Surveyonics - Online Survey Software
Creating Customer/Consumer/Client Satisfaction Surveys

Preparing an a customer satisfaction online survey requires careful planning. There are several steps that must be followed before the survey is designed and administered online. These are the typical components of an online survey:
  • Online survey planning

  • Statement preparations

    • Welcome text for customers

    • A privacy statement

    • Survey goals

  • Survey delivery and data compilation

  • Survey results and follow-up
Assume that you are preparing an online customer satisfaction survey for a tax processing company, RapidTax. RapidTax is a medium-sized company with branches based in large retailers such as Sears and Macy’s. The company’s main offering is to process tax processing services for individuals and companies. Traditionally, the company’s busiest period is January through April of every year when taxes are expected to be filed.

Managers at one of the branches are offering a new service for existing customers called ’10 Minutes or Less’. The goal of this service is to file customers’ taxes in 10 minutes or less. Once the customers use the service, they are given web access to their tax files and asked to fill out an online customer satisfaction survey. When a customer fills out a survey, he/she is entered automatically into a contest to win a prize.

3.1.Online Survey Planning

Before conduct an online customer satisfaction survey, you must plan by defining its goals. At RapidTax, the company wishes to find out if customers are satisfied with the service. Managers determined that these aspects of customer satisfaction are important:
  • Accuracy

  • Competence

  • Communication

  • Reliability

  • Courtesy

  • Timeliness

  • Access, and

  • Privacy

When managers determined these eight (8) factors to be important to customer satisfaction, they began to determine survey statements that would address each factor. For example, ‘Communication’ is an important component of customer satisfaction. When customers feel that they are spoken to in a clear manner and they are also listened to, they feel satisfied with their overall experience.

However, to capture how well customers are satisfied with the communication aspect of service, a statement has to be created. The following are examples of statements:

  • Staff spoke to me in plain, clear language

  • Staff were polite

  • Staff really listened to what I was saying

In creating the statement, it is important to remember that it is:
Clearly written
  • Short

  • Unbiased

  • Specific to the service
  • To combine the three statements above into one simple, clearly written one, the result would be:
    Staff spoke in plain, clear language and listened to me
    As seen in Table 1, similar statements should be created to reflect the satisfaction factor of interest. The statements have to be written in a language that the general public can understand with ease. That means the sentence is simple, short, and specific. Additionally, a 5-point Likert Scale is used. The goal of a Likert scale is to allow the respondent a number of choices with a neutral option as follows:

    1. Very satisfied

    2. Satisfied

    3. Neutral

    4. Dissatisfied

    5. Very dissatisfied

    Most online surveys will use some variation of a Likert scale. To analyze the results of the survey, administrators will number the choices in the scale from 1-5 as we will discuss. The numbering allows managers to add the total scores for the individual factors.

    Table 1 – Online Customer Satisfaction Survey.

    Make a check ( in the box that describes your level of satisfaction.

    Very dissatisfiedSatisfiedNeutralDissatisfiedVery satisfied
    (Staff prepared my taxes using correct information)
    2) Competence
    (Staff had the required skills and knowledge)
    3) Communication
    (Staff spoke in plain, clear language and listened to me)
    4) Reliability(Staff offered consistent and reliable service)
    5) Courtesy
    (Staff members were polite and respectful)
    6) Timeliness
    (Staff prepared taxes within promised time)
    7) Access
    (Facilities were accessible to me)
    8) Privacy
    (Staff made sure that my information was secure)
    9) Overall Quality
    10) Value for cost

    3.2. Statement Preparations

    Before delivering a survey, it is important to prepare a number of statements that guide customers as they fill out the online satisfaction survey. When asking customers to complete a survey online, therehave to be clear instructions and information about the survey. Each statement appears on the screen as customers get ready to complete the survey. Unlike a paper survey, customers do not have a hard copy of information and cannot give written consent. This means that the survey administrators must clarify such things as the privacy statement through screen shots. By continuing on to complete the survey, customers have given permission to participate. The following three statements should be prepared:

    1. Welcome Text

    2. A welcome text is the first screen that appears to customers before they begin an online satisfaction survey. The text should be short, simple, and direct. A typical welcome text must include the name of the organization/company in the first few sentences. A sample welcome text will be worded as follows:

                  “We value your business at RapidTax! This Satisfaction Survey is our way of             getting your feedback on ‘10 Minutes or Less’ service. With your feedback, we              can serve you better next year.

                  Thank you for taking the time to fill it out.”

    3. Privacy Statement

    4. A privacy statement assures customers that their survey answers will be confidential. It also lets them know that the information will not be shared with anyone and not traced back to them. The privacy statement should be short and direct. A sample privacy statement will be worded as follows:

                   “Unless you give us your express permission, we will keep your survey              answers confidential. We will NOT attribute the answers to any person. The              information we collect in this satisfaction survey will be used to improve and              expand our services to our customers.”

    5. Survey Goals

    6. You should include a brief statement about the goals of the survey. Typically, it should repeat the name of the service or organization so that the customers are clear with their answers. A sample survey goal can be as follows:

                   “This satisfaction survey gathers your feedback on the company’s ‘10 Minutes              or Less’ new service. It will let us know which parts we can improve and which              parts we can expand.”

    3.3. Survey Analysis

    Online customer satisfaction surveys provide an easy, straightforward manner to collect feedback from customers and compile that information. Depending on the program used (e.g. Survey Monkey), data can be compiled and analyzed in a number of ways. Before data analysis can be conducted, survey administrators will assign numerical figures to the 5-point Likert scale as seen in the table below. For example:

    • A Very dissatisfied response will correspond to a value of ‘1’

    • A Neutral response will correspond to a value of ‘3’

    • A Very Satisfied response will correspond to a value of ‘5’.

    Some surveys will not be completed to the end by customers. They may also leave some questions unanswered while answering some. Before compiling the data, discard all incomplete surveys and use information from the completed ones only. Assume that you compile information from 100 surveys and the results are as following:

    • On Accuracy, the average score of all surveys is 4.5

    • On Competence, the average score of all surveys is 3.8

    • On Courtesy, the average score of all surveys is 2.5.

    These results will show managers at RapidTax that, while Accuracy scores are high (4.5), Courtesy scores are low (2.5). Given the importance of customer satisfaction when dealing with courteous staff, management may determine that more training in customer relations is necessary.

    Very dissatisfied



    Very satisfied
    1) Accuracy
    (Staff prepared my taxes using correct information)
    11) Competence
    (Staff had the required skills and knowledge)
    1) Communication
    (Staff spoke in plain, clear language and listened to me)
    13) Reliability
    (Staff offered consistent and reliable service)
    14) Courtesy
    (Staff members were polite and respectful)

    3.4. Follow-up

    In an online customer satisfaction survey, respondents are sometimes asked to give their e-mail address. This is especially the case if the organization offers an incentive for individuals to complete a survey such as entering a contest to win a prize. In that case, the organization can send a follow-up e-mail to each respondent to thank them. An organization may also choose to share survey results with respondents when they are finally analyzed.

    Some organizations, however, may choose to not gather e-mail addresses to maintain respondent privacy and confidentiality. In that case, the organization may choose to release parts of the survey results in publications such as newsletters and other mail-outs.


    Anderson, D.R., Sweeney, D. J., and Williams, T.A. (2007). Statistics for Business and Economics. South-Western College Publication. 10th Edition.

    Somekh, B. & Lewin, C. (2005). Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London: Sage.

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