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The complete guide to exit-intent surveys

Exit-intent is a signal that a visitor is about to leave your website, like when they move their cursor from the main content of your site up toward the exit button. 

Losing website visitors and potential customers is tough enough—but you don’t get any closure when it’s a mystery why they left. When you understand the cause of abandonment with exit-intent surveys, you can use what you learn to reduce churn and improve the customer experience.

Last updated

27 Oct 2023

Reading time

3 min



This guide reviews what a website exit survey is and how you can use your users’ responses to create a better customer experience.  

What is an exit-intent pop-up survey?

When you know a customer is about to leave your website, you have a decision to make—should you assume why they left or just ask them?

An exit-intent survey is a short set of questions that asks visitors why they’re leaving and what changes they want to see. It appears on the screen just before someone exits your web page.

#An example of how exit-intent pop-ups work
An example of how exit-intent pop-ups work

3 ways to use exit-intent survey responses to improve your website

Your website visitors have to leave eventually, so exits are bound to happen. However, each exit is a learning opportunity because not everyone goes contentedly away after making a purchase. 

Exit-intent pop-up surveys are beneficial because they help you find and fix issues to improve the user experience (UX) and website metrics

Let’s explore three ways to use exit-intent surveys to improve key customer touchpoints on your website—like checkout, pricing, product, and landing pages.

1. Improve UX to lower your bounce rate

Annoying website UX issues—like a broken button or a confusing checkout flow—make your customers give up and exit the page, which leads to a high bounce rate

Since you want visitors to stay for a while, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Asking visitors about why they’re heading out reveals what you can change to make future visitors stay. 

For example, imagine you want to reduce your ecommerce site’s bounce rate, so you ask visitors why they’re leaving your product page. If they reveal that the product images don’t display correctly on mobile devices, you can rework the page to fix the issue and increase engagement.

💾 Pro tip: use Hotjar’s free exit-intent survey template to start collecting feedback.

Website exit surveys are short—most are only a page or two—but using a template still saves time. Hotjar (hi, that’s us 👋) has a free exit-intent survey template you can use immediately on your site to turn exits into insights.

2. Refine UI to increase conversions

Missing information or confusing navigation causes even eager customers to leave before finishing their purchase, leading to a low conversion rate. Using an exit-intent survey during checkout reveals why people don’t finish their purchase, which helps you fix the UI issue

For instance, if you read over and over again that visitors didn’t understand where to enter a discount code, you would improve your checkout flow to make the step obvious to increase conversions.

🔎 What if visitors don’t respond to your survey?

Exit-intent surveys reveal why visitors bounced from a page…as long as they respond. But if they don’t, you can use recordings and heatmaps to see what happened for the other sessions. 

Recordings are real-time playbacks of how visitors interact with your site, and heatmaps use colors to visualize the most popular parts of the page. 

Seeing how people use your website using these customer feedback tools helps you spot what’s causing visitors to leave.

Hotjar Recordings lets you see exactly what site visitors see, so you can learn what helps and hinders engagement

3. Understand customer psychology to generate new product and marketing ideas

Exit-intent causes aren’t always as straightforward as a broken link. If there’s a misalignment between your website and your target audience, they may leave without connecting to your brand. 

Customer insights from exit-intent surveys let you incorporate empathy and understanding into your product and campaigns so that they’re more relevant to your users. Plus, setting up a communication line with customers reveals new ideas, perspectives, and psychographics

For example, if a survey reveals that customers care more about time savings than product variety, you would create a new marketing campaign with that positioning. Counting the frequency of particular survey responses helps you with product prioritization and lets you understand what makes you stand out against competitors.

Asking customers why they go is the first step toward improvement

Receiving critical feedback doesn’t always feel good, but it is helpful. Ego aside, it’s better to understand why customers leave your website than to ignore drop-offs or take a guess. 

Using an exit-intent survey lets you quickly find frustrating bugs, rework your product or website for a better experience, and empathize with customers.

Check out the following chapters to

Explore why customers leave your website

Hotjar’s tools let you observe visitor interactions, ask about their experience, and engage with customers to build a better website.

FAQs about exit-intent pop-up surveys