In-App Surveys Guide for Collecting Valuable Feedback
How do you create in-app surveys that give the user sentiment insights you need to build valuable products?
This is the key question we focus on in the article.
We kick off by discussing the benefits of in-app surveys and exploring their different types. Next, we move on to in-app survey best practices, check out some great survey examples, and finally, look at the best tools for the job.
Let’s get right to it!
- In-app surveys are short questionnaires used for collecting feedback from users.
- They allow you to gather large amounts of specific and targeted feedback. Thanks to that, you can identify ways to improve user experience and make informed product development decisions.
- Product teams use in-app surveys to conduct user research, personalize user experience, assess satisfaction levels, measure customer loyalty, identify new feature ideas, and better understand user behavior.
- The most popular in-app types of surveys include welcome surveys, net promoter score surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, customer effort score surveys, product market-fit surveys, and churn surveys.
- To obtain actionable insights, launch your surveys to specific user segments and focus on particular aspects of user experience.
- Trigger contextual surveys as users reach different user journey milestones to track their satisfaction and find friction points.
- Adding a progress bar tells users how much effort the survey requires, which increases the odds that they will complete it.
- For best results, use closed questions to get quantitative data and track trends, and follow them up with open-ended questions to get more detailed qualitative insights.
- Apart from collecting feedback actively by triggering surveys, allow users to submit passive feedback via an in-app widget, just like Userpilot does.
- ClearCalcs uses welcome surveys to collect new user data and personalize their product experiences.
- The Jira team leverages contextually triggered surveys to collect CES feedback.
- Slack uses NPS surveys to identify loyal customers and find ways to make the product better.
- Asana uses churn surveys to find out why users are leaving and prevent churn.
- You can easily design and launch in-app surveys with tools like Appcues and Hotjar but they offer limited analytics and engagement features.
- Userpilot is a more comprehensive tool. Want to see how to use it to run web in-app surveys? Book the demo!
What are in-app surveys?
In-app surveys are short forms used to collect user feedback about the product and customer experience. This feedback is then used to identify ways to improve both.
Product teams use in-app surveys at different stages of the user journey. For example, surveys often appear on welcome screens to collect information about users. They are also used to track user sentiment and validate ideas.
What are the main benefits of in-app surveys?
It’s hard to imagine a product, marketing, or customer success team that wouldn’t use in-app surveys to inform their decisions. Here’s why they matter.
Collect user feedback at scale
For starters, in-app surveys are the most cost-effective and scalable option for collecting qualitative user feedback.
They are easy to design and trigger for thousands of users at once without the hassle and expense of arranging interviews.
What’s more, thanks to analytics tools, you can easily analyze and extract the information you’re after.
Gather specific and targeted feedback
When combined with user segmentation and product usage analytics, you can use your in-app surveys to target very specific user groups. This allows you to get customer insights into a very particular part of the user experience.
For example, you could launch surveys for users who have used a specific feature or those who have been your customers for a specific period of time.
Better decision-making by incorporating valuable insights
The ultimate benefit of collecting user feedback via in-app surveys is improved decision-making.
Instead of relying on your intuition or anecdotal evidence, you can validate your ideas with real customers and implement your findings in the product management process.
How can product teams use in-app surveys to improve product and customer experience?
The information you collect via in-app surveys can be used in a number of ways:
- Create personalized experiences: you can tailor the customer experience you offer for different segments.
- Measure customer satisfaction: they help you identify unhappy users and you can follow up with them to improve their overall user experience.
- Measure customer loyalty: knowing how committed users are to your product can help you forecast retention and revenue. You can also use them to identify your power users and their most successful behaviors.
- New features development: you can collect and validate new feature requests and identify ways to improve the existing functionality.
- Understand user behavior: thanks to qualitative questions, you can gain an understanding of why users behave in particular ways.
What are the different types of in-app surveys?
Here are examples of some of the most common in-app surveys:
- Welcome surveys are triggered when users log in for the first time to collect information necessary to personalize their experience.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys measure customer loyalty by asking users how likely they are to recommend the product.
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys gauge how happy users are with the user experience and the product value.
- Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys assess how easy product features are to use.
- Feature request surveys enable users to submit their ideas for new features (or tell you which features users haven’t discovered yet).
- Product-market fit surveys, aka Sean Ellis tests, tell you if users find your product valuable enough to justify its existence on the market.
- Churn surveys appear when users cancel their subscriptions (or are about to do it) to find out their reasons and offer them an alternative solution or plan to make them stay.
Best practices for building in-app surveys that get high response rates
How do you make sure that you take full advantage of the benefits that various surveys offer? Here are a few tips that will help you design and run surveys to gather the insights you need and increase your response rate.
Trigger user surveys to the right segments
To begin with, make sure you target the right users with the right surveys.
Let’s imagine your users drop off at a certain point of the user journey. You could create a segment made up of users who failed to advance to the next stage and trigger a survey to find out what stopped them from doing so.
You can create segments also based on their answers to previous surveys, so you could target your NPS detractors to find out why they’re not satisfied with their experience.
Prompt contextual surveys across important user journey stages
Another good practice is to trigger in-app surveys when users reach a milestone in their user journey.
So if your product is an email automation tool, you could trigger a survey when users create and send their first email campaign. A CES survey at this stage would tell you how easy it was for users to complete the tasks and find ways to optimize them.
Of course, to be able to do so, you first need to map out the user journey with the key milestones for your product.
Keep the in-app survey design short and focused
To increase the response rate, keep your surveys short. Stick to a single question, ideally a multiple-choice one, so that it’s easy and quick to answer.
Most importantly, don’t launch random in-app surveys just because you feel like it. Always have a specific goal in mind and keep your surveys focused. For instance, a survey that can help you identify the most valuable features and prioritize your backlog.
Add a progress bar to increase the survey completion rate
Adding a progress bar tells your users how many steps are involved and how long it’s going to take. This increases the chances that your users complete the survey.
Progress bars are particularly important for mobile in-app surveys as mobile users tend to lose their patience more quickly and they won’t even start a survey if they look like too much work.
Ask both close-ended and open-ended questions
Close-ended and open-ended questions both have their place in in-app surveys.
Close-ended questions are quick to answer and analyze and provide you with quantitative data that you can use to track trends and prioritize your decisions.
They may require more effort to answer, so the response rate to them may not be as high as it’s for closed-ended questions. However, answering the question actually strengthens their relationship with your product. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t bother, but as they answer the question, it reinforces their commitment.
Ask follow-up questions to collect more valuable insights
Normally, you would combine close-ended questions with open-ended ones in one survey.
So in an NPS survey, you start with a closed-ended question with a Likert scale to get the general user sentiment. Then follow it up with a qualitative question to get insights as to why users are feeling like that.
It’s good practice to make the follow-up questions optional so that users don’t fail to submit their survey even if they don’t want to or have time to answer them.
Use an in-app feedback widget to collect feedback passively
In addition to triggering your in-app surveys contextually and targeting specific user segments with focused questions, give them a chance to submit feedback when they want to.
How can you do that?
With an in-app feedback widget. You can place it in your resource center or a visible spot on your dashboard.
Such passive feedback is very valuable because users give it in response to a specific issue or need they experience.
In-app survey examples from successful SaaS companies
Want to see how to implement these best practices in real life? Here are a few excellent examples from leading SaaS companies.
ClearCalcs welcome survey to collect data from new users
ClearCalcs is a cloud-based design and analysis platform, which helps engineering and construction companies create and verify design and computations for elements like beams or concrete footings.
The company uses welcome surveys created in Userpilot to collect relevant data about customers as they sign up for the product. The survey consists of 5 modals and focuses on customers’ roles and goals so that they can segment them and personalize their in-app experience.
Jira’s survey to collect contextual feedback
Jira is a product management tool used widely in the software industry.
The product team behind Jira uses in-app surveys to collect feedback on users’ experiences with different features. The surveys are triggered contextually, just when the user completes a task, and when the experience is still fresh in their mind.
For example, the survey below pops up when users finish editing and publishing their page. It consists of a closed-ended question that rates the experience and an open-ended one prompting users to explain their previous answer and suggest ways to improve the experience.
Slack’s NPS survey to identify loyal customers
Slack is a popular messaging platform used by businesses for internal communication. The company uses in-app surveys for various purposes, like tracking user sentiment with NPS surveys.
Slack’s NPS survey looks like many others. It’s got the standard ‘How likely are you to recommend…’ question and a 1-10 scale.
However, what makes Slack’s survey stand out is the personalized message at the beginning. What’s so special about it?
- It’s from Bill, Slack’s Head of Marketing, which gives it a personal touch.
- It sets clear expectations as to the number of questions and how long it’s going to take.
- It assures users that their feedback matters.
Userpilot’s in-app widget so app users can give on-demand feedback
That’s why its resource center, available on the right-hand side of the UI, includes a button that opens a feedback widget. This is easily accessible at any time users might feel like sharing their thoughts about their product.
The survey consists of 3 questions. The first question asks users to rate their experience on a scale from 1-3 (uses emojis instead of numbers). The second screen has two follow-up questions that ask for more details. Simple but effective!
Asana’s cancellation survey to prevent churn
Asana is a project management tool used in many industries, including SaaS marketing.
The company uses churn surveys to gain insights as to why users leave.
But that’s not all!
Churn surveys can actually prevent user churn as each of the possible answers is an opportunity to win back users.
For example, if users choose ‘Asana is too expensive,’ they are offered an alternative affordable plan. If they choose ‘I couldn’t get my team to adopt Asana,’ you could get additional guidance to help them onboard their team.
The best in-app survey tools for SaaS companies
Creating in-app surveys and using them for collecting feedback that you need is easier when you have the right tools in the stack. Let’s check out a few solid user feedback solutions that will tick most boxes and help you implement your feedback strategy.
Userpilot is a digital adoption platform that enables you to collect and analyze feedback. What distinguishes it from a standalone in-app survey tool is that it offers other features that allow you to act on negative feedback.
With product usage analytics, you can triangulate the feedback results to get more granular insights, while the engagement layer allows you to target users with in-app messages to help them overcome their issues.
Let’s look at one example.
You could start with an NPS survey, which you can customize to give it a native-like look, code-free.
The NPS analytics dashboard shows you the score, both current and historic, and the breakdown into detractors, passives, and promoters. That’s how you can segment your users and identify the most loyal ones.
Userpilot allows you to segment your users based on their qualitative responses. You simply tag them and group users who provide similar answers.
Once you have your segments ready, you can use Userpilot’s heatmaps and event analytics to gain insights into users’ behavior. This could reveal that some users don’t engage with the right features for their use cases which translates into poor survey results.
Appcues is another product adoption tool that allows you to design and trigger customized surveys without coding. It comes recommended for mobile web surveys.
Appcues feedback features include NPS surveys and analytics.
However, it doesn’t allow you to analyze qualitative responses and its segmentation (and analytics in general) functionality is limited compared to Userpilot. Also, you can’t trigger your surveys in response to real-time events because Appcues processes them with a delay.
Overall, Appcues is a solid feedback tool and you can use it to act on your feedback as well.
Hotjar is a user experience analytics tool best known for its heatmaps and session recording features.
However, apart from these, Hotjar allows you to create and send targeted surveys to collect quantitative and qualitative user feedback. You can then segment your users based on the quantitative responses, but Hotjar offers no engagement tools to act on the feedback. For that, you need a 3rd party solution.
In-app surveys are essential for product teams that are serious about building products that satisfy users’ needs and have a positive impact on their lives.
Thanks to surveys, you can collect vast amounts of feedback from specific user groups and use it to remove friction from the customer journey and enhance their experience. Customer feedback can also help you identify new opportunities to develop your product.
If you want to see how Userpilot can help your business design and trigger in-app surveys, book the demo!