Client Satisfaction Survey The Unwritten Rules

Nowadays, surveys are an essential part of any business. Whether you want to find out how your customers feel about a new product or service.

Ask them what they think could be improved on, or just get feedback from them on anything related to your business; surveys are one of the best ways to do so!

However, there are some unwritten rules that many people don’t follow when creating a survey and these can have disastrous results for your research project if not followed properly! 

In this article we’ll discuss why it’s important not to break these rules when conducting client satisfaction surveys:

n a friendly tone: Nowadays, surveys are an essential part of any business. Whether you want to find out how your customers feel about a new product or service, ask them what they think could be improved on, or just get feedback from them on anything related to your business; 

Surveys are one of the best ways to do so! However, there are some unwritten rules that many people don’t follow when creating a survey and these can have disastrous results for your research project if not followed properly! 

In this article we’ll discuss why it’s important not to break these rules when conducting client satisfaction surveys:

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Proven Tips for HONEST
1. Learn the hidden principles that govern effective client satisfaction surveys.
2. Understand the unspoken guidelines for creating surveys that yield accurate insights.
3. Discover strategies to ensure participants feel valued and motivated to provide honest feedback.
4. Explore ways to interpret survey results with nuance and context for actionable improvements.
5. Gain insights into maintaining the integrity of survey data and avoiding common pitfalls.

Do Not Emphasize On The Product/Service

The first and foremost rule is to focus on the problem, not on the product/service. It’s tempting to start your survey by talking about your agency’s products or services, but that doesn’t help you figure out what makes them good for customers. 

Instead, it makes you think about how great they are from an agency perspective and forget about what matters most: your clients’ needs and experiences with them.

You need to understand why they hired you in the first place (e.g., because they needed more leads) and what their expectations were when they hired you (e.g., free training sessions). 

If after working with your team, those expectations aren’t being met or if something went wrong along the way (e.g., there was no training), this could lead directly back into dissatisfaction even if everything else has been done well!

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Do Not Focus On Competitors And Their Products/Services

You know you shouldn’t focus on your competitors, but it’s hard not to. They’re so close and they’ve been around for so long.

When clients see a competitor comparison section in the survey, they think: “I’m going to be compared to the competition.”

But you don’t want them to compare themselves you want them to think about their own experience and how that experience compares with other companies.

Give “Satisfaction Level” As An Option And Not As A Request For a Rating

A survey that asks the respondent to rate their satisfaction level on a scale of 1 to 10 is not as useful as a survey that asks them to answer with a satisfaction level between 1 and 5. 

Respondents can give you more detailed information about their experience by using this scale, whereas without it you might get a very general response like “good” or “excellent”.

If you do decide to use both rating scales in your survey, always start with asking for the customer’s opinion on specific experiences they’ve had with your product or service before moving into questions about competitors’ products/services. 

You should also ask them for recommendations at the end of your survey rather than just trying to gauge opinions about yourself.

Ask About Their Experience With Your Agency Only

If you ask about their experience with your agency, not about their experience with other agencies or competitors, clients are more likely to be open and honest. This is why we often avoid questions like “How many times did you contact our agency for help?” 

Instead of asking that question, we recommend asking something like: “What was your first impression of us?” or even simply “Why do you think it was important for us to ask so many questions at the beginning of the project?”

It’s also important that when talking about other companies or organizations (e.g., “Our competition”), you don’t use negative language such as “the competition.” 

If someone is using negative language about another company/organization, make sure they know that this isn’t acceptable language when conducting research surveys and interviews.

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Be Specific And Ask Only About What You Want To Know, Nothing More

To be clear, the most common mistake is not asking the right questions in the first place. You need to know what you want to learn before you can ask about it. 

Think about this like an onion: there’s always something more for you to peel back, but if you don’t start with a good question, then there will be nothing left for later on.

You also have to keep in mind that clients aren’t very patient people and they don’t have time for answers that don’t directly help them solve their problems. 

So when working with clients on surveys and interviews, make sure they only get answers they want (or need) without having those answers go off-topic or take too long!

Do Not Ask How Much Money They Are Willing To Pay For Your Product/Service

Asking about money explicitly can give you a false sense of security. If someone says they would be happy to pay $500 per month for your service, but the next time they are asked they say “no way I am not willing to spend that much”, what does it mean? 

Does it mean that this person is unreliable? Or maybe he/she was just trying to impress you with his/her wealth?

Instead of asking about money directly and risking getting such conflicting answers, ask about what matters most to them. For example:

  • What are the most important things for me when hiring an agency?
  • What do I need from my agency for us to work together successfully?
  • How would you describe the relationship between us at this point?

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Avoid Going Over 10 Questions

If you’ve been in the business of running customer surveys for any length of time, you know that the vast majority of people don’t want to take them. That means that there is a very small window of opportunity to capture the attention, let alone complete one or multiple surveys. 

Asking 10 questions is usually more than enough for most applications. I recommend asking no more than 10 questions unless your research goals require it (e.g., if you need demographic information).

If your goal is to find out what customers like/dislike about your product/service as well as why they feel this way, then asking only 5 questions will probably get the job done just fine, especially if these are open-ended questions (e.g., Why did you give us this score?). 

However, you need to understand how many people have used certain features over time or how frequently they use those features now compared with two years ago.

Then additional questions may be necessary but should never exceed 20 in total so as not to distract them from completing their survey at all!

Do Not Ask Questions That Have “Yes” Or “No” Or Another Obvious Answer

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a survey is that you should ask questions that are neither too simple nor too complex. 

The responses should be able to be interpreted in a way that gives you the information you need, but not so specific and personal that they become distracting from the main point of your research project.

There are many surveys with problematic questions out there, but one of my favorite examples comes from a survey I once wrote for a client who was looking for feedback on their products. One question asked: “What would you like us to improve?”

The first problem here is that this question is open-ended and vague; 

It allows respondents to write whatever they want without giving them any direction or guidance on what information they should provide or how specifically they should answer it (e.g., “Improve everything” vs “Improve the graphics”). 

This makes it difficult if not impossible for researchers to interpret answers correctly and come up with useful conclusions based on them.

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Use A Multiple Choice Question Type And Do Not Let People Come Up With Their Answers

Multiple-choice questions are the most commonly used survey question type and for good reason. They’re easier to answer, and thus more accurate. They’re also generally less time-consuming than open-ended questions and less expensive. 

There are a few other benefits as well: multiple-choice surveys can be more fun (and therefore engaging) for your respondents; 

They reduce data processing time and cost; they remove any bias from the survey itself; 

And they allow you to control how much information you want from each respondent instead of relying on their memory or ability to accurately recall details about something that happened in the past.

Keep The Survey Short 5 Minutes Tops!

The main reason why you should keep the survey short is to ensure that the participants are focused on their answers. 

When your participants feel that they have taken too much time, they will start to look for ways to finish off as quickly as possible, which could affect the quality of their answers.

To prevent this from happening, we recommend using a timer in your surveys. This allows you to set a maximum amount of time allowed on each question or task and adapts at different stages if needed (e.g., if someone takes longer than usual to answer one question).

We also advise against asking yes/no questions whenever possible; instead, opt for multiple choice or rating scale responses so that there is always an option besides “yes” or “no”. 

While yes/no questions are easy and can be done quickly, they tend not to be very descriptive in terms of analyzing customer satisfaction levels.

Because most customers do not spend enough time thinking about whether or not something was good enough for them before answering (the answer would likely either be yes or no).

Focus On Understanding The Problem Rather Than Finding A Solution Right Away! 

The first rule of thumb you should follow when conducting a customer satisfaction survey is this: Focus on understanding the problem rather than finding a solution right away!

Why? To begin with, it’s often much easier for clients to describe their problems in words than for them to come up with solutions. When your client talks about his problem, he’ll be able to give you more details about what exactly is bothering him or her. 

You can then use these details as input into the development of your survey questions and ensure that they will yield valuable data when analyzed later on.

Another reason why focusing on understanding the problem first makes sense is that once you’ve identified all of its causes (including those not immediately obvious).

It will be much easier for you as an analyst or researcher to devise potential solutions that might work well with other customers having similar issues. 

This kind of research often yields multiple possible solutions which can make things even more confusing if not handled properly!

Create An Open-Ended Question At The End Of The Survey 

A good way to get better customer feedback is by creating an open-ended question at the end of your survey. This can be helpful because it gives you feedback on what you’re doing right and wrong, as well as what others think you should improve.

When asking for suggestions, try to ask for specific examples. For example: “What can we do better?” or “How could we make this survey more helpful?”

If you don’t include any open-ended questions in your customer satisfaction surveys, then your customers will not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with you.

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Taking a casual approach to client satisfaction surveys can result in poor insights and wasted time for everyone involved. To get the most out of this information, you’ll need to understand a few key principles:

Client satisfaction surveys are not anonymous by default.

When partners or colleagues fill out surveys on your behalf, they are essentially signing their names to the results.

You cannot be satisfied with good enough answers because these are not representative of your company’s overall performance and will not yield actionable data points that drive your future business decisions towards success!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further exploring topics related to customer satisfaction and service:

The Five Unwritten Rules of Social Customer Service Discover the unwritten rules that govern effective social customer service and enhance your interactions with customers on social media platforms.

Measuring Customer Happiness Dive into the techniques and strategies for measuring and understanding customer happiness, a key metric for the success of your business.

10 Best Customer Satisfaction Survey Examples Explore a collection of customer satisfaction survey examples that provide insights into crafting effective surveys to gauge customer sentiments.


What are the essential rules for effective social customer service?

The essential rules for effective social customer service include timely responses, personalized interactions, active listening, consistent branding, and transparency in communication.

Why is measuring customer happiness important for a business?

Measuring customer happiness helps businesses understand the level of satisfaction among their customers, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately enhance customer loyalty and retention.

How can I create a customer satisfaction survey that yields valuable insights?

Creating a valuable customer satisfaction survey involves crafting clear and concise questions, using a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions, and ensuring the survey is easy to complete.

What are some common customer satisfaction metrics to track?

Common customer satisfaction metrics include Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES), which provide insights into customer sentiment and loyalty.

How can businesses ensure consistent customer service across various channels?

Consistent customer service across channels can be achieved through integrated technology, well-defined processes, training for support teams, and maintaining a unified brand voice.

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