Customer Satisfaction
Correct Positioning of a Customer Satisfaction Question

In a customer satisfaction survey, the position of the overall customer satisfaction question within a questionnaire is very important. The question should always be one of the very first or one of the very last questions in a survey. Usually it is best to place such a question first.

The reason for this is that the response to the question will not be as biased by the "baggage" introduced to the respondent in the rest of the questionnaire. Prior to being exposed to the questions in a questionnaire, a respondent will have a good idea of how satisfied he or she is/was with a particular organization or transaction. After exposure to the questions in a questionnaire, the respondent's response to an overall satisfaction question will be influenced by the particular questions included. In formulating a response to the satisfaction question (if the question appears last), the respondent may overlook some items about which he/she has strong opinions, but which were not addressed in the questionnaire.

There is at least one circumstance when it is appropriate to put the overall satisfaction question at the end of a survey. If the survey concerns a transaction that occurred some time ago, it is important to remind the respondent of what types of things occurred during the transaction. The other questions in the questionnaire can help to serve this purpose. By the time the respondent reaches the satisfaction question at the end of the survey, his/her memory of the transaction will have been sufficiently prompted to enable an overall satisfaction question to be answered.