What’s the point of doing a customer satisfaction survey? Well, rather obviously, to gauge how customers perceive you, and where their expectations are being—and not being—met.

This requires walking in the customer’s shoes and designing your survey from the customer’s perspective. Sound simple? It is…sort of.

Unfortunately, organizations run a high risk of tunnel vision, becoming acutely interested in only the problems they think are most pressing. So they pack their questions into customer surveys, despite the fact that their interests have NOTHING to do with customers’ actual experiences.

Let’s look at an example:


“Please rate the balance of graphics and text on *******.com.” (1-10, or Don’t Know).

The biggest problems with this question are:

  • It’s unclear: Does a bad rating indicate too much text, too many graphics, or both?
  • It’s out of touch with the customer experience: Customers don’t think, “Hmm, the graphics-to-text ratio has balance problems” They DO think, “This webpage sucks, I can’t find a simple answer.”

The question of graphic balance is best saved for a web design or UX team. As I often say, your customers are not your analysts. Leave questions out of the survey that do not reflect the customer’s immediate experience.

Examples of questions that customers CAN answer and that provide actionable insight are:

  • “Who else might you buy similar merchandise from in the future?”
  • “How would you rate your call with our support team?”
  • “Did you get an answer to your question that made sense?”

When you combine customer-centric survey questions with good customer feedback research methods, you’ll get to the heart of the customer experience.  So, take a hard look at your customer satisfaction survey and make sure it’s actually relevant to your customers. Start listening to your customers now!


Martha Brooke is the Chief CX Analyst and Founder of Interaction Metrics, a customer experience agency that dramatically boosts the value of customer surveys, customer service evaluations, and customer experience planning. Learn about the best metrics and methods for you with a free 25-minute MetricsLAB™.