What are User Surveys and How to Conduct One?
What are user surveys, and how can you conduct one to gather actionable user feedback?
Through user surveys, you can gather deeper insights into how customers perceive or interact with your product and what you can do to better meet their expectations.
In this article, we discuss how to design user surveys to collect valuable feedback and improve your product experience.
- A user survey is a feedback-gathering tool used to collect consumer insights regarding product experience.
- In comparison with other UX survey methods, user surveys are scalable, and cost-effective and responses are easier to analyze.
Here is how companies use surveys:
- Collect data from potential customers and profile your ideal customers.
- Segment users based on shared traits to deliver personalized experiences.
- Use feature surveys to collect feedback on specific parts of the product, identify bugs, and areas for improvement, and make informed product design decisions.
- Spot high-friction points in the customer journey and remove them to enhance the customer’s experience.
- Trigger churn surveys to understand why subscribers are leaving, offer alternatives to stop them from leaving, and improve based on their feedback to prevent other users from churning for the same reasons.
Best practices for designing user surveys:
- Segment users to send personalized, targeted surveys based on shared attributes such as jobs to be done, user behavior, NPS score, etc.
- Avoid UX jargon in surveys and replace it with a simple, familiar language.
- Mix active and passive surveys to increase response rates and capture implicit feedback.
- Collect both quantitative and qualitative responses for a more holistic view of customer sentiment.
- Use progress indicators in surveys to manage user expectations about completion time.
- Don’t forget to complete the full customer feedback loop until the end.
- Usepilot is the best tool for creating and deploying microsurveys. For long-form surveys, we recommend Typeform.
- Want to build effective user surveys? Book a demo call with Userpilot and get started!
What are user surveys?
A user survey is a tool for gathering in-depth customer feedback on their product experience. It consists of a set of questions posed to a sample of users to gather insights on customer satisfaction, usability, and user experience.
What are the pros of surveys over other user research methods?
While user surveys are not the only way to collect direct feedback from users, they certainly have definitive advantages over other methods like conducting user interviews, usability tests, or focus groups.
- Scalable: User surveys offer a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a large audience quickly compared to user interviews. This makes it easy for businesses to continuously collect data-driven insights and make product improvements.
- Structured: You can easily analyze and spot trends and patterns within the data collected with a user survey.
- Respondents are less prone to the Hawthorne effect: The phenomenon of study participants altering their behavior when they know they are being observed and adjusting responses to meet assumed expectations.
- Personalized: You can send automated responses to your users based on their actions, which provides a personalized experience.
Since user surveys are easy to create, it’s also easy to create bad surveys. Thankfully, this article covers how to create the perfect user survey.
How do companies utilize user surveys?
SaaS companies conduct survey research to gather user feedback to confirm an existing hypothesis, uncover issues, and inform product decisions.
Collect data and profile your ideal customer
In the early stages of developing your SaaS product, it’s normal to be uncertain about who your ideal customers are.
Surveying existing customers is one way to collect user insights. You want to know why users choose your product, the pain points they’re trying to solve, and the best channels to reach them.
Let’s look at an example from Postify to put this in perspective. When a new user signs up, they trigger a welcome modal to collect information about them.
With the survey results, you can map user personas for upcoming product development cycles, sales, and marketing campaigns. This approach ensures you cater to your target audience’s needs, increasing the likelihood of product-market fit.
Segment users to deliver personalized experiences
Personalization drives customer satisfaction; users love it when a product is customized to satisfy their specific needs.
At the core of personalization is data. Using the data collected with user surveys, you can break customers with similar characteristics into segments and deliver customized experiences at scale.
You can segment users based on attributes like jobs to be done, NPS scores, etc.
Using segmentation you’ll be able to personalize the onboarding flow, email marketing, and other touchpoints, making the product experience more relevant.
Improve product features
User surveys can be used to collect feedback on specific parts or features of your product to identify areas of improvement such as bugs, and usability issues, prioritize your roadmap and make data-driven decisions.
You can also use surveys to collect new feature requests that survey users want to see in your product. This will help you align your product with the needs of the target market.
Identify friction points in the user journey
User surveys provide data to identify high-friction points in the customer journey. You can accomplish this by sending out Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys after significant customer interactions, like completing a purchase.
Then you can investigate touchpoints that customers consider high effort. Contemplating this data with product usage analytics, screen recordings, and user tests will let you pinpoint areas where users are experiencing friction and optimize them to enhance the customer experience.
Reduce user churn
Using a specific type of user survey, often referred to as “exit surveys” or “churn surveys” will give you the tools to not only stop the churning users but also reduce the churn for the rest of your user base. How so?
When a user hits the cancel button, it means their expectations weren’t met and the product doesn’t bring them value as it is. In some cases, there is nothing you can do about it, but very often a small adjustment can change their mind. But you will never know if you never ask.
For example, if you ask a churning customer the reason behind their decision and they say your tool is difficult to use, you can invite them to a meeting with a customer success team member who offers guidance and alters their perception.
Even if the user is too frustrated to even consider that, now you know that your onboarding process needs improvements as it doesn’t properly educate customers. Armed with this info, you can look into it and optimize your onboarding to reduce the churn rate due to the same reason.
Collect reviews and testimonials
Social proof is a powerful marketing tool for acquiring new customers. People trust people, not companies, and research shows people are more likely to buy something if it has positive reviews.
Sadly, not every user will go out of their way to leave good reviews, even if they really like your product. That’s why you should be proactive and collect testimonials proactively.
Using NPS surveys, you can identify customers who are your promoters – they are the ones scoring 8-10.
Then you can either extract testimonials from their qualitative answers or reach out to them directly and encourage them to write one.
User survey design best practices to increase your response rate
Utilizing user surveys gets half the job done. The other half is designing and testing until you hit the jackpot. Let’s explore the best practices to boost your survey response rate.
Match your brand look and feel
The user survey should be a part of your UI — in harmony with the brand look and feel.
You can upload your logo and font style as well as the primary color for a survey’s background and buttons.
Another thing to keep in mind – ensure that the text has enough white space around it to make it appear floating and appealing.
Segment your audience to send personalized, targeted surveys
To get accurate responses and reliable answers from users, you must ask the right questions to the appropriate user segment. To achieve this, you need to define user attributes, group users based and target surveys based on them.
These attributes can be behavior-based, e.g., new users or power users. Or time-based, like before a trial expires, after they interact with a feature for the first time, or after repeated usage.
Replace UX jargon with simple and familiar language
Avoid using UX jargon, it will only confuse survey participants. Users may not understand the meaning of some words and, as a result, respond falsely or completely give up.
Using jargon words may also make users feel they aren’t smart enough for your surveys.
Not only does this decrease the survey response rate, but it also damages your brand authority and shows that you have poor communication skills.
Instead, use simple language that’s easy for everyone to understand.
Keep your surveys simple and focused
To avoid survey fatigue, refrain from bombarding users with several questions. Besides fatigue, too many different types of questions can also hurt the accuracy and quality of your data.
Rather than asking multiple questions at once, keep surveys short and focused on one theme. Ask 1-2 questions, 3 at most. Keep in mind this – it’s better to conduct several microsurveys rather than one long one.
Mix active and passive user surveys
A mix of active and passive surveys will help you capture more implicit feedback.
Active surveys are triggered based on user activity, like interacting with customer service or engaging with a feature. They appear on top of your app and collect data in real-time, eliminating the possibility of memory bias.
Meanwhile, passive surveys are always-on and allow users to provide feedback whenever they want to. They give users a sense of control and help build trust.
Collect both quantitative and qualitative data
Collecting quantitative and qualitative data in your user surveys provides a comprehensive picture of your customer’s experience.
Quantitative data is collected with close-ended questions answered in absolutes, like “Yes” or “No.” These are easier and quicker for respondents to answer, thereby increasing your response rate.
Quantitative data is also easy to analyze and spot trends within. Asking closed questions is straightforward, but it can be limiting. This is where qualitative research comes in.
Qualitative feedback lets you understand the user’s thoughts in their own words. It helps understand the why behind a specific score (on scale measure surveys) or a specific answer (on multi-choice).
Include a progress indicator for multi-step surveys
Divide long surveys into shorter multi-steps to avoid frustrating respondents. You can make your surveys more fun by adding gamification elements like progress indicators.
A progress bar is a visual cue that represents how a user is progressing within the survey. You can use progress bars to manage participants’ expectations about the time to completion.
Avoid biased and leading questions
Ask neutral survey questions and don’t use language that offers a hint about the answer you’re hoping to get or influences a person to answer in a particular way.
Here are some types of bias to avoid:
- Confirmation bias makes you seek only feedback that affirms your pre-existing beliefs. For instance, it could make you ask a question like, “Do you agree that our website is user-friendly?” to a user who has already indicated satisfaction with your website.
- The framing effect (also known as leading questions) can coax respondents into providing a specific answer rather than their honest opinion. For example, asking, “What did you enjoy most about our product?” assumes that the respondent had a great experience and prompts them to leave a positive response.
- Unbalanced scales occur when the answer choices are not equally weighted which could result in a bad data set. For instance, asking Likert scale questions like, “On a scale of 1 to 5, how much did you enjoy using our product?” with multiple choice options such as “1 (meh)” to “5 (loved it!)” can greatly influence responses.
Say, for example, you want to collect feedback on a new feature. Here’s how a biased question would sound: “How awesome is our new Event Tracking feature?”
A better way to ask is: “How was your experience with our new Event Tracking feature?”
Offer incentives when collecting detailed feedback
If you are looking to collect extended feedback, you will probably get lower response rates. Most users won’t take the time to fill out a survey unless there’s something valuable at stake. To encourage participation, provide incentives for their time and effort to show gratitude.
Incentives like discounts, gift cards, or access to premium features can be offered. After completing the survey, use a modal to send the incentives with an attached thank you note.
Use different channels to send the user surveys
There’s no telling the best channel for sending surveys; hence, the need to diversify. Send your customer survey across multiple channels, like emails or in-app to reach a wider audience and gather diverse feedback.
Give users a chance to give feedback in the environment they feel most comfortable in.
Don’t forget to close the feedback loop
When conducting surveys, it’s not enough to collect feedback and analyze the responses. You must implement the full customer feedback loop.
The complete feedback loop contains these remaining steps:
- Acknowledge feedback with an automated message, or collect more insights if necessary.
- Implement changes based on collected feedback.
- Keep users updated on the resolution and when you implement changes, let them know.
Closing the feedback loop helps you build trust and make customers feel heard, which, in turn, leads to loyalty.
Best software and tools for creating user surveys
Coding a user survey is tasking, limiting, and rigid. Using specialized software can be helpful if you want to avoid repetitive and manual tasks and focus on putting the survey results into use instead.
Let’s discuss some of the best survey tools to consider when creating your user surveys.
Userpilot – best for creating in-app microsurveys
Userpilot is great for creating user surveys quickly. Its customization tool allows you to match your survey design with your branding. The best part? It’s codeless!!
The behavioral triggers and customer segmentation capabilities let you trigger surveys contextually for different user groups. You can customize the frequency or events that trigger your survey.
Userpilot also integrates nicely with multiple platform options, like Google Forms and Typeform so you can embed long-form surveys into your app.
Typeform – best for creating long-form user surveys
Typeform is a product feedback tool for creating long-form surveys. It has multiple templates for designing email surveys or in-product surveys.
Typeform has amazing features like the logic jump, which personalizes survey questions and tracks engagement. Its live preview feature also lets you preview changes in real-time.
Despite its versatile functionality, Typeform surveys redirect users out of the product, which is a possible cause of churn.
User surveys are the lens through which you can get insights into your customers’ needs and expectations. The data collected with them can be extremely valuable and help you to increase your customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Now that you know how to set up user surveys, it’s time to get started. Want to build effective user surveys? Book a demo call and get started!