In the highly competitive business-to-business world, understanding customer satisfaction is important for sustained success.
Conducting effective B2B customer satisfaction surveys tailored to your organization's needs can provide valuable insights to guide business strategies and foster continuous improvement.
In this article, we'll explain the essentials of B2B customer satisfaction surveys, example questions, and the steps to consider to ensure the data gathered is actionable.
What is a B2B Customer Satisfaction Survey
A B2B (Business-to-Business) customer satisfaction survey is a structured questionnaire designed to gather feedback from businesses that have purchased products or services from another business.
It is often aimed at assessing their level of satisfaction, identifying areas for improvement, and strengthening the B2B relationship.
The length of B2B customer satisfaction surveys can vary. Some may include fewer than 5 questions while others may include 40 or more questions.
Ideally, B2B surveys include a moderate number of questions to strike a balance between brevity and depth. This helps ensure the survey is concise while also gathering the insight needed to inform business strategy.
Why Should You Conduct A B2B Customer Satisfaction Survey
Improve Buyer Persona and Buyers Journey
Understanding the B2B buyer and their journey process helps improve sales strategies.
This exercise details how the customer first becomes aware of their need and describes the decision-making journey through the buying process.
The insight gained from understanding the purchase journey coupled with buyer personas are powerful tools to position the company for success.
Improve Audience Understanding
In addition to measuring key customer satisfaction metrics, surveys gather information to inform customer preferences, usage, reasoning for usage, interest in other products/services, likelihood to continue usage rate, communication, purchasing habits/processes, and more.
Improve Products & Services
Insights gained from customer satisfaction surveys can also help inform improvements for the research and development or design teams. Customer recommendations can be analyzed so teams can prioritize improvements according to customer demand.
B2B Customer Survey Questions
However, customizations can be made to ensure the unique research objectives of an organization are met.
For example, an organization may want to understand how easy it is to work with different departments, communication preferences, and identify what is most important when making a purchase.
While each survey can be customized to the needs of the client, here are common questions addressed in B2B customer surveys.
Net Promoter Score
Net promoter score (NPS) measures how likely a customer is to recommend a company to a peer or colleague.
These scores identify decorators (i.e., those who are likely to be sharing poor experiences), passives (i.e., those who are likely to be sharing neutral experiences), and promoters (i.e., those who are raving fans).
Below is an example of how to measure and calculate NPS in a survey.
Additionally, when measuring NPS, our B2B survey company recommends asking a follow-up question such as: Please explain why you rated [insert] as a [insert response] out of 10.
With an open-ended text box, respondents can share qualitative feedback that provides more reasoning behind their scores. Doing so helps businesses know exactly what adjustments need to be made to improve their NPS rating.
Customer Satisfaction Score
A customer satisfaction score is created by asking a question or set of questions. The results of the rating create a score to help identify segments of customers to pinpoint improvement and success areas.
Below is an example of how to measure customer satisfaction in a survey.
Similar to the NPS example above, this question will be even more impactful if it is followed up by an additional open-ended question for respondents to share their feedback in greater detail.
Here is an example follow-up question after measuring customer satisfaction: Please explain why you selected a rating of [insert response] out of 5.
Customer Effort Score
Customer Effort Score (CES) measures the level of effort a customer has to exert to accomplish a task or resolve an issue with a company.
To measure CES, typically a survey question is asked after a customer interaction, asking something like, "How much effort did you have to put forth to resolve your issue today?"
Customers then rate their effort on a scale, usually from "Very Low Effort" to "Very High Effort."
The aggregate scores help companies understand areas where they can streamline processes and reduce customer effort to enhance satisfaction and loyalty.
Things To Keep in Mind For Your Survey
Pick Goals To Measure and Meet
When conducting B2B market research, Drive Research will ask our clients questions to help inform the survey design. Doing so ensures the expectations set at the beginning of the project are met at the end.
Common goals for measuring B2B customer satisfaction include:
- Likelihood to recommend
- Overall satisfaction
- Ease of working with
Use Both Qualitative and Quantitative When Necessary
Qualitative research is used to explore and dive deep into topics, while quantitative research is used to validate and measure topics.
Ideally, both are used consecutively to explore specific facets of the customer experience and then gather ratings to measure satisfaction.
This can be achieved by including both close-ended (for quantitative insights) and open-ended (for qualitative insights) survey questions.
Learn more about the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative Market Research.
Motivating customers to respond to a survey is one of the most common questions about fieldwork. Incentives entice those who may be on the fence about responding to provide their feedback.
Although, when considering what incentive to offer, make sure it’s something that would not encourage bias.
For example, you would not want to offer a discount for future services that may only entice customers who may be interested in future services.
This means that those who are not interested in future purchases, who may also have more suggestions for improvements, would be less likely to respond.
Analyze The Data & Create An Action Plan
Analyzing the data is the best part of the research process. During analysis, the data collected from the survey is compiled to create insights to help inform business strategy and guide the next steps.
The insights collected through B2B customer surveys will be useless if action is not taken from the lessons learned. Also, not acting on the feedback can deter customers from participating in future surveys if they feel as if their original commentary was not heard or appreciated.
Follow up with your customers after
One of the most important next steps after a B2B customer satisfaction survey is complete is to take action on the data.
This should include informing new business and current project management strategy.
In addition to informing strategy, automated email triggers can be set up to inform project managers if a customer indicates low satisfaction. This helps clients take action and follow up with customers as quickly as possible to come to a resolution.
FAQs About B2B Customer Satisfaction Surveys
How do you measure B2B customer satisfaction?
Researchers gather B2B customer satisfaction via metric-based ratings. The method can depend on the type of study, but these metrics are typically collected via an online survey.
Depending on the study, this could include simply asking about customer satisfaction, a follow-up open-ended question to explain the reasoning for the rating, or asking several different questions related to customer satisfaction to create a multi-faceted customer satisfaction score.
How much does a B2B customer survey cost?
B2B customer satisfaction survey costs can vary widely depending on the methodology (i.e., whether the survey is conducted online or by phone), length of the survey, amount of customization needed for the survey, and what is needed as part of the final deliverables/report (i.e., raw data, online portals, topline report, comprehensive report).
How long does a B2B customer survey project take to complete?
Fieldwork for a typical survey is conducted within 2 weeks, but the total process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. Simple surveys with standardized question-by-question reporting takes roughly 2 to 3 weeks to complete.
Surveys with more customized needs and additional reporting requirements typically require an extra week to draft the survey and up to two additional weeks for reporting.
How do you collect feedback from B2B customers?
Online surveys, phone surveys, interviews, and focus groups are different ways researchers can collect feedback from B2B audiences.
Before choosing a method for collecting feedback, researchers need to better understand the research goals and how the data will be used. This informs research design as to whether a qualitative (i.e., interviews, focus groups) and/or quantitative method (i.e., surveys) is best.
Drive Research is a full-service market research company that partners with B2B organizations across the world. We specialize in customer satisfaction surveys, employee surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and more.
Each survey project with our team includes expert survey design, programming, fieldwork, data cleaning, and reporting.
Ready to conduct a B2B customer survey? Contact our team for a quote.
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As a Research Manager, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.
Learn more about Emily, here.