What is a customer satisfaction survey

Customer feedback is one of the most important instruments in the hands of the business in order to improve products and services.

You may work hard every day to improve your product but intent and execution don’t always align. This is why it is crucial to communicate with your customers to understand their needs, problems, and values.

One of the most powerful instruments for getting customer feedback is satisfaction surveys. These types of surveys not only help you with the feedback collection process but also allow you to measure success through the satisfaction score.

In this article, we will define what exactly is customer satisfaction survey, understand its importance, and look into the most popular types of surveys.

Customer satisfaction survey

Customer satisfaction survey is a survey conducted by a business in order to measure customer satisfaction with a product or service. In addition, customer satisfaction surveys help collect customer feedback and are an essential part of the customer feedback loop.

Customer satisfaction survey is a good way to understand overall customer satisfaction with your products and convert it into metrics. Businesses can use this metric as a key performance indicator to measure the results of their efforts in improving customer experience.

Web agencies can run customer satisfaction surveys for their clients to get insights and use it to upsell or offer website maintenance services

The benefit of customer satisfaction survey is that it can be applied to a different scope. Businesses can measure customer satisfaction for the whole business, a separate unit, a product, or even a feature.

Why measure customer satisfaction?

As the name suggests, customer satisfaction survey helps you to measure customer satisfaction and transfer it into a single unit.

With the metrics and feedback in place, businesses can benefit in many different ways:

  • Measure the impact of their business decisions
  • Test customer engagement
  • Discover customer pain points and problems
  • Introduce customer feedback loop
  • Discover hidden issues and quick wins
  • Compare their business to competitors (and industry)
  • Use data to attract investors
  • Discover promoters and build relationships with their customers
  • Use satisfaction score as a marketing instrument
  • Keep the team focused on the key initiatives
  • Upsell clients (for web agencies)

Customer satisfaction score is the ultimate metric that allows you to follow your business and product health. Being easy to calculate and understand, it has resulted in being widely used among businesses worldwide.

Types of customer satisfaction surveys

As a popular and valuable survey type, customer satisfaction surveys are of different types. Some types are focused on the precision of the satisfaction score while others focus on customer feedback.

While there are many modifications when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys, there are several basic types of surveys available.

Net Promoter Score ® (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is probably the most popular type of customer satisfaction survey. In fact, it is used by almost 70% of all Fortune 1000 companies.

The goal of the survey is to calculate the satisfaction score by discovering product promoters, passives, and detractors.

It is a single-question survey that is easy to understand and can be used as a key performance indicator.

An additional sub-surveys are available for NPS to calculate Product Net Promoter Score (pNPS) and Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a type of survey focused on understanding customers' average satisfaction rate with the product and service.

The survey consists of a single question where customers need to rank their experience with the product or service. A follow-up question is added to the survey in order to get additional feedback.

The score is then calculated to understand the average satisfaction.

Businesses often build an advanced matrix of CSAT questions to cover several aspects of their business, including user interface, customer support, and performance. Such surveys give more information but also have lower response rates.

Customer effort score (CES)

Customer effort score (CES) allows an understanding of how easy it is for customers to perform a certain task or achieve desired results.

A typical CES question would usually ask how easy it was to use the product ranking it from very difficult to very easy. An additional question to provide more information is usually present.

Customer effort score allows organizations to focus their effort on discovering and reducing the number of pain points in their products.

Milestone survey

Milestone surveys are a special type of survey that is sent out to customers at the exact moment of their customer journey.

As your customer reaches a certain point or completed a milestone, it is important to get their feedback to understand how to improve the process.

A good example of a milestone survey would be asking your customers for feedback after they have used your product for 30 days.

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Customer satisfaction survey questions (templates)

Customer satisfaction survey questions depend on the type of survey you are going to use.

Some surveys have strict question policies while others are more flexible. Of course, you can modify questions for any type of survey but be cautious as it may impact your results. If you are just starting and don't feel skilled enough - stick to the official guidelines and policies.

Let's look at different survey types and define the questions you are going to ask:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): “How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?” - is the only form of the question suggested to measure NPS. Customers will have to give their score between 0 and 10 when answering it. The score is then calculated using the NPS formula.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): “How easy it was to …” - CSAT surveys are more flexible when it comes to asking questions. You can have several questions focusing on different parts of your product or business. Customers will answer questions by giving their scores between 1 and 5. The score is then calculated using averages.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): “How easy it was to use …” - just like CSAT, CES is flexible in terms of questions asked. Customers use the scale from very difficult to very easy to answer and the average value is calculated.
  • Milestone surveys: probably the most flexible satisfaction survey as there are no strict rules defining questions. The goal of the survey is to receive feedback you can use to improve the process. Many businesses use NPS, CSAT, or CES format when creating milestone surveys.

Free and premium customer satisfaction survey tools

There are many customer satisfaction survey tools available online with their pros and cons. Some survey tools are offering multiple types of surveys while others focus on one type.

The first thing to do when choosing software to create a survey is to understand what type of survey you need. If your goal is to create a Net Promoter Score survey, you should look for the NPS tools that allow you to do just that.

In fact, type-specific survey tools will usually offer more when it comes to calculating (ex. NPS calculator) and data analysis. The mainstream survey software will usually allow you to export data so you can analyze it on your own.

It is also recommended to test several tools before making a final call. Most of the tools are using a freemium business model which includes both - free and premium versions. It allows you to start (or test) for free and upgrade as you grow.


Customer satisfaction surveys can be easy and hard at the same time.

It is easy to understand and create, plus it has a clear purpose and value for your business. The hard part comes into play when you need to interpret the data from the survey and use it to make business decisions.

It comes down to the product manager, data analyst, CEO, or wherever makes business (or product) decisions to make the right conclusions and build an action plan.

Nevertheless, having a customer satisfaction survey and score in place is a must for any business that wants to be successful and create better products.

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