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Website feedback surveys: What questions should I ask?

20 min read
An effective customer experience on your website boosts customer satisfaction, improving your conversion rate and bottom-line. Learn how you can actively improve your customer experiences by asking the right website feedback survey questions and collecting powerful insights for your digital CX program.

What are website surveys?

Website surveys, sometimes called “web intercept surveys” or “website feedback surveys”, are a data-gathering method that can collect qualitative and quantitative user insights on your website. These surveys, which can be delivered in pop-ups, embedded in pages and more, often feature a list of questions for open-ended and close-ended responses.

Website surveys are a useful tool for improving your digital customer experiences because they’re relatively low-effort for your customers. It’s a simple way to gather feedback on specific interactions on your website, helping you to pinpoint broken experiences and moments of friction that you can then improve. As the feedback is customer-led and often delivered moments after an experience has occurred, it allows you to get the real perspectives of your audience.

Website surveys are a critical part of improving digital experiences, an arena that drives many businesses’ revenue. A recent Qualtrics study found that 70% of companies say that digital channels contribute a minimum of 40% of their revenue, and 85% of respondents predict that number will grow in the coming months. It’s not an area brands can afford to ignore; an XM Institute™ study found digital experience gaps cost organizations around 8% of their revenue annually.

Using app surveys

Of course, website surveys are only part of the wider customer experience evaluation. Your digital platforms might include apps as well.

App surveys are a similar tool that allows you to gather feedback on how your app is performing, the ease of use for customers, whether the design is appealing and more. These insights provide you with the basis for improvement actions in future.

Ideally, whether you’re using a mobile website or an app, your customer experience should be as smooth and enjoyable as a desktop version. To ensure this is the case, you’ll need to capture unsolicited customer feedback by establishing passive, always-on listening posts on all your digital platforms and channels.

Free eBook: The essential website experience & UX playbook

Why is optimizing your website important?

Your website, as well as your other digital channels, is a critical part of your business’ communication with your target audiences. Here’s just a few reasons why sending out your own website survey to collect feedback is important:

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. This means your website is likely to be one of the first touchpoints your customers have with your brand – and it has to make a good impression.

Customers purchase directly from digital channels

Post-COVID-19, customers increasingly started using digital channels as their default purchasing channel. If your website isn’t providing a smooth, seamless experience, your customers will feel unable to make purchases and go elsewhere to find what they want.

Digital channels provide access to new and global markets

Digital channels such as your website 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 fulfill customer requirements and make improvements as part of a Digital CX program. This is where a website feedback survey can come in handy, as your customers can tell you exactly what needs to change to keep them happy.

What are the benefits of using website surveys?

There are many reasons to use website feedback surveys, but the main benefits are listed below:

Improved customer experiences

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, sales interactions – but a website experience can often be a large contributor to how a customer feels about your business, so it’s important to manage it well.

Increased satisfaction and higher spending

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. When you gather feedback and take action on your customers’ needs, you can improve your website experience and provide greater satisfaction.

Better loyalty

Ideally, your customers are involved with your company over the long term, visiting your site more frequently and engaging 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. When you collect feedback from your website visitors, you’re able to ensure that you’re providing the best possible customer experience and meeting their expectations every time they visit.

Higher rates of recommendation

According to our research, 94% of consumers who rate a company as very good in customer experience are likely to recommend the company and recommend the brand to others.

What will you learn from website surveys?

Website surveys can be used to help manage and improve your customer experience. You can improve business interactions with customers by:

  • Listening to what customers are saying, and understanding their needs, values and behaviors
  • 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)

Website surveys can cover topics like the website quality, usability and integration between systems. The insights you gather can then be integrated across every part of your business operations in order to keep standards high.

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.

The best approach to improving your website uses feedback data and analysis to create powerful insights. When collecting feedback, it’s recommended to gather both X and O data types to provide richer insights.

  • Economical (O data) is operational data, such as 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, such as free-text answers about 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.

Creating the right survey questions to pinpoint experience gaps

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 feedback 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

Below are some ideas on the preparation needed for creating the right website surveys for your needs, and a list of survey question examples to get you started.

1. Define your strategic customer experience goals

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

  • What metrics will move the needle in terms of developing your website further?
  • What are the primary goals and objectives of your website and apps?
  • How do you want to leverage operational data (O-data)?
  • How do you want to visualize and action your website data (e.g. role-based dashboards, AI driven analysis and rich customer databases)?
  • Who needs access to what information and when to improve your website (smart routing, actions & alerts, automated workflows, closed-loop ticketing & escalations)?
  • Which website listening posts will capture the most action-oriented data (personalized and targeted requests for feedback etc.)?

2. Create a survey for website visitors 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 behaviors, impacting the likelihood of the customer to repurchase, recommend, or trust the company.

Decide how you would like to collect and visualize 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

Website survey questions should be purpose-built to match a metric that you’re trying to measure. Here is a list of the metrics and the survey questions to ask to help 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?

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). You might also use NPS-related emoticons, which you can assign a numerical score instead.

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 behavior, so it’s worth including this in your post purchase survey template. A likelihood to return indicates that the experience they had is one that they’d be willing to have again. This can help you to implement actions to encourage returning visitors and ensure they have the same great experience every time.

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 measures 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 behavior 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 indicates 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 website survey 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 customer journey deep dives

Your website survey is the jumping-off point for creating a customer journey that easily guides customers from first contact to purchase. Updating your fundamental journeys or common routes that people take to complete tasks is made easier when you ask usability survey questions or ask for opinions on your website’s functionality and design. 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 for website usability and the associated emotions during each stage, before deploying a website feedback survey 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 website listening posts, dashboards, contextual embedded data, and smart-routing capabilities established in the earlier phases should now inform decision-making processes across the organization.

Collect feedback and use the insights to fuel your digital CX program

It’s not enough to just collect feedback and passively observe results. To drive real experience change and encourage new users to return again and again, you’ll need to feed the website survey data you receive into a comprehensive digital CX program.

This allows you to do the following things:

1. 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%. It might be making a payment process smooth, or ensuring that your website has all the necessary features for a customer to find the information they need.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Developing digital customer experiences that resonate

Manually collecting and analyzing website visitors’ data can be time-consuming and confusing, but it’s a necessary part of creating website content and functionality that enhance user experiences. Using  a digital customer experience program can help you to manage data collection and ensure your website experience resonates.

A digital CX program is 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

To get started on using a digital CX program and to optimize your website experiences, we’ve created an essential playbook for creating website experiences that resonate effectively.

Free eBook: The essential website experience & UX playbook