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Getting to the Why

Getting to the Why

Written and contributed by Curtis Morris, CEO @ Qualaroo

Although companies all over the world are collecting feedback from their customers, many never get to the why. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Netflix recently ran a survey asking their users if they stream Netflix in public bathrooms.

This survey was positioned to be a marketing tool from the very beginning. Using survey results for marketing material is great however, each user opinion is a goldmine of areas to improve and innovate.

Streaming providers are no stranger to what their users are thinking about in the bathroom, one large provider even advertised the new season of their hit show by leaving fake drugs in public bathrooms earlier this year. I think it’s safe to assume that the this research team knew about the bathroom habits before asking. It’s brilliant marketing to say the least but let’s take a look at what they could have also learned along the way.

More than marketing

Although we couldn’t get access to the survey questions directly, it’s obvious that one of the questions was something similar to “Do you watch our service in public places?”. The question was most likely presented in a similar way to this:


This is a great question, but one of the answers is not even actionable.

For instance, what will the company do differently because a large portion of the audience uses their service in the bathroom? Maybe they are going to install streaming boxes on the back of bathroom stall doors?

Or not.

If more people watch via cellular networks rather than wifi the company would know it needs to get it’s video encoding game in tip top shape to provide a solid streaming experience. If users are more prone to watching on airplanes, then offline mode should be a world-class experience. By extending the question’s depth even slightly you can understand why a user would want to watch in the bathroom:

Let’s break the example above down into bite sized chunks of survey goodness:


Asking users about their viewing habits at the right time and place is just as important as asking the right question. By asking users in-app instead of on the web or via email, you are certain that your brand or service is front and center in their mind.


Going a step further by targeting users via metadata (such as detecting why users are in a public place) allows you to skip basic questions and ensure your questions are relevant to the user. In our example users still have to “opt in” to using the service in public, but that question could probably be eliminated with metadata.

Question Building

The last question in our example “A large number of people watch in the restroom, why do you?” starts with a statement.

The question was worded this way to make the user comfortable answering why they would watch the streaming service in a public restroom. When the question is worded “Why do you watch our service in a public bathroom?” it comes off as accusatory. If you pause for a moment to think about the last time someone asked you “Why did you do that?” it feels like you are being interrogated. Spending a little time on subtle wording can impact the quality and rate of your responses.

Answer Types

You will notice in our example above that we allow a free form text feedback option. This approach prevents your users from selecting the “least wrong” option and automated text analytics means you don’t have to have someone dedicated to reading each individual reply.

Getting to “Why”

Understanding why a user chooses to watch the streaming service in a public restroom is the ultimate actionable insight in our example. If we know that the user watches in the bathroom because they are worried about people seeing what they watch we can address that issue head on.

Perhaps the streaming company introduces a “Public Friendly” viewing option that is based on the users watching history but the content contains no embarrassing scenes. Or maybe the R&D department should start working on a pair of streaming glasses that allow users to enjoy the service without tying up the public restroom. Another targeted survey to the audience who watches in the restroom could list these options out as possible new products to see what they think, truly taking the feedback cycle full circle.

Using a survey outcome for marketing material is a great way to build content but there is no reason you can’t tap into your users for real qualitative insights at the same time.

If you are interested in Qualaroo taking your survey through this same exercise or just want to chat about question building please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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About the author

The Qualaroo Editorial Team is a passionate group of UX and feedback management experts dedicated to delivering top-notch content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your user experience improvement and lead generation initiatives.