Whatever you call your customer satisfaction survey, NPS, CSAT or something else, it should be called a waste of time and money instead. 99 per cent of customer surveys, satisfaction surveys, net promoter scores etc are all bogus. Here's why.

Feedback is polar

Most customer reviews online are polar. Next time you buy something have a look at the distribution. Mainly ones and fives. That's because only really unhappy or really happy people can generally be bothered to take the time to feed back.

The way CSAT is calculated is bogus

You can't deduce that 80% of your customers are happy by dividing the happy ones by the total number of surveys completed because it gives you a false positive. You'd need to divide happy ones by all people surveyed or at the very least by all the people who started the survey.

Unqualified answers are open to interpretation

While I love simplicity, 1-5 reviews don't tell you much unless you ask for qualified answers. If you do, your drop out rate will soar. If you don't you are unconsciously likely to interpret why respondents are happy or unhappy and you'll probably get it wrong.

Referrals are about more than happiness

Net Promoter Scores ask for a propensity to refer. Cute. I like the idea, but it doesn't work in practice. "How likely would you be to refer us to a friend or colleague" is a tough question and it runs a lot deeper than am I doing a good job. I always mark NPS down because I don't generally like referring unless I am very , very , VERY confident that the referree is sound. That has nothing to do with how well they served me. It's just that I am a sample size of one and that's no basis upon which to make a referral.

We're all bored of surveys. I delete them on sight

99% of the population has survey fatigue. If you email me a survey, I will delete it. I don't need a survey to complain about bad service, or give praise. I can do that person to person. I am not a snowflake. I am not unique or original. There are plenty of people like me. How many others delete surveys on sight? More worrying... who are the people who think "Oh goody, another survey!" and should you really be asking their opinion?

In all of this, I'm not saying that happy customers aren't important. They are. I just don't think the simplified tests punted by the firms that own the software that runs them amount to much.