How Surveys Can Improve Your Website User Experience & Increase Sales

Philip Cleave
December 17, 2019

Whether you’re a fully-fledged e-commerce company or any other business that’s looking to increase their customer reach, chances are your website is one of your main drivers of customer acquisition and sales. And when you consider that global web sales are currently experiencing 17.9% year over year growth, which only looks set to increase further, it’s hardly surprising to learn that your website user experience (UX) needs to be as good as it possibly can be, if you’re to maximize your online conversion rate.

Why your website user experience is so important

At some stage nearly all of us will have experienced how it feels to navigate through a poorly designed website or suffered the frustration of an overly complicated or slow checkout process, that has stopped us from making an online purchase. To improve your own website UX, it’s essential that you’re able to gather as much information as you can about your customers’ user experience as they move through your website.

From someone looking to make a purchase on an e-commerce site, to an individual trying to find a cheap flight for their next vacation, whatever a customer needs, it’s essential that their UX is fast, simple and enjoyable and removes any obstacles that may prevent them from completing their goal.

While analytics software can provide you with some insight into what’s happening on your own website, it can’t tell you exactly how your customers are feeling in terms of their pain points and expectations. You will only know this if you ask them, a great way to achieve this is through an online survey.

5 ways surveys help you understand and improve website UX

When you cover the right areas and ask the right survey questions, not only does it deepen your understanding of your customer’s user journey, you will get a better feel for your customer’s UX. However, in order to keep informed about any issues or hindrances that could be preventing your customers from reaching their goals, it’s important to run your survey frequently, so you can resolve anything quickly and maintain a smooth, seamless experience throughout your website.

When considering areas, questions and metrics to cover in your survey, you need to be looking at the following.

1) Was your customer able to achieve their goal?

Typically referred to as the Goal Completion Rate (GCR), this metric measurement and the questions used with it work best when they are asked immediately after a customer has completed a specific interaction. This could be anything from attempting to order a product or trying to locate and download information on a specific subject from a company website.

While you may be able to obtain some of this information from software such as Google Analytics, which can provide the raw data for successful goal completions such as an online purchase, a download or a fresh subscription to a mailing list, it’s not so helpful for analyzing why a customer was unable to achieve their goal. To find out what they struggled with you would need to survey them for their feedback, before you could identify where in your website you had any UX issues that you needed to improve going forward.

To get a better feel for how able a customer could complete his or her goal you may like to consider asking them questions such as:

Were you able to achieve your goal today?’ – ‘Yes’, ‘Partly’ or ‘No’

For respondents who answered partly or no, you could then ask them an additional question such as:

Do you have any comments you would be happy to provide, that will give us a greater insight into what you struggled with?

2) How easy was it for your customer to accomplish?

This refers to the Customer Effort Score calculation and looks to measure how much effort it required for the customer to achieve their goal.

Poor UX and usability often requires customers to expend more effort towards achieving their online goals, which can influence whether they will return to your website again and could harm your future sales. By measuring this you’re able to identify areas, which require more effort than they should do for your customers to work through, so you can improve them and make them smoother for future visitors.

Questions that can help you to measure this include:

How easy did you our new checkout system today?’

How easy was it to find what you were looking for today?’

At this point the respondent must select a rating on a from a five-point scale starting with ‘Very little effort’ to ‘Too much effort’.

For respondents who answered that it took them too much effort, you may like to follow this up with an open-ended question such as:

Is there anything you think we could do to make this process easier for you?

3) How satisfied was your customer with their online interaction?

What we are trying to measure here is how much the customer enjoyed and was satisfied with their overall website UX. To get an insight into this you would need to ask your customer a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) style question.

Examples of CSAT questions you could use include:

How enjoyable was your online shopping experience with us today?

The respondent would then select their answer from a 5-point scale starting with ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very unsatisfied’.

For respondents who answered that they were very unsatisfied, you may like to follow this up with an open-ended question such as:

Do you have any suggestions about how we could have improved your visit today?

The GCR, CES and CSAT metrics and questions that we have discussed all form part of the Forrester Customer Experience Pyramid. This model argues that you can only get an overall picture of an individual’s customer experience when you know how well, easy and enjoyable you made it for your customer to achieve their goal, which these metrics can deliver for you.

CX Pyramid-1

Graph courtesy of: net solutions

For more information about the Forrester Customer Experience Pyramid and how you can implement and make calculations using any of the GCR, CES and CSAT metrics, why not visit our ‘Looking Beyond Net Promoter Score to Measure Customer Experience’ blog.

4) How likely would your customer be to recommend you to another company?

Another metric you might like to try, to see how a customer feels about you after their experience with your website is Net Promoter Score (NPS), which helps you to measure your customer advocacy levels.

NPS asks respondents the following question: “How likely are you to recommend [our company’s] products/services/brand to your friend/colleagues/clients?

This will help you to identify how many customers love your company or brand and want to communicate great things about you, which can be extremely powerful for your business.

After reading the NPS question, respondents are encouraged to select their answers from a 10-point continuum ranging from “Not at All Likely” to “Very Likely,”

These answers are then split up into three groups consisting of:

  • “Detractors” who answer on the “Not Likely” end of the spectrum with a score of between (0-6)
  • “Passives” who answer in the 7 to 8 range
  • “Promoters” who answer in the “Very Likely” range with a score of either (9 or 10)

To calculate your organization’s official NPS, all you need to do is take the total percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors.

For more information about NPS, why not take a look at our Net Promoter Score (NPS) page.

5) What suggestions does your customer have about how you could improve their UX?

Adding a suggestion box questionnaire to your website can also be an effective way of obtaining some extra insight from your customers.

From reporting bugs or broken links, to views about how you might improve your site navigation, content and design, the suggestion box can be very helpful in providing you with a fresh perspective that ultimately helps you to better meet your customers website UX needs.

How a better website user experience improves your business

When you survey your customers for feedback about their user experience of your website, it provides you with a wealth of information, which you would otherwise miss out on. While analytics software and regular testing can identify and resolve some UX issues, it cannot provide you with a comprehensive flow of feedback of what your customers are thinking, which is only achievable through a survey.

Businesses that are already surveying their website users about their UX, are more likely to be in tune with what their customers want and more successful as a result. And when you consider the ongoing growth of online sales, it is something you simply cannot afford to ignore. Ultimately, the more you listen to your customers the better you will be able to strengthen their website UX and increase your sales.

NPS®, Net Promoter® & Net Promoter® Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.


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