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4 ways to collect real-time feedback from your customers

Collecting real-time customer feedback is a quick and affordable way to understand what customers love (and hate) in the moment, enabling you to identify and fix issues before they escalate and double down on what’s working well.

Last updated

31 May 2023

Reading time

4 min


In this post, we give you four different ways to collect real-time customer feedback on your website (and beyond) so you can improve your customer experience (CX), satisfaction, retention, and, ultimately, your bottom line.

1. Add a feedback button to your website

2. Trigger website surveys based on user actions

3. Set up a live chat app

4. Run in-depth user interviews

Grow your business with real-time feedback

Use Hotjar to instantly hear what your customers love—and what you need to fix.

1. Add a feedback button to your website

A feedback button gives visitors navigating your website the opportunity to leave quantitative feedback (like 1-to-5 satisfaction stars or angry-to-happy emojis) and qualitative comments about what they like (or don’t) in real time.

The feedback button on our homepage, powered by Hotjar Feedback. Try leaving some real-time feedback for us now!

Website feedback buttons help you:

  • Collect continuous feedback without interrupting the customer journey (visitors can use the button without needing to navigate away from the page) 

  • Give customers a way to self-report issues, like broken web design elements or unclear content, so your team can quickly intervene

  • Get a quantitative baseline to measure the overall user experience (UX), which you can also monitor for drops

Track real-time Feedback scores in the Hotjar Dashboard

How to do it: use a website feedback tool like Hotjar Feedback to add a feedback button to your website. From your account, click the speech bubble icon to go to the Feedback tool and select ‘Set up Feedback’ or ‘New widget’.

#Adding a new feedback widget in Hotjar Feedback
Adding a new feedback widget in Hotjar Feedback

You can also customize your feedback button or widget to:

  • Change colors and emoji styles

  • Pick where it shows up on the page

  • Edit the follow-up question

  • Choose if you want it to display sitewide or only for specific pages, actions, or users

#Customizing the Hotjar Feedback question. The default question is: “How would you rate your experience?”
Customizing the Hotjar Feedback question. The default question is: “How would you rate your experience?”

💡Pro tip: website feedback isn’t always clear—an angry comment or a happy emoji, in isolation, might not tell you exactly what your website visitor was experiencing. 

The solution: combine responses with other behavior insights data to understand the big picture. If you use Hotjar Feedback, you can click straight through from a feedback response to view companion session recordings.

Click the play icon to watch the corresponding recordings from Feedback responses

2. Trigger website surveys based on user actions

Not all real-time customer feedback is equally important to your business; triggering a website survey on key pages or after users take a certain action—like abandoning checkout or scrolling to the bottom of a product page—allows you to focus on the most impactful feedback first. 

For example, at the bottom of each Hotjar help doc, we ask visitors “Was this article helpful?” If they click ‘No’, a Hotjar Survey is triggered, which asks, “Sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for! How can we make this article more useful?” The real-time responses help us update our content so more users can easily get answers to their questions without having to contact a support agent. 

#A Hotjar Survey is triggered if users click ‘No’ on any of our help docs so we find out how to improve
A Hotjar Survey is triggered if users click ‘No’ on any of our help docs so we find out how to improve

Targeted surveys help you

  • Identify (and fix) tangible causes of drop-offs in your conversion funnel—for example, why people abandon the checkout process

  • Reveal why users are angry or frustrated, particularly when triggered after a rage click 

  • Make data-driven decisions with a wealth of qualitative data, so you know where to focus your efforts and what optimizations to prioritize

How to do it: in Hotjar, click the clipboard icon to go to the Surveys tool, then select a survey template or use the brand-new AI feature to create a survey based on your prompt.

#Use Hotjar’s AI feature to create a new website survey
Use Hotjar’s AI feature to create a new website survey

You can customize your survey questions and appearance, and target certain devices, pages, and user segments. You can also specify which user action(s) or event(s) should trigger a survey, just like in the example from our help docs we showed you above.

To take advantage of the real-time nature of this tool, set up response forwarding so responses are sent to your team’s communication tool of choice—including Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email—as soon as a visitor fills in a survey.

#Real-time survey responses sent straight to a Slack channel using Hotjar Feedback
Real-time survey responses sent straight to a Slack channel using Hotjar Feedback

💡Pro tip: if you’re A/B testing designs with a tool like Optimizely, Hotjar Surveys lets you trigger a survey on a specific page variant. Collecting real-time qualitative feedback alongside quantitative test results helps you understand why winning designs perform better and gives you ideas to iterate on in future tests.

3. Set up a live chat app

Live chat gives your website visitors the opportunity to leave instant feedback and receive a real-time response from an automated chatbot or customer support agent.

#A live chat bot on Zendesk’s homepage
A live chat bot on Zendesk’s homepage

Live chatbots help you: 

  • Troubleshoot and solve user problems straight away

  • Create support tickets and follow up on issues at a later date if required

  • Collect information about the most common topics or website features your customers struggle with, so you can turn their negative experience into a positive one. For example, if users repeatedly miss a specific piece of information, consider making it more prominent or providing more guidance on how to find it.

How to do it: use a tool like Zendesk, HelpScout, or Intercom to add a live chat widget to your website.

💡Pro tip: if you’re using Hotjar, you can filter recordings by users who clicked on your live chat button to see how they browsed and what they struggled with before they asked for help. 

You can also connect Hotjar with Zendesk and other live chat tools to view session recordings relating to individual support tickets. This helps customer success agents better solve issues in real time, and gives web design and UX designers the insights they need to improve website design and aid conversions.

Integrate Hotjar with Zendesk and other live chat tools using Zapier

4. Run in-depth user interviews

Running user interviews, either remotely or in person, gives you the chance to collect detailed real-time feedback face-to-face.

A Hotjar Engage remote user interview with an automated transcript

User interviews help you: 

  • Collect real-time qualitative feedback on any project, even if it’s still in development

  • Validate website designs straight away without waiting for issues to occur

  • Get a richer understanding of how your UX works as a whole by asking follow-up questions 

How to do it: use a user interview tool like Hotjar Engage to run remote user interviews. You can recruit participants from your existing audience or find people who match your target audience from our testing pool of 175,000+ participants. All interviews are automatically recorded and transcribed so you can highlight and share notes with other team members.

#Recruit target users from Hotjar Engage’s testing pool of 175,000+ participants
Recruit target users from Hotjar Engage’s testing pool of 175,000+ participants

💡Pro tip: the best way to get valuable real-time feedback from your user interviews is to ask open-ended questions (i.e. nothing that can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’). 

If people are struggling to give you longer answers, encourage them to elaborate by asking follow-ups like, “Can you tell me more about that?” or “What specifically did you find interesting/challenging about that?” 

For more tips, see our guide to mastering user interviews.

Turn real-time feedback into long-term growth

Real-time feedback gives you instant insight into what’s happening on your website, which makes it very tempting to just jump in and start making changes! 

But you first need to take a step back and look at feedback in the context of insights from heatmaps, session recordings, and other digital experience insights tools. By understanding the bigger picture, you’ll confidently prioritize high-impact fixes that satisfy users and drive business growth.

Understand UX in real time

Use Hotjar to instantly hear what your customers love—and what you need to fix.

FAQs about real-time feedback

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