May I ask you something? Using onsite surveys for optimization and customer retention

The success of a company depends on many factors: Sales, growth and profit – but above all: customer satisfaction. Happy customers will return to the shop over and over again, and will also recommend it to others. Getting feedback from customers will not only tell you how likely they will recommend your company, it also helps to optimize the overall web presence and thus promises long term customer loyalty and growth.
What onsite surveys do, what NPS®* surveys are all about, and more information about creating onsite surveys can be found here.
In the following article, we will show you various options for the placement of surveys and the use of these survey results based on the customer journey.


At what point in the customer journey is my customer?

Every customer goes through different phases in the customer journey, in which they gather more and more information about a product and the respective company. Since every customer has individual needs, each customer experiences the customer journey individually and thus forms their own opinion about the shop. Since 32 percent of consumers would part from a beloved brand after just one bad experience, the goal of every company should be to make the customer journey as seamless as possible and generate a positive customer experience.
To accomplish this, companies require the feedback of their customers. When to ask your customers for feedback and how to choose the right touchpoint depends on several factors.


Getting started – New customer, new perspective

In the first phase of the customer journey, the customer becomes aware of the company or the product. They enter the online shop, often without a specific purchase intention. Besides new customers, other customers may also visit the shop who are already familiar with it and either buy regularly or have not visited the online shop in a long time.
Entry surveys can be used to gather information about the completeness and functions of the homepage. Does the customer like it, is there something missing, is there any important information that should be included on the homepage? You can also ask the customer about the purpose of their visit. This survey is designed rather openly and helps to optimize the homepage. After all, shop operators themselves typically no longer notice if important information is missing. They know the shop inside out. With rather qualitative surveys, it is possible to check whether your users are really happy with the website. Do they want more offers tailored to their individual needs, or is everything just right? Is the navigation clear and simple? These are all questions that are best answered by the users themselves.


Gathering information and considering a purchase – Customers without products in the shopping cart

If the customer finds a product that he likes, he will usually consider whether it makes sense to buy it. Several factors play a role in this decision, such as quality, price, size, or alternatives. This is typically the longest and most exciting phase of the customer journey. If the customer decides in favor of a product, it frequently ends up in the shopping cart and the purchase is concluded. However, if the customer is not satisfied with the product or does not find what he is looking for, he will leave the shop and look for a similar product among your competition.
That is why it is particularly important to collect customer feedback at this stage, too, in order to prevent cart/page abandonment as early as possible. If a visitor has, for example, not yet added a product to the shopping cart, you can ask for feedback on the presentation, design, and structure of the category pages, the search results and product detail pages. This survey can be done some time after the page has loaded, or as an element at the bottom of the first search results/category page.
On search results and category pages, for example, it is possible to ask whether the customer is satisfied with the search function, the search results, and/or to what extent the search can be optimized so that relevant products are found more easily.
On product detail pages, onsite surveys can be used to find out how the customer would rate the information on the product in question or whether the customer would like more information.


The customer leaves the online shop – Without making a purchase

Sometimes customers leave the site unexpectedly. This can involve both customers with an empty shopping cart and customers with a full one. Especially when customers bounce without having made a purchase, it is important to actively identify the reasons for them leaving the page. In total, only around four percent of dissatisfied customers get in touch to complain or give feedback; 96 percent of customers simply leave the site.
On the one hand, it is important that the shop recognizes when a visitor wants to leave the website. Thus, if the customer’s cursor moves toward the close button or tab, various actions can be taken to ask the customer for feedback and, in the best case, keep him on the site. One way to ask for feedback when the exit intent is detected is to place an overlay over the page content. This can show, for example, “Too bad you want to leave already. What’s the reason you’re leaving so early?” or “What’s stopping you from buying now?”.
If the customer has already spent a long time in the shopping cart, questions such as “Do you have any questions about the ordering process?” or “Is there anything about the ordering process that we should improve?” can be displayed in order to regain the customer’s attention or to refer to the FAQs, if the first question is answered in the affirmative.


Completing the purchase – The final step to success

Once the customer has decided to buy one or more products, he will add them to his shopping cart and return to the cart once he is satisfied with all of the products. But even if the product and the price are right, there are still reasons that can prevent the customer from making a purchase. These include the lack of the right payment method, long delivery times, checkout issues, etc. If customers hit too many barriers, there is a high risk of losing them. Thus, deficiencies and optimization opportunities should be identified here as well.
Typically, the customer is shown an order confirmation after the purchase. This order confirmation page is the most obvious place to conduct a user survey. Here, companies can  get all the information about any difficulties or shortcomings in the order or purchasing process, as well as valuable insights regarding missing or non-functioning payment methods. With the help of predefined answers and open questions, customers can quickly provide information about any problems or challenges they may have encountered during checkout.
Here it is important to ask as few questions as possible and only those that actually relate to the purchasing process. One possible and very popular type of survey is the NPS® survey, including a free text field.


The post-purchase stage – final stage

The customer journey does not end with the purchase itself. In the post-purchase phase, it is essential to try to bind the customer to the brand in order to win him as a returning customer. But above all, a satisfied customer has a certain power to influence others. Customer satisfaction can lead not only to long-term customer loyalty, but also to referrals, which are indispensable for companies.
So after a customer has successfully purchased a product, he can give feedback on functionality, usability and many other aspects. Following the purchase, it is recommended to ask about the customer’s satisfaction with the order confirmation via email. If you hope to receive a review, send the customer – with prior consent – an email after delivery of the product. Here, for example, you can ask how satisfied the customer is with the product and whether he or she would like to leave a review.


Proactively ask for feedback

The likelihood of customers sharing their negative experiences with others is twice as high as the likelihood of them talking about their positive experiences. So it is immensely important to proactively solicit feedback to prevent disruptions and optimize the customer experience.
In general, it should be made as easy as possible for visitors to complete an onsite survey. This is the only way to guarantee that as many users as possible take part in it. At the same time, it is critical to include as many touchpoints as possible in order to map the customer’s entire customer journey. After evaluating the questionnaire, possible variations of the shop can be tested using A/B and multivariate tests. Thus, the customer experience and the associated customer satisfaction can be increased in the long term.


*Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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