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How to collect user feedback and make customer-centric optimizations

Collecting user feedback is a powerful way to connect with your customers, get objective opinions, and make user-led business optimizations that have a real impact.

But before you jump in headfirst and find yourself overwhelmed with too many suggestions from too many directions, you need to take a strategic approach to gathering feedback.

Last updated

20 Apr 2023

Reading time

8 min


Understanding the different use cases and methods of implementing user feedback tools keeps you on track to ask the right questions, to the right customers, at the right time. This guide shows you how.  

Keep reading to learn more about gathering these valuable insights from your customers. We cover:

  1. How to collect user feedback the right way

  2. Where and when to collect website feedback

Get to the heart of your user experience

Find out exactly what your customers think about your product or website with Hotjar Feedback.

How to collect user feedback the right way

Feedback collection isn’t one size fits all: adapting your approach to suit the particular customer or situation gives you the most impactful—and actionable—insights. 

There are a number of ways to collect user feedback, depending on the type of information you’re looking for. Let’s look at the different methods of user feedback collection your business could employ.

Find organic responses on social media and review platforms

Social media and review platforms remove the barrier between you and your customers, opening the door to honest interactions and spontaneous communication. They’re also a great source of social proof for new or potential customers looking to get a sense of who your brand is and whether you’re worth their time and money.

Skincare brand Facetheory’s customers leave positive feedback on Instagram

Staying on top of your social media mentions and regularly checking on review collection platforms gives you a constant source of easily accessible feedback from a broad range of users.

  • Receive negative feedback or comments expressing an issue? Go straight to the source and find out how you can help.

  • Receive some positive feedback or find yourself tagged in a post praising your product (🎉)? Let them know you’re paying attention and appreciate their support.

The beauty of social media and review platforms is that they’re low-effort, always-on sources of customer feedback. They rack up a broad range of responses, and offer a means to communicate with your customers on the spot.

Hotjar interacts with customers leaving positive comments and mentions on Twitter

Hotjar interacts with customers leaving positive comments and mentions on Twitter

Add a feedback widget to your website for regular touchpoints

Applying a widget across your site lets you gather in-the-moment feedback from your visitors. See the little red tag to the right of this page? 👉 That’s the Hotjar Feedback widget!

Widgets act as unobtrusive portals for customers to share their blockers, praise, or suggestions as they explore and interact with your site. 

Tailor your widget question copy to suit the page it’s featured on for virtually endless opportunities to gather impressions of your website or product experience at every step of your customer’s journey.

#Hotjar’s Feedback widget in action on our Blog page
Hotjar’s Feedback widget in action on our Blog page

🔥 Tap into the truth with Hotjar Feedback

Hotjar Feedback helps you quickly get to the heart of what your customers think. 

Customizable, simple, and streamlined, Feedback works on any page you need a second (or third, or fourth) opinion on.

Adapt the widget to suit your website interface and provide a seamless experience for your customers:

  • Place the widget in different sections of a given page 

  • Change up the Reaction Style to your preferred choice of emoticon or star-rating

  • Adjust the color and positioning to match your style

  • Hide the Hotjar branding so it fits right in 

Even better? Our widget enables users to add screenshots to contextualize their feedback, leave comments, and provide their email address for follow-ups.

Learn more about how to use Feedback in Hotjar's Help Center.

Conduct interviews and user testing for a more human connection

When exploring your options for collecting user feedback, look for opportunities to get more personal with your customers. User research methods like focus groups or interviews are ideal for open conversation. 

These methods are especially empowering for younger businesses seeking  a deeper understanding of their customers as they develop their product and learn more about their market. 

💡 Pro tip: use a remote user testing tool like Hotjar Engage to take the effort out of user interviews. 

Engage automates the entire interview process—from recruiting participants to hosting calls to transcribing conversations. 

Use it to understand exactly what your customers are experiencing, anticipate their needs, and see how people respond to your product development and interact with your website in real-time.

Engage lets you automatically screen participants to make sure you get feedback from the right people

Conducting user testing at early stages of product development also provides crucial insights. When testing a new update to your site, preemptively seek feedback before general release to the wider public to avoid time-consuming, expensive bug fixes further down the line, and ensure the final product is the best it can be.

Get more detailed responses with feedback surveys

Catching feedback with quick-react polls or widgets is great for getting a user’s immediate impression, but sometimes, you’ll want more context.

Long-form surveys are a useful way to follow up with a customer after initial contact.

Tailor and adjust your surveys to a variety of different use cases: ask product-specific questions, get a rating of your performance, and gather a mix of both quantitative and qualitative feedback for a better-rounded impression of the overall user experience (UX).

After getting feedback from surveys, we got a good idea of what our users wanted and moved from around 80,000 members to now over 150,000. Hotjar was a big piece of that redesign.

Sam Mallikarjunan
Principal Marketing Strategist at Inbound

5 key moments to send a survey

  1. 💰 After a purchase, so you can find out what they liked about their experience and potentially gain learnings to replicate for other users

  2. 🛒 When a customer abandons their cart at checkout, to learn more about what prevented them from converting

  3. 👋  After initial account creation, so you can get a better sense of their needs and the kinds of content they’ll look for

  4. 🤝  When a customer has reached out to customer support, to check up on their overall satisfaction levels and make sure their issue doesn’t need follow-up help

  5. 🧪 During concept testing (now available in Hotjar!) to gather inspiration for tweaks and gauge whether proposed updates or new features will be well received

Striking while the iron is hot: Amazon uses surveys built into customer service chats to assess if the customer is happy with their experience

💡 Pro tip: the Hotjar Surveys tool offers a range of quick-build templates to capture feedback in almost any scenario.

Gathering responses from customers is simple and intuitive, no matter who they are or how they’re interacting with your business.

Not sure which survey you need? Read more about each option in our bank of survey templates.

#Hotjar Surveys has a variety of templates to help you get started in gathering your customer insights

Hotjar Surveys has a variety of templates to help you get started in gathering your customer insights

Where and when to collect website feedback

Now that we’ve discussed how to go about gathering feedback, you’re probably keen to delve into your own user feedback insights.

Here’s how to get the most out of your user feedback tools of choice.

Determine your feedback goals

Before deciding on your tools and tactics, consider what you’re trying to achieve. Different feedback collection methods yield different types of user feedback, so define what you want to know and use this to inform your approach. 

For example:

  • Do you want a general pulse check of how people feel about your product? 

  • Are you trying to uncover issues that stop customers from converting? 

  • Would you like to understand which aspects of your website UX are hitting the mark for your visitors?

💡 Pro tip: when targeting new customers in the early stages of their relationship with your product, asking open-ended questions via a website widget is a great way to get their first impressions.

Open questions you could ask at this point include:

  • “How are you finding your experience with us so far?”

  • “Is there anything we can improve about our website?”

  • “How can we help you find what you’re looking for?”

Hotjar asks an open-ended question to gauge customer responses to a Help Center article

Tailor your feedback tools to the customer journey 

Depending on where your customer is in their journey, you’ll want to take a different approach to how you seek their feedback.

  • A customer who’s new to your site and has only explored the ‘about us’ page may not be able to give you the deepest insights, but is a great source of feedback for gathering first impressions

  • A returning visitor who has failed to convert may be experiencing something blocking them from purchasing, and more niche prompts are needed to discover their issue

Both perspectives are equally valid and important for understanding your customers’ needs and frustrations.

Aer Lingus’ short and simple poll gathers on-the-spot feedback, while N26 sends email surveys to collect more detailed responses about their user experience

Applying different tools and formats to the right circumstances also means you address a range of different users and are more likely to tap into your customers’ feelings at the optimal time.

Some examples of how you might do this are:

  • If a customer has just landed on your homepage, a widget is a simple, low-commitment way to gather first impressions and make sure new customers feel empowered to explore your website

  • If a customer abandons their cart, trigger a churn survey to find out whether your customer ran into an issue at this crucial point in their journey—be it pricing, a bug, or something else entirely

  • If a customer leaves your site, trigger a survey to ask why they’re leaving, what could have made them stay, and how you can get them to return in the future

#Catching customers at the point of exit uncovers and provides more context behind their behavior
Catching customers at the point of exit uncovers and provides more context behind their behavior

💡 Pro tip: if you want to incorporate a user feedback tool on your site, be sure to prioritize your users. People are more likely to interact with your business when sharing feedback feels like a natural, no-fuss part of the user experience.

The Hotjar Feedback widget fits seamlessly onto any website

Top website pages to collect user feedback on

From initial arrival to your site right through to the point of conversion—and all the activity that happens in between—there are many opportunities to learn from and make a connection with your customers.

These are some of the most essential pages to collect feedback on:

📈 How eShopWorld used Hotjar Feedback to gather valuable conversion insights

Noelle Smith, conversion analyst at ecommerce company eShopWorld, relies on Hotjar’s Feedback widget to gather quick insights from customers. 

By installing the widget on their checkout page, the team spots fluctuations or changes in performance and immediately goes to the source of potential UX issues.

Noelle looks for patterns in the user feedback as a starting point for deeper investigation with supporting tools (like Google Analytics and Hotjar Recordings) to get a better understanding of what’s happening.

“When I narrow down the issue to a specific device, browser, or version, I can go into Hotjar and see what our shoppers are doing in order to completely understand the point of friction.” 

—Noelle Smith, Conversion Analyst at eShopWorld

Noelle and her team analyze the performance of specific pages, get to the root of any frustrations their customers encounter, and apply their learnings to optimize conversions—all thanks to the humble widget.

No more guesswork, just understanding

Your website or product has been created to serve real people—and nothing compares to the insights you’ll receive from those very people. Cutting out the guesswork and building that direct communication with your customers offers a deeper human connection that’s invaluable for any business.

Even better, using customer feedback tools to their full potential brings you an unlimited source of inspiration for needle-moving optimizations.

If you’re ready to start collecting your own user feedback, keep it simple and try out the Hotjar Feedback widget today.

Give your customers a voice

Get to the heart of your customer experience—with Feedback, you can collect actionable insights straight from the source.

FAQs about collecting user feedback