Running customer surveys to generate testing hypotheses for your CRO program

How to ask customer surveys so that you actually get answers that are useful.

I’ve been going on and on about how important qualitative research is in our conversion optimization work. I’m not stopping now, prepare for even more detailed content about it.

If you’re interested in learning more about conversion research and how to do it, I wrote a nice guide here. You can also learn more about qualitative research from this article.

Now, one section of our qualitative research consists in getting direct feedback from the customers.

We get that feedback by sending out surveys to the most recent customers that have purchased within the last 15-30-45 days maximum and that have received their product.

The reason why we send to these customers specifically, and not all customers in the past year, is that we want them to have a fresh memory of the entire shopping experience and interaction with the product itself. We could send out an immediate survey after they purchase but they are just too excited about what they just bought usually so we want them to chill a bit 🙂 That and we are also interested about the entire perception of quality of the product, delivery, all of that.

The main objective behind running a customer survey is that you understand what motivated your customers to buy from you, how they are using the product, what they would change about it and what other competitors they considered before choosing you.

Here is the set of questions we usually ask and I will explain why we ask each of them.

  • What can you tell us about yourself?
    • This is a great starter because you get to see how your audience describe themselves. We get answers like “32, stay at home mom”, “41, entrepreneur, female” etc. and, although, let’s say you could get this information somewhere else, I find it has an entirely different value when you get the answers from your customers as you get to see how they describe themselves. This information you can then use when writing your copy.
  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about our brand?
    • So useful to understand ways in which your customers would present your product or brand to their friends and family. This offers you an informal, friendly angle into your products and helps you present them in a better way.
  • What made your buy our products/become our subscriber/sign-up?
    • This is good to identify the main points that convince users to buy so you can emphasize them in further communication with your prospects.
  • How would you describe the overall shopping experience with us?
    • This will point out any gaps in the conversion funnel and obstacles that the users encountered while shopping.
  • What doubts and hesitations did you have before buying/subscribing/signing up?
    • The list of fears, doubts and hesitations is critical when writing your product descriptions and FAQs as you can address all of them, helping persuade users into buying.
  • If you had to describe our product in one word, what would it be?
    • Very helpful for your value proposition and it gives you a good understanding into how customers perceive your product.
  • What would you miss the most if you could not use our products anymore?
    • This will help you understand what features of your product your customers value the most. You can use this information to add more emphasis to the benefits of buying.
  • What should we do next to WOW you and offer an even better experience?
    • You can use this information to generate ideas for complementary products to your existing range or adding in new services on your website.
  • What is the one big thing that we are missing?
    • Pretty much like the previous question, this will help you understand what users are missing, whether it be products or features for the product or just elements in the shopping funnel.

I hope this will give you the needed boost to start sending out customer surveys and will get you on the path to properly understanding your users’ needs and motivations.

By Andra Baragan

Andra Baragan is an experienced conversion optimization specialist and a certified ConversionXL Optimizer and Data Analyst. She has worked with over 80 online businesses and has brought over 6 figures in increased revenue for them. She is the founder of Ontrack Digital Agency.

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