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Are In-app Surveys Effective for Measuring Overall Customer Satisfaction?

When it comes to collecting customer feedback, scores of software companies count on in-app surveys to understand customer sentiment in real-time. But is the feedback received an effective way of measuring overall satisfaction?

To answer this question, I sat down with Steve Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Waypoint, and Evan Klein, Founder and President of Satrix Solutions, to discuss important considerations when gathering customer feedback via in-app surveys.

Watch the video or read the complete transcript below for their responses.

Heather Timney, Vice President, Marketing and Partnerships, Satrix Solutions

Evan, for companies with platforms or apps, in-app and pop up surveys have become more popular in recent years. What are your thoughts about how valuable that approach is to collecting feedback?

Evan Klein, Founder and President, Satrix Solutions

Yeah, it definitely has gotten more popular. There are some great companies that offer pretty cool technology where you can gather that feedback, as you said, directly in the application.

The first thing I’ll say is that we definitely believe in the mantra that all feedback is a gift. So anytime you can solicit feedback that’s valuable, actionable, and reliable, then absolutely, we certainly advocate doing so.

The issue with in-app is that unfortunately, we see companies using it improperly too often. For example, they rely on it as their main source of feedback and they derive a key performance indicator like Net Promoter Score based on the feedback or responses to the in-app survey. And unfortunately, the feedback there is just not truly representative of your customer base. Generally, and I think it’s human nature, what you see is folks on far ends of the scales who are responding to in-app feedback.

In other words, those who are really unhappy or those who are really thrilled. A lot of the folks in the middle are just not going to be bothered. They’re working in the application, they see a little pop up with an 11-point scale or something, and they disregard it. But if they’re really upset about something or feel like something’s frustrating to them, they’re more likely to share it. What you’re generally going to get, we believe, is skewed towards the negative. And as long as you recognize that and you accept what you’re getting is not necessarily representative of your customer sentiment, then yes, we definitely believe that it’s an effective method of soliciting feedback. It’s great for Product to understand maybe what feature/functionality they should accelerate on the roadmap or how they should be thinking about the next release. But don’t consider this to be your overriding company level Net Promoter Score or CSat, because it just doesn’t reflect all the potential responses.

The other issue is sometimes your decision-maker or key stakeholder is not using the application. So, you’re missing out on feedback from folks who are not in the platform and sometimes those are going to be your decision-makers. You have to keep these things in mind when using in-app.

But all that said, it can be a useful tool. What do you think, Steve? Do you agree?

Steve Bernstein, CEO and Founder, Waypoint

I do agree with everything you said. I would add that the feedback process, your company’s process for acquiring representative feedback needs to exemplify the kind of customer experience that you want to provide. Imagine if you’re asking for feedback and you do it in a really nasty way. Right. It’s a total turnoff. What we see a lot of times is companies implementing in-app feedback, but it’s an interruption. It’s asking for feedback at the wrong time in the user’s workflow – they’re just trying to get something done.

To your point Evan, you get the polls, we’ve seen that as well, but it’s really a measure of the strength of the relationship. If the customer contact cares, and you’re not pissing them off by asking for feedback when they are the middle of something, then they’re going to participate. But what about those people that don’t care? “I don’t really have a relationship with these people, what are they asking? Why are they asking for feedback? This is annoying,” right? So, response rate and participation rate becomes super important because, to your point, Evan, that representative, trustworthy feedback is super important.

Our Waypoint Topbox product makes sure that we always see response rate or participation rate right next to any scores, right next to all the key drivers, so you always see how representative is this feedback – both on individual counts of participation, but also financially. Are we hearing from the right accounts that are really participating? And, are we hearing from the right people in the accounts? It doesn’t matter necessarily where that feedback is coming from. If you want to do it in-app, great, just make sure you avoid the pitfalls and make sure you recognize that it’s not enough. And that you got to take the measures to make sure it’s trustworthy and representative.


You mentioned something Steve around key drivers. And that’s another issue I have with most in-app functionalities. It only allows for essentially a two-question survey. Oftentimes, it’s the likely to recommend question, and then there might be an open-end text box for you to solicit verbatim feedback. That’s not enough to get your key drivers. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We are not recommending companies do those laborious 20 or 30 question surveys, nobody wants to take them anymore anyway, but the two-question survey is somewhat limiting. So I think in-app, most of the time is limiting in that regard as well.

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