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In a world where 81% of customers report that a positive customer service experience increases the chances they’ll return, understanding your customer’s experience and needs is critical. The right customer service survey template will help you create a comprehensive customer service survey to understand better where your business excels and what needs improvement. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll share what makes effective customer service surveys effective, along with three downloadable survey templates, tips on analyzing survey data, and guidance on implementing change in your business. 

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What makes a good customer service survey?

Crafting a comprehensive and effective customer survey is a challenging task. The first step in creating your survey is understanding what makes a good one, so we’ve compiled a detailed list of the 15 best practices for creating a customer service survey. 

  1. Start with a clear objective. Your customer service survey should have a clearly defined purpose. This will help you and your team ask clear and concise questions that elicit responses helpful to your goals.
  1. Ask concise questions. With the survey purpose in mind, write straightforward, relevant questions. In other words, know the point of each question and reach that point quickly. Here’s an example:

    Non-concise response: In your interaction with our customer service team, were there any moments, like the speed of support, friendliness of our staff, or quality of the provided solution, you think could be improved upon in any way?

    Concise response: How satisfied were you with the speed, friendliness, and quality of service our staff provided?
  1. Include question variety. Question types include open-ended and closed-ended questions, ratings, multiple-choice questions, and Likert scales. You can deploy each question type in different scenarios based on the type of question you’re asking and the results you’ll find most useful. Including various question types will help you gather valuable information and keep respondents engaged with the survey.
  1. Keep surveys brief. The longer your survey is, the more respondents will leave before completion. After analyzing 100,000 surveys, Survey Monkey found that each question after question number 15 increased respondent drop-off. So, avoid asking unnecessary questions by focusing on your survey’s objective.
  1. Use everyday language. Use clear, jargon-free language in your surveys. Complex industry terms can confuse readers and increase drop-off rates or the likelihood of unhelpful responses. As a rule of thumb, aim to write content at or below an 8th-grade reading level. We recommend using the Hemmingway Editor to analyze written content for clarity, jargon, and reading level. 
  1. Craft specific questions. Specific questions encourage specific, relevant, and helpful responses, which ultimately help you achieve your overall objective. Here’s an example of nonspecific and specific phrasing.

    Nonspecific: How would you rate the environment of the restaurant?
    Specific: How would you rate the volume of the main dining room?
  1. Write with neutral wording. Leading and biased language can skew survey responses, resulting in inaccurate data. Here are two examples of neutral vs. leading language.

Non-neutral: How happy were you with the seating in the restaurant?

Neutral: How would you rate the available seating in the dining room?

Non-neutral: Do you agree that our service is better than competing services on the market? 

Neutral: How would you rate our service compared to similar services on the market?

  1. Avoid double-barreled questions. A survey question with two or more questions in it is what’s called a double-barreled question. Here’s an example:

    “How satisfied were you with the speed, friendliness, and quality of service our staff provided?”

    You may have noticed this question earlier; it’s asking about speed, friendliness, and quality of service. For better results, it should be divided into three distinct questions, each asking about different qualities of service.
  1. Avoid absolutes. Absolute language includes words like “always” and “never.” Using these words can encourage respondents to provide an answer that may not be valuable.

    For example, “Do you always order clothes online?” will likely push respondents to answer “No.” Compare that question to, “How often do you shop online?” This question will elicit responses more likely to help you understand customer purchasing behavior than the original version.
  1. Use conditional logic. Conditional logic is a feature many survey tools have, where a respondent’s answer to one question determines the next question they see.

    Conditional logic allows you to ask pointed, specific questions during a survey. For example, a customer rates their satisfaction with a burger as “poor” and is then asked about their item’s flavor, temperature, and accuracy in the following questions. 
  1. Maintain consistency. Respondents expect consistency in the format and structure of their surveys, which means they aren’t analyzing every new page in your survey. They’ll likely overlook inconsistencies in presentation and scales, resulting in inaccurate and misleading data. Avoid this by keeping your scales consistent. For example, always use 1-5 in satisfaction questions or consistently display “excellent” on the left and “bad” on the right.
  1. Include balanced rating scales. You should always include an equal number of positive and negative options for Likert scales and numerical ratings. Unbalanced scales may lead respondents to respond more positively or negatively, skewing your results, whereas balanced scales will lead to more accurate data.
  1. Include opt-out and skip options. For personal or sensitive questions, allow respondents to opt out by including a “Prefer not to say” option. And where possible, allow respondents to skip questions they’d prefer not to answer.
  1. Test for clarity. Test your survey with a small group before releasing it to the public. This will allow you to catch any confusing or poorly worded questions and correct them.
  1. Periodically update your survey. Services, products, and objectives change over time. Regularly review and update your survey to ensure it aligns with your current goals and offerings. 

Having explored best practices and critical elements in an effective customer service survey, let’s look at three of the most common types of customer service surveys.

Types of customer service survey templates

This next section will cover transactional, periodic, and service-specific surveys, diving into when to use these and sharing downloadable templates. Each customer service survey template addresses a unique aspect of the customer experience. 

Free Comprehensive Guide: Crafting Effective Customer Service Surveys: Download Now

  1. Transactional surveys 

Transactional surveys occur immediately after a customer purchase or interaction and gather information about the customer’s experience. Example experiences include a customer’s call to customer support, a recent product delivery, or their engagement with your website. 

The Transactional Survey template is designed to help you gather insights on your customers’ experiences. You can customize the template based on your customer’s interaction type and feature a variety of question types. 

This customer feedback template is also designed to help you calculate a Net Promoter Score (NPS), giving you critical insight into customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

  1. Periodic satisfaction surveys

Periodic satisfaction surveys are administered at regular intervals throughout a customer’s relationship with you. These intervals are often monthly, quarterly, biannually, or even annually, and they help businesses assess overall customer satisfaction and relationship health. 

The Periodic Satisfaction Survey template is designed to help you understand your customers’ overall satisfaction and areas for improvement and gather specific feedback on your offerings. This template will help you gather a loyalty ranking and ultimately understand the likelihood that customers will continue using your product or service. 

  1. Service specific surveys

Service specific surveys focus on particular aspects of a product or service. These surveys are similar to both transactional and periodic surveys. 

Service specific surveys focus on a customer service experience, like a product delivery or an experience with your website. And like periodic surveys, service specific surveys also work best when distributed at regular intervals. The goal is to gather insights on your offering so you can make improvements and track progress over time. 

The Service Specific Survey template is designed to help you focus on one aspect of your service or product, gather satisfaction and comparative data on your offering, and understand how it has improved and where it can benefit from further improvement. 

Analyzing survey responses

After administering your survey and gathering respondent feedback, it’s time to interpret the survey responses and take action. Whether you’ve opted to use the customer survey samples above or an alternative, in this next section, we’ll share what to look for in your responses, how you can interpret this information, and how to tackle your next steps.

  1. Interpreting survey responses

The first step in interpreting survey results is distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative data. 

  1. Quantitative analysis

Quantitative data refers to information that can be described in numerical terms. This includes Likert scales and rating scales. 

Quantitative data is easier to collect and interpret because you can use figures like mean, median, and average to interpret data. Consider the following question: 

How would you rate the quality of the product? 

1 – Very poor 

2 – Poor

3 – Neutral

4 – Good

5 – Very Good

Because the responses are associated with numbers, if the average of all responses is 4.2, you can easily infer that customers generally consider the quality of the product to be good. 

  1. Qualitative analysis 

Compared to quantitative data, qualitative data is more difficult to analyze—it refers to information you cannot describe numerically. This kind of data is most often in written form and includes responses from open-ended or free-response questions. 

To make qualitative data easier to interpret, researchers often attempt to quantify the data. You can do this by performing a thematic content analysis, which takes the text and analyzes it for specific keywords or phrases. The goal is understanding how often specific themes occur in a survey response. 

For example, if your survey asks, “How would you describe your meal today?” You could analyze responses by searching for the frequency of words like “hot” and “cold.” If the term “cold” occurs in a significant amount of responses, this could indicate an issue with food preparation. On the other hand, if neither of these terms occurs often, it may mean your respondents focused on different elements of their experience. 

While thematic analysis can help make the interpretation process more efficient, you’ll still need to interpret the results of that analysis, which takes us to the tips for analyzing your survey results. 

  • Look for patterns. Similar to a thematic analysis, look for trends in survey responses. Trends may occur within a single survey or throughout multiple survey periods. 
  • Monitor changes over time. Patterns can help you identify common opinions or issues you haven’t yet addressed. Patterns can also help you identify strategies that are or are not working. 
  • Identify key insights. The first tip for creating a customer service survey was to begin with clear objectives. With those original objectives in mind, pay special attention to related data. For example, if your goal is to improve customer retention, pay special attention to customer satisfaction and churn data.
  • Segment survey results. I.e., break down your survey responses according to demographic segments like age, gender, location, and income. This will help you better understand customer behavior, needs, and expectations.

    For example, segmenting your results by age may indicate that younger customers are generally satisfied with a customer service bot, while older customers prefer a human representative.
  • Benchmark survey results. Benchmarking refers to comparing your current survey results with industry standards or previous survey results. Doing this helps you understand your business’ performance compared to the past or competitors.

    For example, suppose your customer satisfaction ratings are lower than the industry standard but higher when compared to your last survey. These results indicate that recent improvements are impactful, but there’s still room for improvement. 

Even with these tips, analyzing survey responses can be a monumental task. If your data set is large, which is likely the case if you’re a medium to large business, consider employing advanced data analysis tools in your analysis process. These will help you interpret the data and determine your next steps. 

  1. Best practices for implementing survey feedback

Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed customer service survey results, it’s time to turn your interpretation into action. However, turning your survey results into a coordinated and methodical plan of action requires strategy. Avoid knee-jerk reactions by following this simple three-step approach rather than hastily implementing changes. 

  1. Convert insights to outcomes 

Before you commit to any changes or sweeping actions, start by transforming insights from the raw survey data and the data analysis stage into actionable outcomes. 

For example, if your survey results indicate that customers are unsatisfied with your support staff’s product knowledge, you might consider implementing ongoing employee training. 

Record all of your actionable outcomes in one place, like a Google Document or spreadsheet. 

  1. Set priorities 

After you’ve converted your survey insights into actionable outcomes, you’ll need to determine what’s next. Understanding your priorities will help you decide where to focus your efforts first.

Any number of factors can impact how you prioritize specific actions over others. Here are a few to consider:

  • Potential for impact – Is one action more likely to have a significant effect than another? 
  • Feasibility – Is one action easier or cheaper to implement than another? 
  • Importance – Are there critical areas you need to focus on because of company-wide metrics or emphasis from your organization’s leadership? 

Working with your list of actionable outcomes, sort them in order of priority. This will help you in step 3. 

  1. Act 

Finally, it’s time to turn your strategy into reality—all there is left to do is act. 

Start by developing an action plan. Your plan should include specific tasks, assign responsibilities and deadlines, and list any required resources. 

Then, implement changes slowly. Sudden change can put a strain on your team and shock your customers. As you implement your action plan, monitor the response from your customers, monitoring for any significant responses—interdepartmental collaboration can be especially helpful here, as your marketing and customer service teams are most likely to see these responses first.


Crafting comprehensive and effective customer service surveys is more than just stringing questions together and attaching them to an email blast. Customer service surveys are a continuous cycle of asking, listening, and improving, requiring preparation, attention to detail, and dedication. 

This guide has equipped you with the knowledge to craft excellent surveys, analyze the results, and turn your analysis into an action plan. As you implement these strategies, maintain a customer-centric approach—the ultimate goal of customer service surveys is to improve the customer experience.

Start your survey process with any of our three customer service survey templates to gain valuable insights from your customers’ experiences.

  • Transactional customer service survey template
  • Periodic customer service survey template
  • Service specific customer service survey template

Free Comprehensive Guide: Crafting Effective Customer Service Surveys: Download Now

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the key components of a customer service survey template?

Customer service satisfaction surveys typically include a combination of agent-specific, channel-specific, customer effort, customer satisfaction, and net promoter score questions. Survey creators can customize the survey’s focus based on business objectives, tailoring the survey to specific focuses like product quality or customer service. 

Additionally, a robust customer service survey template will allow for a focus on a core or small set of objectives, encourage various question types, and emphasize brevity. 

  1. How often should customer service surveys be conducted?

Customer service surveys should be conducted regularly for the best results. However, how regularly it is depends on the kind of information you need to gather and the kind of survey you’re distributing. 

We recommend distributing transactional surveys, periodic surveys, or service specific surveys. Transactional surveys occur immediately after a product or service is purchased. Similarly, service specific surveys occur after a service-related experience has occurred. Both of these require an action to trigger the survey distribution. In contrast, periodic surveys occur at regular, set intervals, often quarterly, biannually, or annually. 

Generally, the type of survey you choose will impact when and how often you administer the survey.

  1. What are some common mistakes to avoid in customer service surveys?

There are many common challenges in customer surveys. However, here are five of the most common mistakes.

  1. Distributing surveys without a clear objective – Creating a survey without a clear objective can lead to unhelpful results, which makes implementing actions or changes challenging for your business. 
  2. Creating long surveys – The longer your survey, the more likely respondents are to exit the survey. Aim to include questions that are highly relevant to your objective only. 
  3. Not asking enough questions – On the contrary, it’s also possible to ask too few questions. Aim to find a balance between creating too long of a survey and asking enough questions to understand problem areas or issues for your customers. 
  4. Crafting questions with leading or biased language – Improper phrasing can skew results and lead to inaccurate data, which ultimately leads to poor analysis and strategy and may leave problems with the business unresolved. 
  5. Not respecting customer privacy – Survey respondents should be able to opt out of private or personal questions, and you should refrain from badgering customers with multiple requests for survey responses. 

In addition to these five most common mistakes people make in customer service surveys, we recommend exploring what makes a good customer service survey. There, we explore 15 best practices you can follow when crafting a survey. 

  1. How can businesses effectively use the data gathered from customer service surveys?

You should start by analyzing the data you’ve gathered from customer service surveys. Then, you can interpret the results of your data analysis and convert those survey insights into actionable outcomes. At this point, you may begin to prioritize and implement changes based on your survey. 

This approach focuses on your survey objectives and emphasizes the need for an underlying strategy before you make changes to your business. This approach can help brands determine where their efforts are best spent.

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