What are customer satisfaction surveys and why do you need them?

Customer feedback is one of the most important aspects of improving your customer experience. Only if you have quantifiable data on how well your customers like your product or service, will you be able to make meaningful enhancements to their end-user experience. And a great way to gather feedback and measure customer satisfaction levels is by using customer satisfaction surveys.

A CSAT survey is a questionnaire put together by brands to identify their customers' satisfaction with the product/service provided. A CSAT survey can be used to track customer sentiment across each touchpoint of the customer journey.

A CSAT survey in customer support is generally added at the end of every service interaction. It asks the customer to rate the quality of service provided on a scale that ranges from poor to excellent. Apart from customer service, it also acts as a good indicator for product teams to work on the customers’ requirements and build features that will genuinely be useful for them. CSAT surveys also help you identify which agents are resolving customer problems more satisfactorily than others. 

To sum up, CSAT surveys help you:

How to measure and interpret customer satisfaction survey results?

Once you’ve gathered all the responses to your survey, you need to evaluate the results. You can do this by calculating the CSAT score, a metric that allows you to assess your customers’ satisfaction. To calculate the CSAT score, you need to add the number of positive responses received and divide that by the total number of responses. 

Since CSAT score is expressed as a percentage (with 100% denoting complete customer satisfaction), you need to multiply the results by 100. So, out of 100 survey responses, if 80 responded positively, then your CSAT score is 80%.  

Apart from visual surveys or polls, you can also measure customer satisfaction using a Likert Scale, that is, a three, five, or seven point scale which enables customers to share their satisfaction at a numeric level. In this case, the formula given below still holds good for calculating the customer satisfaction score:

CSAT% = (Number of positive responses / Total number of responses) x 100 

The only thing that changes is your definition of a positive response. For instance, on a scale of 1-5, 1 being extremely unhappy and 5 being extremely happy, 4 and 5 count as positive responses. 

How to create a CSAT survey?

A well-constructed customer satisfaction survey can help you get the right insights you need to improve your customers’ experience and optimize internal processes. You can design the perfect CSAT survey by following the steps below:

Step 1: Identify the goal of the survey

While measuring customer satisfaction is good for your business, you might not be able to get actionable feedback unless you have a specific objective for conducting a survey. So, you need to start with identifying your goal, which can range from assessing how satisfied your customers are with your business or customer support to figuring out what needs to be changed in your product.

Step 2: Frame the questions

The feedback you get from your customers is only as good as the questions you ask. But how do you determine what questions should be asked in your customer satisfaction survey? Here are two tips that can help you frame the right customer satisfaction survey questions:

Question type: close-ended vs open-ended questions - Go with closed-ended for quantitative feedback, open-ended for qualitative, and both if you want to get comprehensive feedback.

Option type - You need to decide how the options for your questions are going to look, and we recommend going with: 

Option type


A poll or a yes or no option

Direct, binary feedback about the helpfulness of a solution article, or a support agent, etc

An empty field or a answer box

Open ended questions

A drop-down

Pointed, specific feedback 

An interactive slider or a visual survey

Improve response rates of frequently shared surveys

Multiple choices

When one of more aspects of your product/service are being evaluated

Sample CSAT Survey

Let’s apply the steps we discussed and create a sample customer satisfaction survey to find out customer satisfaction with a purchase journey from a website. 

Question: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with purchasing from <brand name>?
Feedback type: Likert rating scale

Options: Extremely dissatisfied, dissatisfied, moderate, satisfied, extremely satisfied

If your customers choose extremely dissatisfied, dissatisfied, then you can open up a second question like this one:
Secondary question: Which aspect of placing the order are you most unhappy with?
Feedback type: Dropdown or multiple choice
- Website navigation 
- Payment process
- Product information and images
- Pricing information

To keep an open line of communication, add:
Question: If you have anything specific you’d like to share, then please drop your thoughts below:
Feedback type: Dialogue box

There you have it, a CSAT survey that you can use to improve your website UX and other aspects of placing an order. 

Bonus: Here’s a CSAT survey template that you can use to assess the customer service experience you deliver.

Free customer satisfaction survey template

How satisfied are you with our customer support?
1 - extremely happy
2 - happy
3 - moderate
4 - unhappy
5 - extremely unhappy

Which aspect of your could experience could have been better? (select one)
Ease of access
Agent behavior

Is there any additional feedback you’d like to share?

You can also download this template, and templates for other customer experience surveys including CES and NPS.

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Some best practices for creating CSAT surveys

Designing a great CSAT survey will be an easy process as long as you keep the following dos and don’ts in mind.

Don’t deviate from the goal

 Make sure your customer satisfaction survey isn’t unnecessarily lengthy -- your customers have to get back to their work or life, and you need to respect their time. So keep the survey short and to the point. If you need detailed feedback, you can set up questions to appear when customers give a particular rating.

Nail the timing 

Getting the timing of sending the CSAT survey right is absolutely critical. Send it too early and your customers could still be implementing the solution suggested. On the other hand, send it too late and they might forget what your conversation was about. It’s best to send the survey a little after the issue has been resolved and share a recap of the conversation to rejig the customer’s memory.

Don’t club questions 

Make it a point not to address two separate things in a single question. Your customers might have conflicting opinions and this won’t help you get accurate feedback. For instance, don’t say ‘how happy are you with your purchase journey and product delivery?’. These are two separate instances, and customers might have had a seamless purchase journey but faced troubles during the delivery.  

Make the survey or specific questions optional 

Making the survey mandatory can annoy some customers, especially if they are in a hurry to do something else. Instead, explaining the objective of collecting feedback can improve response rates. Alternatively, if your survey is lengthy, you can also have certain mandatory questions and keep the rest optional.

Which survey should you use?

The answer to the question ‘which survey is best for you’ is not straightforward — there is no one size fits all approach. Whie a CSAT survey is best for gauging your customers’ happiness, the NPS and CES surveys also measure a form of customer satisfaction. So the survey you need to go with depends on your objective of collecting feedback. 

We’ve listed the different objectives of measuring customer satisfaction and mapped a relevant type of customer experience survey to make things easy for you:

CSAT survey -> How happy customers are with an experience you delivered or to measure overall satisfaction with your product/service.
CES survey (customer effort score) -> How easy/difficult was it for customers to complete an action.
NPS survey (net promoter score) -> How likely are customers to recommend your brand, your likely churn rate, etc.

Why Freshdesk is the best helpdesk for customer
satisfaction surveys

Collect feedback with Freshdesk’s 7-point CSAT scale

Freshdesk allows you to build detailed customer experience surveys with scales ranging from two points to seven points. Along with the standard “extremely dissatisfied” and “extremely satisfied” options, you can opt for more neutral choices such as “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” to get more precise feedback. You can also add additional questions and allow the customer to type in their comments if required. Freshdesk also gives you the nifty option to automatically send a customized thank you message after the customer responds to the survey.

CSAT surveys being built on Freshdesk

Have complete control on when you want to send the CSAT surveys

Freshdesk gives you pinpoint control over which emails should have the link to your satisfaction survey. Helpdesk administrators can choose to send survey links with all emails or restrict this ability to specific cases, for instance - emails that are sent after a ticket is resolved completely. Furthermore, they can also allow agents to send survey links with specific emails at their discretion.

CSAT permissions Freshdesk

Deploy multilingual feedback surveys

If you have a customer base that spans across geographies, you can improve survey completion rates by sending satisfaction surveys in the local language. This will allow you to connect better with your entire audience and would also instill a feeling of trust and comfort in your customers before they share their feedback and ratings. Currently, Freshdesk can translate your CSAT surveys in up to 41 languages.

Multilingual CSAT surveys on Freshdesk

Track trends in customer satisfaction

With Freshdesk’s curated analytics platform, you can create custom reports to identify trends in your CSAT scores. You can monitor the productivity of individual agents, and hold them accountable for their performance. On a broader scale, managers can estimate how well the customer service department is doing as a whole by monitoring important metrics, and use these findings to make operational data-backed decisions.

Track trends in CSAT

Close the loop with customers

The last mile of customer feedback management is something you cannot overlook. With Freshdesk, you can send a personalized note to the customer by easily viewing and referencing any aspect of the interaction, and thank them for taking the time to share feedback. You can even pass to the concerned teams by looping them into the conversation, follow up on updates, and effortlessly get back to the respondents after their feedback has been addressed.

Follow up with customers and close the loop

Reviews about Freshdesk’s CSAT surveys