Question Types and Why We Use Them

In any customer satisfaction survey programme, a key element is the questionnaire itself. What topics should you ask your customers about? How should you phrase the questions? Will the questions give you significant data to truly understand your customers?

Here at Customer Satisfaction UK, we view questionnaire design and review as a critical stage in our process. We never use standard questionnaire templates. We always create bespoke questionnaires, individually tailored to your specific needs. We work with you through extensive consultation to understand your company’s priorities and needs, systematically reviewing and adapting your questionnaire as appropriate.

Considering different question types is a large part of questionnaire design as the format of the question can impact heavily on the quality and reliability of responses. We also consider questionnaire structure in great depth; we believe that your questionnaire should reflect your customers’ journey and examine every key touchpoint in that journey.

We also consider the segmentation of your customer-base and in many cases, will design separate questionnaires for each segment – addressing the key issues facing that specific part of your customer-base. This not only allows you to pinpoint the satisfaction of your customers, it also increases the response rate and quality of responses, as the questionnaire will be highly relevant to each individual customer.

This in-depth, detailed, bespoke approach to customer satisfaction improvement is what sets Customer Satisfaction UK apart from other “survey companies”. By creating individually structured, highly targeted questionnaires with a combination of question types, we are able to gain a rich and accurate picture of your customers’ needs, expectations, experiences and opinions.

Quantitative Questions

For these questions, we use a six-point satisfaction scale to gather hard, quantitative data.Customer Satisfaction UK Satisfaction Scale

We find that this scale has many benefits; it is wide enough to gather good levels of discrimination and detail, but not so wide that it spreads responses too thin across a large scale e.g. 10-points. Having six points in the scale also means that it avoids a neutral mid-point and forces customers to give either a “satisfied” or “dissatisfied” response.

Perhaps the major benefit of our satisfaction scale is its descriptive nature. We always ask your customers to rate their satisfaction using one of the six verbal descriptors, instead of assigning numerical value to satisfaction levels. This is useful for 2 reasons:

  1. It makes your customers stop and think about their responses more.
  2. It makes reporting the results of your survey much more meaningful and easier for your staff to understand.

Quantitative Questions Chart

For example, being able to report back to your staff that “36% of customers are Very Satisfied” is immediately more effective and meaningful than “We have a satisfaction score of 5.84”.

This descriptive nature also aids a results-focused approach and the subtlety of difference between satisfaction levels is often a critical measure for our clients. Where clients have generally high levels of satisfaction, the main challenge they face is to convert simply “Fairly” or “Very” satisfied customers into “Extremely” satisfied customers. The gap between “Very Satisfied” and “Extremely Satisfied” represents the competitive advantage that all businesses strive for.

Another benefit of gathering quantitative data, is the ease of comparison. Where we ask questions in a variety of topics and categories, our universally used six-point satisfaction scale makes it extremely easy to compare results across the business.

Quantitative Questions Comparison Chart

Patterns of satisfaction or dissatisfaction emerge, conclusions can be drawn and areas for improvement are pinpointed.

Qualitative Questions

If quantitative questions determine what is going on within a business, then qualitative questions explore why these things are happening. These are the questions that provide insights and depth to expand upon quantitative responses.

Customers are given the chance to speak freely and express their individual feelings about your company. These responses can often provide clients with direct improvement suggestions and useful constructive criticism.

Typically, we ask qualitative questions inviting your customers to elaborate on their quantitative responses of “extremely satisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied”. We also invite and encourage respondents to volunteer their own qualitative comments throughout the entire satisfaction survey.

Customer Satisfaction UK present qualitative comments of your customers within categorised sections e.g. responses about the best element of a client’s service: knowledgeable, responsive, accurate etc. Often, we will also provide our clients with full transcriptions of interviews, so they are able to drill down into the minute detail of responses.

Qualitative Questions Chart

Importance Questions

As well as measuring satisfaction, it is also helpful to measure the relative expectation and importance that customers attach to the different elements of your business. This helps clients to fully understand what their customers truly value.

The responses to these questions help clients to invest their resources throughout their businesses, where they will be most effective and well received.

Where customers report low satisfaction coinciding with high importance, these areas should be top priority for improvements and investments.

Importance Questions Chart

Other Questions

We also use many industry standard questions such as the Net Promoter Score question and the Customer Effort Score question. Responses to these questions are useful as tools for comparisons between your competitors, within your industry and generally across the marketplace.

Net Promoter Score

In Conclusion…

It is essential to use a careful balance of different types of questions, and also to stress to our clients the importance and value of each of these styles of interviewing their customers.

For more information about Customer Satisfaction UK’s services visit our website at and to get a free quote and initial consultation – call 01298 73051 or email us at

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