How to Use Different Types of Surveys Throughout the Customer Journey

Creating a data-led optimisation strategy is foundational for any ecommerce store wanting to scale. In order to gather qualitative data for this endeavour, customer surveys are a useful tool. However, knowing which type of customer survey to use, and where to use it in the customer journey, is just as important. Read on to hear insights on this from Millie, Junior Data Strategist at Swanky.

In the competitive world of ecommerce, understanding your customers is crucial for success. Everyone knows that data is the key to this; to creating and executing a winning digital strategy. However, quantitative data can only take you so far because it lacks the ‘why’ that drives customer behaviour.

This is where different types of customer surveys can be used to gain insight into customer behaviour through qualitative analysis. Surveys can be placed at various stages of the customer journey and gather data that uncovers the motivations, preferences and pain points of your audience.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of adopting qualitative data analysis into your ecommerce team’s workflow and how to learn from your customers at various points in their journey. We’ll also share some tips on how to optimise this process for your brand. This will include looking at different types of surveys, which tools we recommend and how to analyse your results.

Why are customer insights important?

At Swanky, we believe that accurate customer insights are the foundations of growth. This is because they allow ecommerce teams to make data-led decisions and build strategies that are informed by their customers.

Customer insights provide a deeper understanding of your target audience, enabling you to tailor your marketing messages, personalise the customer experience, and optimise your offerings. By identifying your customer preferences and friction points, you can enhance the overall customer journey, improve conversions, and build long-term customer loyalty.

You can read more about the benefits of customer insights in our article on why and how you should listen to your customers.

Let’s dive into the different types of customer surveys you can implement to gather insights at every journey stage.

Gain customer insights throughout the customer journey

In order to have a 360˚ view of your customer journey, you need to be gaining insight at multiple points. From the start of a customer’s awareness of your brand, through to the retention stage, it’s important to have a complete understanding of your audience’s experience, both the positives and the negatives.

To achieve this level of insight, different tools are required for different points in the journey. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all survey to deliver the qualitative data you need to unlock growth. Below we’ll explain which tools and surveys are most useful to collect and collate the data you need at these distinct moments in the customer journey.

1. Awareness stage

This stage is when a customer first becomes aware of your brand and learns what you offer, be that a service or your product range.

At this stage, it’s immensely beneficial to understand a customer’s motivations, preferences and expectations to appropriately and effectively tailor your marketing efforts and make sure you are getting the best return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here are three survey types most suitable to this initial stage of the customer journey.

1.1. Customer intent survey

As its name suggests, the customer intent survey is designed to quantify customer intent and assess the percentage of customers who fail to complete their intentions. Customer intent can be understood as the purpose that drives a user’s actions and decisions during their journey through your store. It sheds light on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and pinpoints potential barriers preventing customers from taking action.

Example of customer intent survey

Survey triggers on abandonment behaviour across all pages, aiming to be as minimally intrusive to the user journey as possible. On desktop devices this is when the mouse cursor moves towards the edge of the browser window. 

The survey questions might look as follows:

1. Why did you visit our website today?

2. Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit? 

  • Yes [go to 3.a.]
  • No [go to 3.b.]

3.a. What do you like most about our website? 

3.b. What stopped you from completing the purpose of your visit?

We would also include some questions to gather basic demographic information to help us understand whether there are any trends in customer responses and age / gender / whether they have shopped with your brand previously. 

1.2. Propensity to purchase survey

The propensity to purchase survey gauges the proportion of users considering making a purchase. It helps you identify potential customers, enabling you to personalise your messaging and strategies accordingly.

Example of propensity to purchase survey

Survey triggers upon delay of visiting any of a site’s pages.

1. How likely are you to make a purchase today?

  • I definitely want to make a purchase today
  • I may purchase if I find the right information
  • I’m only curious and don’t intend to buy

2. How did you hear about our brand?

3. Have you shopped with us before?

1.3. Blog content survey

The blog content survey will help you gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences regarding content by seeking their feedback on the type of content they find interesting. This data allows you to optimise your blog content to effectively engage and convert website visitors.

Example of blog content survey

The survey would trigger when abandonment behaviour is displayed on a blog article or once a user has scrolled to the end of the content. 

1. Was this article useful? 

2. What type of content are you interested in?

3. What topics would you like to see us write about next?

4. How would you rate this article?

5. What could we do to make this page more useful?

2. Consideration stage

In the consideration stage customers are weighing their options before making a purchase. Employing a survey at this point gives you qualitative data that can help you identify barriers to conversion and optimise the UX of your site accordingly.

The types of survey that are useful here are as follows:

2.1. Cart abandonment survey

This survey helps you uncover the reasons behind cart abandonment, such as lack of confidence, cost, etc.. This survey helps you identify friction points in the checkout process and guides improvements to increase conversions.

Example of cart abandonment survey

The survey would trigger when abandonment behaviour is evident on the cart page or at checkout. 

1. What stopped you from completing the purchase today?

2. What information is missing or would have made your decision to buy easier?

3. Did any unexpected costs or fees impact your decision to abandon your cart?

4. Were there any specific difficulties or frustrations you encountered during the checkout process?

2.2. Exit intent survey

The exit intent survey captures data at the point an individual leaves certain pages on your store. The aim of this survey is to reveal why customers might leave a site without purchasing, thus enabling you to address these concerns.

When it comes to furthering your understanding of interactions with your website, using other methods alongside surveys can be a valuable investment. Here are three such examples:

  • On-site experiments help you observe how a variety of users interact with your website.
  • Live surveys provide an opportunity to dive deeper into a customer’s thoughts and experience of your site. Moreover, you can ask follow-up questions in real time, giving you rich qualitative data to work with.
  • Focus groups are a dynamic and interactive qualitative research method that amass data through guided discussions with a small group of people. This form of data collection offers another chance to ask follow up questions and gain unique customer insight.

3. Purchase/post-purchase stage

Once a customer has made a purchase, assessing their experience and level of satisfaction is another key point for data gathering. Survey types that are useful at this stage include:

3.1. Post-purchase survey

The post-purchase survey evaluates the ease of the purchase process through the Customer Effort Score (CES). This metric measures the simplicity of finding a product and completing a purchase.

Example of post-purchase survey

Survey triggers upon completion of the checkout page.

1. Did you have any issues using our website today? 

2. If you could improve one thing on our website, what would it be?

3.2. Product satisfaction survey

This survey is designed to understand exactly how customers are using your products, their level of satisfaction and areas for improvement. It helps you see where expectations have been met or not, regarding the products in question.

Example of product satisfaction survey

The survey would be sent by email to customers upon receipt of purchase and after six weeks of use.

1. How satisfied are you with the effectiveness of the product you purchased?

2. Has the product met your expectations over the past six weeks?

3. How likely would you recommend the product to others based on your experience?

4. Overall, how satisfied are you with your purchase decision after using the product for six weeks?

3.3. Review analysis

Reviews offer a wealth of information about how customers have found their purchase experience and for that reason they are not to be overlooked. Review analysis is not a survey, but rather the process of extracting insight from customer reviews by auditing them for positive and negative feedback. 

To learn more about how to do this effectively, read what we’ve shared about voice of customer analysis

3.4. Churn analysis

Churn analysis uncovers the reasons for customer churn by surveying those who have ended their subscription or been inactive. This process identifies pain points and highlights areas for improvement regarding customer retention.

Example of churn analysis survey

This survey would be sent by email to customers who have been inactive during the past six months.

1. What is your reason for not purchasing with us during the past months?

2. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with your last purchase experience with us?

3. Were there any specific improvements or changes you would have liked to see in our product or service?

3.5. One-time purchase to subscription conversion

A one-time purchase to subscription conversion survey is designed to gather feedback and insights from your customers who made a one-time purchase but did not opt for a subscription. This aims to understand motivations, concerns, and preferences to identify opportunities for improving the subscription offering and encouraging customers to move from making one-time purchases to long-term subscriptions.

Example of one-time purchase to subscription conversion survey

The survey triggers once a customer has completed a purchase, three seconds after the Thank You page is loaded.

1. What motivated you to make a one-time purchase (OTP) instead of opting for a subscription?

2. On a scale of 1-10, how familiar were you with our subscription options before making the OTP purchase?

3. Were there any specific concerns that prevented you from choosing a subscription after your OTP purchase?

4. What alternative factors or offerings could have influenced your decision to subscribe instead of making an OTP purchase?

4. Retention/advocate stage

In the last stages of the customer journey, your aim is to drive customer loyalty and inform product development. You can consider the following surveys:

4.1.Product Development & Customer Preferences survey

This type of customer survey will help you to gather feedback on your customer preferences and demands for new product development. It aligns your offerings with market requirements and improves customer satisfaction.

4.2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS survey measures customer loyalty through a single-question survey that provides a score ranging from -100 to +100. It gauges customer sentiment and your score can be displayed on your website to attract new customers.

Example of NPS survey

Like the churn analysis survey, this survey would trigger three seconds after the Thank You page is loaded.

1. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend/colleague?

2.a. If the customer picks a number between 0 and 8, apologise for the negative experience and ask “What can we do to improve your score?

2.b. If they pick a 9 or 10, follow up with enthusiasm and ask, “What’s the main reason for your score?”

Selecting the right customer survey tools

Using the right tools for the job is a crucial step in gathering the right data, both qualitative and quantitative. Whether you opt for on-site surveys, on-site tasks and experiments, or email surveys, leveraging the appropriate tools ensures a seamless survey experience and enhances the quality of the data collected. Here are some of the different types of customer survey tools we recommend.

HotjarFairingZigpoll and Grapevine stand out as excellent tools for conducting simple on-site surveys and empowering you to gather valuable data. Additionally, personalisation tools like Dynamic Yield prove invaluable in precisely targeting specific audience segments, tailoring survey experiences, and extracting more personalised insights. 

Leveraging the capabilities of your email providers, you can effectively conduct email surveys, engaging with your customer base to gather feedback on various aspects of your customer journey. When it comes to comprehensive on-site experiments, User Brain emerges as a powerful tool, enabling your business to set up tasks, observe user interactions, and gain deep insights into website navigation and user experiences. 

By combining these diverse survey tools, you can gather a wealth of data and make informed decisions to optimise and deliver exceptional user experiences.

You can learn more about how to craft and consolidate an effective and functional tech stack for your ecommerce store here

Analyse your qualitative data from customer surveys

Once you have gathered the survey responses, effective data analysis is vital to extract meaningful insights. Look for patterns, trends and common themes in the feedback received. Categorise and prioritise the insights based on their impact and feasibility for implementation. Identify areas where improvements can be made and develop action steps based on the insights gained.

At Swanky, we utilise those insights as a foundation for our A/B testing strategies, enabling us to understand the ‘why’ behind key frustration points and uncover the reasons for users’ cart abandonment. 

Armed with this in-depth understanding, we can ideate and prioritise A/B test ideas that directly address these issues, aiming to optimise the user experience, boost conversion rates, and ultimately drive better results for our clients. We continuously monitor and track the impact of these changes on customer satisfaction and conversions to find the best combinations. 

Our team has also developed a method of using ChatGPT for qualitative data analysis. Read this article to learn how you can do this too and streamline what can be a painfully slow process.

How will you use different types of customer surveys?

Throughout this article we’ve explored how different types of customer surveys can be leveraged to gain a variety of insights throughout the customer journey.

Whilst gaining this data is invaluable, knowing how to process and analyse it can be overwhelming. At Swanky, our ecommerce data and analytics experts combine forces to comb through a site’s data, understand what this shows us and then use this insight to create optimisation strategies for growth.

Start a conversation with us today about how we can help you harness the power of your store’s data.

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