Feedback Questions to Ask New Users for Scalable Growth

At my previous startup, we were building a communications platform for activating and engaging users. We had a promising concept, paying customers, and a great team.

TL;DR video can be found at the bottom of this article 🙂 

Full steam ahead right?!

Wrong! We had many customers using our product for different use-cases. It quickly became unclear who we should continue to build the product for.

That’s a major problem! If we tried to solve everyone’s use-case, we would end up building a jack-of-all-trades product that didn’t do anything very well. We would get drowned out in noise without a defining trait to stand out in the market. And this usually leads to startup death.

We had to decide quickly which features made the most sense to work on, and which we should drop — fast!

To help us resolve this, we decided to build a survey into our product onboarding.

image of feedback questions to ask: what is your job role?

As soon a new user signed up for the app, we would ask a few questions before allowing them into the main app. Our goal was to gather feedback about what new users hoped to use our product for. As soon as a survey was completed, it would trigger an internal email to go out to our team:

image of the results from the previous image's survey question

We got super excited every time we saw this!

This was tremendously helpful. It let us know which use-cases new sign ups were excited about and their current role in their company. Using this feedback we were able to:

  1. Figure out what new users hoped to do with our product
  2. Who we should market or sell our solution to
  3. Provide better support to new sign ups

Eventually, we would discover one of the features we spent a TON of time on did not resonate with new users at all!

This sucked, and it took us a period of time to face up to reality. But the data was clear and this allowed us to focus on building things that our customers actually cared about.

While feedback was awesome, managing the survey and data was not.

The survey was custom built by our dev team, so if we wanted to change anything we would have to get a developer to do it.

This is a very important point because it usually takes some experimentation before you’re able to ask a question in a way the encourages valuable answers. And this extra step of having to put in a request to the dev team seriously hampered our agility.

But this was an extremely successful project despite the shortcoming. If you want to collect feedback from new sign ups, baking a survey into the onboarding is great UX.

However, if you feel like the cost in development time might not be worth the insights from feedback, there are a few light-weight ways you can try this without building a custom solution!

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Where should I place my feedback questions to ask customers?

1. Ask an open-ended question in your onboarding emails

This is a great way to get feedback and it requires no additional tools aside from your email marketing service.

Open-ended questions are especially helpful early in the feedback process when you’re not exactly sure what people will say and want to collect unbiased responses in your user’s own words.

When we built a Slack bot at my last startup, we sent this email to our beta users:

image of open ended feedback questions to ask in your onboarding emails

The feedback we got was great. And it told us that a customer is engaged. Here’s an example of one of the awesome responses we got:

image of the response from the open ended survey question in the previous image

We were able to reach out to many customers and continue the conversation. The downside is that response rates were not great. I don’t remember the exact response rate, but it was hovering around 5-10%.

Pro-tip: To get a higher response rate, use an email address that’s from a person as opposed to a team (John from YesInsights vs YesInsights Product Team).

2. Ask an open-ended question with a chat widget

If you’re using an in-app chat widget like Intercom, this is a fantastic option!

Often times you’re able to get more responses by sending a message in-app because you’re not competing with someone’s cluttered inbox. Another advantage is that you can ask a question only in specific pages that best fit the context.

Intercom actually uses their own tool to do this. Here’s an example of a message they send to users a few days after they sign up:

image of feedback questions to ask in a chat widget

This is a great message and I’d imagine this helped Intercom discover pain points they were able to address to improve their onboarding.

If you have a bit more time, you can also try to get people on the phone with you. This is a message Sujan Patel sent new users who signed up for Content Marketer:

image #2 of feedback questions to ask in a chat widget

You’ll gain a ton of insights when talking directly to new users. But be aware that it’ll take a lot of time! Eventually, Sujan phased this and implemented a more scalable approach.

Pro tip: When asking an open-ended question in-app, be careful about interrupting someone’s workflow. Ideally, you should ask the question as soon as they enter the app (before they start working) or after some action that signifies a natural end or pause to a workflow. Open-ended answers are cognitively more heavy to answer compared to multiple choice and often users will ‘swat’ the widget away if it pops up at the wrong time.

3. Use a one-click survey in a chat widget

A multiple choice question is a great option if you’re looking for more quantifiable feedback questions to ask.

I recommend checking out our article on the differences between quantifiable and qualifiable feedback!

One of our customers, Piktochart uses YesInsights and Intercom to send a one-click survey to users who identified themselves as students:

image of one-click feedback questions to ask in a chat widget

Their UX team had already discovered students used their product for 3 primary reasons and sent this survey to validate their findings and quantify the data they had from user interviews.

This feedback came very quickly! Over 75% of people who saw the message responded to the survey. This is because responding to a multiple choice question takes much less cognitive effort, especially if you did your homework and wrote responses that are clear to the user (as they are in this case).

Best of all, after someone responds they also have the opportunity to leave open-ended feedback on a ‘thank you’ page. Here’s the ‘thank you’ page from Piktochart’s survey:

image of yesinsights landing page asking responders for additional comments

More than 25% of people who responded also took the time to leave an open-ended response! The insights from here can be used to then identify patterns that are worth digging into.

Pro tip: One-click surveys work best if it’s clear to a user which response they should choose. If not,  you risk that your users will ignore it, or worse, pick one that doesn’t apply and give you faulty data. So please do your research beforehand to ensure the responses you provide make sense to your audience.

Want results like PiktoChart? Sign up for our free trial at YesInsights.

4. Use a one-click survey in your onboarding emails

One-click surveys work just as well for onboarding emails!

While in-app messages are awesome, some users leave after the first session so you run the risk of not actually reaching them. Sending a survey via email puts your product back into their awareness. And it’s a signal that they’re still engaged if they respond.

Here is one we previously sent new users (we often experiment with different survey questions):

image of one-click feedback survey questions to ask in your onboarding emails

More than 60% of those who saw the message responded and we were able to identify which marketing channel was working the best very quickly.

This is another survey we sent a few days into our free trial:

image #2 of feedback questions to ask in your onboarding emails

Again, the insights here were very helpful. Based on these insights we decided to put more efforts into developing more educational content to help our users become successful.

The great thing about one-click surveys is that response rates are very high and you can get a lot of insights from just one response and a follow-up comment!

Related post: How You Can Get Consistently More Customer Feedback

Bottom Line

You’ll know if you’re building your business in the right direction when you collect feedback from your users consistently. So experiment with the methods above and find the right combination for your business.

Then make it a standard practice as soon as you find a process for collecting high-quality feedback from your customers on a regular basis

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John is the Marketing Lead at YesInsights. John is motivated by a desire to make other's lives easier, particularly through digital means. He is fascinated by seeing other businesses grow, and that's how John landed at YesInsights.

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