Revulytics Blog

In-App Messaging vs. Email Surveys: Collecting Actionable Customer Feedback

March 2, 2017

How useful are your customer surveys in collecting actionable, viable user feedback?

  1. Useful
  2. Somewhat useful
  3. Not useful at all
  4. I’ll let you know as soon as we figure out who we should survey, what to ask, and how to get them to respond.

Designing effective user surveys is not without its challenges. Striking the right balance between collecting information relevant to key internal stakeholders and ensuring that customers aren’t staring at their screens and clicking boxes for hours, is tough. Even figuring out how to get customers to open the survey in the first place can be a hurdle. SurveyMonkey processes more than 3 million survey responses every day. That’s at a time when workers are already spending on average 4.1 hours daily on email according to an Adobe survey. It’s no wonder that survey fatigue undermines the success of even the best efforts. Response rates for external surveys hover around 10-15 percent on average, according to research from SurveyGizmo.

There’s a better way to collect customers’ opinions: by addressing them when they are engaged with your application, and asking them what they think about the specific features they are using. With a powerful combination of in-app messaging and software usage analytics, you can present relevant questions to users in the context of the application and features you are asking about. It allows you to collect user feedback that does more than just fill PowerPoint slides, and actually informs product development.

In-app messaging allows you to target specific audiences

One of the problems with survey data is that the “throw anything at the wall and see what sticks” approach to distribution often yield answers from a host of people with different titles in different functions. It takes time to weed through the data to see what is relevant for your particular question or problem, and what is not.

By integrating with data on usage, you can target specific audiences with questions that are relevant to their experience with your application. Robust filtering and segmentation allow you to choose from a huge list of criteria – including geographical region, days installed, license type, OS details and much more. You can drill deeply into a user base to get real, actionable information – presenting in-app messages with surveys to audiences as granular as “users who have downloaded software from a specific landing page, have been running it for more than 30 days in trial mode, are running Windows 7 Pro on a desktop dual monitor, have at least 8 GB of RAM and a resolution of 1280 px.”

In-app messaging ensures you’re getting accurate, actionable data

Sending a link to a survey can never guarantee that you’re actually getting responses from your customers, especially when a campaign is perpetuated through social media channels. With in-app messaging you have something more powerful than even the most robust CRM system – the ability to get feedback from actual customers while they’re engaged in the process you want to know about.

Consider that you’ve learned from usage analytics data that users aren’t taking advantage of a workflow built into one of your products, and are going outside of the system to accomplish part of the process. At that moment, you can push an in-app message to them, asking them pointed and relevant questions about what’s not working and how to improve the particular process.

In-app messaging allows you to do micro-surveys that support agile development

By the time your survey is ready to launch, it has likely been months since you first came up with the idea to survey your customers in the first place. And once it includes all of the interests of product management, sales and marketing in its questions, you’re not all that confident that you’ll be getting feedback you can actually use.

One good application of in-app messaging is during beta phases of product launches. Used as part of your feedback collection process, it gives customers the ability to answer simple, quick questions through iterations of development (like, which color do you prefer here”), and can ease agile development processes and expedite product launches.

For product managers looking for a more innovative, streamlined way to augment their customer feedback processes, a combination of usage analytics and in-app messaging can help drive more meaningful, relevant interaction with customers that is often difficult to achieve with traditional survey methods. For more information on how in-app messaging can be a part of your communication process with customers, click here to learn about Revulytics ReachOut .

Take the Guesswork out of Product Management

Download our ebook to learn how to build better products by understanding software feature adoption and end user engagement.

Keith Fenech

Post written by Keith Fenech

Keith is Revulytics’ VP, Software Analytics and was the co-founder and CEO of Trackerbird Software Analytics before the company was acquired by Revulytics in 2016. Following the acquisition, Keith joined the Revulytics team and is now responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the Usage Analytics business within the company. Prior to founding Trackerbird, Keith held senior product roles at GFI Software where he was responsible for the product roadmap and revenue growth for various security products in the company's portfolio. Keith also brings with him 10 years of IT consultancy experience in the SMB space. Keith has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Malta, specializing in high performance computing.

Subscribe to Our Blog