The rise of ‘satisfaction faces’, and how to harness their feedback power

Feedback doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, in many cases the simpler it is to provide feedback, the better, as it’s more likely to encourage a customer to quickly have their say.

That’s where satisfaction faces (aka smiley face emojis that illustrate a customer’s satisfaction) are coming into their own, providing a quick, efficient and universally recognisable way of attaining feedback.

So, let’s look at when and where satisfaction faces are best applied for feedback, and why they may elicit a greater response with customers.

A universal symbol

Courtesy of our use of technology and our love of emojis, smiley faces have evolved into a universal symbol for how we feel about something.

Without the need for language, they illustrate: 😊 we’re happy; 😐 we’re nonplussed; or ☹ we believe a recent encounter has left a lot to be desired.

This sentiment spans every language, every culture, and every age and demographic. It’s clear, it’s succinct and it doesn’t require further explanation.

In a time-poor society, tapping into this universal language is a hugely efficient way to encourage customers to provide feedback.

As quick as it is, it is also fun and inviting, offering a contemporary and engaging strategy to elicit feedback from your clientele.

So why do satisfaction faces strike such a chord, and when should they be deployed?

It’s all about emotion

Research indicates when we see a face, we recognise emotion. In other words, it taps into something inherently human.

A happy face indicates satisfaction, a sad face – dissatisfaction. Regardless of culture, education, literacy and race, this response is universal.

Meanwhile, in 2019, academics studied question response formats and noted when presented with various feedback options, respondents evaluated the smiley design most positively, and found faces also speed up the processing of questions.

The research also indicated the responses provided via smileys were closely aligned with the sentiment offered via radio buttons, meaning smiley faces do not alter the satisfaction level, but rather serve to expedite the process of relaying that sentiment.

The fun factor

The fun factor

A further finding of the response format research was that smiley faces provided a ‘fun factor’, with respondents using smiley face surveys perceiving the question-answer process as more enjoyable.

This element alone has major benefits for businesses seeking to gain a more comprehensive insight into their customer experience.

If you can make the survey quick and even enjoyable, chances are you will receive a higher volume of responses, and therefore a more comprehensive data-set of satisfaction levels.


Importantly, because smiley faces are engaging and quick to elicit response, they often serve to offer a business instant and therefore more accurate insight into the customer experience.

Rather than requiring a respondent to think through their answer, jot it down and justify it, they facilitate a quick, immediate response that’s more likely to be intuitive than considered.

Research consistently indicates the longer the period between an experience and our recall of it, the greater potential there is for inaccuracy.

Satisfaction faces remove this barrier, encouraging the respondent to pride their ‘gut feeling” via emoji then and there.

When satisfaction faces apply

Of course, not all feedback is suited to a simple emoji response, sometimes an organisation may wish to delve a little deeper into what informed a respondent’s decision.

And survey creators have a couple of ways to gain this deeper insight: they can utilise follow-on questions which get to the heart of why a respondent provided that initial response, or target other surveys to take a more detailed look.

Either way, satisfaction faces allow businesses to quickly, efficiently and accurately gauge the customer sentiment in the moment, using universally recognised symbols that elicit a greater volume of responses.

Moodly’s smiley faced surveys

Moodly ExpressPods can be tailored to offer smiley face or multiple-choice surveys which are designed to elicit instant feedback from respondents.

Moodly’s smiley faced surveys

Our feedback kiosks can be quickly installed and utilise wireless technology, while statistics indicate 30 per cent of customers actively engage with the technology – a figure far above traditional email or web-based feedback methods.

Touchless options are also available, and you can learn more about our ExpressPods here.