This week I got a satisfaction survey from asking me about a recent purchase. The email closed with this sentence:

We respect your privacy, all results will be kept strictly confidential.

This is a satisfaction survey, so I’m not worried about my results being confidential. I want to take care of me. I was puzzled by the promise to keep my responses confidential until I saw this:

Demographic questions on the satisfaction survey.

I suppose they want to assure me that they won’t share age or gender data with anyone. But why are they collecting demographic data in a satisfaction survey? How do these questions help ensure that I am satisfied with my purchase?

The survey also seems to be anonymous. There’s no indication on the forms that they know who I am or that they will respond to my concerns. This is a poor user experience. As a customer, I want to know that someone is on the other end of the survey that will help me become a satisfied customer if I am dissatisfied. The survey gives me little confidence this is the case.

Though it's too verbose, the BMW survey request makes it very clear they are listening.

Contrast this with a survey I got from BMW asking me if I was satisfied with my recent service appointment. The survey reflects the model and year of my car, so I know it’s not anonymous. At the end of the survey they explicitly ask me if I’d like them to share the results with the dealership so that the dealer can address any issues. As a customer, this gives me much more confidence that, should I have a problem, BMW will address it.


If you’re creating a satisfaction survey, here are some things to remember:

  • The purpose of your survey is to make sure your customer is satisfied!
  • This is not the place to collect demographic information
  • Give the user feedback that lets them know their responses are not anonymous. Anonymous feedback is feedback that won’t be addressed.
  • Give the user the ability to engage directly with customer service (as in the BMW example) to resolve any problems that they tell you about in the survey