User research

User feedback: how to collect and measure it year-round + user feedback tools and examples

graphic representing measuring user feedback

Table of contents

What is user feedback?

User feedback is information collected directly from users/customers about their reactions to a product, service, or website experience. This feedback is collected with a variety of tools, such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. User feedback and insight are used by UX designers, researchers, and marketers to improve the user experience.

Why user feedback is so important at Hotjar

For us, getting close to our users and even 'obsessing' about them isn’t just an empty phrase: it’s what drives everything we do.

nps support

It’s a huge investment of time, for sure—but it’s the most important one we could make for the long-term growth of Hotjar.

6 types of user feedback (and our favorite tools to collect it)

The way we collect user feedback breaks down into three stages with six touchpoints total:

types of user feedback

  1. The proactive touchpoints are where we go out of our way to find out how our users are doing early on in their experience with Hotjar and discover what we could be doing better

  2. The reactive touchpoints are triggered by a specific interaction with us, such as a support ticket or when someone downgrades their account

  3. On-demand is how we allow our users to reach out at any point in their experience with us

For all three stages, our main focus is on the qualitative side of the experience (i.e. what our customers' experience, WOW moments, and frustrations were in their own words) as opposed to the quantitative one (measuring usage of the product, how long did our users stay with us, etc.).

Here is a breakdown:

1. Point-of-conversion survey

We show the post-purchase survey to new customers seconds after our users sign up for a paid plan. We ask people how their payment experience was on a scale from 1 (hated it) to 5 (loved it) when the credit card is still in their hands and the experience as fresh as possible.

point of conversion question flow

This type of survey helps us uncover direct insights for improving the experience—and since our customer just converted, these responses are as qualified as you can get.

Most powerfully, we can use our own Session Recording tool to watch session recordings of people who had a bad experience.

hotjar negative experience session recording
WATCHING SESSION RECORDINGS OF USERS WHO HAD A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE IS ONE OF THE ULTIMATE FORMS OF CUSTOMER EMPATHY
david-1

✏️ Read more in-depth details about the exact list of questions we ask + learn how to set up your own point-of-conversion survey.

2. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how much effort it took to complete a task on a scale of 1-5 or 1-7. It's often used to measure support interactions, but at Hotjar we use it to measure our tool's ease of use.

The very first time a user uses a new feature like Heatmaps, Recordings, or Surveys, we ask them to what extent they agree that Hotjar is easy to use, on a 1-7 scale:

customer effort score question flow

We set the survey to only show up just once, regardless of whether the user answers or not.

Here are the results from our CES:

customer effort score results
1 = HOTJAR IS DIFFICULT TO USE, 7 = HOTJAR IS EASY TO USE

At first glance, the results look good, with 47% of our customers giving the highest score possible.

But here’s how we look at it:

customer effort score results how we look at it

Almost 50% of our customers gave us a 4, 5, or 6. That’s half of our customers not having an optimal experience—and a huge opportunity for us to improve it for them. 

(Side note: the 1s, 2s, and 3s only make up around 3% of responses, which means we’re doing a pretty good job of not having a terrible experience. And the overall impact of helping them would be minimal compared to bumping more people up to a 6 or a 7.)

Again, session recordings play a super valuable role, for example, to view sessions where a user said using Heatmaps was difficult.

We’ve also gotten feedback through our CES survey that has allowed us to build an even better Hotjar:

customer effort score survey feedback
ACTUAL FEEDBACK WE'VE GOTTEN FROM OUR USERS VIA OUR CES SURVEYS


Practical example:

At one point, we noticed a trend across lower CES scores that caught our attention: quite a number of our customers were complaining about their experience with Hotjar’s Recordings.

So our product team started having 1-on-1 interviews with these customers (and that's another type of user feedback for you!). That helped the team map out the experience a typical customer might have while using Recordings:

customer potential experience hotjar
A CUSTOMER'S POTENTIAL EXPERIENCE WITH HOTJAR RECORDINGS

Through this mapping exercise, we realized there were more potentially negative experiences than positive ones with the tool. So we added better filtering and segmentation of our users’ recordings as a direct result—all thanks to the responses from our CES survey.

3. Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

After our customers already converted, have been onboarded, and are starting to use the product more and more, we dive deeper into their experience using a Net Promoter Score (NPS®) survey.

net promoter score question flow

The goal with NPS is to learn whether our customers would actually recommend us—and if not, what’s holding them back. Since referrals and word-of-mouth account for 40% of new signups for us, getting the answers to the right questions is essential to our success. 

We calculate the score and process the responses once a month, then present the results to the whole team.

net promoter score answers 1

But for us, the most valuable part of NPS isn’t the score: it's the responses we get to the follow-up questions, where we ask people what we should do to improve their experience. That's where we get detailed, actionable answers that end up impacting our product development roadmap:

Blog_Post_21a_-_Screenshot_7-min


net promoter score answers 2

An NPS survey helps us learn what expectations people have of Hotjar that we aren’t meeting and how we can improve. That kind of feedback is absolute gold for building a customer-centric product.


Practical
example: 
In 2018, our Product team had come up with a plan to update one of our tools. Our CEO believed that the plan was becoming too complicated—but rather than voicing his personal opinion, he pointed to our NPS results which consistently prove that simplicity and usability are one of our main selling points.
It was as simple as that—the team, empowered by customer feedback, went back to the drawing board. 

david-1

✏️ Read more: we wrote an entire guide toNet Promoter Score if you want to find out more about where and how to implement it.

4. Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)

At Hotjar, we’ve always believed that the service we provide on top of the product we sell is just as important as the product itself—maybe even more, because with a digital product the service is the only human element you have.

That’s why we strive to create as many WOW  moments as possible during our customer interactions:

customer satisfaction survey rating
customer satisfaction survey feedback

And since these positive interactions often lead to word-of-mouth referrals, the effort pays off. So it’s critical that we understand how well our service interactions with our customers are going: and for that, we use a CSAT survey.

24 hours after a support ticket has been solved or after a customer success call, we send an email using Zendesk or Go-to-Webinar asking our customers to rate their experience with our support team:

csat survey flow
OUR CSAT SURVEY FLOW

We track the score every week and note down actual responses that stood out:

csat survey weekly report
A SLIDE FROM THE SUPPORT TEAM’S WEEKLY REPORT

As with the previous touchpoints, it’s not about the score so much as the follow-up responses. And for CSAT, we make sure to link the feedback we’re getting from the other touchpoints.


Practical
example: 
Our average response time might hit 25 hours or more in a given week. Not terrible, but certainly not great. But the CSAT score for the week could still be 98%. And since our NPS feedback isn’t pointing to any big problems with the response time, we know we don’t need to double down on and improve it right now moment.

david-1

We also use the CSAT format in our help articles. At the end of each, there's a yes or no question asking if the article was helpful:

csat article on page survey flow

If people click "No," an on-page survey pops up to ask "How can we make this Help section useful?" The answers are great for optimizing our documentation and encouraging users to self-service as much as possible.

5. Retention survey

Having a retention survey (aka a survey that asks why a customer downgraded their paid plan) is something we’ve found to be critical, especially at times when the number of customers downgrading is going up or down and we don't have a real clue why.

customer downgrade survey
THE SURVEY WE SHOW TO ALL CUSTOMERS WHO DOWNGRADE

We’ve learned so much from this survey that we made it a requirement to fill it out before a customer downgrades. It’s powerful to uncover the reasons in our customers' own words and understand what we need to do to make it likelier that they’ll stick around longer next time.

retention survey customer feedback
ACTUAL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK WE'VE RECEIVED FROM OUR RETENTION SURVEY

We also make sure to ask downgrading customers whether they are likely to upgrade again in the future:

downgrade customer survey upgrade in the future

This lets our product team give more weight to feedback from people who are likely to come back. It also plays a big part in defining our product roadmap and deciding on what we’ll build next.

david-1

6. On-going user feedback

This last one is the catch-all website feedback tool that lets our customers give us feedback whenever and wherever they want. Its real value is how at the moment it is—especially when it’s coming from qualified customers. Allowing detractors to walk you through their pain points or what went wrong can provide valuable (if painful) insight into your product/service’s functionality and how to improve it.

We know from our own negative experiences using websites that when something annoys us, we don’t want to fill out an online feedback form or open a support ticket: we want to let someone know right away. And if we can’t, we leave. Probably upset, and not very likely to recommend the company.

We don’t want our customers to do that, which is why we use Incoming Feedback—a small widget that lets users immediately give feedback in real-time at any point in their experience:

Visualization of incoming feedback
INCOMING FEEDBACK IN ACTION

The responses we’ve gotten from Incoming Feedback have been critical in helping us uncover what we need to fix right away to keep our customers happy.


Practical
example: 
During one of our product team’s monthly investigations, they spotted negative feedback from users whose heat maps were not showing up correctly: 

heat map negative feedback 1


heat map negative feedback 2
THE BIG BLACK SQUARE IS WHERE A HEATMAP SHOULD BE

This alerted the team to a possible issue. They quickly dug into the other feedback touchpoints, and found support tickets of people giving negative CSAT scores and complaints in the NPS survey. Watching recordings further confirmed the issue—so they jumped on it to solve it as quickly as possible. 

Our support team also combs through the responses and replies directly to people having issues:

incoming feedback responses
INCOMING FEEDBACK RESPONSES

We also use Incoming Feedback to track the overall user experience, with all its ups and downs:

incoming feedback results
INCOMING FEEDBACK RESULTS
david-1

Get started: 5 best questions to ask for effective user feedback

As you've seen so far, we use six methods to measure and improve our users’ experience year-round, but you don't have to use them all right away—in fact, you can get started on a much smaller scale to find out: 

  • What’s bringing people to your website
  • What’s stopping them from converting
  • Why some users are converting

You can find out this critical information by setting up an on-page survey with Hotjar and asking your visitors a handful of carefully chosen questions.

1. How can we make this page better?

user feedback question 1

Where to ask: any business-critical website page, especially pages with high exit rates

What you’ll get: a list of problems you may not have know you had, with potential solutions directly suggested by your visitors.

2. Where did you first hear about us?

user feedback question 2

Where to ask: homepage, landing page

What you’ll get: better insight into where customers hear about you that traditional analytics can’t track (especially word-of-mouth referrals or offline campaigns).

3. Why are you looking for [product or service] today?

user feedback question 3

Where to ask: product pages, pricing page

What you’ll get: a clearer understanding of why customers are interested in your product/service. You also get to collect feedback in your users’ own words that you can re-use in your product marketing copy.

4. What, if anything, is stopping you from [taking action] today?

feedback from your users with polls

When to ask: exit survey when users are leaving the site, abandoned cart follow-up

What you’ll get: understanding of technical issues with your purchase process and which objections you need to better address on the page.

5. What persuaded you to [take action] today?

user feedback question 5

Where to ask: post-purchase survey or on a success page

What you’ll get: your unique selling points (USPs) in your users’ words when the experience is fresh in their minds

Start collecting user feedback with Hotjar

Sign up for a free Hotjar account and start asking your users what works for them (and doesn't) on your website.

how to collect and measure user feedback year round

* * *

One final thought: 

Although collecting and analyzing feedback can seem time-consuming, a simple piece of feedback can change your product design or website for the better. So tracking the responses from each touchpoint won't mean much if you don't act on the feedback and insights. Building a truly customer-centric business is not about how much feedback you collect—it's what you do with it that counts. 

user feedback quote

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

Learn something new every month:
sign up to receive Hotjar content in your inbox.

Related content

Heatmaps, Recordings, Incoming Feedback, Surveys

Try Hotjar. It's free