6 Reasons Why We Don’t Let Clients Change Our CSAT Survey Question

by SmileBack
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3 min read

We sometimes get asked by our partners, “Can I change the question?” (They’re talking about the one question that comes standard on our client satisfaction (CSAT) and feedback platform:  “How did we do on this request?”)

Normally we don’t like to answer any question with the word “No.” But in this case, we have very good reasons as to why you can’t change the question, or add more questions.

A lot of them boil down to the fact that we think every client survey should prioritize the client, and make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for them to participate.

Here are six ways we try to do that with ours:

1. Start the conversation, then get out of the way.

What is customer experience all about? Say it with us: the customer. The customer should always be at the center of your mind when you’re building or implementing a satisfaction survey. Because it’s about them.

Often businesses want to ask specific questions geared toward topics they want to know more about. This makes it so the survey isn’t about the customer anymore. Asking a question like, “How would you rate the Support representative’s overall knowledge about your issue?” makes it about what you want to know, rather than what your customers want to tell you. And it should always be about what your customers want to tell you.

2. Keep it simple.

CSAT surveys are transactional surveys. That means they’re attempting to figure out information about a specific transaction — not about your overall relationship with the customer (though something about that will likely be revealed), or some other aspect of your business.

Additionally, one question means there’s a low barrier to entry. That makes it easier for your customer to respond (in our case, click on one of three smiley faces) and more likely that they will. The average attention span of adults has officially dropped below that of a goldfish, so believe us, one question is enough.

3. Comments help.

Built into our CSAT survey, and most surveys in general at this point, is the option to leave a comment. A lot of our partners are generally surprised about how many people actually do leave a comment. Not only that, these comments address a topic the partner wouldn’t have thought to ask about in the first place.

For example, we had a partner in Australia who received a comment about something they hadn’t considered: how their technician was dressed when his did an on-site office visit.

The customer had selected the green smiling face, the most positive rating option there is. In the comment, however, they noted that the technician who had visited did not appear to be very well-presented — that is, they felt he was dressed too casually for the office environment he came into. He was wearing exactly what all the techs wore on office visits, but now the service delivery manager knew that they might need to rethink their uniforms depending on the different office environments in which they ended up.

4. The language you use matters.

The whole point of gathering feedback, at least on a transnational level, is to start a conversation. The best way to start a conversation that will progress naturally, and provide the space and opportunity for your customer to really talk to you, is to ask an open-ended question that is not a yes or no answer.

It’s surprising what can shut down a conversation before it’s even begun, or lead it astray. For example, we add no qualifiers into the question. It’s not “How WELL did we do on this request?” or “Did we meet your expectations?” it’s simply, “How did we do?”. That neutral tone means the client will be able to interpret it according to their own perspective, and answer honestly based on their experience.

5. Visuals are key.

The three smiley faces included in our CSAT survey are an essential piece. They bring a human touch to what is an otherwise automated, digitized, and de-personalized communication (in this case, a closed ticket status notification from within the ConnectWise CRM system).

A visually-based rating system helps users answer more quickly and more honestly. It saves time (how many of us have extra time wavering between a 6 or a 7 on a number scale?) and works together with the question itself. Plus, having multiple questions, all with a smiley face scale, is redundant.

6. We’re making it easier on YOU.

You can implement this survey as-is within 15 minutes flat. There’s no fine-tuning involved, no asking multiple departments what they think of the question, no hold-up while people argue about whether to use a five or ten number rating system. Just feedback, straight from your customers to you.  

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