How to Build Effective In-app Surveys to Collect Feedback in SaaS [Examples Included]
While product marketers often look at engagement metrics and growth KPIs, collecting detailed feedback with in-app surveys can often get overlooked.
If that’s the case, then you’re missing a lot. The in-app surveys can help you identify unhappy users and reduce churn proactively.
Read on to learn more about how to get precise feedback and act on your user sentiment to improve the customer experience.
Let’s get right into it!
- In-app surveys are a method to collect feedback, measure customer satisfaction, and identify friction points.
- In-app surveys are more likely to receive a response compared to email requests that may get lost in a spam folder or cluttered inbox.
- Asking for feedback from users early on can help you tailor the onboarding process to their specific needs and JTBD (job-to-be-done.)
- Feedback from an in-app survey can also tell you if new features are satisfying your users or whether the product pricing strategy is right.
- Keep your surveys short and placed in a spot that’s visible but not in the way of users to maximize your response rate.
- When asking for feedback on new features, adding a text box could help users share thoughts that weren’t covered in the pre-written options.
- You can start collecting in-app feedback without having to write a single line code with tools such as Userpilot.
What is an in-app survey?
As the name indicates, in-app surveys are used for capturing feedback from users right in the app. This type of survey usually outperforms traditional surveys as they are contextual, highly targeted, and actionable.
In-app surveys can cover specific features or provide valuable insights into the general experience that users have when interacting with your product. Asking a few questions through a modal can guide future development and ensure future updates positively impact the customer journey.
What are the benefits of in-app surveys?
Much like traditional surveys, in-app surveys can be invaluable to your customer success efforts and help you act on negative feedback before it results in user churn.
Let’s take a look at a few key benefits that in-app surveys offer.
- Lower friction: Unlike long-form surveys that most busy users would pass on, a short micro survey can be completed in just a few clicks. This lower friction ensures you’ll get feedback that’s representative of your entire user base rather than just those who had enough free time to complete a survey.
- Targeted user feedback: In-app surveys work to identify users’ concerns and their general satisfaction with specific features. However, you’ll struggle to get valuable feedback unless you’re asking the right questions. A few survey questions you could ask include “how would you rate the product’s value compared to its cost?” or “how easy was it to complete your desired task”, etc.
- Response rate increase: In-app surveys reduce the odds of users ignoring the opportunity to provide feedback since they’re more visible than other alternatives. For instance, feedback requests via email could easily end up in the spam folder or may never be noticed if your app users have a messy inbox.
- Retention maximization: As you collect user feedback, you’ll be better able to measure customer satisfaction and fix bugs mentioned in user responses. This will make it a lot easier to keep your churn rate at healthy levels and therefore continue to grow sustainably.
- Personalization: By allowing users to share key elements of their use case such as what role they have or which tasks they need to accomplish, you’ll be able to keep your user onboarding flows highly contextualized for each persona.
- Faster feedback loop: Since users are more likely to leave feedback immediately with in-app surveys, you’ll get insights a lot faster. This will help you accurately reflect their perception of your app at that very moment.
- Feature adoption tracking: You don’t necessarily have to assign a specific score to every feature in order to track how well it was received, but getting more insights from the users on which features they value most can help guide future decisions.
- Continuous feature discovery: While general feedback is great for gauging the perception of a new feature or nipping problems in the bud, in-app surveys can also promote feature discovery. Pop-ups mentioning a feature could get a specific user to try it out for the first time after submitting their feedback.
- Pricing optimization: Finding the right SaaS pricing model and ensuring you’re offering a strong value proposition can be a lot easier when you have an in-depth understanding of how your users are responding to the monthly cost.
- Net Promoter Score: Running NPS surveys from within the app itself can help you track changes in your Net Promoter Score over time. NPS surveys will tell you how likely users are to refer others to your product and thus how satisfied they are with the value it provides.
In-app survey best practices
While adding an in-app survey tool to your tech stack and working to collect user feedback is a good start, there are a few best practices that you should keep in mind if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Here are five best practices that streamline the process of collecting actionable feedback.
1. Have a clear objective with a defined purpose
First things first, the best way to collect more valuable insights is to have a clear goal in mind during the in-app survey design process. If your main goal is user retention then your survey should focus on areas that customers face friction in or features that they’re struggling with.
There are a few survey types you could utilize:
- NPS surveys: NPS surveys are great for gauging satisfaction rates since only users who enjoy using your product would consider referring it to others. It can also help you track how many detractors the product has and why their feedback was negative.
- Churn surveys: If users are ending their subscription at alarming rates then adding an in-app churn survey could help you pinpoint the reason why they’re leaving and proactively fix it before more users leave the platform.
- CSAT surveys: Adding in-app CSAT surveys throughout every stage of the user journey can tell you which areas users are struggling with most and how their satisfaction develops over time.
- CES surveys: CES surveys measure the customer effort score which is a metric that tells you how much effort users have to put into completing an action or using a feature. This data can be invaluable if you’re trying to find high-friction points in the customer journey.
2. Include a progress bar to indicate progression
If you want to make the feedback process feel less daunting for your target audience then you should add a progress bar to in-app surveys. This will make your loyal users feel like they’re nearly done and encourage them to finish the job.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule. If you’re using a single-screen survey then adding a progress bar could actually make the process appear longer. However, most surveys with two or more pages should have a progress bar so users know how close they are to the end.
3. Keep surveys as short as possible
The fewer steps users have to take when responding to an in-app survey, the higher the odds that they’ll complete it. This is why you should focus on keeping them as short as possible by only touching on the most important questions and using concise microcopy.
While certain information is essential like their name or email address, you shouldn’t prompt users to offer countless pieces of personal information or you could seriously bottleneck the amount of user feedback that you manage to gather.
It also depends on where the in-app survey appears in the user journey. If you’re adding a microsurvey to the welcome screen then you should stick to one or two questions while a feedback survey could have three or more.
4. Offer incentives and small rewards to improve the completion rate
In-app survey design is important but gamification or small incentives can increase completion rates. Your reward will depend on your target market, but even a free trial of premium features could be enticing enough.
That said, you should use rewards sparingly and consider the potential risks that come with incentivizing surveys. Offering a discount on this month’s bill could indeed increase response rates but if the discount is too large then you’ll have dozens of users offering random feedback just to save money.
5 great examples of in-app surveys
As SaaS is such a competitive market, you need to bring your a-game if you want to get the most out of your user research efforts.
Let’s have a look at five examples of in-app surveys done right so you can take notes on how to execute your own surveys.
Postfity welcomes new users with an in-app microsurvey
Postfity utilizes an in-app survey early in their onboarding process with a welcome screen to get a better idea of who their users are and which makes it possible to tailor the user journey from the get-go. This early user feedback will also make it easier to upsell in the future and generate expansion revenue.
After all, crafting contextual upsell popups all comes down to how well you understand the user’s goals and what messaging would feel the most relevant to them. This will also reduce the odds that you promote irrelevant features that they aren’t likely to upgrade their subscription for.
Nicereply uses in-app surveys to collect data on customer effort score
Nicereply utilizes an in-app survey to gather CES (customer effort score) data on their users. This is a great example of how you can tie in your feedback pop-ups into your overarching analytics efforts.
To get the most accurate data, you should trigger CES surveys right after a customer has tried out a feature for the first time, switched from one plan to another, or reached out to your customer support team.
These are usually the times when users would face the most friction so getting feedback right away will help them capture their feelings “at the moment”. However, you should avoid triggering surveys too often as this can annoy users so using a cooldown timer could be wise.
Asana uses in-app surveys to determine the NPS score
Asana places a browser widget at the top of their users’ screen to ensure the NPS survey is visible but still out of the way. This should serve as a reminder that placement can play a big role in how effective your surveys are at collecting feedback from users.
Another area you could place your NPS survey would be in the lower right corner of the user interface. This is the space between the monitor and the mouse (for right-handed users) which gives it high visibility. The bottom right corner is often located close to key UI elements as well which increases the odds that a user will spot the survey, improving completion rates.
Calendly asks users to evaluate their experience
Calendly is known for its minimalistic in-app messages and they clearly take the same approach with their surveys. While the design may seem simple, it’s actually concise which makes it more efficient at collecting feedback from users.
You can also use the same minimalistic approach when designing CES surveys. This would help you track data without increasing customer effort in the process. Sticking to simple, non-distracting graphics also ensures users will focus on the questions which improves the accuracy of the data as well as completion rates.
Slack encourages users to give feedback
What makes in-app surveys important is their ability to gather feedback on a wide variety of topics. That’s why Slack keeps its survey open-ended so users can provide feedback on areas that weren’t covered in the question list.
How to build in-app surveys?
Now that you’re well aware of the benefits of in-app surveys and have seen a few examples of how to execute them properly, it’s time to figure out how you’re actually going to start implementing these surveys into your in-app marketing campaigns.
There are actually a few ways to go about this:
- Custom coding: If you have programming knowledge or a team of developers, you could build custom surveys with your own code. However, this can take some time and leave your surveys less flexible.
- Survey tools: Survey tools like Typeform are a popular alternative to coding since they let you create surveys and then later embed them in your product. The drawback is that users will be directed off your website when submitting a response.
- Product growth tool: Product growth tools like Userpilot let you build in-app surveys that function as a new layer on top of your UI instead of an embed that sends traffic off-site. This can make the survey feel more cohesive with your product and be less jarring for users.
Build and analyze feedback with Userpilot
In the past, creating surveys may have required coding knowledge or even a team of developers. Nowadays, tools like Userpilot make it possible to build in-app surveys yourself without writing a single line of code.
Here are the four steps you need to go through:
Step 1 – Create flow
First of all, you’ll want to create the survey flow. This will determine when the survey is triggered, where it’s located, and how many question pages you want users to answer.
Step 2 – Select modal
Customize your modal’s size, design, and font to ensure it’s aligned with your brand theme as well as the rest of your product’s UI.
Step 3 – Add questions and response choices
Enter all the questions you have for your users and which response options to display. You can also include an “others” option with a dialogue box below that they can use for more in-depth feedback.
Step 4 – Select the audience and targeting
With the modal design and questions all finalized, it’s time to select the best audience for your survey. This could be a particular segment or users who have interacted with a specific feature depending on the type of data you’re trying to gather.
Step 5 – Embedding surveys built with survey tools
If you used an external tool like SurveyMonkey or Typeform then you’ll need to embed the survey you’ve built in your app. The downside is that users will be redirecting outside the app instead of being able to submit their responses from the same dashboard.
Not recommended: custom code your in-app surveys
While it might seem like custom-coded surveys would offer more flexibility, they can actually be less effective in the long run for a multitude of reasons. First of all, they take more time to create which means you won’t receive feedback as fast.
If you’re using surveys to measure reception to something like a feature launch or new update then the damage may already be done by the time you finish coding the survey. They’re also rather difficult to tweak since developers will need to implement every change on their end.
This makes it highly impractical to split test them since you’ll need updated code for every A/B test. In the same way, you’d need to create different versions of the code if you want to trigger them contextually such as by targeting specific user segments.
As you can see, whether you go for an NPS survey to measure user satisfaction or just want to bounce ideas from your customer base over to the development team, in-app surveys can be a highly efficient way of getting to know your target market.
At the end of the day, how you adapt to user feedback can make or break your future growth. If you want to start collecting feedback from users or build an NPS survey without writing a single line of code then it’s time to get a Userpilot demo today!