Customer retention

2 Questions to Ask in Every Customer Exit Survey

Updated October 8, 2020

Customer exit surveys are instrumental in understanding why customers cancel. These two questions will ensure you get actionable feedback.

We studied exit surveys from top SaaS products and discovered two essential questions:

What’s great about these questions is they help you understand churn at two levels.

The first question is easy for customers to answer and provides a high-level overview suitable for aggregate analysis.

The second question allows for more personal responses from customers. Not everyone will respond, but the answers you do get can be golden.

Let’s take a look at how to implement these questions in your customer exit survey.

Example customer exit survey questions (and the 2 essential questions we recommend)

First, we want to make it clear that there’s no shortage of questions you could ask when customers leave because subscription companies rely on customer input. Some common subscription cancellation survey questions are:

  • What caused you to want to cancel?

  • What product features did you like/enjoy/use most?

  • What product features didn’t you like, or found hard to use?

  • Would you consider our product again in the future?

  • Did our team offer you enough product support?

  • What feedback would you offer about our pricing plans?

  • What solution are you planning to use instead?

How should you conduct your exit survey?

Phone calls get great results but are time consuming, while email follow-ups see low response rates (~8%).

To maximize feedback with the least effort, integrate your survey into your cancellation flow.

Next, let’s look at each of the two essential questions in more detail, including best practices and what to watch for.

1. "What is your primary reason for leaving?"

As stated above, this question should provide a multiple-choice list of answers to make it painless for customers to answer.

Based on our analysis, the most common options are, in order of frequency:

Best practices: When selecting options, you want to balance your desire for data with keeping the experience simple for customers. Too many choices are just frustrating. So, keep it to no more than six questions. (You can always change or refine questions as themes emerge.) Finally, be sure to randomize your questions to reduce bias (it’s easy for customers to always click the first or second item).

Use these as a starting point. When selecting options, strive for completeness but balance this against overwhelming your customer. Too many options may be frustrating. The exit surveys that we analyzed had an average of six options.

Should you include an "Other" option?

A majority of the surveys we reviewed included an "Other" option, but there are pros and cons to doing so.

The main benefit is that it reduces noise in your data. If none of the other options matches the reason a customer is leaving, whatever choice they pick will reduce the accuracy of your data.

On the flip side, you don't gain meaningful insight from this answer, and some users may opt for "Other" because they didn't want to spend the time to think more deeply about their real reasons for leaving.

TIP: Enable "Other, please specify" in ProsperStack from the flow editor.


People may favor the first few options in your "reason for leaving" question.

Consider randomizing the order to reduce the effect of this bias.

TIP: You can enable option randomization in ProsperStack from the flow editor.


Reason for leaving data has many uses, including:

  • Correlate reasons for leaving to lost MRR to prioritize improvements.

  • Launch win-back campaigns segmented by reason for leaving.

  • Offer incentives to stay based on answers. For example, if the customer says the product is too expensive, offer a discount.

Reduce Churn 10-30% with 3 User Offboarding Tips

2. "How can we improve?"

This question asks for open-ended feedback, which allows customers to better convey attitude and feelings.

You’ll find those that answer this question offer more insights and motivations than you might have anticipated.

If you see recurring feedback to this question, you may want to add it to your predefined options. 

Best practices: Don’t cap the character count. Instead, give people an opportunity to tell you what they think. Then, leverage the insights to improve your product (e.g., remove bugs or add features). And be sure to share this feedback with your marketing and customer success teams.

Get more with sentiment analysis

Free-form responses can be messy, but ProsperStack uses sentiment analysis to highlight popular keywords and to show positive, negative and neutral sentiments in aggregate.

Get ProsperStack’s customer exit survey template

ProsperStack wants to see every subscription-based company succeed. One of the simplest paths to profitable growth is holding onto more of the customers you’ve worked hard to acquire. If you’re ready to manage your churn aggressively, our customer exit survey template will help you implement industry best practices.

Free Customer Exit Survey Templates: Discover Why Your Customers are Churning

SaaS customer exit surveys: The technical detail

At this point, you may be saying: thanks for the cancellation survey best practices, but how does the ProsperStack platform actually work? We share our product documentation online, but below is a summary of how our platform helps you create customer exit surveys:

Flow editor: Our drag-and-drop cancellation flow editor is easy to use and doesn’t require a developer to set up, change or manage. 

Default flow: The default flow offers two standard questions, but you can add more if you’d like. You can also set questions as optional or require customers to answer them before moving on in your cancellation flow.

Question types: You can create multiple choice (which is a fixed list that you create) and open-ended text questions. Our drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to customize questions, reorder and randomize them. You can also allow customers to choose more than one option.

Conditional questions: You can gather more specific feedback by adding conditional questions.

Third-party integrations: Use Zapier to transfer your customer survey results quickly to thousands of apps, such as your CRM or customer success platform.

Customer exit surveys are easy with ProsperStack 

Gathering straight-from-the-customer cancellation feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve your SaaS product, save customers and grow revenue.

At ProsperStack, we make it easy for subscription-based brands to prosper by automating the entire customer cancellation experience. Get a demo to see our platform in action and learn how ProsperStack customers reduce churn by 10-30 percent.

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