A user survey is a missing link that helps you to help establish a connection between what your user wants and how you can implement them to address the users' needs. It enables you to unravel the why behind how the user behaves, like the way they behave. 

#1 What is a user survey?

A user survey is a set of questions that you ask your users to understand what they feel about your product, what they like about your tool, and what they don't like so that you can refine your software to improve customer satisfaction. SaaS marketers regularly conduct user surveys for UX research and user testing. 

The success of a user survey depends on how you design the questions, what format you are using, and how you distribute it among your users. Once you have enough raw data, you then analyze the data to derive meaningful insights. A user survey is an important means to define your long-term goal and product roadmap. 

#2 Why are user surveys to be done

  • Understand the target market. Does your product has a good product-market fit?
  • User survey helps to make customer segmentation
  • Gain important feedback that you might have been overlooking for long
  • Improve your product feature by asking the right questions, analyzing and implementing them to deliver value
  • When you gather feedback from your customers and implement them, it makes your customers feel valued. This helps in building customer engagement and loyalty and reduces churn.
  • Identify trends — what most of the users are talking about, highlight areas of improvement
  • It is the best way to peek into your users’ minds and understand what they think about the product, whether they are going to use it or churn
  • Retain existing customers by improving customer experience
  • User surveys help you gather testimonials and reviews, which is a great social proof for other potential buyers to invest in your tool 

#3 How to build an effective user survey that works

So now you know why you need user surveys to improve your SaaS tool and grow your SaaS business. But how do you create an effective user survey? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

User survey. How to build

1. Framing the right questions

The most important part of any user survey is how you draft the questions. Asking the right questions can help you derive insightful responses, while poorly framed questions may turn off the user from responding. 

You can ask either open-ended questions or closed questions. Open-ended questions are good for qualitative analysis. The user has to answer the question in their own words and have the freedom to express themselves.

Close-ended questions are good for quantitative analysis. Here the user is provided with options where the user has to choose one. Multiple choice questions and Likert scale questions are two examples of close-ended questions. 

Each type of question has its advantage and disadvantage, so choose carefully while creating your survey. Usually, a mix of both works great.

User survey. Questions
Open-ended question and close-ended question

2. Use neutral language

Keep your language plain, simple, and neutral to avoid any bias in the response. Questions like do you like this email or do you hate this email can provoke the user to give a positive or a negative response, respectively. 

3. Keep one idea per question

Don't confuse your user by combining too many questions. For example, how you like this product's aesthetics and functionality can be a confusing question. Instead, break it down into two questions — What do you think of the esthetics? What do you think about the usability of this product?

4. Make it easy for people to participate

Your surveys are helpful only when people respond to them, and you have gathered enough responses to analyze. So structure the way to survey to make it engaging. Keep the length of the survey short. You may also offer incentives to the survey responders to boost engagement. 

5. Choose a survey tool 

Choose a survey tool to create your survey. Ensure the tool supports different survey question formats and is cost-effective and easy to use. MarbleFlows is a no-code easy to use self-service SaaS tool that helps you build effective user surveys. 

6. Analyze the survey result

A survey is of no use if you don't analyze the results and derive actionable insights. So once you have sufficient data, analyze the result. Is there a trend? A pattern? Work on them to create the best customer experience. 

#3 Types of user surveys

Depending on at which stage of the customer lifecycle you are conducting the survey, user surveys can be categorized into the following order:

User survey. Types

4. Early-stage customer interview

You might wonder, isn't it too early to survey an early-stage customer? After all, they are still exploring the tool and hardly have any feedback to share. But interviewing them can help you understand a few important things, like how they found you. Why they chose you over the other competitors? What were the decision-making criteria? And what kind of marketing collaterals do they resonate with? So if you are a B2B SaaS company, ask your early-stage customer questions like

  • How did they discover you?
  • What made them choose your product over the competitors?
  • What were they searching for when they found you?

Start asking these questions as early as possible once your customer base is sufficiently big. 

  2. User survey for customer segmentation

Segment your customer base depending on common traits like which team they belong to, the nature of their SaaS business, demographics, are they the decision-makers in the team? And so on. 

Here are some sample questions

  • How many team members are there in your team?
  • What is your job role?
  • Which industry do you belong to?

3. To improve your product feature

You can conduct user surveys to improve the quality of your product. You should survey users who have been using your product for some time and have developed some opinions about your product. Here are some sample questions to ask.

  • What is the biggest advantage of using this product?
  • How would you feel if you could no longer use the product?
  • Give one suggestion to help us improve the product.

4. User survey to measure customer satisfaction

You can conduct surveys like the NPS or CSAT surveys to measure customer satisfaction. A CSAT survey can be a good indicator of understanding how satisfied your users are with your product. Here are sample questions to ask:

Rate your experience on a scale of 1-5, 1 being least satisfied and 5 being highly satisfied.

Which is the most valuable feature of the tool

5. User survey to identify the most effective marketing channel

Acquiring a user is not enough. You need to understand which marketing channels are working for you. Apart from your analytics dashboard, it is a good idea to survey users to understand which channel they got to know from about you. This gives you an idea of where your target audience hangs out most so you can double down on them. 

Asking these types of questions helps:

  • How did you hear about us?
  • How did you find us?
  • Where did you see our product first?
  • Did anyone refer us?

6. Surveys to gather testimonials

Customer testimonials are crucial for any business to gain trust and reputation. You can use user surveys to gather testimonials from long-time users of your tool. So, micro-user surveys are useful in conducting this kind of survey. Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • How happy are you with our product? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5
  • How satisfied are you with our product rate on a scale of 1-5
  • How does our product help you in your daily tasks?

7. Survey to prevent churn 

You don't want your users to leave you. But if they do, you need to understand when they churn, what you can do to bring them back, and, most importantly, how you can prevent any future churn. 

Keep the questions simple and avoid making them overly complicated. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What's the primary reason for canceling the subscription?
  • How can we make the product better?
  • What has happened since you signed up?
  • What was your expectation when you signed up?

8. User survey to understand why the user became dormant

A user has signed up, but they have become dormant since they signed up. This survey will help you understand why the user is dormant and gauge the chances of the dormant user churning. 

Here are some example questions:

  • We have noticed that you haven't used the tool since you signed up. Can you tell us why?
  • Can we help you to get started with using our product?
  • Do you have any suggestions to make the product experience better?

For example, if they have tried the free plan and now finding the price of the subscription high, you may offer a discount to encourage them to sign up. 

9. Survey to understand the best product pricing

Once you establish your product fit and visualize the growth potential, it is time to determine the price strategy of the product. If you are an early-stage startup that has launched your product in a free model, you may discover that many early users might not be interested in going for a priced plan. Ask these questions to understand the best product pricing.

  • At what price point do you think you will get the optimal value of the product
  • At what price point do you think you will consider the product overly priced

10. Gauging the product market fit

It’s a critical survey to conduct to understand if your product stands a chance and has a fit in the market. Before jumping on planning for growth marketing, gauge to understand the product fit. Craft the questions carefully. Here are some examples;

  • Who in your team is going to benefit most from the product?
  • How would you feel if you see the product no longer available from tomorrow morning?
  • How can we make the product better?

If more than 40% of the respondents say they will miss the product, you know your product has a good potential to grow. Assessing a product market fit is a must for any early-stage SaaS software. 

#5 A quick checklist to launch your first user survey 

  1. You have identified your survey goals
  2. You have identified your survey participants
  3. You have drafted the survey questions
  4. The survey questions are related to your survey goal
  5. Your survey is esthetically pleasing 

Key Takeaway

You can magically reduce churn and improve customer engagement and brand loyalty by getting into the “head of your customers.”

But how do you do that? User surveys can be your gateway to peek into your customers’ minds, gather insights, and work on them to delight your customers!

Written by Chayanika Sen.