Use follow up questions to find additional nuance and add some qualitative color to traditionally numbers-heavy reports.
Customer feedback surveys are the bread and butter of support—whether you’re sending out customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT), net promoter score surveys (NPS), or asking about customers’ effort (CES) with your product, your team has probably asked a customer to rank you on a scale in the past year.
While that quantitative data and the numerical score are both useful and satisfyingly tidy, if you’re not adding follow up questions after the survey, you may be missing out on key qualitative insights that your customers can provide.
After sending out a survey, you have the customer’s attention and could ask them almost any question related to your product and they’d probably answer it.
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81 % of companies who provide great customer experiences and customer satisfaction perform much better than their competitors, according to the 2009 Customer Experience Maturity Monitor report from the Peppers & Rogers Group.
The best way to do that is to open yourself up to your customers, ask how they feel, and then make them feel heard by either acting on or responding to their constructive insights. Asking the follow up questions after a survey offers a service from you in return for them taking the time to fill out your survey—it gives them the space to share, directly, how they feel.
So, what are some of the best follow up questions that you can ask to uncover juicy insights about your customers’ needs and wants, and what will they tell you? Here are eight that we absolutely love:
What could we do to increase your score by just one mark?
This is an “open field” question that allows your customers to write whatever and however much they want.
Unlike some of the other questions on this list, it’s much more open-ended and up to interpretation. Given that, you run the risk of people not wanting to respond—usually free-form answers take a bit longer than multiple choice. Choosing to make this optional will give you fewer responses, but the ones that you do get will be much more valuable than if you forced everyone to answer.
The answers to this question will give you insights into which aspect of your product people really find valuable—pay attention to whether they talk more about features of the product, options in support, or just overall value of the product. Once you find a trend, there, you’ll have more direction to move towards with your team strategy.
If you could change just one thing about our product, what would it be?
Similar to the above, this is a free-form answer and, so, probably one that should be made optional. This gives your customers the permission to think big and really give you insight into what piece of the product they would like to see most. While you can expect most of these to be pretty far-flung feature-request ideas, some will provide you with core insights into how the functionality of your product helps or hinders your customers.
Unlike the question above, this is slightly more directed (focusing on the product), so you can expect to get primarily insights about how your product could shift, rather than support or strategy.
What three of these features would you most like to see in the product’s future?
This can be a multiple choice and required question.
On it, you should list some of your most requested (or most internally debated) feature requests, and see which ones are the highest ranked by your customers.
Many product roadmaps aren’t directed explicitly by customer feedback and requests—sometimes the engineering and leadership team decide new features based on where they want the product to go, rather than what customers want it to do right now. By giving your customers a mix of options between features requested internally and features requested externally, you can keep a thumb on the pulse of if your intuition is right.
If, for example, you give a list of six options, and the ones that you expect to rank high are hardly selected, it may be time for your company to recalibrate your customer insight.
Beyond that, if you are a customer-directed company, asking this question will help you pick which features to work on next.
Which of these words best describes our product?
This is a multiple choice question with the option to add a fill-in-the-blank at the end. The value of this question is that it helps you to understand the sentiment that your customers have about your product—you could also substitute in “support” or some other aspect of your company besides product if you’re keen for insights on that. Try to keep the words to qualifying ones that make sense. So, for example:
- Somewhat Confusing
- Other (fill in the blank)
If you don’t have the option for sentiment analysis within your company, this is a great way to understand how people feel about your product as a whole. Similarly, the “other” option may turn up some interesting qualifiers!
What problem would you like to solve with our product?
When creating marketing personas, many companies feel like they have customer motivations down pat.
However, no one is as able to define a customer’s needs and desires as well as a customer.
Asking them and giving them the opportunity to share what they are trying to accomplish, especially across a large group of users, can help you build patterns to understand what the motivators of your customer base are, and see how you could be better meeting them.
It also gives you some good insight into how to better market your product and product features—if you know the main problems your target demographic are trying to solve, you can speak to them in your marketing copy.
This should be an optional open-field question that gives people the opportunity to write as much or as little as they would like.
How would you rate the value for money of the product?
Money is a touchy subject and one that can be difficult to bring up outside of conversations when a customer is debating churning off of a product. By including this in a survey outside of understanding potential churn, you open up the floor for customers to share their opinions without feeling like it’s a charged conversation.
Use this question to understand how the majority of your customers view the value of your product, and maybe follow it up with another question about how you could increase value if they select “average” or “poor.”
This should be a multiple choice question, and can be required, with options that look something like this:
Were you able to find the information you were looking for on our website?
This is particularly useful for insights on how you could be doing better at self-service support and documentation. Include this question in a post-support or post-sales survey and allow the customer to let you know whether they found your offering intuitive or hard to navigate.
More than 75% consumers believe that self-service channels and documentation are the best way to resolve issues instantly. No one wants to have to wait for an email, chat, or phone response if they don’t have to. Use this survey question in tandem with a tool like FullStory to see where your customers are looking for information, if they’re able to find it, and how you can use information architecture to make a better experience.
This can be a multiple choice question with the option for free-form at the bottom. The choices should give the user an option to choose between “Yes” or “No.”
How did this effort compare to your expectations?
Many surveys already ask about effort and how much effort the customer feels like they had to exert to accomplish their goals. This can be useful to send to people who have just signed up for a service or have just completed a support interaction.
However, even more interesting than the amount of effort that a customer feels they have exerted is if that effort was expected or not. Use this answers to understand how your customers are feeling about your service: is it average, below average, or above and beyond their expectations?
For example, if a customer reached out with a technical issue, noted that it took a lot of effort to resolve, but then mentioned that the amount of effort was about expected for the issue, that tells you that you’re doing a good job, but could maybe be doing better. Conversely, if they say that they expected it to take more effort, you’re knocking it out of the park.
This can be a required multiple choice question, and the options should look like this:
- Fell Behind
Many of these follow up questions complement the information that you are already asking on customer service surveys.
Use them to find additional nuance and add some qualitative color to traditionally numbers-heavy reports. By inviting your customers to go deeper and provide you with even more incisive insights, you build trust and loyalty with them, and allow yourself to make an even better product.
Have more questions about setting up an CSAT, NPS or CES? Our customer success team is here to help! Get in touch and we’ll get you collecting valuable feedback in no time.