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Using Customer Happiness Surveys to Make Customers Happier (And Get Some Good Data)

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 17, 2014 6:00:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg

At HubSpot, we are often gathering feedback from our customers. We give users opportunities to provide it while in the actual software, as well as quarterly customer happiness surveys. Once collected, this data is readily available for the entire company, and I was on a mission to use it.

Have you ever filled out a survey and felt like no one was really looking at the results? This is pretty common when happiness surveys are sent out via email to a large customer base for any website, software or store. This is no different at HubSpot - some customers assume it’s sent out and collected by a third party with no real pull. While this is not the case (we have an employee dedicated to analyzing these surveys), there is no real follow-up with the customers after they provide these thoughts. That’s where the user research team comes in.

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If a customer is filling out your happiness survey, it means they have some stake in your product. They are either happy or unhappy, but most likely willing to help you make it better. This is a huge opportunity for user research and the development team. It gives you the chance to not only gather product feedback, but to let them know that the team is listening and cares about what they’re saying. Use this as an opportunity to not only gauge happiness, but to make them happier.

Here are the main things I do when following up on customer feedback.

 

1. Find the right customers to contact

When reaching out using survey results, I work closely with the Product Manager of the feature we’re hoping to learn more about. Together, we select customers based on their Net Promoter Score. We chat with both happy and unhappy customers based on the scoring.

The example outlined in this post was of a recent test where we wanted to learn more about our mobile application. We reached out to customers who were likely to recommend the desktop version of HubSpot, but not the mobile one. We wanted to dig into why the mobile app wasn’t getting the job done for these typically HubSpot-happy customers.

 

2. Make it clear this request is coming from the product team

Customers hear from all different departments in your organization, but it’s likely they’re not often being contacted by the development team. There is an added sense of importance around being contacted by the the team actually building the product. You are fostering a connection between the people building the product and the people using the product. Use this to your advantage. This is not just another survey, this is a phone call with real people. Make that clear, and you’ll get a higher response rate.

Here’s an example of my typical email:

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Next, I cross my fingers for some replies. We tend to get pretty great conversion rates when requesting clarification around customer survey responses.

 

3. Ask the right questions

For these interviews, our goal was to learn more about why users love the desktop product, but not necessarily the mobile offering. It could be as simple as their “must-have” feature is missing, or something more complex. Because of that, we wanted to dig deeper. This is a version of the script I used in the actual conversation with customers, in an attempt to learn more:

We are following up with on your recent HubSpot customer survey results. It appears that you are fairly likely to recommend HubSpot to others but there are areas within the product and service that could use improvements. Today we'd like to specifically focus on your experiences with the HubSpot iOS app.

  • Have customer briefly describe their role in their organization.
  • How did you find the application?
  • What is your typical use of the HubSpot iOS app?
  • If they need examples: do you typically use it during the day, or nights and weekends? Do you use the dashboard / sources or do you use contacts?
  • How often do you use the app?
  • Is there any key functionality missing for you from the app? How can we make the app better for you?
  • If there are other HubSpot users in your organization or amongst your professional network, would you recommend the iOS app to them?

Through this particular round of follow ups, we found that most users had logged into the app, but it was missing “their” feature at the time. Because it didn’t have exactly what they needed, they rarely opened it again.

 

4. Repeat often

At HubSpot, we’re sending out happiness surveys every month. This gives us a lot of data to work with. The product manager and I go through these results and select the people to contact each month. If you’re only collecting this data quarterly or annually, consider doing it more often. You can really use it to your advantage when developing your product. It’s not a huge time commitment - the calls only need to be 15 to 30 minutes.

 

5. Grow your database

Use these calls as an opportunity to add to your beta and usability testing database. If you stumble upon an articulate user that really fits your persona, ask them if they want to be added to your database for future testing opportunities. Take advantage of talking with more customers than you’re used to; it’ll only help with future development.

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The moral of this story is that while super helpful data is the obvious result of our customer happiness survey follow up testing, so much more comes with it. Smiles are put on customers’ faces and they have the realization that there really are people listening to their issues. If you’re lucky, you’ll even find some great candidates for future usability & beta testing, too.

Topics: Usability Testing, ux, Customer Happiness, Surveys

Molly Wolfberg

Written by Molly Wolfberg

Molly mainly talks about dogs, donuts & UX research. She's currently running user research at Wistia, a video software company for businesses.