Getting Feedback Through User Satisfaction Surveys

November 29, 2023

By Jennifer DeLaRosa, Product Manager

Your project is all grown up.

It has been launched and has been living in the world for a while now. People are using it. Your dream is realized. Chances are, however, that your key performance Indicators are not quite what you expected in certain areas. It’s also likely that you have other ideas you’re eager to develop. You’ve got the resources, a hefty to-do list, and a higher conversion rate that you want to achieve. How do you decide what to do next?

Letting your users have input in your decision making is a wise place to start. You employed user personas as your touchstone, helping you focus your initial product. You regularly review your KPIs, which keep you updated on your product’s strengths and weaknesses. Now that your user base is established, it’s time to go to the people that are using your product every day and ask them directly what they want next. At VAULT, we do this through user satisfaction surveys. 

At first, the idea of a user satisfaction survey may not sound very appealing or effective. After all, how many surveys have you ignored in your inbox or clicked “Skip” on so you could get to whatever business you had with that app you use? The last thing you want to do with your product is throw money at developing things that people are going to skip. Luckily there are many ways to ask your users their opinions without overly burdening their time or effort. 

A good survey is brief, succinct, and sometimes not even noticeable.

 Whenever you begin constructing a survey, you should ask yourself what you’re trying to find out from your users. You should be able to answer this in just a few words. The purpose of this survey is to: “find out what features users want next” or “to determine why people stop using our service” or “to learn what feature needs more refinement”. It may be that you need more than one survey. If you have a lot you want to know from your users, you can consider a new survey every 3 or 6 months to maintain a dialogue with your customers over time. 

Often, the goal of your survey will tell you what form the survey should take. For example, if you want to find out what features users want next from your product, then you probably want a multi-question form so you can ascertain the consumers' interests. Email is one way to disseminate your questionnaire, but remember your ignored surveys in your own inbox? You might want a more direct line to your customers: an in-app modal could be more effective. Offering incentives for completing a survey is always a good strategy for driving engagement as well. Offer discounts or entry into a raffle for a free product in exchange for a minute or two of your users’ time. If the survey is easy to access, quick, and comes with a prize, you’re likely to garner a good response rate. 

The barely noticeable survey is a highly effective survey. 

This can be achieved by slipping a question or even just a data field in an otherwise routine user process. When reviewing your KPI’s, maybe you see a higher deactivation rate than you would like. This inspires the question: Why do people leave? Do they merely achieve their goal and no longer need your product? If so, that would be called good churn. You helped them be successful at their goal, which likely means they’ll recommend you to others. Do they find your product not very useful? This is bad churn and exactly what we want to investigate. If we know why the bad churn happens, then we can choose improvements that will encourage retention. 

Naturally, people who don’t find your product useful are unlikely to fill out a multi-question survey for you. 

You can still gain an understanding of their experience by adding a required field called “Reason” during the deactivation or subscription cancellation process. Offer up all the reasons you hope and fear: “I achieved my goal” and “I don’t find this useful” and “This is too expensive”. Also, it’s advisable to include an “Other” option with an accompanying text box for an explanation. Most users will choose one of the values in your answer list, but it’s always interesting to see what your outliers are. Accepting that you might not be able to anticipate all the reasons your users do what they do is the very spirit behind user surveys. 

Once you have settled on your survey objective and the mechanism for collecting the feedback, you want to put thought into your questions and answer options. We at VAULT are good at this and can help you draft effective question-answer combinations. The questions should be simply worded as should your answer choices. In some cases, offering a text field rather than preset answer selections may be the way to go, but we most often find that enumerated answer options are best for analytics purposes. Imagine trying to absorb the written answers to 3-5 questions multiplied by 1,000 people. Your collected survey data needs to be consumable so you can derive meaningful conclusions from it. Your integrated analytics software can be useful in illustrating the trends in survey answers for you.

Perhaps you learned from your end-of-journey survey that you lose more customers due to bad churn than good churn.

Maybe you discovered from your in-app survey that a feature you personally love gets a lot of criticism. Take this new awareness and make data-driven, customer-centric decisions on how to iterate your product. Zoom saw monstrous growth when they chose their development strategy based on their customer feedback. Asking your clients direct questions and listening to their answers can give you what you need to mature your project and expand its success.

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