Cost of a Customer Satisfaction Survey

cost customer satisfaction surveyCustomer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are one of the most cost-effective market research projects. When it comes to cost of a customer satisfaction surveys, it is driven by a number of factors which will be recapped in this post. The factors which impact cost include choice of methodology, number of completed surveys (and subsequent number of customers an organization has), length of survey, types and number of reminders, and level of reporting.

Interested in learning more about how a customer satisfaction survey works? Here is the process.

The cost of a customer satisfaction survey is driven by several factors. Learn how to gather an accurate estimate or quote from a customer satisfaction firm by understanding the impact of the following factors.

This article takes the approach of using a third-party market research to assist with your customer satisfaction survey. This is highly recommended especially with customer data. Adding a third-party consultant to manage the process ensures the process runs correctly, data is unbiased, and participant confidentiality can be assured.

Many times customers fear sharing feedback because they think the sponsoring organization will use it against them or treat them differently as a customer. Therefore if you do not use a third-party market research firm response rates are lower and responses could very well be biased as well.

Here are some benefits to using a third-party customer satisfaction survey company.

Factor 1: Choice of Methodology

Perhaps no other factor will have a larger impact on the cost of your customer satisfaction survey. Your customer satisfaction survey options will center around 3 methodologies. Each methodology has a vastly different cost and timeline.

Choice A is email or online surveys.

Choice B is telephone surveys.

Choice C is mail surveys.

The two more costly options are telephone surveys and mail surveys. When you think of phone surveys, the majority of the cost is built into the hourly rates and fees it takes for call center employees to dial customers. Ratios can range anywhere from less than 1 completed survey per hour to up to 4 or 5 completed surveys per hour. This time equals additional costs.

With mail surveys, there are several fixed costs which drive up the fee for the cost of the customer satisfaction survey. These fees including printing, assembly, postage, return postage, and data entry. These fixed costs add up quickly and raise the total price of a mail survey.

The most cost-effective customer satisfaction methodology is online research through email invitations. Obviously, you need to have customer emails to pursue this strategy. Email surveys are not only cost-effective, they are also quicker than mail surveys and telephone surveys.

Factor 2: Number of Completed Surveys

Outside of choice of methodology, another major factor which impacts cost of a customer satisfaction survey is the number of completed surveys. 400 completed surveys will cost your organization less than 4,000. The number of completed surveys depends on the size of your customer audience.

If you have an extremely large customer base and you do not want to survey everyone, you can pull a sample of customer emails for your market research to control costs. Response rates vary significantly from client-to-client. However, over the years customer satisfaction email surveys teach us your response rate will range from 1% up to 15%.

With additional data comes the need for additional analysis and reporting. As the number of completed surveys increase, so does the cost. Depending on your customer base we like to recommend a minimum of 100 completed surveys. However, sample sizes of 200 or 400 increase statistical reliability. If budget allows, we recommend acquiring additional customer satisfaction survey completes. This allows flexibility to cross-tab data by geographies, age, gender, etc.

Factor 3: Length of Survey

Another factor which impacts cost of a customer satisfaction survey is the length of the questionnaire. A survey with 5 questions will be less expensive than a survey with 30 questions. This is impacted by not only the additional time to analyze and report on the additional questions but for phone and mail surveys, a longer instrument implies more time to administer.

Longer phone surveys mean service reps are on the phone a larger amount of time. Longer mail surveys likely means additional pages and printing, along with data entry.

Is the cost of a customer satisfaction survey a concern? Consider shortening the length of the questionnaire to only your core objectives.

Want to reduce the cost of your customer satisfaction survey? Reduce the scope.

Factor 4: Types and Number of Reminders

One of the major benefits of utilizing a mail survey or email survey methodology is the ability to place phone call reminders to non-responders. Both mail surveys and email surveys can be embedded with an authentication code so respondents can be tracked.

Those who do not respond can be identified for follow-up phone calls to help boost response rates. The survey can be conducted by phone during this reminder call or a voicemail can be left. These phone call reminders can often be made optional where the organization may or may not have to utilize them to improve responses rates.

One of the major benefits of email customer satisfaction surveys is the ability to send a reminder and 2nd reminder with the click of a button. These emails reminders are easy to incorporate and do not significantly impact the cost of a customer satisfaction survey. The market research firm typically builds in at least 1 reminder and possibly 2 if response rates fall below expectations.

Factor 5: Level of Reporting

A customer satisfaction survey firm could provide you with several levels of reporting, all of which will change the cost of a customer satisfaction survey. The least expensive reporting option in a survey project is no reporting. Here you would receive an Excel file or CSV file on respondent answers to analyze on your own in-house.

High level reports which include banner runs of question-by-question results and a possible infographic. This is one of the lower levels of reporting you can receive. Other levels of reporting exist where the market research firm provides insights, themes, an executive summary, recommendations, and customer personas. This in-depth level of reporting costs more than a traditional high level report.

Interested in Getting a Quote?

Those are the 5 factors to consider when trying to understand the cost of a customer satisfaction survey. Adjustments made to each will increase or decrease the cost of your project.

Would you like an exact cost of a customer satisfaction survey for your project needs? Contact us using the following form. Let us know about your objectives, types of questions you'd like answers for, the number of customers you have, and any other specific details.

We'll respond to your request quickly.

Contact Us

Drive Research is a customer satisfaction survey firm located in Upstate NY. Questions? Reach us at 315-303-2040 or send us an email at

Customer Satisfaction