Emils This article was written by Emils Veveris who is an optimization consultation. He helps his clients grow more revenue by turning more of their website visitors into happy customers.

Getting More Information

Asking your customers: What questions to ask, and when to ask them.

Before they Signup

When a prospect lands on your website: you already know that the majority of your traffic is not ready to sign up. They visit and then leave. You want to know why they left. Is your service relevant to the people who are visiting? Are you displaying the right message to get them interested in your service? Are you answering all the questions they may have?

A simple way to find this out is using on-page surveys that pop up a question while prospects are browsing. Some people have no interest at all, so set the pop up to appear only after visitors have stayed for a certain number of seconds.

Start with this simple yes/no question to qualify the visitor:

Are you interested in using/joining [your software name]?

Depending on their answer, you can follow up with an open-ended question:

  1. If yes: Great. Is there anything stopping you from signing up today?
  2. If no: Would you mind telling us why?

Tools that make this easy:
  • Hotjar: Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand your web and mobile site visitors.
  • Qualaroo: Qualaroo website surveys uncover customer insights that lead to better business results.

Another method is to use live chat. With live chat, you can determine which questions are unclear. Pay particular attention to questions you hear repeatedly because these are probably things you need to address on your marketing page. Plus there are always people that don’t want to read or watch anything, they just want to talk to a real person.

Live-chat tools:

During the signup process: some people were ready to sign up, but somewhere in your sales funnel they left anyway. In fact, when you open your analytics, you see that almost all of them dropped out at step #3. Why? Maybe something was unclear? Too confusing? Or perhaps you are making them work too much by asking them to fill out endless fields?

Tools to track progress through the funnel:

Using the same on-page survey ask a question like:

Before you go, would you mind telling us what stopped you from signing up today? It’s strictly for research. Thanks!

Using the tools above, you can set up the survey so that it appears only when the visitor is about leave.

You can use this technique on all of your pages. Whenever you have a certain goal you want your visitor to complete but they are not accomplishing it, you can ask a similar question to find out why. Or simply have a clear call to action to chat, or a message to call you if something is unclear.

After Signup

These are the people who’ve done the things you asked them (like giving you their private information) and are close to paying you money. Now it’s time to get to know them better and ask for feedback about your sign-up process.

In your welcome email or on your thank-you page, invite them to participate in a survey.

Ask these questions:

  • What can you tell us about yourself?
  • What was the main reason you signed up?
  • What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from joining?
  • What questions did you have, but couldn’t find answers to on our website?
  • What ultimately convinced you to sign up and give us a try?

The main reason to ask them now is because all their fears and doubts about you are still fresh in their heads. Their answers are going to be more useful than if you ask users who’ve been your customers for a while, because chances are they have already forgotten all the things that bothered them.

This feedback is golden for improving your onboarding experience and better understanding the reasons others didn’t convert.

Tools that make this easy:
  • Wufoo: Our form designer can help you create contact forms, online surveys and invitations so you can collect the data, registrations and payments you need.
  • PopSurvey: Create surveys and get valuable customer insights with PopSurvey.

After the free trail ends

If they don’t convert into paying customers: you tried your best but still a lot of people won’t stay after the free trial. Instead of simply letting them go, you should find out why they didn’t convert.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What stopped you from becoming a customer?
  • What would make you stay?
  • What’s the hardest part about [the problem you software is solving]?

After they cancel

It’s sad, but just like with free trialers who don’t convert, it’s important to learn why.

How to interview someone after they've left your app

The real goal isn’t just to collect interesting stories about your product, but to get a deep understanding of the jobs customers truly hire (or fire) your product for.

Our friend Ruben Gamez, founder of Bidsketch

  • What made you cancel?
  • What’s the one thing that would bring you back?

While they are active clients (support questions, FAQs, etc.): when something is not working, often some of the users will tell you why they need that certain function and what they hope to accomplish with it. You can dive into the support requests and find a lot useful information there.

After they’ve been a customer for a long time (longer than your average) and are very active: This is your ideal customer. Invite them to call, or even better, meet them in person. Dive deep, ask questions about their business, their lives, and let them open up to you.

When you hear and see all of their emotions in action, it will automatically give you a better understanding of who they are and how to relate to them.

Questions to ask during the interview

This may vary depending on your business, but here are some good ones.

  • What’s your story? How did you end up doing this [whatever it is they do, their position, their business]?
    • Lesson: This is a good conversation starter, this will usually reveal a lot about the person talking, their background and so forth.
  • What blogs do you read?
    • Lesson: Learn where to find more customers like them.
  • What are the biggest challenges when it comes to [solving the problem you help them solve]?
    • Lesson: Look for the pain points. Keep digging, and follow up with questions like, “Why is that hard?” You want to know exactly how you’re making their lives better.
  • When did you realize you needed a product/service like ours?
    • Lesson: Learn about their decision making process.
  • How did you initially hear about us?
    • Lesson: Learn where they come from.
  • Why us and not [other competitor]?
    • Lesson: Learn about their product selection process. See how you compare, ask more questions to see if they’ve tried similar products, what they liked, why they choose to quit, etc.
  • If there wasn’t [your app,] what would you be using?
  • What do you like most about our app?
    • Lesson: This general feedback is good for testimonials.
  • What don’t you like about our software, what would you like to see improved, and why?
    • Lesson: Learn more about what they intend to accomplish and how you can improve.
  • How would you describe us to a friend?
    • Lesson: Write down the words they use.

You don’t have to talk, just ask questions, listen, and take notes.

“None has been quite as mind blowingly valuable as actually taking the time to talk to our customers. It has changed our product, our business and the way we think. It’s certainly been responsible for any growth we’ve had.”
Alex Turnbull, CEO and Founder of Groove

Groove went from 0 to almost 200k in MRR in just two years by actively talking to their customers.

You don’t have to do it all at once and you are risking turning some people off by distracting them from trying out your software. However, the risk is worthwhile and it’s only for a short period. It’s important to get valuable feedback and figure out who your ideal customer is. You may have more than one type of ideal client, but if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing nobody.

How to get people to participate

People are busy. When you ask them to do something for you, chances are they will not be very eager to do it. At least, the majority of them will not. To collect more answers, give them an incentive.

You can get away with asking one or two simple questions as a favor. For example, they may complete a one-page survey, or explain why they cancelled their account. But if you want more information, you should give them a good reason.

Possible Incentives:

  • Discounts
  • Giveaways
  • Bonuses
  • Gifts

How many answers do you need? It depends on the size of your business, but 100 to 300 replies are enough to spot trends and do something about them. Don’t forget to say, “Thank you.” After all, your clients are busy running their own businesses, and they just took the time to help you improve yours.

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