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This article was published on February 1, 2017

6 smart questions to get you the most useful customer feedback

6 smart questions to get you the most useful customer feedback
Wilson Peng
Story by

Wilson Peng

Wilson Peng is the founder of YesInsights, a customer feedback platform for actionable feedback through one-click and NPS surveys. He's pass Wilson Peng is the founder of YesInsights, a customer feedback platform for actionable feedback through one-click and NPS surveys. He's passionate about Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and hoping to make the best platform for companies to receive actionable customer feedback. You can catch him tweeting on Twitter @wilsonpeng8

Every business thrives on knowing what their customers are thinking. The reason why top companies are successful is they consistently conduct surveys and get customer feedback early and often.

Unfortunately, few people will contact you voluntarily — in fact, 96 percet of people with negative feedback won’t tell you (although they will tell other people).

If you want to get customer feedback, you have to reach out directly. And one of the most popular and scalable ways to do this is through email surveys. But if you’ve tried this before, you know how difficult it is to get people to respond.

When Kapost sent a survey to 23,310 marketers, only 1.1 percent of people completed it.

That’s a horribly low response rate, but it’s actually very common. Most surveys are blasted to everyone on a huge list with little context. Customers don’t care enough to respond.

So what’s the best way to ask customers for feedback? How do you send surveys people actually want to respond to?

Luckily, we’re going to tell you about this email survey hack. Instead of blasting surveys to your list, you need to…

Ask questions in your drip or triggered email campaigns

When customers sign up for your product, do you send them a welcome email? Do you also follow up with automated emails every few days that helps them use your product? If you answered ‘Yes’ — you should do this immediately:

Add a single, contextual question to a few of your drip or triggered emails.

This is one of the most effective, yet underused techniques for gathering customer feedback.

This is our very own welcome email (sent through Intercom). More than 50 percent of people who open this email respond. If you’re interested in creating a similar survey that you can embed on any platform, check out YesInsights.

Why does this work?

One of the reasons why this is so effective is because it is a simple in-line/one-click survey. There are three big advantages of using inline email surveys:

  1. It feels like a natural part of your email content
  2. Customers can respond painlessly with one click
  3. You don’t have to send extra emails asking leads to take a survey

It’s literally the most scalable, yet non-intrusive way to get customer intel.

And if you ask the right questions, you can actually get people to recommend your product even if they never convert to a paid customer. It’s very powerful.

Another reason why this is effective is because triggered emails tend to be highly relevant to the customer. In fact, research shows they get up to eight times more opens and clicks than marketing emails. Secondly, these emails also tend to help the customer. If you help them, they’ll help you.

By asking questions in your email drip campaign, you’ll establish a system that consistently gets feedback early and often. And by giving customers easy opportunities to give feedback, you also show that you value their opinion highly.

Now that you’re ready, here are the six questions you need to ask…

Question 1: Where exactly did you first hear about us?

Goal: This question will help you find out what your most effective marketing channel is.

You can see your customer’s referral path with any analytic tool, but that only tells you the last site they visited prior to yours.

By asking this question instead, you may discover that your customer heard about your product from a podcast they listened to last month, or that a speaker at a popular conference mentioned you.

Best practice: Send this in your welcome email or in an another email one to two days after sign up so their memory is still fresh.

Question 2: What are you hoping to accomplish with us?

Goal: This question is used to discover your customer’s use-case as well as find out how they perceive your value. This is highly helpful to guide product on which features to prioritize, improve your marketing message, or help you sell to your customer by understanding their intentions.

Best practice: Send this with your welcome email or on the second email in your campaign. Asking in your welcome email will give better answers on the marketing messaging, while on a later email will be better for product insights.

Question 3: What is your single biggest challenge you are struggling with?

Goal: The goal here is to segment your leads into a few different buckets based on their use-case or features they’ll find most valuable. With this information, you can then personalize your marketing.

You might be tempted to directly ask ‘what feature do you want?’ — but that would work horribly.

People are notoriously bad at imagining what they want until they see it. They are, however, good at telling you want they don’t want.

Because of this, you’ll get much more informative responses by asking about their biggest challenge — which basically is the thing they don’t want to do. You can then interpret their response into features they’ll use.

Best practice: Send this as early in your email flow (the first or second email).

Question 4: Why did you decide not to buy/subscribe?

Goal: When someone decided not to use your product, wouldn’t you want to find out why?

You may discover that they found another product, your prices were too high, your product was poorly designed, or perhaps they were just kicking the tires around.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make changes to win future customers.

Best practice: Send this 30 to 90 days after a customer trial period has ended. If you don’t have a trial period, you can use another event that signals a customer is not going to convert.

Question 5: What would you miss most if you could not use us?

Goal: This question will help you discover your most useful features or product strengths.

Your customers are likely using a lot of features, but there is probably one they find more useful than the others, and tell their friends about.

By discovering your ‘killer’ feature you improve both your product offering and marketing message.

Best practice: This is best sent to your engaged users. I would send this email to users one to three months after they upgraded their account.

Question 6: How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?

Goal: This is a standard Net Promoter Score question and is highly correlated with customer satisfaction.

Use this as an opportunity to reach out and help customers who are dissatisfied, or encourage customers who are very happy to promote your product.

Best practice: You should send this to all converted customers bi-annually or quarterly and try to improve the score over time.

Another smart idea is segmenting your customers to discover which subset is the most satisfied. You can then market heavily to those customers.

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