The one or two short questions you ask in your welcome screen. The NPS survey. The small feedback window. The exit (or churn) survey. What do all of them have in common? They are the so-called microsurveys – and more and more SaaS companies are using them to collect valuable data – often right in their products.

NPS microsurvey

Why? Today, you can’t build your products ‘off plan’ – you need to tailor and constantly adapt them to the needs of your users. And to understand their needs – you need to collect data. Microsurveys have a lot of advantages over other methods of data collection, which we’ll explain in more detail later on – but essentially, microsurveys make it easier for your customers to tell you how they feel. In turn, that gives you more data. The end result? You can make much better product decisions.

So it’s safe to say that microsurveys are an integral part of the product development cycle. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about microsurveys, including:

Let’s get started…

 

What is a microsurvey?

Put simply, a microsurvey is a short survey that is shown to customers or users of your product.

Microsurveys often share a few similarities.

Firstly, they’re generally shown within your app. In-app microsurveys enable customers to easily give you information. It means you end up with more data.

Secondly, they’re laser-focused on a specific question. Microsurveys are short and sweet, and it means that they will generally concentrate on one use case, such as collecting feature requests, or an NPS survey.

Finally, they’re shown to specific segments of users. Depending on the data you’re trying to collect, you might want to show the microsurvey to certain groups of users, for example, users who have activated a specific feature.

Microsurveys are a fantastic way of collecting data. You can then use that data to make more informed product decisions. Ultimately, this leads to the growth of your product.

But what makes microsurveys so much better? Let’s take a look…

Why are microsurveys so effective?

‘I love filling in long surveys’ – said no-one ever.

And that’s precisely the reason why microsurveys are such an efficient way of collecting exactly the data you need.

The nature of a microsurvey means that it’s often a much better approach than long drawn-out forms or sending questions via other methods, such as email.

In a nutshell, microsurveys:

  1. Allow you to collect more data – due to a high rate of submissions from in-app;
  2. Allow you to collect very targeted data – e.g. based on actual product usage – users that engaged with specific features
  3. Allow you to get large volumes of data really quickly

We’ll explore some of them in more detail below.

1: You can collect more data

In the past, the only way to collect data from your customers was to ask them directly. Often, this would be done using email.

One way was to manually reach out to the customers you wanted to hear from and ask them questions as part of the conversation. Of course, the problem here is that it doesn’t scale.

An alternative was to send an email out to a whole group of customers, with a link to a survey. The issue here is that not everyone will open the email, and of those who do, not everyone will click the link to the survey.

That’s why microsurveys are so effective. They appear in-app, which means you’ll get a much higher submission rate.

That means more data for you to work with when it comes to making product decisions. And the more data you have, the better your decisions will be.

2: It’s highly targeted

While sending surveys via email does enable a certain degree of targeting, it lacks the nuance that microsurveys can provide.

For example, you could send an email out to customers who have been using your app for six months. That’s pretty good targeting.

However, with in-app microsurveys, you can target based on actual product usage. If you needed to collect data from customers who had used a specific feature, then you could do that by setting up triggers within your product, and then showing the microsurvey when the trigger is fired.

This highly-specific targeting is incredible, because it allows you to fine-tune your data and collect it from exactly the customers you want.

This improves the quality of the data you collect, and thus improves your decision making process.

3: Get data quickly

Long surveys can be exhausting, and your customers may take a while to formulate their responses and send you their answers. The longer it takes to collect the data, the harder it is to make the right decisions.

Microsurveys are so focused on one topic that they generally consist of one or two questions. As a result, it’s much easier for customers to fill in and send to you.

This way, you can collect the data you need quicker, and start making decisions right away. This level of responsiveness is crucial when it comes to negotiating the fast-moving world of SaaS.

Hopefully, you now realize that microsurveys are the most effective way of collecting your customers’ thoughts and feelings towards your product.

But what kind of data are we talking about? It turns out that you can collect all kinds of information from a microsurvey…

 

What can I do with a microsurvey?

Microsurveys are usually laser-focused on one topic. That’s what makes them so effective. But that means you might be wondering what kind of information you can actually get from a microsurvey.

Well, the real answer to that is: Anything you want. The fact is, microsurveys are so adaptable that you can use them to collect information on virtually any topic.

Here are some common examples, but be aware that microsurveys are very versatile and you can essentially use them for whatever you need.

Here are some types of microsurveys you can use in your app – and what you can achieve with it: (you can find more details about the specific kinds with real examples below)

  1. Feedback microsurveys – for collecting qualitative feedback on a specific page, product, or feature
  2. NPS microsurveys (Net Promoter Score) – for collecting satisfaction levels of your users, so you can continue improving your product and reduce churn
  3. Feature request microsurveys – to help you make data-informed product decisions
  4. Information collection microsurveysto help you e.g. write a valuable case study, or organise a webinar that your users would find really valuable (btw. we are organising a Virtual Summit for Product Managers. Wanna speak? 👉Apply here)
  5. Competitor microsurveys – to find out why the user has chosen you over a bigger player
  6. Welcome Screen Microsurveys (aka use case/ persona microsurveys)for collecting that precious demographic, use case and goals
  7. Churn Microsurveys (aka Exit Microsurveys)so you can learn why your users are leaving you (and draw conclusions that will help you reduce the churn) and even bring them back!
churn microsurvey

Source

Now – let’s see more examples and find out how to build each type of microsurvey!

Feedback microsurveys

Microsurveys can be used to collect customer feedback about specific features of your product, or the whole product more generally.

It’s a useful way of seeing how you can improve the user experience and add more value with your product.

Here’s a great example from Stripe:

stripe microsurveys

You can click on the button at the top of the screen. Doing so opens this microsurvey:

stripe feedback widget

It’s a simple way for Stripe to collect feedback about a specific page of the product.

Again, it enables users to provide feedback about a specific page of the product.

NPS microsurveys

nps microsurveys

One of the most common uses for microsurveys is to measure your NPS (Net Promoter Score).

NPS surveys are designed to get a snapshot of how your customers feel about your product.

These microsurveys generally consist of two questions. The first will ask:

“How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Your users then respond with a number from 0 to 10, with 10 being “Very likely”.

The second question is optional, and will encourage users to provide you with more qualitative information about why they gave their score.

NPS surveys are a great way of measuring how satisfied your customers are with your product.

Feature request microsurveys

feature request microsurveys

Your SaaS product is never truly finished. Customers expect you to constantly add new features and functionality. But how do you know what to build?

Microsurveys can provide you with the information you need to make data-informed product decisions.

These microsurveys will generally have a couple of questions:

  1. The first will ask what the customer wants adding to the product.
  2. The second question will ask what the customer is trying to achieve. This helps the Product team understand the context behind the feature request.
  3. An optional third question you might want to ask on this microsurvey is how much of a priority this request is. This way your Product team can allocate resources accordingly.

Information collection microsurveys

Sometimes you need information from your users that you just can’t find out by observing their behaviour in-app alone. Like – what kind of complementary products they use (so you can e.g. work on integrations or joint ventures), or what kind of information they would like to hear in your next webinar. In this case, you could use a microsurvey to present users with a poll.

This one (asking about a complementary product) was created with Userpilot:

microsurveys poll userpilot

As you can see, it’s a quick question that our users can answer. This can help us create content like blog posts and webinars that will help our customers.

It’s also possible to track the answers, so that we can follow up with respondents or tailor more in-app experiences to them depending on their answers.

Competitor analysis microsurveys

competitor microsurvey

Competitor research can often be tricky, and generally relies on you looking at what your competitors’ products do and how they position themselves.

But microsurveys also provide a useful way of collecting competitor research.

You can simply have your Sales team tag any customers who they knew were trialling a competitor’s product at one point.

Then, when the time is right, show them a microsurvey that asks them why they chose your product over your competitor’s.

This can provide you with great insights into why customers choose you over your competitors, which you can then use to double down on your strengths.

Use cases and persona microsurveys

quickbooks use case survey

The most common mistake we found SaaS companies make in our ‘State of SaaS Onboarding Research’ on over 1000 SaaS companies is the lack of Welcome Screen.

Everybody cried ‘personalize!’ these days – but how exactly are you supposed to personalize your user experience and really gear your product walkthrough towards your user journey, if you don’t know who your user really is and what they want to use your product for?

This is especially important if you have several different user personas!

All this can be resolved with a microsurvey in your welcome screen for when users sign in for the first time.

microsurvey welcome screen postfity

Microsurveys in welcome screens are perfect for improving your product’s onboarding flow – as they allow you to provide a more personalized experience for your users.

Simply ask a couple of questions about their job role, their goals, and what they want to achieve with your product.

Their answers can then ensure they’re funnelled into the most relevant onboarding flows.

You can also do this with Userpilot:

userpilot microsurveys onboarding

Users can choose one of the options, and then will be shown the most relevant onboarding flow according to their needs.

Churn feedback microsurveys

churn microsurveys

A final – but probably most important of all – use case for microsurveys is to find out why customers have churned.

This is something every SaaS business owner and product manager needs to know – the reason why your customers are cancelling.

The simplest way to find out is to trigger a microsurvey modal when a user hits the ‘cancel’ button.

There are two ways how you can go about collecting feedback from customers that want to cancel:

1. You can simply ask them an open-ended question: why they no longer want to use your product. The upside is that you will get very personalized and qualitative answers. And the downside is…exactly the same. It’s hard to analyse qualitative answers, and you will not be able to follow them up promptly via e.g. a relevant autoresponder.

2. The second way to go about churn survey is by providing a list of pre-defined reasons why they want to cancel – like the one below:

The advantage of this type of exit-microsurvey is twofold:

– you can instantly follow-up on your user’s selection in the last-ditch effort to change their mind: sometimes it may be that they simply didn’t realise there already was a solution to the problem with your product:

You can also follow up by email, if the user just cancels the subscription – but does not delete the account.

This can be especially important during the sensitive time of the corona crisis – if someone states the economic reason as the reason for their cancellation, you can always reach out to them with a limited-time lower subscription. The act of kindness will be definitely appreciated even if your user cannot stay with you anyway.

This brings us to the second advantage of this kind of exit-microsurvey: it can actually help you change your users’ mind.

How can I improve my microsurvey?

So, now you’ve started thinking about adding microsurveys to your product, you might be wondering how to make them as effective as possible.

Here’s three things you can do to improve your microsurveys…

Keep it focused

We’ve already explained that the reason microsurveys are so effective is that they’re focused on a specific area.

If you’re sending the same microsurvey out to every customers, then you aren’t using them as well as you could be.

Instead, keep them completely focused on one aspect of your product.

That means you need to think about a couple of different things.

Firstly, think about what information you’re trying to collect. If it’s feature requests, then focus on that. If it’s NPS scores, then focus on that. Never combine two different areas on one microsurvey, that just leads to poor data.

Secondly, think about who you want to collect the data from. The answer should never be “everybody”. You want to narrow it down to a very specific group of customers.

For example, you might want to send a feedback microsurvey to only customers who have used a new feature that you’ve added to your product.

That focus is what will make your microsurvey work. It’s what will increase your submission rate, and it means you get more, higher quality data.

Match it to your product

The design of your microsurveys is very important when it comes to keeping your brand consistent. In the same way you’d want your emails to match your brand, you need your microsurveys to stay consistent too.

Fortunately, tools like Userpilot make it really easy to customize the look of your microsurveys so that they match the rest of your product.

change microsurveys design with userpilot

This means your customers get a consistent experience and they understand that any microsurveys they see are part of it.

It’s also worth pointing out that you often want your microsurveys to stand out visually in some way. Perhaps by changing the background color, or adding a high-contrast border. This way customers are less likely to ignore the microsurveys.

Make it clear

As well as the design of your microsurveys, it’s worth spending time on the microcopy that you use.

Bad copy can make your microsurveys unintelligible. This can reduce the quality of the data you collect, and even reduce the number of submissions.

Consider the wording of this question:

“What did you think when you used this feature?”

That might seem okay, but there are ways you can improve it to make it clear and easier to understand.

For example, saying “this feature” isn’t enough, because they might start questioning which feature you’re talking about.

Here’s a better version of the same question:

“How easy was it to use our bulk uploading feature?”

Notice how the question is more specific (talking about ease of use) and also explains exactly which feature we’re asking about.

Making some tweaks to your microsurvey’s microcopy can make all the difference when it comes to collecting your data.

How to make microsurveys with Userpilot

Userpilot is much more than an onboarding platform. It also offers NPS functionality and the ability to add forms to your product.

Let’s start with NPS. It’s really easy to add an NPS survey to your product with Userpilot. Simply design your survey, write your questions, and then it’s ready to show to your customers.

targeting microsurveys userpilot

Thanks to Userpilot’s detailed product analytics, you can then target specific segments of customers, so that you only show your NPS survey to the right users.

You can then monitor your NPS responses in an easy-to-use dashboard.

userpilot nps dashboard

As for the forms functionality, you can currently add forms as part of an experience.

You have a range of different microsurvey elements to choose from, including text inputs and radio buttons.

userpilot microsurveys

Again, you can use Userpilot’s analytics to target certain users with your microsurveys. This means you only ask the people you need to ask.

Common use cases for Userpilot’s forms include collecting feedback on a specific feature, finding out more information about your customers, or finding out motivations behind their in-app actions.

The forms can be fully customized to match the look of your product.

But that’s not all… As of May 2020, you’ll be able to use Userpilot’s own feedback widget to easily collect feedback from your customers as they engage with your product.

userpilot demo

Userpilot makes it easy to add microsurveys to your product, so you can start collecting the data you need to make the best possible decisions.

 

Key takeaways

  • Microsurveys are short forms, often displayed in-app, that enable you to collect the data you need to make product decisions.
  • The advantages of microsurveys are that they receive better submission rates, higher quality data, and you get the information quicker.
  • There are many different uses for microsurveys, including NPS, feature requests, competitor research, personalization, and churn feedback.
  • When creating your microsurveys, you should make sure you target specific customer segments, and keep the questions focused on what you want to find out.
  • The design of your microsurveys should match the design of your product to maintain brand consistency, and your microcopy should be clear and easy to understand.
  • Userpilot is a great tool to help you add microsurveys to your product, so you can quickly and easily start collecting the information you need.

About the author

Joe is a content writer, with several years of experience working with SaaS startups. He’s also the founder of Turing, a conversation design agency, making chatbots more human.