How to Use Website Feedback Tools to Improve UX in 2020

How website feedback tools can improve UX and unlock growth in your business

August 11, 2020 by Tawni Sattler

If you really want to get inside your website visitors’ heads—to know what they actually think about your site, and how they think it could be better—you’re in the right place.

But!, we’re not here to give you just another list of feedback tools to choose from.

There are plenty of website feedback tools out there to help you understand your customers, and software (like Hotjar!) that make them easy to use; but no matter which feedback tool(s) you choose for your site, the effectiveness of each comes down to one thing: how are you going to use it?

And we’re going to help you figure that out.

To get you into the right frame of mind so you can get the most out of website feedback, we’ll cover:

✍️ PS: if you did come here for a list of website feedback tools, don’t worry—we’ve got something for you.

Later we’ll cover three popular types of feedback tools:

  1. On-site website feedback survey tools
  2. Customer feedback forms and surveys
  3. Website feedback widgets

and we’ll share tips on how to use them to improve the user experience. But first we want to dig into some theory: namely, the importance of website feedback and how it can help your online business.

Note: if you want to skip this part and go straight to the tips, click on any of the feedback tools mentioned in the list above. 👆

The importance of website feedback: how feedback tools help grow your business

If you own an ecommerce store, you probably understand how much user experience (UX) plays a role in the happiness of your online customers.

It comes down to this: you need people to have a good experience when they visit your site—because they expect nothing less. If they encounter blockers like broken or missing elements, website bugs, or a confusing design, they might get frustrated and leave (and visit a competitor’s site instead).

When it comes to measuring your website’s performance, traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics can give you clues about what might (or might not) be working for your users: you can find out how people arrive at your site, which web pages get the most traffic, and how long they stay before they exit your sales funnel (more on this later).

Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages report in Google Analytics
The Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages report in Google Analytics, showing an overview of popular landing pages in the Google Merchandise Store

But most web analytics tools can’t tell you how your visitors are actually experiencing your site, or why they behave the way they do, and can’t test your website against factors like:

which also affect the user experience (UX).

And this is where website feedback tools come in.

How to use website feedback to improve UX and increase conversions

Website feedback gives you insight from real users in their own words, giving you a better understanding of the customer journey: depending on when (and how) you ask for feedback, you could gain insight about how users feel about your site from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave.

Feedback tools help you understand where your users are coming from (i.e. their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs, and why they feel a certain way about your site), and feedback can point to trends in user behavior so you can make decisions on how to improve the user experience and increase conversions.

For example:

"We didn't really understand exactly why things were happening. So we knew that we needed a tool that would help us understand what our customers think, and understand the why behind everything we do.”

Initially, the Matalan team wanted a feedback tool to survey their customers in a non-intrusive way. As they moved from an adaptive website to a fully responsive solution, the team used on-site surveys to understand their customers’ reactions to the change.

Soon the team started seeing the value in other behavior analytics and feedback tools like session recordings and feedback widgets, which helped them spot bugs and glitches, identify issues, and compare insights to give them a fuller understanding of the customer journey.

When they gathered all of their feedback and insights, they found a few holes in the checkout process. By resolving one of the bugs they identified, the Matalan team improved checkout conversion by +1.23%.

💡 Read Matalan’s full story

What’s the difference between website analytics tools and website feedback tools?

Website analytics tools like Google Analytics test your site’s performance and give you quantitative data around metrics like:

Other web analytics tools and website optimization tools—like Ahrefs or HubSpot’s Website Grader—can measure your site against performance issues like::

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Site speed
  • Competitive analysis, and
  • Mobile optimization

Website feedback tools give you qualitative data based on real customer feedback, which gives you a better understanding of the customer journey from their point of view, and lets you move beyond what users are doing on your site, to why they’re doing it.

Feedback tools can address questions such as:

  • Why does our new landing page have such a high exit rate?
  • Why are visitors abandoning their shopping carts?
  • What’s bringing people to my site in the first place?

But like we said, it’s not just about the tools you use—it’s how you use them. In the words of Hotjar’s Senior Editor:

“I really believe that you can have the best tool(s) in the world, but if you’re asking the wrong question you’re always going to get a useless answer. So regardless of the tool, what we need is a good mental framework first.”

— Fio Dossetto, Senior Editor at Hotjar

So before we get into different types of feedback tools, let’s take a look at how you can prepare yourself and your team to get the most out of whichever tool(s) you use:

Customer feedback questions: what do you need to know?

To get the most out of website feedback, you have to get into the right mental framework and know exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

So before you set up a feedback tool on your site, identify what sort of answers you’re looking for:

  • Is there a problem you’re trying to solve? Maybe you have a landing page with a high bounce rate and you want to know what’s causing people to exit without taking the next step in your funnel.
  • Do you need to change something on your site to reach your goals? Maybe you’ve experienced a drop in conversion rates and you want to know what needs to be fixed to create a better user experience and increase conversions.
  • Do you want to understand user behavior? Maybe the data you’re getting from web analytics tools isn’t enough, and you want to find out why users behave the way they do when they visit your site.
  • Do you have a specific question for your customers? Then ask! Unless you can read minds, the best way to find out what your customers really need from your site is to ask them.

Once you’ve settled on your goals and have identified the questions you need to have answered, you’re ready to take the next step:

3 types of website feedback tools [and how to use them to improve the user experience]

Depending on the kind of feedback questions you want to ask, where and how you want to ask them, and what you’re trying to achieve, you can use different tools to gather the insight you need.

Here are three popular website feedback tools and tips on how to use them to improve the user experience (and ultimately increase conversions):

1. On-site website feedback survey tools

On-site survey tools help you understand who your visitors are and what brought them to your website. You can use on-site surveys (also known as on-page surveys, online surveys, or polls) to get feedback from real website visitors in their own words, to measure customer satisfaction, and to find out what (if any) issues users experience on your site.

an example of an open ended hotjar poll question
Example of an on-site survey

On-site surveys are best for:

On-site surveys aren’t ideal for:

  • Asking a long series of questions
  • Collecting in-depth answers that require more than 1 minute of your visitor’s time

If you’re using Hotjar on-site surveys: you can place an on-site survey across your entire site, or trigger it to only popup on specific pages or after specific actions.

For example, you can use on-site surveys on high-exit pages to find out what causes visitors to leave your site, or you can set up an NPS survey to measure customer satisfaction after they convert.

a Hotjar NPS Results dashboard
Example of what the NPS Results dashboard looks like in Hotjar (click on the image to see the live survey!)

💡 On-site survey tip: the way you ask your survey questions will determine the kind of answers you get. One of the first decisions to make is: are you going to ask an open-ended or a closed-ended question?

To learn how to ask better questions and get better, more actionable answers, check out these examples of open- and closed-ended questions.

The main stakeholders in our business want to keep track of product performance. We use Hotjar [on-site surveys] to see how satisfied our customers are with our products, and we report the larger trends.”

The team at Ryanair use on-site surveys to understand how customers interact with their website, and to get feedback on:

  • Ease of use
  • User satisfaction
  • Barriers to purchase

Step 1: ask open-ended questions to identify user pain points

When Ryanair first gathered feedback, they didn’t know what their customers’ pain points were—so they asked survey questions about how they could improve the user experience.

Step 2: ask closed-ended questions to get specific answers

Using a set of multiple-choice questions, Ryanair began running closed-ended polls and NPS surveys for 20% of their visitors at key stages in the buyer’s journey.

Step 3: present the data to the stakeholders

The team at Ryanair simplified their findings from feedback before presenting it to key stakeholders to show the big picture. They also compiled a report of average monthly NPS scores—listing key factors that played a role in negative ratings—including historical data to show average monthly scores.

💡 Read Ryanair’s full story

2. Customer feedback forms and surveys

Some of the best customer feedback tools are forms and surveys, which are voice of the customer (VoC) tools that let you ask a series of questions to gather detailed insight about users’ impressions of and experience on your site.

Because of the nature of this type of survey—you’re able to ask a list of questions that may require more time and space to respond thoughtfully—the survey can sit permanently on a separate page of your website (commonly known as a feedback page), or you can share an off-site survey link with your users.

screenshot of a hotjar customer survey
Example of an off-site NPS survey

Off-site surveys are best for:

  • Reaching targeted customer segments to investigate their experience in detail
  • Asking a long series of survey questions
  • Measuring customer satisfaction with an NPS survey
  • Asking questions that go beyond the website experience alone and extend to the whole customer journey

Off-site surveys aren’t ideal for:

  • Getting quick website feedback with one or two questions

If you’re using Hotjar Surveys: surveys make it easy to learn what’s important to your users by letting you ask detailed, specific questions (so you get detailed, specific answers).

For example, you can email an off-site NPS survey to your customers and ask detailed follow-up questions, giving them a smooth, user-friendly experience—and giving you the opportunity to dig deeper into what they loved (or didn’t love) about their journey through your site.

💡 Pro-tip for off-site surveys: “if your list of questions is getting longer it’s a good idea to invite your users to an off-site survey. Hotjar surveys let you trigger a minimalist invite anywhere on your site in your users’ journey, and it’ll take them to a separate link. This way you can source user feedback on your site, and get their responses on a new screen where more questions and more detailed replies work much better. Perfect for market research.”

— Alex Jost, Product Marketer at Hotjar

3. Website feedback widgets

Feedback widgets are another easy way to hear from your customers: we like to think of them as the ultimate empathy tool. These widgets appear on websites as an interactive feedback button that lets people rate their experience and give in-the-moment feedback on specific page elements.

Example of Hotjar’s Incoming Feedback Widget
Example of Hotjar’s Incoming Feedback Widget

Website feedback widgets are best for:

  • Getting targeted visual feedback in the voice of the customer
  • Identifying problems with elements or features on pages of your website
  • Narrowing down UX issues and prioritizing what needs to be worked on next
  • Measuring and comparing trends in what customers like/don’t like

Feedback widgets aren’t ideal for:

  • Asking customers a series of questions about your website
  • Measuring customer satisfaction with an NPS survey

If you’re using Hotjar Incoming Feedback: the Incoming Feedback widget appears as a button that sits at the edge of a page. When users click on it, they can rate their experience and give additional context. Users can also attach a screenshot of the page element they loved (or hated), so you know exactly what works (or doesn’t), and what needs to be changed to improve UX.

For example, you could put an Incoming Feedback widget on high-exit pages to find out what’s causing people to leave without continuing through your sales funnel. Their feedback might alert you to a broken or missing element, or a confusing design that’s tripping them up and causing them to give up on your site.

"We love Hotjar’s Incoming Feedback because it gives us instant feedback from our clients' shoppers. It doesn’t interrupt the checkout flow, and allows us to fully understand the experience in real-time."

eShopWorld helps clients with conversion rate optimization (CRO), and when the team’s Conversion Analyst notices a change in conversion for one of their clients, she uses user behavior analytics and feedback tools to evaluate.

Step 1: study data from Incoming Feedback

eShopWorld uses the Incoming Feedback widget on their checkout page, and whenever there’s a sudden fluctuation in conversion, they look at feedback data first.

Step 2: study Google Analytics and session recordings

If the team sees a trend of comments from users highlighting an issue, they use Google Analytics and session recordings to dig deeper and figure out what’s going on.

Step 3: study heatmaps and make changes to the site

Heatmaps give the eShopWorld team more insight into customer behavior at checkout, which helps the Conversion Analyst articulate any changes she submits to the Product team for testing.

Step 4: return to heatmaps to see whether the changes worked

The final step is to see the effect of the changes made, so eShopWorld looks at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture that heatmaps paint. If their changes don’t have the intended effect, they investigate further.

💡 Read eShopWorld’s full story



To sum up: it’s clear that website feedback is an important part of creating a better user experience and boosting conversion rates. But if you’re not using feedback tools strategically—if you’re not asking the right types of questions, at the right time, in the right way—you’re missing a huge opportunity to understand what’s really important to your customers, which is key to understanding how to give them what they need.

🧐 What do your visitors actually think about your site?

Use website feedback tools to find out what people really want from your website, and give them the experience they deserve!

testimonial

FAQ

Website feedback tools help you collect direct feedback from your visitors about their customer journey so you can understand what they like about your site, and what’s preventing them from turning into paying customers. Website feedback tools like on-site surveys, feedback widgets, and feedback forms make it easy to quickly gather data and hear straight from the mouths of your visitors.

Website analytics tools (think Google Analytics, Ahrefs, or Hubspot’s Website Grader) will give you quantitative data to help you understand the who, what, when, and where of different pages on your site.

Website feedback tools, on the other hand, give you qualitative data and the power to understand why your users behave in a particular way, which can help you prioritize the changes that need to be made to your site.

For example, website analytics data will tell you your bounce rate, but website feedback tools will help you understand why your visitors are bouncing, and help you discover ways to reduce your bounce rate so visitors travel further down your funnel.

Website feedback eliminates the guesswork and gives you a special edge over your competition: the ability to hear directly from your users.

For example, imagine you recently relaunched your ecommerce store. After months of product development, usability testing, and website redesign, the time has finally arrived to open your shop! After launching though, you notice something: prospective customers are flooding to your store, but aren’t buying anything.

Without website feedback, solving the above issue would require a lot of trial and error, causing you to lose time and potential sales along the way as you try to guess what your visitors want. Website feedback gives you quick, concrete insight directly from your visitors so you know the exact path to take to increase conversions and sales.

The best website feedback tool depends on what you’re trying to achieve on your site. Once you’ve identified the problems you’re trying to solve and the goals you’re trying to reach, you can choose which tools will help you get there.

For example:

  1. If you want a quick way to measure customer satisfaction, you could set up an on-site survey, which takes less than a minute for your visitors to complete.
  2. To dive deep into the thoughts and expectations of your website visitors, customer feedback forms and surveys would be the best choice since they’re longer and allow your visitors to provide more detailed feedback.
  3. Feedback widgets will help you gather visual feedback and give visitors the opportunity to rate their overall experience, so you can prioritize what areas need the most attention.

The best way to get feedback from your users is to first identify what information you lack. From there, you can create meaningful feedback questions to get insight you can use to increase conversions and improve the customer experience.

Feedback tools give you a lot of data in a short period of time, which gives you more time to test and implement new changes such as:

To get the most out of your website feedback, try to identify trends so you know what to focus on first:

  • Are there certain bottlenecks preventing your visitors from moving down the funnel?
  • Are elements of your website turning your visitors away?

Once you identify the biggest problem areas, you can use your feedback in a number of different ways:

Finally, A/B testing any changes you make will help you feel confident that you are providing the best user experience for your visitors.

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Tawni Sattler

Tawni is a Content Writer at Hotjar. When she's not writing, you can find her drinking coffee, reading, and talking to her plants.