Website feedback surveys, or web intercepts as some people call them, are a qualitative way of collecting data on your website about why a user is performing (or not performing) an action. There are a lot of different formats these surveys can be fired in a website and depending on what you are trying to accomplish, there’s a time and place for most of them. In most large companies, multiple teams are going to have an interest in how website feedback is collected and who gets that data. Typically the two teams that are the most interested are:

  1. The website optimization team/digital marketing team, who runs website testing and personalization with the goal of increasing conversion (and ultimately revenue).
  2. The customer experience management team who cares about the perception and quality of service a customer receives.

In this post, I’m going to focus on the ways to use website feedback surveys in website optimization as a path to speed up your insight gathering and lower your cost of UX research compared to the traditional user testing and focus group methods. Of course, you can do all of this on Qualtrics, but the techniques should hold true regardless of the tool you are using.

Traditional Feedback Tabs Let You Know When Things Are Wrong

feedback tab image

 

Your traditional, always present sitewide feedback tab is a great place to start with website surveys. You’re more likely to find out when things are broken or get a general feel for the intent of the visitors on your site then get insights for how to improve your page. At Qualtrics, we use our Slack integration to feed the survey results to both our marketing team and our support team. A few things to prepare yourself for with feedback tabs:

  • There will be trolls!
  • You will get a lot of nonsense. Sometimes we get people complaining about a product we’ve never sold
  • Make sure the feedback tab, which typically floats in a fixed location, does not interfere with other modals like a chat widget or a floating social sharing button

Behavior-Based User Research Surveys

This type of survey is more useful when it comes to UX research. According to Justin Gabbert, Director of Marketing Optimization at Red Door Interactive, “You can get lost in the amount of data marketers have nowadays. The best way to do analysis is by going into it with specific questions you are trying to answer.” When putting that principle into practice while researching a CRO test, think about what site behavior theories you have and ask your real users for the answers. Below are a few ways the Qualtrics team has used the technique in the past.

Understand why a user is on a page so you can judge its importance

We are constantly iterating on our website, and while researching site behavior using Google Analytics page paths for a new navigation we were planning, we found that our about page was a common next page. Our team found ourselves trying to understand why people were going there, and which of our business goals it was helping. We are a high-profile tech company with explosive customer growth, aggressive hiring, and a fair amount of PR coverage. All three of those activities will drive traffic to learn about Qualtrics, but we needed to know which type of user was going to the about page. Was it candidates, prospects, or people following a news story?

Caleigh, our website optimization lead, jumped into action and deployed a survey that slid out only on the about page that asked people why they were there. It took just a couple weeks to get enough responses that we felt comfortable with the data, and answered the question we were asking.

about survey results

Cart abandonment surveys to find out why people left

This one came from one of our customers using our website feedback surveys: a Fortune 500 technology hardware company rolled out a new checkout process on their e-commerce site and found they that they were losing thousands of dollars a minute after the release. The client quickly deployed a targeted survey to people who left the checkout process to find out why they didn’t finish the purchase. They found it was a simple form field formatting issue that required dates to be formatted a certain way, but the error message didn’t tell users what they were doing wrong.

Content Analytics to Find Optimization Opportunities

Our world-class (no really, we have the CSAT scores to prove it) Qualtrics support team uses this technique to get feedback on individual and sections of pages in our product documentation. A low score “helpful” score lets them know what pages need to be revisited or be broken out into multiple pages. The UX is a simple in-page question, “Was this helpful?” with “yes” or “no” response buttons. You can feed this into your analytics stack using our integration with Adobe Analytics or our API to pump into your CMS or BI tool, or even set an event in Google Tag Manager and map the response to a custom metric.

qualtrics support helpful yes no questions

Product Research for In-Market Shoppers

Got a new product on your site? Ask the first few thousand users how it compares to competitors, what they would change, and what features they could live without. This will power your marketing messages and hierarchy first, and your product roadmap second. Make sure you share this feedback with your product managers so they can incorporate in-market shoppers direct feedback to what they have been assuming internally. This is an extremely cost-effective way of doing product research.

Conclusion

Website users are a great way of getting free feedback (provided your surveys don’t piss them off), which informs improvements in your marketing, support, and product. Web-based user testing websites can lead you astray because many of those sites like usertesting.com are using “professional testers” who do testing regularly and won’t behave like a normal user. Traditional in-person testing can be useful but budget restraints will keep you to a limited sample size of typically three to ten users.

Have some ideas of great ways to use website feedback surveys in UX research? Hit me up on Twitter at @digagardner or get more website feedback tips with our ebook: The Essential Website Experience Playbook.

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