How to Collect Qualitative Feedback in SaaS

How to Collect Qualitative Feedback in SaaS cover

Are you thinking about using qualitative feedback to gauge the success of your SaaS business?

You’re not alone.

While some product managers focus solely on quantitative data, one can argue that qualitative data is just as important because it reveals what customers feel about a SaaS product.

So let’s dive into qualitative feedback and learn what it’s all about and how you can use it to grow your business and improve customer engagement.

TL;DR

  • Qualitative feedback is customer-generated feedback about a product or its features through open-ended questions.
  • There is also quantitative feedback which is customer sentiments collected based on the options provided to them. This can be a drop-down or a multi-choice list.
  • Qualitative feedback lets you know why customers feel the way they do, through their own words.
  • That’s why qualitative data provides more insights, removes biases, and leads to customer-led growth, in comparison with quantitative feedback.
  • Collecting qualitative data is inexpensive and isn’t resource-intensive.
  • You can collect qualitative data through feedback surveys, NPS surveys, in-app surveys, heatmaps, session recordings, customer reviews, public roadmaps, and exit surveys.
  • Use tags to analyze your qualitative feedback and segment users better.
  • Looking to collect and analyze feedback? Get a Userpilot demo!

What is qualitative feedback?

Qualitative feedback refers to customer information that describes how they feel about a product or service. Customer feedback comes from user-generated content, meaning users can be specific about their issues or praises.

qualitative-feedback-score-comment
Qualitative feedback text box asking users to explain why they chose the score to rate the business.

Qualitative customer feedback can be about the product in general, or it could be about a particular feature or service.

For example, you can get feedback about customer service and whether you can meet your customers’ expectations.

What is quantitative feedback?

Quantitative feedback refers to customer data collected based on metrics set by the company. Unlike qualitative feedback, this form of customer analysis uses methodologies that can be measured.

That means most quantitative feedback collected is numerical data.

Popular quantitative research methodologies include rating systems (e.g. rank the product from 1 to 10) and multiple choice.

For example, the product market fit (PMF) survey asks customers how they would feel if they could no longer use a product.

If the surveyor wanted qualitative data, there would be an empty field there where customers can express their opinions however they see fit.

quantitative-feedback-flows
Build quantitative feedback flows with Userpilot.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might want to consider using qualitative and quantitative data.

Qualitative or quantitative feedback?

You’ll get the full picture if you combine both data sets. So if you’ve been focusing solely on gathering quantitative data, you’re sorely missing out on the perks of qualitative data.

Having qualitative and quantitative data make it easier to analyze the results you get.

You can look at it this way:

  • Quantitative data focuses on “what” — What do customers feel? What do they think? What changes do they want?
  • Qualitative data focuses on “why” — Why do customers feel that way? Why do they think that way? Why are they asking for changes?

It should be pointed out that both types of feedback have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Quantitative data is easier to analyze since it relies mostly on numerical data.

For example, you can tally the results of a multiple-choice survey and conclude fairly quickly. But quantitative analysis leaves much to be desired.

Qualitative data is great because it allows you to collect more insights and go deeper into every answer.

But it’s harder to analyze since you can’t aggregate survey responses into measurable data. It also leaves some customer statements open to interpretation, especially those that are poorly worded or constructed.

Why is qualitative feedback useful?

Qualitative feedback uses open-ended responses, meaning customers can share their thoughts and opinions about a product and its features without limitations.

Here are other reasons why you should consider using qualitative research methods.

Qualitative data provides more insights

With quantitative feedback, you’re getting answers in absolutes. Yes or no. Agree or disagree. Like or dislike.

Even throwing in a “maybe” there won’t tell you much.

And while you can get creative with your multiple choice questions, the reality is that those options limit customers.

Qualitative feedback gets you to understand how users interact with your product. It’s like conducting user interviews. You can find out why they like or dislike specific features.

It’s the ultimate way to get feedback about customer experience.

Qualitative customer feedback is at the center of customer-led growth

Quantitative feedback is great for assessing where your product stands as it is today. However, you’ll need qualitative feedback to take it where it needs to go.

Data analysis of qualitative responses can give you directions toward what users want to see in your product. They will tell you what features they want and why as well.

This insight into their needs will help you understand how your product is used.

With qualitative feedback, you’ll be able to create a realistic roadmap for future feature rollouts based on individual responses made by your community and close the feedback loop.

userpilot-customer-led-growth

Qualitative feedback removes biases

Qualitative feedback removes your biases from the equation. With quantitative feedback, you can—intentionally or not—phrase questions and answers to skew the results in your favor.

That’s not the case with qualitative feedback.

It’s like having access to focus groups. You can only pose questions. But the answers are entirely up to your customers. They can answer however they want — and you can’t filter them in any way.

You’ll hear exactly what they need you to hear.

Cost-effective ways to collect qualitative customer feedback in SaaS

When we talk about qualitative feedback, the mind immediately goes to resource-intensive data collecting measures like interviews and focus groups.

But there are simpler, more affordable alternatives.

Qualitative analysis doesn’t need to be expensive. You can get valuable insights without having to dedicate a ton of resources.

In this section, we will focus on several methods of collecting qualitative data that won’t break the bank.

Collect qualitative and quantitative data with feature feedback surveys

Did you know that you can collect quantitative and qualitative feedback at the same time?

You can use feedback surveys to ask customers what they think about a new or old product feature. Give users a Yes/No question and an option to enter what other features they’d like to see on the platform.

But you’re not limited to these options. You can ask what your customers will use the features for or how a new feature can be improved.

qualitative-and-quantitative-data-in-feedback-surveys

A feature feedback survey can also be launched weeks or months after a feature had launched. The longer your customers have time to use the feature, the more precise their feedback will be.

Perform sentiment analysis using Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys

An NPS survey can get you through the daunting task of identifying promoters and detractors of your product. What it does is compile user sentiment regarding the features or services being offered to them.

While NPS surveys are quantitative, you can introduce qualitative follow-up questions. That’s where NPS surveys genuinely shine.

userpilot-nps-survey

Userpilot allows its users to not only launch an NPS survey but to field custom questions. The answers you receive will let you know if there are customers who are about to leave or not. And if they like your SaaS product, the answers will tell you what it is about your product they love.

When you gain insights about your product, you’ll be able to take action depending on your feedback.

Understand customer satisfaction with qualitative in-app surveys

Qualitative research can also be done through your app without them being intrusive.

For example, a minimal emoji survey will let you know your customers’ feelings about the product.

You can then leave a blank field that customers can fill up to share their sentiments. In the example below, users are encouraged to leave a message that will let the company know what else it can improve.

customer-satisfaction-in-app-surveys

You can change the question based on what data you need.

For instance, you can if they find your current pricing acceptable. You can also ask if (and why) they’d recommend your product to their peers.

Collect user feedback based on their product experience

If an emoji survey seems too impersonal, you can use a product experience survey instead to collect user feedback.

You can have customers trigger these surveys after using your product or its features after a certain amount of time has passed.

In the example below, Slack had its users answer a quantitative product experience survey. However, just below the options, customers can provide additional feedback if they feel like doing so.

give-feedback-based-on-product-experience

Perform qualitative research using heatmaps

There’s also a way to get qualitative research data without having to ask customers directly — and that is through heatmaps.

A heatmap is a visualization tool that shows business owners which sections of their site get the most traction.

A red-hot area means customers interact most with elements in that section. Cold areas mean people aren’t interacting with elements as often.

qualitative-research-using-heat-maps

So how can heatmaps help?

How customers interact with elements on a page reveals a lot. If used correctly, you’ll find out which areas your users struggle with most.

If you notice that the FAQ page, for example, is not being accessed, then maybe you could place it in a more prominent position, like somewhere in the navigation bar.

Spot friction and usability issues with session recordings

Session recordings are comparable to heatmaps. But in this case, you’ll get a real-time look at how users interact with elements on your page.

hotjar

How is this useful?

If you find that many people are clicking the Book a Demo button on your website, but you’re still lacking conversions, you’ll be able to pinpoint where your leads dropped off.

Maybe they read a copy that’s unappealing to them. Or maybe the tedious signup process is putting them off. Whatever the case is, you’ll know if you look at session recordings.

Collect exit survey responses and understand why users churn

Exit surveys—or surveys people take after opting out of their subscriptions—are great sources of qualitative and quantitative data. Exit surveys are sometimes referred to as churn surveys.

It’s now common practice for SaaS companies to ask their customers why they are canceling the service.

Companies will provide commonly stated reasons for unsubscribing to make answering exit surveys easier for users. However, you can leave an option for users to type in their responses.

zoom-exit-surveys

This is crucial as their responses to why they’re leaving might reveal reasons that aren’t even on your radar. For example, it’s entirely possible for them to leave because they found a competitor you weren’t even aware of.

If you want to go a step further just build an offboarding flow and automate answers based on the feedback you received to offer alternatives to churning.

Get valuable insights from customer reviews and brand mentions

You don’t necessarily have to get qualitative insights from within your product. Reviews and brand mention on third-party websites can also be great sources of information.

In some cases, they might even be better because customers will not hesitate to let their feelings be known on review sites.

And if there are positive reviews, it will reflect positively on your brand.

For example, getting positive reviews on sites like G2 should be encouraged since it is a trusted source. Encourage your customers to leave reviews where they can by offering rewards like limited access to premium features.

g2-review

Use public roadmaps to collect qualitative feedback

Not only will public roadmaps drum up interest in your product, but they can also open the doors for customer opinions to come pouring in.

If your roadmap does not align with what users want from you, they will let you know. And when they do, you’ll have more insight into what they want and need. They might even offer suggestions on features that you can develop.

public-roadmap

How to analyze and use qualitative feedback

Of course, collecting qualitative feedback won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it. Here’s a brief explanation of how SaaS businesses should handle qualitative feedback.

Understand trends by tagging responses

Tagging responses is important because it allows you to filter through all the data more efficiently, especially if you’re doing it manually.

For example, you can use Userpilot to tag and group NPS responses. That way, you’ll have an easier time uncovering trends. Tagging will also reveal what’s causing high or low NPS scores.

Get a Userpilot Demo and start analyzing your NPS responses
Get a Userpilot Demo and start analyzing your NPS responses.

Segment users based on responses

Using a tool makes it easier to segment users based on their responses — at least, that’s the case for quantitative data. But what about qualitative data?

Using tags, you can build custom segments.

userpilot-nps-responses
Need a customer segmentation tool? Try Userpilot!

Custom segments will show you which users aren’t tagged — meaning they’re a group of people you aren’t collecting data from.

You should reach out to these users to better understand what they’re trying to achieve.

Perform a qualitative analysis using low-node NLP tools

A low-node natural language processing (NLP) tool can make analyzing a large data set easier. NLP tools like MonkeyLearn, Aylien, or IBM Watson detect user emotions about specific topics that get mentioned repeatedly.

These can also extract specific keywords and uncover themes regarding your product.

Conclusion

There’s no good reason why SaaS companies shouldn’t use qualitative feedback. Not only can you collect qualitative data at the same time as quantitative data, but you can also do it cheaply.

Having more data can only lead to your business offering better services for your customers.

Want to get started with qualitative analysis? Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can collect qualitative data to improve your product’s features and services.

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