How to Survey Your SaaS Customers: The Complete Guide

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    July 13th, 2021
  • Read Time:
    5 Mins
  • Category:
    Affiliate

Would you like to know your current (and future) customers better?

Few SaaS founders would say “no” or “I already know enough” to this question.

We all want to know who we are selling to and what drives them.

While web analytics platforms let you see what people are doing on your site, surveys can help you understand why they are doing that.

When it comes to asking your customers to provide some input, SaaS founders should consider several types of surveys:

  • Qualification surveys (“Are you a good fit for our product?” or “How can our product fit you better?”)
  • Customer satisfaction surveys (“How can we improve our product?”)
  • Cancellation surveys (“Why do you want to cancel?”)
  • Customer research surveys (“How can I learn more about my customers to better serve them and attract more of them”)

Getting in your customers’ heads is priceless for a SaaS marketer because it lets you give them exactly what they need.

In fact a well-defined surveying strategy can turn your SaaS business around and boost your revenue.

Qualification Surveys

Qualification surveys are often used right when your site user is starting to register for a free trial or signing up for a demo. This survey helps you identify whether your product is a good fit for each particular user, which plan would serve them better and how to best reach out to them to convert them to paying users.

Often qualification surveys contain questions allowing you to group these users by their company size, position at that company and goals they are pursuing when registering an account.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

There are several well-defined systems allowing you to measure customer success by using surveys. These include:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): This is the simplest method, and the most effortless for your customers. You see these surveys just about everywhere, like at the end of the knowledge base article asking you to rate how helpful that article was.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Another customer satisfaction survey that seeks to measure how likely they are to recommend your product to a friend. Not only will it help you measure your customer loyalty, it will also seed that idea in your customers’ heads that they may actually recommend it. There’s some criticism as to this method but I still think it is a good idea.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): This survey is also often referred to as an onboarding survey but I see no reason in categorizing it differently as it still measures the customer satisfaction. This survey measures how difficult it is to start using your product, e.g. “How easy was it for you to get started with..?

You don’t need to have thousands of users to evaluate your customers’ satisfaction. Even 30-40 customers may give you a good idea whether your product does a good job.

Cancellation Surveys

Cancellation surveys have two important goals behind them:

  • Understanding the most frequent reason for cancellation (in order to eliminate that barrier)
  • Save an account by giving the user an alternative solution to cancelling.

Both of these goals are equally important, and both of these are achieved by using PayKickstart’s “Cancellation Saver” feature. The way it works is as follows: When your customers clicks “Cancel plan” button, the tool will trigger a quick survey asking them to select a reason for cancelling:

Cancellation surveys
PayKickstart’s “Cancellation Saver” feature helps you create cancellation surveys

Once the reason is selected, the customer is offered an alternative solution, like switching to a cheaper plan or paying every other month.

Save the account
Save your account that was about to cancel

Apart from potentially saving some accounts, this tool collects data for you to be able to follow up with these users in a more meaningful way.

Customer Research Surveys

These surveys aim at understanding your customer base better. Customer research surveys help you align your marketing strategy better as well as allow you to create linkable content assets and buyers’ personas for your salespeople to rely on.

Customer research surveys may vary based on the purpose. If you are building your buying personas, you may want to ask about their age, household, hobbies, etc. If you seek to collect some industry data (to create a lead or link generation reports), you may want to ask about their reaction to recent trends or market shifts.

Often companies like Facebook or Google offer free ad credits or even Amazon gift cards in exchange for completing these surveys which are usually long and time consuming. You can also set up your own survey on your site using one of these form builders.

Use Customer Surveys in Moderation

While customer surveys help SaaS founders in multiple ways – from creating a better aligned marketing strategy to learning how to improve customer loyalty and create a better product – you need to be careful with surveying your customers too much.

Surveys can be a huge distraction, and you don’t want to distract your users from following your sales funnel and using your platform.

In 2018 Zendesk published a report claiming that 16% of people thought surveys too annoying, about 20% found them too time-consuming, and 12% found them too long. On top of that, 70% of respondents admitted to abandoning surveys before finishing them.

While this report is a perfect example of a linkable asset you can create using customer research surveys, it does raise some alarm as to how to successfully run customer surveys.

There’s no single way to make sure your customer surveys provide useful data without annoying your customers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make them short and easy to complete
  • Offer a reward for completing a longer survey
  • Using email marketing statistics, segment your email list and send longer surveys to more active and responsive users. Be careful with email marketing to avoid some mistakes.
  • Tie your surveys to a specific action. PayKickstart can help with that. PayKickstart’s “Surveys” feature helps you set up surveys based on a particular action, e.g. after cancellation, after refund request, after showing up at your event, etc. These surveys are well-timed, and hence trigger a better response.
PayKickstart’s “Surveys”
PayKickstart’s “Surveys” feature helps you set up surveys based on a particular action

Collect and publicize your data. Your surveys can be used to collect favorable feedback and turn them into social proof. Curate it on your social media accounts and your “Testimonials” page. Additionally, you can create short video clips that show statistics clearly using easy video editors.

Conclusion

Customer surveys are the most important tool at any SaaS marketer’s disposal. They can help you save accounts, create a more personalized marketing strategy, and collect unique data no one else has access to.

By using customer surveys strategically, SaaS founders can create much more useful products and increase their revenue considerably.

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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