With the right questions, you can transform your website surveys from a static data collection tool into a gold mine of actionable customer insights that can be used to find new growth opportunities, increase revenue, improve website conversions and reduce churn.
A quick note on the term “surveys” - depending on where you look, you will see other terms like questionnaires, polls, call-to-actions and feedback forms all used interchangeably to describe a survey. For the purpose of this article please take our use of the word survey to mean any interaction with a customer that collects feedback.
Website surveys can be deployed based on a variety of conditions:
- By pages viewed
- Customer status
- Repeat visitor (non-customer)
- On exit intent (when a user leaves a page without taking the desired action)
- By cookie data
- By device
* Example of an exit intent popup for a SaaS business
Regardless of the conditions, surveys should have the same overarching goal:
Prior to diving into the 16 proven questions, it’s best to understand several “best practices” to make sure you’re a.) getting the most from your surveys and b.) not ruining the user experience on your website.
The 5 rules of powerful website surveys
Rule 1: It must be relevant
Think quality over quantity - don’t blast all of your users with the same survey if it’s not relevant. Remember you’re trying to capture actionable insights, it’s not a contest to get the most responses.
Rule 2: It must not ruin user experience
We have all been to a site that explodes with 20 pop-ups on arrival - the experience is awful. Save your visitors from this by making sure your survey is optimized for the device it’s shown on and there are limits to how often they see it.
Rule 3: It must be actionable
Asking “On a scale of 1-5 how satisfied are you with our service? might seem like a good question, but it doesn’t give you a lot of information to work with.
E.g. From 5000 responses your average rating is 2/5
From this, you know your service needs work… but how do you fix it? A number by itself isn’t actionable. To fix this either ask open-ended questions.
E.g. What was the one thing that almost stopped from buying today?
Alternatively, use a multi-step survey (similar to the Net Promoter Score) that includes both a number rating and an open-ended question. Asking this type of survey gives you a metric you can easily track, in addition to information that can drive change.
Question 1: How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?
Question 2: What was the most important reason for your score?
Rule 4: It must be short
Ask yourself, would you like to fill in a 100 question survey? I’m guessing the answer is no. Your website visitors feel the same way, the rule here - shorter surveys are better.
Rule 5: It must be repeated
Collecting data is great, but it’s only half the battle. It’s vital that you set a date to retest, not only is this a litmus test for your new strategies, a deadline holds you and your team accountable.
16 proven questions that will transform your website survey
1. What’s your single biggest challenge with XYZ?
Think your product/service solves problem X? This question, taken from Ryan Levesque’s fantastic book Ask - is great for collecting data about what problem you solve for your audience. It may reinforce an existing hypothesis or uncover completely new opportunities.
2. Is there anything preventing you from signing up for a trial?
Work for a SaaS business? Deploy this question on your trial signup page (for users who exit without taking action) to see what’s really holding visitors back from signing up for a trial.
3. How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use [insert product name]?
This question is useful when trying to discover whether you have product-market fit. Typical answer choices include:
- Very disappointed
- Somewhat disappointed
- Not disappointed
If 40% of respondents choose “very disappointed” it’s considered a pass mark for a product that has a great chance of scaling. This survey would benefit from an open-ended follow-up question like “What is the main reason for your answer?” to capture actionable data.
For products/services that score poorly, I suggest looking at some resources from Ash Maurya of Running Lean and The Lean Business Canvas - they help clarify the “problem” your business solves for your audience.
4. What was the one thing that almost stopped you from buying?
Work in E-commerce? Place this survey on your thank you page to see if your site has any elements that might be putting visitors off.
5. How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? (0-10)
The Net Promoter Score is a survey to understand customer loyalty and is widely adopted by Fortune 500 companies. This is a two-part survey - the second question is used to capture actionable information, as mentioned in the rules of successful website surveys, rating questions should be followed up by an open-ended question.
E.g. “What was the primary reason for your score?”
A good survey tool like Informizely allows you to quickly filter the answers by groups. For example; if you wanted to see the answers from respondents who rated your company 0-6 (known as detractors on the NPS) - you could do that with the click of a button and then export the results.
6. What search terms did you use to find us?
Sick of seeing KEYWORD NOT DEFINED in your Google Analytics dashboard? Find out directly from your visitors with a simple one question survey.
7. What feature could we add that would make the product indispensable for you?
Want to avoid building features people don’t want? Get real insights from your users with this question. The ROI on investment for this type of survey is phenomenal….
Cost of survey software < Cost of developing features that users don’t want
(^ If I could make the "less than" symbol a size 1000 I would.)
8. What other product did you consider before choosing our [product name]?
Want a better understanding of who your competitors are? Deploy this question on your thank you page to see who you’re really competing against, sometimes the answers will surprise you.
9. What is the primary reason you’re canceling your account?
Retention (or lack of) stops businesses in their tracks. Find out what’s causing your customers to leave.
10. What are your most burning questions about XYZ?
Struggling to find ideas for great content? This question will help uncover content gold that you can then turn into new products, blog posts, podcasts, presentations or webinars.
11. Where did you first find out about us?
Sure you might know your top referring sites using something like Similar Web, but asking this question can reveal some surprising data that you can use to optimize your marketing funnels.
12. How would you describe [product name] to a friend/colleague?
Personally, I’m a big fan of questions like this, not only do you get great data about what your customers think about your company, but you also see the exact words your target audience are using to describe you. This type of information is invaluable and can be used to dramatically improve website conversions.
13. What other products would you like to see in our online store?
We don’t all have access to the type of data Amazon has - this type of question will help identify new growth opportunities.
14. Is our pricing clear?
Pricing tables are notoriously hard to get right, especially for SaaS companies. Instead of missing out on thousands of dollars of MRR, implement this simple one question survey on your pricing page. If you want some pricing page inspiration I recommend you check out these great two articles - from Process & Chart Mogul.
15. What is the primary benefit you have received from our company?
This is another example of a question that can provide some powerful information to inspire future marketing campaigns. This type of question also provides great insight into the type of language your customers are using to describe your company, something that is continually undervalued by companies.
16. What would change your mind about signing up today?
An interesting variation on a previous question - this type of question could be used by SaaS or businesses that offer ongoing monthly memberships. This type of survey should be deployed on your sign up / pricing page to visitors who have not already commenced a trial.
Peter Drucker highlights the importance of understanding your customers with his famous quote.
Website surveys are one of the easiest and most cost-effective strategies to understand your customer better and uncover actionable insights that can transform your business.
If you want to deploy your first survey in less than 5 mins - click here to start a free Informizely trial