Mobile app development is a tricky process. It is costly and time-consuming and requires proper planning, testing, and marketing strategies. Hours poured in the development and testing of an app are always going to be insufficient, and at early stages, updates and fixes are going to be rolled frequently.
Even the most extensive testing will often not account for the end-users older device, compatibility with other systems and permissions, or just plain system errors. And when that negative feedback from users will eventually reach you, it will do so in the most natural way for the user, but the most dreadful for the company: Appstore ratings.
There is a looming gap between users and developers that stems from the very nature of how mobile apps work and are distributed. Users will tend to look at an app as a unit, far from realizing you can reach the developers by email, uninstalling an app and finding a better one is the quicker option.
And they just might, taking into account that over 2000 apps are added every day to the google play store, and almost twice as much to the iOS app store. Your potential competitors are likely to pop up quickly. To indeed keep ahead of them and build a reliable app, you have to look closely to the user feedback.
In this guide, you will learn:
Benefits of running surveys in a mobile application
For starters, they can be indispensable for product managers in the early stages of a mobile app’s life. Siphoning the users’ feedback can speed up the development process, helping you locate potential issues and making improvements based on the insights provided.
Additionally, a product roadmap becomes more evident once you can tap into the user input.
Once the app is defined, stable, and running, you can use surveys to keep the service healthy and your app ratings high.
Giving your users a possibility to voice their negative opinions lets you further act upon it, locate issues early and keep your users happy.
You can also use surveys as additional functionality of your app. A system of ratings, open-ended questions, and multiple-choice surveys can be actually disguised as features.
What kind of feedback you can collect with mobile app surveys
Improve the product development process with Surveys
If your app is early in development than using well-targeted surveys can be very beneficial. You can ask your users if everything works as intended or if they met any issues. Likewise, you can ask about the app design or navigation. You can target the surveys to appear at those parts of your app you feel are the most vulnerable, or to ask a more general question after some time has passed or after the user used a function a specific number of times. You can target your surveys to appear individually on particular functions you are still developing.
You should also run a survey after major updates. Again, give your users a couple of days with the new version before you ask them to voice their opinion. Maybe you need testers before another update goes live? You can survey them in the current version with a contact form survey.
Free-to-Use Voice of Customer Survey Template
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Prioritize your product roadmap
So you used surveys to understand how users feel about your current functions. Now use surveys further to scout for additional features. Don’t be afraid of asking your users directly in which direction they would rather you take your application. Ask an open-ended question to some of them after some time has passed, asking them what additional feature should be added. Once you collect a bunch of responses, select the few most popular and run another survey, this time a single answer one, asking the users to choose one of the selected features. With only two surveys you now have confirmation from your users about the future of your app they want to see.
Ask promoters to leave reviews
There are some types of surveys any application can benefit from. One of the most common uses you probably have seen yourself would be the “Do you like the app?” question, that follows with a request to rate it in the app store. This can be useful if that rating is something important to you though it should not be crucial.
Still, if you have a quota of ratings to meet, I advise you first to run a Net Promoter Score survey asking the user if he would recommend the app. You can check out our guide on measuring Net Promoter Score. Follow up with a call to action to those respondents who give you high scores. Ask them politely if they would not mind rating your app.
Free-to-Use Net Promoter Score Survey Template
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Catch negative response before reviews come
Those who rate you poorly in the app will obviously not rate you well in the app store. Instead of following up with a request to rate your app, ask them instead to leave their constructive feedback. “What can we do improve the app for you?” It’s a general good practice in surveying – when you get negative feedback don’t be scared to ask the respondent to elaborate.
Use Customer-oriented surveys for more than just ratings.
If your users can make purchases through the app, you can run a customer satisfaction or Net Promoter Score survey regarding the purchasing process. Just make sure the purchase process is completed first to keep the validity of your survey results. If your customer made their first purchase through your app, ask them to rate the experience after a week. Remember to include an open-ended question at the end to make that feedback qualitative.
Free-to-Use Post-Purchase Survey Template
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Surveys can be used as additional functionality
We can always take that technical feedback a step further – surveys can enhance your help section. Our tip is to place an open-ended survey at the bottom of the section asking if there is any additional help that the user did not find in the app. Maybe a function you have can be further enhanced with a rating system? Or, you can use a contact form survey for those moments when you need your users to be contacted? Remember that a good surveying tool is, in essence, a channel of communication, you can use it for more than just statistics.
Mobile app survey questions
In the early days of your app’s life, a series of well-targeted mobile surveys asking users questions can be extremely beneficial to your time and resources put into your app development.
Knowing what features and elements need improvement or do not work correactly, or understanding if a feature is obsolete to your users is an obvious benefit. We can divide these questions into four groups.
- Early development technical
- Early development features scouting
- Prioritizing mobile app features
- To keep app-store ratings high
Early development technical survey questions
#1. How does the app run after the update?
You may have tested extensively before rolling a new update, but the user might just have a unique issue you were not able to test for. Or they run a system you didn’t have time to test.
Use additional tools to filter responses based on the device used to locate why the update might not work as expected.
#2. How do you like the app design?
Your users’ esthetic preferences might be a subjective matter… Unless they form the majority. Your company’s style and design might not exactly fit your user base.
If you have doubts about the design then you should better find out early and avoid chasing those esthetic-savvy users away.
Early development features scouting survey questions
#3. Can you describe a situation in which our app is most useful?
Get an idea for that perfect scenario between your app and your users. It might differ from your initial projections but it is the ideal situation you should strive for.
This question will give you insights into both where you should focus your resources but also what functions you should be communicating more clearly.
#4. Is our app helping you achieve your goals?
If your app is a tool that is getting a job done for your user then it is definitely on the right path. If your app is helping your user solve a problem then you are a step closer to building a lasting relationship with them.
Identifying your users’ goals is crucial so follow-up the positive answer with the question below:
#5. What goals are we helping you achieve?
This follow-up will help you identify the job and the user who is aiming to perform it. You may be surprised at what goals your users actually have, and what they use your app for.
Knowing this will give you a chance to target new user groups you didn’t think to target before.
#6. Are there any functions you would like us to add?
If your user has an idea of a function that would help them achieve their tasks, all they need is a chance to voice it. Don’t be afraid to ask your users what function they see as a perfect fit for your app.
#7. How would you rate this new feature?
Once you implement what your users are asking for, make sure it is indeed working as intended and meeting your users’ expectations.
Use this question in the early days after releasing a new feature. Should you get negative responses – act quickly.
Prioritizing mobile app features survey questions
#8. How often do you use the following features?
This will give you an idea of what feature is the most popular or most often used. Identifying the most useful feature for your users can be extremely beneficial.
Always make sure this feature works properly and is readily accessible. To get a wider overview of how your users feel about the feature of your app, follow up with the question below:
#9. Which of the following features do you use least?
You might be spending your resources on a feature that is not in fact significant. Once you get an idea of your least popular features, you will be able to decide if they are indeed necessary for your app, or if your resources would better be spent on a different one entirely.
#10. Should this feature be above (on top)?
The users might want access to a feature to be quicker, even if it is not the most popular function. Compare your answers to this question and design your user experience and menus according to the user input.
To keep app-store ratings high survey questions
App-store ratings are tricky. For starters, they are not entirely reliable as a review platform as people rate apps for non-obvious reasons. Negative experiences with an app tend to attract more ratings than positive ones. On the other hand, positive ratings are often not very objective.
Nonetheless, ratings play an essential part in the decision-making process for a potential user. To encourage your users to give positive reviews, and to protect your ratings from negative feedback, we advise you to use the following set of questions in the order specified below. Start from the first one:
#11. How would you rate our app?
If you released your app recently and you don’t have an estimation on how well it will be rated, run this survey and target users who have spent at least a couple of hours in your app.
The answers can give you a general idea about the app store rating you can expect from users. In order to keep your ratings protected, wait for some more time and survey the user with the question below:
#12. Would you recommend this app to your friends?
Yes, it is crucial for it to be an NPS. This type of survey gives you a rating from 1 to 10. Everything up to 6 is a detractor, 7 and 8 is neutral but still worth querying for more feedback.
People who answer 9 and 10 are your promoters. So, to those promoters follow up with a question and call to action:
Free-to-Use Survey Template
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#13. Great! Would you like to give us a Review?
A positive answer to this question leads the user to the app store to give you a rating. Note that you should only show this question to promoters.
To keep your ratings high you want to avoid detractors and neutrals giving the rating. But just avoiding them is a terrible and dishonest practice. Show the following question to the neutrals instead:
#14. What is the reason for your score?
This one should be asked to the neutrals, the ones that answered 7 or 8. This should give you an idea on how to convert those neutrals to promoters in the future. As for the detractors, phrase the follow-up question like this:
#15. What can we do to improve?
Never be scared to collect that negative feedback. This question not only shows your users that you care about them, but it will also give you the most actionable feedback possible – direct instruction on how you can keep your users satisfied.
How to use Survey channel properly
One way to bridge the user-developer communication gap is to gather user feedback with targeted surveys. Unfortunately, the only touchpoint you can often reach them through is within the app itself. Redirecting them out of your app will hurt your response rates significantly.
Running your surveys entirely within your mobile application addresses this challenge directly. This is what mobile app survey tools have been created for. Additionally, collecting responses through the app itself allows for some exciting targeting options.
Several points to address here but let’s ask a simple question first. Why shouldn’t you link to a survey on your website? How significant is the potential damage of a survey taking your users away from the app?
Response rates suffer significantly every time you have to redirect your respondent. If you put yourself in their shoes, you have just been transported out of the app you are using into a browser window. You are essentially forcing them to take an extra step. Once you pull your user out of your app, you have no guarantee they will come back to it.
Mobile means a shorter attention span. Your respondents naturally have a much smaller tolerance towards time-wasting. This is often disregarded, but it is a crucial factor you cannot ignore. Wasting time is almost a literal pain to an app user. Valuable seconds are consumed for a browser window to open, a page to load, and even if the user intends to skip it, they now have to navigate back to the app. If you waste their time, they will feel it under their skin and swipe out of your survey, possibly uninstalling your app shortly after.
If they need your app or it is crucial to their life or work – you will only annoy them by making their routine actions randomly longer.
Since your users are right within your application, you target using a slightly different logic than with website surveys. If you run a business and a website at the same time, think if your survey needs to be in the app itself. If the survey is not app related then maybe it is better to run it where you have the most traffic. So, adjust the survey to your needs and situation. Mobile app surveys are best used to gather feedback relating to the app itself, its design and its functions. It is indispensable in the developing process, it will help you locate issues or design flaws.
If you plan to run standard Net Promoter Score surveys or Customer Satisfaction surveys than you have to target them with the app in mind. Since you will be showing the survey in the app, you have to be careful about not interrupting your customers’ experience. App surveys are, however, significantly more useful to gather qualitative feedback.
Just as with adequately targeted website surveys the idea is to reduce friction and improve ease of use, help the validity of your results by targeting the surveys well and keeping everything concise and in one place.
Now both that qualitative and quantitative insight can be further enhanced with proper targeting and proper questions. Just as website surveys are most effective when they fully take into account the platform, time and place they appear, so can mobile app surveys provide you with the most tangible and instantly usable information.
According to research, an average person spends a total of 4 hours a day completely on their smartphone, 90% of which is using mobile apps. You can capitalize on this by keeping the survey completely attached to the user experience.
How to enhance mobile App’s functionality
A good mobile SDK for surveying will provide you with a range of tools that you can actually use as additional functionality for your mobile application.
A survey tool is, in essence, a channel of communication and you can use it for more than just statistics.
Here are some examples:
If your tool has a contact form survey than you just got a free extension for lead hunting. You can also use contact forms to scout for beta testers or those loyal users who are willing to be of more assistance to you and your product.
How about using contact forms for sales or invoice billing? You can generally save some time and space in your app this way.
Be it a star rating, smiley scale or an X out of 10 surveys, you don’t have to limit yourself to NPS, Customer satisfaction or service ratings. You can use ratings as a function of your actual application’s job.
If your app is a social hub of sorts the users can use these rating systems in relation to each other, processes between them, submissions, actions, or services. This section is only limited by your imagination and ingenuity.
Open-ended questions can be used in an endless amount of ways limited only by your creativity. Maybe you are collecting love letters from users?
Do so in an open-ended survey disguised as a message. Are you worried your help section might be missing something?
Place an open-ended survey at the end asking the user needs any other assistance and if they found what they were looking for.
Maybe you didn’t create a commenting system in time for the launch. Just use open-ended surveys in the meantime.
As a product manager, or working closely with your product team, establish exactly what role your app has and what goals it aims to achieve.
Then compare how it is used currently and how well it reaches those goals. Surveys should be used to bridge the gap between one and the other.
Wherever your analytical and benchmarking tools cannot provide, surveys can – both qualitatively and quantitatively. So don’t stop at using ready-made mobile app survey questions, like the ones provided by our free to use survey template library.