How to Launch Automated Surveys in SaaS
How often do you use automated surveys to understand customer sentiment?
If your answer is never, your team is definitely missing out on a productivity catalyst.
Survey automation allows you to conduct in-depth market research with the speed and accuracy that manual surveying fails to offer.
In this article, I’ll uncover everything you need to know about automated surveys, including the proper techniques and tools.
Let’s jump right in!
- An automated survey is a feedback form automatically sent to users when they perform a specific action.
Survey automation saves time that’s better spent on product development, helps deliver accurate feedback, and reduces labor costs associated with manual surveys.
- In-app and email surveys are equally vital to the feedback process, although the latter typically has lower response rates.
There are 6 types of automatic surveys you can use to gather customer input:
- Onboarding surveys help product managers to provide the right experience to users throughout their journey.
- CES surveys help companies understand how to simplify their product and business processes.
- Feature surveys give your team insights on how to improve old and new features.
- With an NPS survey, you can track customer loyalty and pinpoint what’s frustrating your detractors.
- Passive surveys let customers provide feedback whenever they want.
- You can trigger offboarding surveys to understand why your customers churn and prevent them from leaving.
Here are some of the best practices to follow when creating an automated survey:
- Localize the content of your survey to get feedback from foreign users.
- Post-survey response tagging helps you discover what users like and dislike about your product.
- Use both qualitative and quantitative survey questions to get a clear picture of the customer’s perception of your product.
- You can also use your survey automation tools to push upgrades for free users.
- Userpilot and Typeform [long-form surveys only that you can embed] are the best tools for automating surveys.
What are automated surveys?
Automated surveys are feedback forms triggered for the right user at the right time through predefined workflows.
In your survey automation workflow, set specific conditions the ideal respondent must meet before the survey pops up on their screen.
Some actions you can specify as triggers in your automation software are:
- completing a milestone [e.g. onboarding]
- contacting support
- upgrade or cancellation of subscription
The triggers may vary depending on the data you want to capture but using advanced segmentation will ensure your surveys are contextual.
What are the benefits of automating surveys?
Before we start dissecting the ways you can launch an automated survey, let’s talk about why they’re important for SaaS.
Survey automation saves time
Every minute spent collecting customer insights manually is one your team could have used to enhance your product and meet customer expectations.
A survey automation tool speeds up the market research process by reducing the time and workforce needed.
This allows you to focus on analyzing and acting on the survey responses.
Forget about human errors with automated surveys
Humans make mistakes. Your team members may forget to send a post-purchase survey to a few customers or even fail to add some survey responses to the analytics sheet.
This leads to incomplete data, which may influence wrong product decisions on your part.
On the other hand, an automated survey process promises consistent and reliable customer insights.
Reduce cost with automated surveys
Automated surveys save money for your company which can be repurposed for more critical projects.
For one, the development team can focus on other projects instead of coding new surveys whenever you want customers’ feedback.
Also, most survey automation tools allow you to embed surveys in-app or in users’ emails, saving you the cost of using different tools for various feedback channels.
Finally, another way a survey tool can cut costs is that you can collect and analyze data in one place. Custom coded surveys, on the other hand, send all your customers’ inputs into large databases, which need to be exported before feedback analysis.
Get higher response rates with in-app automated surveys
Sending a survey to the right user at the right time [i.e. when they complete an action in your product] increases the likelihood of the survey being filled out.
That’s because in-app automated surveys require little to no effort from your respondents, unlike emails that make them leave the app and may even redirect them to a new page.
In-app surveys vs. email survey automation
Sending in-app surveys far outweighs collecting feedback using email.
Firstly, you can trigger in-app microsurveys based on specific user actions mapped out in your workflow. For example, instead of asking all your users how they feel about a new feature even when they haven’t used it, an in-app feature survey will only be triggered for customers who have interacted with that feature.
Another benefit of in-app automated surveys is that they have a higher completion rate as they are timely and contextual.
That’s because there’s little to no lag between the customer experience and the point of feedback, users will have a better recollection of their experience and can give fresh insights.
A microsurvey, like the one Jira uses, is a common example of an in-app survey.
After the user interacts with a specific feature, Jira’s feature survey which contains one qualitative and quantitative question is automatically triggered to gather specific insights from qualified respondents.
In comparison, email surveys typically have a lower response rate than in-app surveys.
First, your email may end up in the spam folder, users might notice the email too late or even ignore it entirely due to survey fatigue
But, pushing automated surveys via email is a great way to reach customers who aren’t regular users of your app.
Types of automated surveys you can use in SaaS
There are six types of automated surveys you can use to capture user feedback:
- Onboarding surveys
- CES surveys
- Feature surveys
- NPS surveys
- Passive surveys
- Offboarding/exit surveys
Now let’s discuss each in more detail.
Collect customer data with automated customer onboarding surveys
A famous Hubspot quote says, “your onboarding program sets the tone for your ongoing relationship with your customers.”
There’s nothing truer.
Gathering customer data through an onboarding survey, helps you segment your users, and trigger relevant product experiences for them later based on their needs.
Notice how simple Postfity’s automated survey looks. The feedback form on the welcome screen not only requests insights from the new customer but also prompts them to get started with the product.
Launch automated surveys to measure the customer effort score
The effort required to complete an action determines whether a customer will continue to use your product. Users perform numerous activities daily within your product, some of which are:
- engaging with self-service resources
- contacting customer support
- upgrading their pricing plan
- or even interacting with the various features
Tracking the perceived effort on these tasks using manual surveys will only waste your time.
But with a CES survey triggered immediately after a user completes an action, you can measure how easy it is to use your product.
Collect customer feedback on specific features
As a product manager, you already know that a SaaS product is never truly finished.
In order to identify flaws in newly launched or existing features, automatically trigger a survey after a customer interacts with that feature for the first time.
Then, gather and analyze their feedback to see how you can fine-tune the feature for your audience.
Conduct NPS surveys to measure customer loyalty
When you leverage automation to push NPS surveys, you can effectively measure customer loyalty.
Then tag qualitative survey responses and identify common themes that are correlated with a low NPS score. Use those insights to reach out to detractors and help reduce friction.
Gather user feedback with passive surveys
Passive automated surveys are always-on feedback forms and widgets that blend in with the product UI, instead of being triggered by a specific user action.
You might be wondering ‘can this be classified under automation as well?’
The answer is yes because they’re always there for the user to give feedback on-demand. Therefore, there’s no need to trigger these surveys manually every time.
Embed simple forms with one question into different pages of your product and collect granular feedback, like Miro does.
Offboarding surveys are meant to reduce churn
When your customer decides to downgrade or cancel their subscription plan entirely, trigger an exit survey immediately, to find out their reasons for leaving.
Then based on the user’s response to the offboarding survey, you can:
- identify flaws in your product
- and launch personalized alternatives that will convince them to stay
Best practices when using automated surveys in SaaS
It’s not enough to simply automate your feedback forms. How can you be sure that your target audience sees it and engages accurately with the survey?
That’s what I’ll be showing you in this section– let’s go!
Localize content on your automated surveys
Content localization makes your automated survey accessible to users in foreign markets who speak other languages apart from English. This enables foreign customers to also provide actionable feedback, unlike an untranslated survey that excludes them.
The best part is that you don’t have to hire a translator for each foreign region.
Instead, use software to auto-translate the survey content into your respondents’ preferred language and watch your response rates improve significantly.
Want to see a live example of content localization? Here’s how you can do it with Userpilot automatically.
Tag and group survey responses
Once the NPS surveying process is complete, you have two tasks.
- First, analyze the scores your customers have given and why. Through response tagging, you can identify themes in the voluminous survey data and understand what’s making your customers loyal and what’s frustrating them.
- Next, replicate what’s working and reach out to detractors so you can provide a better customer experience next time.
You can create custom user segments based on NPS scores and specific answers, making it easier to reach the right users.
Get more insights with qualitative questions
Pro tip: don’t limit your market research to quantitative questions because they’ll only give you fixed responses.
Instead, include optional open-ended survey questions in your automated survey to encourage respondents to give more detailed feedback in their own words.
Incorporating open-text fields can uncover specific insights about a user’s product experience that a rating scale fails to capture.
Use automated surveys for more than just feedback
Apart from tracking customer success metrics with in-app surveys, survey automation also works for account expansion.
What I mean is that you can use an automated survey to push upgrades for freemium and free trial users.
First, segment your customers based on their pricing plans and choose the audience you’re pushing the upgrade message for. Then set a condition in your survey that will immediately trigger the upgrade message for those users when fulfilled.
Just like the image, below, you could trigger the survey three days before their trial period ends, then ask why they’re yet to upgrade.
Best tools you can use to automate surveys
Now that you know how to use automated surveys to understand user behavior, let’s talk about the tools you need.
Userpilot lets you create and analyze feedback surveys— without writing a line of code.
With its segmentation functionality, you can automatically trigger surveys for specific users based on user behavior, attributes, accounts, and other advanced targeting criteria. This initial segmentation process ensures that you push the right survey for the right users at the right time.
Then based on the responses gathered from each user, you can automate personalized in-app experiences to address their concerns, using the same tool.
This automation tool is strictly used to create long-form surveys which you can embed in your emails, apps or website.
It stands out thanks to its branched options and logic jumps, which trigger new questions for your customers, based on their previous responses.
Typeform also integrates with Userpilot.
With a Userpilot subscription, you can embed Typeform long-form surveys in your app notifications and emails when you need detailed feedback.
As you can see, survey automation can enhance your team’s productivity while delivering all the valuable insights you need to implement product changes.
Remember: whether you automate your feedback forms or not, you can only get accurate data if you’re asking the right questions to the right users at the right time.
If you’re tired of waiting for your developers to create custom codes for every single survey, then it’s your sign to Get a Userpilot Demo today!