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Customer Experience

The B2B SaaS Customer Journey: Surveys for every stage

Nandkishor Tripathi
Oct 5, 2020

13 mins read

Nandkishor Tripathi

Do you want to proactively prevent customer churn?

Do you want to understand what your customer is looking for?

And just magically deliver it!

There’s only one way to do it. 

You need to get into their heads! 

But how?

Follow an “outside-in” perspective. Ask them effective revealing questions. 

And their answers will give you everything you are looking for!

After all, what’s more efficient than asking them what they want?

One of the best ways to do so is by launching a survey. However simple it seems, it sometimes delivers insignificant results. Why?

Because asking the right question is not enough. You need to ask those questions at the right time throughout the customer life cycle.

For any B2B SaaS company that is starting its Voice of Customer program, the customer journey is the first step to understand your customers. It will tell you at what different stages you should launch customer surveys to collect feedback.  

Today, I am going to share with you,

  • What is a typical B2B SaaS customer journey?
  • At what touchpoints and milestones should you launch feedback surveys?
  • What is the type of feedback questions you should ask at each milestone?
Also, going forward, I’ll share some greater insights I gathered in a conversation with Yanira Sesniak, VP of Customer Success at IngeniousIO.

Let’s start by understanding a typical B2B SaaS customer journey with an example.

A customer journey is a path of several stages that your customer goes through before arriving at that final activity of purchase. 

In the above typical B2B SaaS customer journey, a customer visits your website and finds out about your product. Intrigued, they take the product demo, and after being delighted with the product, they purchase it. You implement the product and onboard them. Then the customer starts using the product and takes the help of your support or customer success if and when required. And if at this point, they are satisfied and happy with the product they become advocates of your brand.

Click here to know more about the customer journey 

Throughout this customer journey, you’ll gather customer feedback from every stage using CSAT, CES, and NPS surveys depending on each touchpoint.  

Now, what are CSAT, CES, and NPS Survey?

a.) CSAT Survey

CSAT or Customer Satisfaction surveys are used to gauge customer satisfaction along every touchpoint of their journey. Be it after a certain interaction, or on the overall experience of the customer, customer satisfaction is the strong predictor of how happy and satisfied your customers are with your brand.

Click here to know more about customer satisfaction

b.) CES Survey

CES or Customer Effort Score surveys help you gauge user experience of a product or service. Mostly measured after product usage, or new feature adoption, CES surveys help you evaluate how easy your product or service is for the customer to use and identify the areas of improvement if any.

Click here to know more about customer effort score

c.) NPS Survey

NPS or Net Promoter Score surveys are the perfect metrics to gauge customer loyalty towards your brand. On a scale from 0 to 10, it asks customers how likely they are to recommend your brand to others. Based on their answers, they are divided into detractors, passives, and promoters. 

Click here to know more about Net Promoter Score

All of this valuable customer feedback goes into your VOC dashboard and helps you improve your onboarding process, customer support, product, and the entire VOC program.

Now, which of these surveys should you launch at each milestone?

Let’s start with the first milestone!

1. Take a website feedback survey 

Take in-the-moment feedback on your digital experiences with website surveys. It is the easiest way to ask for feedback on your website. Embed a pop-up survey on your website or place a feedback button on the right panel to get consistent feedback. This will grab the attention of your visitors and increase the response rate. 

Gather maximum quantitative and qualitative feedback on your site by keeping your surveys short with only 1-3 questions and include only one open-ended question to get in-depth responses. 

These surveys allow you to gauge the effectiveness of your website by asking them about how they found out about you, their experience on the website, if the website meets their needs, and their likelihood to return. 

Here’s an efficient example of a CSAT and CES website survey. 

The above survey helps you analyze how efficient, easy, and user friendly your website is. 

Great user experience makes it highly likely that your visitors buy from you and turns into customers. This takes us to the post-purchase survey. 

2. Post-purchase customer satisfaction survey 

 

It tells you how your sales process was. Taking a post-purchase feedback survey right after a customer buys your product is a non-intrusive way to understand how your customers feel about your company. It is a critical step in measuring your customer satisfaction and helps a lot in building a strong brand relationship. 

The goal of this survey is to gather valuable insights on how you can improve your buying experience. You can use this feedback to enhance the experience and retain customers by improving your marketing and sales strategy friction. 

Propose a survey of 4 to 6 questions including a few open-ended questions to discover new aspects of your business. 

Below is an example of a lucrative post-purchase CES survey that delivers great insights.

The above post-purchase survey will help you gather insights on how impressive and smooth your sales process is in the customers’ eyes.

Now heading on to the next milestone of the B2B SaaS customer journey is the post onboarding survey.

3. Post Onboarding surveys to evaluate your onboarding process

How efficient your onboarding process is?

Are your customers happy with it?

The onboarding process of your product can vary from a few weeks to months depending on the type or the level of complexity of your product or service. 

They can be of two types, quick onboarding, and long onboarding. 

a.) Quick Onboarding

Yanira Sesniak says, “The onboarding can vary depending on the complexity of the platform and the buyer. For example in some cases, SMBs will have onboarding of no more than 90 days while the enterprises’ onboarding can take upto 6 months. We send an NPS survey after onboarding and every 6 months after that to ensure we have a pulse on how our customers feel.”

The quick onboarding process can complete within 7 to 15 days. It ends when the hand-holding through the product is no longer necessary and the customer can navigate through. For instance, the onboarding of Zoom, Slack, or Intercom takes only a few days. Once integrated and after some training, you are good to go. These solutions are generally made for SMBs.

You should send a CES survey post onboarding to evaluate how satisfied your customer is with your onboarding process.

Here’s an example of a post onboarding CES survey,

b.) Long Onboarding:

On the other hand, some products require custom solutions and proper implementation as per the customer’s requirements. These take 30 to a year to get onboarded. 

Now that your customer has been with you for months, along with the CSAT survey, you should send an NPS survey as well!

Here’s one example for you.

Do you have any suggestions for product improvements?

So now that the onboarding is done, let’s talk about the product adoption.

4. Understand product adoption with CSAT and CES surveys

Find out how satisfied your customers are with your products and service with the CSAT and CES product surveys after they have used every feature of the product. The valuable feedback collected will help you prioritize your product roadmap, improve product quality, and increase customer satisfaction and retention.

Yanira Sesniak adds, “A CSM considers an account adopted when they have achieved the customer’s desired business outcome and completed a set of tasks in the product that will set them up for long-term success with the product. The outcomes could be saving time or money, or earning money (depending on every B2B company) after using the product.”

Here are some questions you can ask in a product feedback survey. Sent while relationship surveys.

After a new feature launch, you need to evaluate how happy your customers are with the new features. So, send a CSAT survey just after the launch to see how efficient your new product features are. 

For instance,

It is critical to gather customer feedback about your product and service to deliver effective solutions and drive customer success and satisfaction. 

After successful product adoption, it is imperative to monitor customer health and keep them happy with the product. For that, you should take relationship surveys after a certain interval.

5. Monitor health with Relationship NPS Surveys 

Relationship NPS helps in investigating what areas of customer experience needs improvement. It helps you measure the overall health of the relationship with the customer. The best way to use relationship NPS is to understand who to send the surveys and when.

In B2B, there are many people involved in one account playing different roles. It is critical to understand who should you take feedback from and about what. 

Ideally, there are three types of roles that you should take the feedback from.

a.) User: 

They are the product users that use your product to accomplish their core job. They are the ones that tell you how awesome your product is and if any improvements are required.

b.) Buyer: 

They are the decision-makers who don’t require any approval in making buying decisions. They sometimes use the product to analyze business outcomes or view executive-level reports.

c.) Champion: 

They are the advocates of the product. They are the ones that directly influence the buyer’s purchasing decisions. 

Yanira Sesniak comments, “We share with our teams what type of user is giving feedback every week in our Customer Success/Product Sync. It’s important to know things like customer type as well as ARR for customers so we know which customer feedback to prioritize.” 
She adds, “We take feedback after a sales demo, after Onboarding is completed, and every 6 months after that in the form on an NPS survey.”

Now, let’s understand when to send these relationship surveys.

The timings of every survey differ with each client, type of product, product usage, and the number of touchpoints. The ideal time to send a relationship survey is every three months, that is, after 30 days of onboarding, and then every quarter or twice a year.

Here’s an example of a relationship NPS survey.

But to maintain a healthy relationship with your customer, you need to provide them with top-notch customer service. This takes us to the customer service feedback survey.

6. Customer service feedback survey

Did you know that US businesses lose around $83 billion each year due to poor customer service?

And 71% of the customers leave a brand after poor customer service.

That is why it is essential to provide excellent customer service and meet customer expectations at all touchpoints.

But how do you know how efficient your customer service team is?

With customer service feedback surveys!

Send CES and CSAT surveys immediately after the customer interacts with your customer service team and gather in the moment feedback.

Here’s a perfect example of a customer service feedback survey.

7. Take CSAT and NPS survey before renewal

Renewal or retention surveys help you analyze if your customer is happy with your brand or service or is likely to switch.

Every customer has some expectations from your product or service and it is critical that you meet those expectations. If you aren’t meeting their expectations, be assured that they are looking for some alternatives. You can either make a hard shift to exceed those expectations or at least meet them.

The best approach is the CSAT surveys. They are a strong predictor of customer loyalty, customer retention, and product renewal.

And the ideal time to send these surveys is one month before the renewal contract needs to be signed. This one month gap helps you analyze if and what problems they are facing with your solution and gives you the time to resolve them. 

You solve their problem, gain their confidence, and retain them!

While talking about the customer lifecycle and the VOC program, Will Pagden, Head of Customer Success at Webeo says, “We send CSAT survey post onboarding, NPS survey two times a year and a renewal survey 6 months before renewal.”

Here are some of the questions that you should ask in your retention surveys.

To increase customer satisfaction and retention, the foremost thing you need to do is build relationships with your customers. 

Now that you know how you should retain your customers, let’s move on to the milestone, product-market fit.

8. Product Market Fit, a cornerstone of marketing

The one question that many business owners or product managers ask themselves is, “Is this a great product?” 

In the times of crowded marketplace and fluctuating customer demands and expectations, it is crucial to find your product-market fit. If your product is not solving your customers’ pain points, then it won’t be successful! 

Understanding your product-market fit can not only powerfully enhance your product but also gives a direction to the company. 

Since you are looking to resolve your customers’ pain points, you need to talk to them. Their feedback will not only tell you their problems but also tells you if the proposed solution is effective or not. 

Finding out how satisfied your customers are with your product provides you with valuable information that can help you improve your retention rate.

Some questions that you should ask in your product fit CSAT survey are,

Map your B2B SaaS customer journey before you design your surveys!

Before sending any surveys, make sure that you understand the stages of your customer journey and know the critical touchpoints. This will help you in creating goals, planning strategies, and defining KPIs. 

You will not only be able to understand which surveys should you send and why but what approaches should you take to achieve your goals. 

Also, while designing surveys, keep in mind the objective of each survey. Always add CTA along with the response received for each survey.

The golden rule is to reduce the number of questions and surveys and gather maximum relevant responses without overwhelming the customer.

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