Product Surveys Guide
Ken Blanchard, a prominent author, and business consultant, once stated, ‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions.’
The art of feedback has received similar praise from Bill Gates, who opined, ‘We all need people who give us feedback; that’s how we improve.’
By communicating with customers, companies get to know what consumers like or dislike about their services or products.
And the best part? With so many online and offline channels today, gathering feedback isn’t a great challenge anymore. As a result, more and more companies are practicing it.
Great companies have been the first to latch on to this trend, and today they answer queries, appreciate feedback, and proactively help clients.
Look at this communication thread from Starbucks:
As a result, improvement areas get highlighted, eliminating the need for assumptions or guesswork.
Companies can focus on specific stress points, which is an excellent use of limited resources. Customer experience, in turn, gets better, and they tend to stick longer on your website as well.
The customer lifetime value also increases, which positively impacts the long-term sustainability of companies.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? But how do companies get to know what the customer is thinking? How do they know about the customer’s unhappiness about some aspect of the service/ product?
You guessed it! Product surveys!
What are Product Surveys?
Product surveys are surveys or set of questions aimed at generating actionable insights for a company to improve its service/product experience.
The idea is to ask questions about the product or service to its first-hand users. And the intention is to gather feedback about the service or the product.
Companies can even use negative feedback for improvement, which will refine the customer experience. In other words, it helps create a data-centric picture of clients.
By understanding who their customers are and what they need, companies can design, develop, and release highly consumer-focused offerings that drastically improve customer satisfaction.
Tips to Create Product Surveys (Stages of Product Cycle)
As a company, you will have questions on how to improve the customer experience. The ones with the answers, however, are the customers.
Unless companies get those, their marketing efforts will never hit the target. In other words, you will keep trying to improve or bring to the market a new aspect/ feature that’s unimportant.
And this is where product/ feedback surveys help companies.
Considering the importance of product surveys, even Facebook launched a successful feedback campaign in 2019 to crack down on e-commerce businesses that used dishonest shipping times.
But in the case of feedback, there’s the problem of deceit. Some respondents are inherently biased and will refrain from providing accurate answers. Many respondents will mistakenly provide the wrong answers.
As a result, an inadvertent bias is generated once the company starts analyzing the feedback results. It is in the company’s interest to minimize the bias, allowing them to target customers efficiently.
To avoid such issues, here are some tips for creating product surveys aimed at maximizing the value:
1. Your Product Survey Should be Short and Succint.
A recent study demonstrated that when surveys grow in length, the abandonment rate for them is likely to increase. The surveys that took more than 7-8 minutes to complete witnessed a decrease in the completion rate by 5% to 20%.
The inference? People lose concentration while filling out a lengthy survey.
Therefore, the results aren’t accurate, and sometimes, not useful at all. The attention span of the average human today is 8 seconds, so the first step in creating a helpful survey is to make it short and concise.
Take a look at this short product feedback example by Selfridges:
The product survey is concise and won’t take more than a minute to fill it with the relevant answers.
Experts suggest that the ideal survey should take around 3 to 5 minutes to complete for optimum authenticity and quality.
2. Trim Dispensable Questions
Following up on the first point, trim all the filler questions from the survey.
Questions that make the final poll must answer a specific question, solve a particular problem, or help eliminate a dilemma.
For example, you may not need to know the gender of the respondent for your product feedback report. In that case, be sure to scrap the question.
Apart from making your questionnaire lean, a brief survey serves to engage the respondent more, enhancing its utility.
3. Avoid Adding Multiple Questions At Once.
In a way, consumers are doing you a favor by filling up your questionnaire. Thus, companies should make the process as seamless and easy for the customers as possible.
Questions should also be framed one at a time. Having to answer multiple questions is an instant turn-off for customers, which, in most cases, causes them to abandon the survey.
And if they don’t abandon your survey outright, they might give perfunctory responses. This is even worse for companies since it leads to bias or irrelevant answers.
Here’s an example of one such question – “When did you first use our product? Please elaborate how.”
Questions like these should be avoided since not many respondents would have the time or the inclination to respond to the “elaborate” part.
4. Use Yes/ No Questions.
Surveys that have binary answers like ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ serve to drive up customer engagement significantly. They are easy to evaluate and answer and don’t take much time.
What’s more, they are far easier to evaluate than questionnaires with open-ended questions. If a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can solve your queries, or get you the answer you need, always keep it as such.
5. Simplicity is Key.
Respondents lose their attention and focus as they proceed through surveys. That’s why surveys should be simple and straightforward.
However, the terminology used in surveys is also crucial for ensuring good quality. While making a questionnaire, surveyors should assume that respondents know little to nothing about the survey subject. It makes sense to avoid using technical terms and corporate vernacular.
Imagine asking a new customer who has little to no idea about sales-related jargon: “Were you satisfied with your OKRs?”
If confused, your customers will take more time to finish the survey, leading to a loss in mindfulness. The responses will also suffer in standard.
5. Stay Consistent.
While making a questionnaire, it is essential to follow a single standard method of answering. Make sure that you don’t compromise the uniformity and consistency of the survey.
Let’s look at a scenario:
Suppose in a survey there are 10 questions. The first 5 questions have 3 options each: ‘1’ signifies ‘strongly agree,’ ‘2’ signifies ‘neutral,’ and ‘3’ signifies ‘strongly disagree.’
The last 5 questions have the following options each: ‘1’ signifies ‘strongly disagree,’ ‘2’ signifies ‘neutral,’ and ‘3’ signifies ‘strongly agree.’
It is very easy to get confused about the answers while moving on from the 5th to the 6th question and beyond. Many respondents will miss the change in coding pattern and answer accordingly. As a result, a strong bias may get induced that can ultimately point in the wrong direction entirely.
6. Give an Incentive.
A survey is something respondents take only if they want to. Usually, an incentive will work much better than a simple “Thank You” note to ensure that a respondent takes the survey. Giving something valuable in exchange for answering a survey is actually a better way of saying “Thank you” and acknowledging your customers.
Incentives can be in various forms, discount coupons, merchandise, account credits, goodies, and free memberships.
While it is an excellent way of attracting more respondents, it doesn’t always mean better quality. When you offer bonuses, you tend to attract a lot of people, many of whom are not in the target audience. The result – you keep doling out rewards, but the subsequent results are not very helpful.
If you decide to keep bonuses, figure out a way to keep out the respondents that are just noise.
7. Survey Timing
Last but not least, the timing of sending out the surveys also matters. The success rate of getting completed surveys correlates directly with the time it was sent.
Based on a variety of survey types, it is possible to identify the best time to get responses for maximum quality and deep insights.
However, you need to consider factors like the audience (B2B/ B2C), survey length, customer surveys or internal surveys, and so on.
Considerable research has been done in this field, and there is enough precedent to confirm its importance.
According to a study by CheckMarket, these are the best days and times to send surveys depending on your industry.
Top 10 Product Questions for Product Surveys.
We’ve learned about the uses of a product survey and how to maximize the benefits from one.
Next, we also need to know the type of questions that must be asked so that the end-value gets maximized. Only asking the right questions will empower companies with the right answers, which is the end goal.
Beating around the bush and circumventing significant queries will ultimately damage the survey goal. That’s why it’s necessary to frame the right questions the right way.
Let’s take a look at some of the major ones:
1. How frequently do you use our products/ services?
This is an entry-level question and sets the tone for the rest of the survey. You will also immediately get an idea about how much the respondent knows about your product/survey and how frequently they use it.
2. What are your favorite features?
More often than not, specific features of a product/ service are more appealing to customers than others.
This question helps you separate the important ones from the undesired elements. It also allows you to take an educated decision on how to start working on the next set of feature enhancements.
Different people will have different favorites, so it becomes easy to cumulatively rank the features based on individual choice. It leads to a clearer picture of the product roadmap.
3. How would you weigh up our products against a competitor’s?
Unless it’s a monopoly, there will be other players in your product market, and some will definitely be bigger than you. You need to know how their products size up against your offerings.
When does the customer choose you over them and vice versa? What are some of the right things that they are doing that you could emulate? What are some of the features they have that you don’t? These questions help you gather real-world evidence and also offer you a direction to proceed.
4. What are some features that could be made better?
Different respondents will come up with various areas where they opine the product features could be made better. It helps you zero in on areas to focus on for your next product improvement.
With deeper and more precise insights, you can spend time and effort in a concerted manner on the crucial sectors. This question also gives you an opportunity to drive up consumer engagement levels.
5. Why do you use the product?
This question is aimed at deciphering the problem statement behind product usage. What particular problem is the respondent trying to solve by using the product?
Suppose customer A uses Amazon only for the discounts. On the other hand, customer B uses it only for convenience, and the price isn’t an issue.
Like A and B, others could have different reasons for using the website. Unless you know the reason, it is pretty challenging to plan ahead and keep the customer engaged in the long term.
6. Who do you think would find our products helpful?
We frequently miss things, even though some of them are right in front of us. Similarly, it’s easy to miss out on an entire segment of the target audience just because you’ve never thought about your product in a particular manner. In this scenario, existing users can be leveraged to suggest new target groups for you.
7. Do you find our product easy to use?
In a survey, 97% of the respondents chose ease of use as the highest priority item in the case of mobile applications. This holds true in the real world for other applications as well.
Unless the product is easy to use, customers will find it difficult to navigate around it.
The result? A sharp decline in customer engagement and migration to other competitors.
It is, therefore, imperative to understand how easy the customers find it to use the product and how their experience can be improved.
8. Do you find our product affordable?
Unless it is a Veblen good, price and product usage usually enjoy an indirectly proportional relationship. So, it is important to understand the target consumers of a particular product before assigning a price to it.
The low cost will make people think the product is inferior, while an inflated price will dissuade them from buying it. The price point needs to be balanced and perfectly aimed at the affordability of the consumers it’s meant for.
This question helps us understand if the product provides value to the customers at the price its available at.
9. Will you recommend the product to others?
People talk, no matter what. Word travels fast, and 92% of consumers believe advice from acquaintances over promotional advertisements.
So, businesses need to know whether consumers have good words to say about them or not. If the answer to this question is an overwhelming “yes,” businesses can rest assured they’re doing most things right.
If it’s a resounding “no,” the company must accept it is in a spot of bother and try to turn things around. Either way, it’s a significant pointer to the direction the wind is blowing.
10. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?
End users are the most qualified to answer this question. They are the ones who use the product the most and know it the best.
It’s possible they have thought about your product in a very different way than you ever have. Their suggestions can take you by surprise and positively impact your product development pipeline.
This also lets your consumers know that their patronage is valued and their opinions are essential to the company. Apart from throwing light on various aspects, it can also improve customer stickiness.
What are the Different Types of Surveys?
Back in 1938, the Statistical Society of London came up with the idea of a questionnaire to gather information. There have been multiple changes in the way data has been collected over the years, but the crux has remained constant.
From the paper surveys of yesteryear, we have progressed to digital ones. While most surveys have closed-ended questions, the ones that have open-ended ones are getting more popular. They allow participants to provide personalized answers with deeper insights.
Interviews are also quite popular. They help surveyors observe the respondents up close and read between the lines. Clearly, the types of surveys will vary according to your need for using them.
Product Surveys Based on Specific Domain.
Let us first look at some critical surveys categorized by their use:
1. Market Research Survey
Innovative companies keep coming up with newer offerings, but they usually falter in their estimation of the market reaction. It’s challenging to identify the target customers and markets.
Market research, if done correctly, can help companies answer these questions. A well-prepared market research survey helps measure the viability of the product or service with respect to the consumers it’s aimed at.
- How can an existing product/service be improved?
- What features can be added to an existing product/ service at the same price range?
- What is the most important feature in a product/ service, which, if changed, will affect the customer?
- Real-world evidence and opinions in real-time
- Identification of target market and price range
- Helping in population segmentation and product positioning
2. Employee Satisfaction Survey
A CAP study conducted in 2012 had uncovered the actual cost of employee turnover in the U.S. The cost to replace an employee earning $40,000 would be around $8000. To replace a CEO with a salary of about $100,000, costs can soar as high as $213,000.
Clearly, hiring employees who leave can be very expensive, and it can quickly drive companies to early bankruptcy. The easiest way to avoid this is to ensure employee satisfaction.
An employee satisfaction survey helps companies measure employee satisfaction, identify areas of improvement, and take corrective actions wherever needed.
- How can employee-centricity be improved?
- Does the company provide an environment conducive to continuous learning?
- Do the current role and projected growth rates match with employee expectations?
- Identify gaps between company needs and employee requirements
- Put an emphasis on enhancing the employee experience
- Take timely decisions and measures to reduce turnovers
3. Job Satisfaction Survey
Job satisfaction is all about how the company treats, the engagement levels it provides, and the amount of importance it assigns to its first customers – their employees. It helps decipher the personal voice of the customer.
Job satisfaction surveys help identify the motivation levels of employees and aids in uncovering ways to improve engagement. After all, a happy and engaged employee offers 40% more productivity and 12% higher customer advocacy, which helps improve the company topline.
- How impactful do you find your work to be?
- How likely are you to look at opportunities outside?
- Do you feel valued by the company?
Usually, this survey is best utilized with closed-ended questions.
- Set up action plans to improve employee engagement
- Ensure alignment between customer wants and needs and company targets
- Ensure long-term job satisfaction and reduce employee turnover
4. Exit Interview Survey
Despite all your best efforts, employees may and do leave the organization. There may be multiple reasons behind it, like higher studies, improved salary requirements, relocation, career breaks, etc.
Unless thoroughly researched, companies can miss clear signs of employee dissatisfaction, toxic environments, and shaky peer relationships. An exit interview survey helps identify such undesirable scenarios. Since the exiting employees are no longer invested, these interviews pinpoint the truth.
- What is the reason for leaving the company?
- On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you be to recommend the company to an acquaintance?
- Would you like to come back and work for the company sometime later?
- Highlights problem areas like company culture, hiring methodologies, and salary negotiations that can be improved
- Helps companies gauge their standing from the employee point of view
- The company learns about employee’s untoward experiences that can be corrected
5. Customer Satisfaction Survey
One of the most important surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, can act as wind vanes and help nudge companies along the path to doing the right things.
Every product or service is tailor-made for customer satisfaction. This survey helps you understand whether the customers are happy with your offers or not.
You’ll also be able to get answers to questions like how loyal they are and what you can do to improve their experience.
- How satisfied are the customers with your service/ product?
- How likely are they to turn to a competitor?
- If they do turn to a competitor, what would be the reason? (price, features, usability, customer service)
This survey is usually closed-ended, primarily measured on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Understand how loyal customers are
- Understand the areas where competitors are performing better
- Timely solution of customer problems that increase CLV and reduce turnover
Regular Product Surveys
Now, let us look at some types of product surveys irrespective of the subject domains:
1. NPS (Net Promoter Score)
NPS stands for “Net Promoter Score” and is an excellent measure of customer loyalty.
This is a survey that helps you determine how likely an existing customer is to suggest your product/ services to their acquaintances. Typically, answers are ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, and respondents are divided into detractors, promoters, and passives.
The score gets calculated by the following formula:
NPS = (Number of promoters/ Total count of responses) – (Number of detractors/ Total count of responses).
Passive respondents don’t much care about your product, and they are straight away bypassed.
Here’s a typical question that utilizes NPS:
“Do you find the product useful?” The rank of a scale of 1 to 10, where ‘1’ means ‘Absolutely useless’ and ‘10’ corresponds to ‘Very useful.’
A high score suggests users are happy with the product, and a low score indicates otherwise. Although helpful, this survey isn’t bereft of biases either, that can occur, especially after an excellent or bad experience.
2. CES (Customer Effect Score)
CES, also called ‘Customer Effort Score’, measures the initiative on the part of a customer to interact with the company. It is a different but valuable indicator of how much the product/service means to a consumer.
How much effort does a customer have to put in to get a valid response from the company? If it is too much, the customer is going to be dissatisfied. That’s why companies are trying to move towards an experience that requires minimum effort from the customer, which maximizes customer value.
This survey helps measure how happy customers are and is best utilized immediately after some sort of interaction between the company and the customer.
For example, suppose the consumer has asked for a speedy resolution of an application bug, and it has been solved. In that case, it makes sense for the company to reach out and enquire about how the resolution experience was for the client.
3. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Surveys)
A company and a consumer will have multiple touchpoints as they proceed along with their relationship over time. It’s difficult to quantify each and every interaction, but generic CSAT (customer satisfaction surveys) help point out specific areas that are going great and scope for future betterment.
Here is a sample CSAT survey:
By assigning scores to results, surveyors can glean critical actionable insights. They get to know what the customers think about their products, the areas of emphasis for improvement, and successful features.
4. Feature Opt-in Survey
Customers are the most loyal endorsers of your brand. They know your product intuitively and the market inside and out. They are well-versed with what features your competitors are offering and what the upcoming trends are.
Thus, they can guide you on what features you need to add to have a competitive advantage over your rivals. A feature opt-in survey tries to find out answers to these exact questions from the customer itself.
Rather than fumbling around with a lot of options and features to have, and taking these surveys help streamline your decision pipeline. They throw deep insights onto not only what components need to be added but also aspects that need to be discontinued. Customers will feel valued and appreciate the gesture of attaching importance to their analysis.
That’s a Wrap!
Usually, surveys are not mandatory, and people are under no compulsion to fill them up. However, incomplete or inaccurate surveys will impact business and hamper your ability to glean actionable insights.
Thus, focus on these essential factors while doing surveys:
- Short and concise
- Easy and fun to answer
Sometimes adding monetary or learning incentives can also improve the count of filled surveys. A good survey will help companies uncover product ideas. They have the power to open up entirely different schools of thought regarding product development, UI/ UX enhancement, usability, and value focus.
These actionable insights have the ability to revamp a product and change its roadmap for the better. Unless carefully thought out, they can also significantly increase costs with respect to time and effort and not return substantial returns.
Remember, it all begins with asking the right questions.
Luckily, you can now leverage numerous tools on the market that come with pre-designed feedback forms, questions, and tools to make the entire process a breeze.
You might want to check out our in-depth review of some of the best user insights software that can help you seek customer feedback using product survey tools and forms.