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How strategic website survey questions can lead to breakthrough digital customer experiences

17 min read
An effective website creates experiences that boost customer satisfaction, impacting your conversion rate and bottom-line. Learn how you can actively improve your customer experiences by asking the right website survey questions and collecting powerful insights for your digital CX program.

Why do world-class digital experiences matter?

The best digital channels provide customers with enjoyable and fulfilling interactions, which leads to increased customer service satisfaction. Customer experience (CX) is how a customer perceives your brand based on their exposure to it. It can touch on lots of business areas – customer service, product marketing, sale interactions – so it’s important to manage this process well.

Customers that enjoy great customer experiences have increased customer satisfaction levels and are more likely to:

  • Spend more: Deloitte research found satisfied customers spend up to 140% more than customers who had a bad experience.
  • Be loyal: These customers are involved with your company over the long term.  visit the site more frequently and engage with the brand. According to research conducted by the XM Institute, 94% of consumers who rate a company as very good in CX are likely to purchase again.
  • Be positive about your brand94% of consumers who rate a company as very good in customer experience are likely to recommend the company and recommend the brand to others.

Today, digital channels have the advantage over other channel types for a number of reasons:

1. Customers prefer using digital channels to engage with brands

Our research found that digital channels hold the top position as your customer’s preferred avenue for engagement. In addition, customers are online more often than before – Global internet usage has increased from 24% in 2012 to more than 59.5% today.

2. Customers are purchasing direct from digital channels

Behaviour shifts during the COVID-19 lockdowns also led to customers using digital channels as their default purchasing channel.

3. Digital channels provide access to new and global markets

Digital channels can provide an always-on sales tool that showcases products and services to customers across different time-zones and different languages. This increases your market presence and your customer pool.

However, research has found that digital channels have poorer customer service interactions – less than 30% of customers rate customer experiences on digital channels as ‘good’ and ‘very good’ – in comparison to in-person experiences (41%) or phone experiences (59%).

If businesses want to provide world-class customer experience through their digital channels, they need to fulfil customer requirements and make improvements as part of a Digital CX program.

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Digital CX programs help structure and learn from customer feedback

A Digital CX program is used to help manage and improve your customer experience. It’s a systemic approach to improve business interactions with customers, by:

  • Listening to what customers are saying, and understanding their needs, values and behaviours
  • Measuring the feedback against your metrics and goals (like CSAT or ease of use)
  • Developing insights from data to provide recommended actions
  • Acting on the insights (like feeding these back into improving customer experiences)
  • Improving customer satisfaction (like closing the loop on bad experiences)

The program covers topics like the website quality, usability and integration between systems. It is integrated across every part of your business operations in order to keep standards high.

As Digital CX programs can focus on many areas, customer feedback is a crucial tool for understanding whether current experiences are working, where there are experience gaps and what could be improved to make things better.

A good Digital CX program brings together feedback data and analysis to create powerful insights. For organizations, it’s recommended to gather both X and O data types to provide richer insights:

  • Economical (O data) is operational data, like sales and financial data. It can be measured as quantifiable numerical values, and datasets can be compared over different time periods. Often, it provides trend-based insights on current performance, which can form the basis for predictions. It can only tell you about past activities and what happened
  • Emotional (X data) is experience data, like free-text answers about why ‘why’ customers acted in the way they did. This qualitative data tries to explain emotional decisions by asking people how they are thinking and feeling, both about a particular experience but also about the brand more broadly.

3 steps to improving your digital customer experiences

We’ve created a digital maturity model that can help you understand how you can improve your customer experiences in a structured way.

our three-phase digital maturity model

Step 1: Track and Diagnose

The aim of this step is to build an appreciation of the overall site experience. It is setting up the foundational systems that allow you to know what’s happening now.

To win in the next normal, companies need to identify the current behaviours that will define customer experience in the near term.

This starts with building a ‘System of Insight’ that continuously collects and analyses feedback and behavioural signals from visitors. You do this by thinking through:

  • Your organisation’s goals and what metrics would ‘move the needle’ within your organisation. This can look at themes like Primary purpose, CSAT and Ease of Use.
  • How you want to visualise the data. Consider visualising with a  verbatim analysis of unstructured data and powerful predictions about future behaviours.

In your Digital CX program, this information can be expressed through dashboards to provide you with an integrated visual overview.

Next, create a  ‘System of Action’ that is your framework for carrying out actions. This requires you to:

  • Map out at a high level where data should be located
  • Set up listening posts that look out for key triggers

In your Digital CX program, this can be expressed by setting up alerts and smart routing between platforms, so that the data goes where it needs to go.

Finally, Set up a system of ‘Persistent feedback’. Persistent feedback provides ways for customers to feedback. This could appear in a survey format with questions that produce a certain type of feedback, and open-ended text-field questions for additional information sharing or clarification.

With your results, you can carry out analysis that understands:

  • Trending topics
  • Sentiment
  • Demographic data that reveals trends between customer segments
  • How people interacted with the web page (using session replays)

Track and diagnose issues with website surveys

Website surveys are a great way for customers to provide feedback on your site, and connect back with business owners. They are questions presented to visitors, which capture information around real-life transactions as customers engage with your product or service.

Through website surveys, businesses can gain:

  • Suggestions for improving the website, products or experiences
  • Awareness of problems that create bad customer experiences
  • Reasons why customers believe and act in the way they do
  • Customer data that helps build customer personas
  • Target customer reactions to new experiences or improvements
  • The ‘voice of the customer’ and how they sound

The questions you ask on your website survey will be influenced by these three factors, which are outlined in Step 1 of the maturity model.

1. Define your strategic Digital CX goals

What are your key organisation priorities? Ask yourself these questions and consider how they apply to your business:

  • What metrics will move the needle within your organisation?
  • What are the primary goals and objectives of your digital properties?
  • How do you want to leverage operational data (O-data)?
  • How do you want to visualise and action your data (e.g. role-based dashboards, AI driven analysis and rich customer databases)?
  • Who needs access to what information and when? (smart routing, actions & alerts, automated workflows, closed-loop ticketing & escalations)
  • What listening posts will capture the most action-oriented data? (personalised & targeted requests for feedback)

2. Create a rounded survey that considers the 3 experience dimensions

Customers judge their experiences with a company along 3 dimensions:

  • Success: Were they able to achieve their goals?
  • Effort: How easy or difficult was it to achieve those goals?
  • Emotion: How did the interaction make them feel?

All 3 of these dimensions are important, but the emotional component has the biggest impact on customer loyalty behaviours, impacting the likelihood of the customer to repurchase, recommend, or trust the company.

Decide how you would like to collect and visualise the data you receive back. This could be done manually, or if you have a Digital CX platform, this can be pre-customised for you.

3. Choose questions based on the metric that you’re measuring

Questions are purpose-built to match a metric that you’re trying to measure. Here is a list of the metrics and a question that helps you gain the right feedback:

Net Promoter Score

Q1. On a scale from 0-10, based on your experience today, how likely are you to recommend our website to a friend or colleague?

  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that uses social proof to understand customer satisfaction. Customers that receive good experiences are more likely to be happy to recommend the same service or product to a friend or colleague.

Depending on respondents’ answers, they can be classed as Promoters (scored 9 or 10 as they are loyal and enthusiastic customers), Passives (scored 7 or 8, as they are satisfied with the service) and Detractors (scored 0-6 because they are unhappy customers).

A Net promoter score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. A number between 0-100 shows you have more promoter customers than detractors.

Customer effort score

Q2. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied were you with your experience on our website today?

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Slightly satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Slightly dissatisfied
  • Extremely dissatisfied

Customer Effort Score (CES) measures customer satisfaction through how easy it was for the customer to carry out a task, or use the product or service. If there was a lot of effort required, the customer would have had a tough interaction and is likely to be less satisfied.

Primary purpose of visit

Q3. What was the primary purpose of your visit to our website today?

  • I wanted to make a purchase
  • I was just browsing
  • I was researching a product/service
  • Other (specify)

Understanding the goal of your customer can help you boost the right areas of your website and ensure that they can achieve their goal during a transaction.

Likelihood to return

Q4. How likely would you be to return to this website?

  • Extremely likely
  • Moderately likely
  • Slightly likely
  • Neither likely nor unlikely
  • Slightly unlikely
  • Moderately unlikely
  • Extremely unlikely

You can judge how successful an interaction has been if the customer would be willing to repeat the same behaviour. This indicates that the experience they had is one that they’d be willing to have again.

Task completion and dedicated time expectations

Q5. How much more time would you be likely to spend on this website in the future?

  • A great deal
  • A lot
  • A moderate amount
  • A little
  • None at all

This question measured the time that a customer is willing to pass while looking at your website. This question can help you understand where your website sits in the customer journey. Do customers spend time browsing as part of the sales process? Understanding customer behaviour can help you design a site that supports the  users.

Intent to convert

Q6 How willing would you be to make a purchase from this website?

  • Extremely willing
  • Very willing
  • Moderately willing
  • Slightly willing
  • Not willing at all

This question indicated whether your website has provided enough evidence and created trust in the product or service. If the website experience is successful, the customer will convert from viewing to purchasing.

Opportunity to hear any additional information sharing and or clarification points

Q7. Please share any additional feedback that could help us improve your experience of our website.

This question gives you the customer the chance to take the feedback in any direction they want. This kind of question is great for getting qualitative ‘why’ based answers, areas for improvement and website design ideas. This helps you create digital customer experiences that are directly what the customer wants.

Step 2: Optimize through Journey deep dives

This step builds on your overall appreciation by going deeper with fundamental journeys or common routes that people take to complete tasks. Some common journeys include:

  • Abandonment (Cart/Buy/Book)
  • Managing your account
  • Paying your bill
  • Getting support or help
  • Learning or Browsing
  • Providing feedback
  • >Measuring content effectiveness

You may have others. The key action is to think through the exact user flow and the associated emotions during each stage, before deploying a request for feedback to learn more.

When you want to learn more about journeys, keep feedback requests short and succinct (ideally 2-4 questions) and keep them relevant to the experience the visitor just had.

Step 3: Activate and Transform

This last step is about activating and transforming the organization. The listening posts, dashboards, contextual embedded data, and smart-routing capabilities established in the earlier phases should now inform decision-making processes across the organization.

The data leads to powerful insights that are fed back into the digital CX program. Then, you can do the following things:

  • Identify the actions you need to take to improve the on-site experience for your target audience 

This could be any action that helps make the route to purchase easier or make a transaction more effective.

99.99% of the time, poor customer satisfaction is a result of a failure to meet expectations

Leonie Brown XM Scientist, Qualtrics

For example, this might mean updating your current customer journey mapping (an illustration of customers’ needs and transactions across processes and interactions) – maximizing satisfaction along the customer journey could increase customer satisfaction by 20%, lift revenues by up to 15%, and lower the cost of serving customers by up to 20%.

  • Close the loop with customers that have a bad experience

One of the core benefits of insights is being able to identify customer experience gaps – where your customers’ needs aren’t fulfilled at customer journey touch-points. Some examples might include slow response times, long payment processes or unclear messages.

Being aware of improvement areas gives businesses a chance to make changes and then ‘close the loop’ directly with the affected customer. It can reduce attrition rates and keep your customers loyal to your brand if they see that you care about their feedback and want to improve their experience.

The best closed-loop programs include a range of solutions, such as smart routing, API integrations, alerts and triggers, real-time dashboards and ticket management solutions.

  • Understanding core data statistics

The information gathered can create worthwhile insights, based on data points like average cart value, repeat business, total spend per year or subscriptions status. Knowing this information can inform your organization goals the next time round.

You can also understand who are your priority customers and how to serve them best, by asking questions around following up with these customers. Some questions include: who should get follow-ups, who will conduct them, how they should be handled and what happens after a follow-up?

As your integrated ‘living’ CX program continues, repeat each step to optimize and add in new information or data as needed.

A customizable Digital CX program trusted by brands

Manually collecting and analyzing this data can be time-consuming and confusing, so it might be worth considering a smart integrated system. For example, Qualtrics CustomerXM for Digital is a Digital CX program that was designed to collect customer feedback across the entire digital journey, identify experience gaps, and take action that has maximum impact.

By feeding back insights into your Digital CX program, you can

  • Optimize conversion of key moments in the digital journey
  • Improve the effectiveness of digital content
  • Drive usage and uptake of new digital products and services
  • Optimize the in-app experience to improve app store ranking and brand perception

Get started with our free website satisfaction survey template