optimizing the brand experience.

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Specialty Retail Customer Surveys
High-value customers have a voice that needs to be heard, and in specialty retail, that translates to everyone. A successful experience can yield a high-value lifetime customer, whereas losing them subtracts from the smaller customer pool. Voice of customer surveys can serve as the critical sources of knowledge your brand needs to remain relevant in today’s marketplace.

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Restaurant Customer Surveys

Restaurant brands and operators of every stripe, from full-service to fast-casual, quick-serve and ghost kitchens are all seeking the discretionary spend of a customer base faced with more options every day—not to mention the convenience stores, grocery retailers, and meal kit options all vying for share of wallet. A well-designed, mobile-friendly survey can arm you with the critical insights you need to survive and thrive in one of the most fiercely competitive sectors.

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Healthcare Patient Surveys

Today’s patients bring to their healthcare experience a set of expectations shaped by the best-of-breed brands across industries: convenience, ease of effort, personalization, and empathy. Today’s patients are also more open to trying alternative providers should you fall short of their expectations. Patient experience and satisfaction surveys are a powerful tool for keeping the pulse on your experience delivery.

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Financial Services Customer Surveys

Consumer retail banking, insurance, mortgage services, personal investing, and related financial services offerings are under incredible competitive pressures from new market entrants, including online-only brands aggressively seeking to grab your market share. A customer survey initiative can serve as a critical tool in understanding the ongoing customer experience and just as importantly, shifting customer needs and expectations.

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Entertainment and Travel Surveys
Consumer behavior in the entertainment and travel space is ever-changing based on both controllable conditions and restraints and limitations beyond authority. A living survey program can give direction in both instances to help navigate the waters. Providing a tool for listening that is flexible enough to change as the audience and traveler needs change will allow you to hone in on what operational elements are currently a priority. With that data, you can then uncover the next steps as you plan the course ahead.

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Convenience Store Customer Surveys 

C-stores are becoming an increasingly important part of consumers’ daily lives, as they look to reduce the number of trips away from home and consolidate their fueling, coffee, lunch, snack, and general living “to-do” lists into as few store visits as possible. Are you maximizing customer convenience? Are there new or additional ways your brand could be serving customer needs? A dynamic survey program will give your insights at scale, in real-time and through a modest investment that delivers meaningful ROI on day one.

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Grocery Industry Customer Surveys

As today’s grocery customer interacts with you across channels and touchpoints—in-store, online ordering, curbside pickup, home delivery, and whatever it is that comes next—it is imperative to support your frontline associates and department and store managers with as much relevant, detailed customer experience intelligence as possible. Customer surveys enable you to pivot quickly, take immediate corrective action to enhance the brand experience, and identify emerging opportunities for retaining and expanding the customer share of wallet.

With the right research partner, customer survey results can be made available to your internal stakeholders and in-field associates in real-time, supporting corrective measures and business decisions to propel your organization forward.

Read about our customer feedback survey program, Engage.

How do customer surveys relate to other CX programs?

How do customer surveys relate to other CX programs?

Not only do businesses have to take an omnichannel approach to customer service, they also have to take an omnichannel approach to measure it. In fact, PWC found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80% since 2020.

Customer surveys are the bread and butter of company CX programs, providing measurable data within an easy-to-use survey platform. Surveys are the core CX baseline for your organization, which can be built upon with more involved, qualitative secret shopping, database analytics “big data”, and the like.

You can read about how we helped Xfinity with a customized solution to track and analyze customer experience over multiple touchpoints, including nontraditional in-store evaluations.



Creating the right customer survey program can get complicated, and this is exactly where Second To None comes in. For 30 years, we have been working on creating, distributing, analyzing, and reporting feedback survey campaigns and have seen success throughout many different industries and business climates.

The Second To None team works completely in-house in order to guarantee that your brand is delivered clear, measurable, and actionable results on a quick timetable.

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Learn more about engage

Open dialogue creates trust, loyalty, and stronger bonds among customers and employees. At Second To None, we help you dig deep into what motivates internal and external audiences — and provide actionable insight into what they think and feel. Our Engage survey solutions use proven survey methods that capture customer sentiment across every touchpoint, translating it into actionable insights, so you can respond effectively and leverage the voice of your customer to create more joyful experiences.

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