Customer feedback is extremely valuable and can generate insights ranging from high level information (like if the user's pain point is truly solved), or minute details (like the layout of a specific page being confusing). The most successful products use a customer feedback loop to improve customer experience. As an added bonus, you'll also work towards improving other metrics like churn and conversions.
Let's take a closer look at all the ways that you can collect customer feedback and learn which user feedback channels will work best for your business.
You probably already have an email support channel or a customer contact form on your website. While the primary focus of this channel is to provide help and support to your customer, there are actually valuable insights to be found here. Even if the customer is not asking for a feature request, they are still providing feedback! It may not seem like it (especially if the customer is angry), there is a huge amount of information contained here.
Think carefully about what customers are saying for when they talk about your product. Focus on any problems that they may be having, and look for where customers struggle or get confused. These are huge hints towards improving the usability of your product.
Customer support is a treasure trove of information that needs to be reviewed to extract insights. Spend some time reviewing the conversations that happen here. You will be able to learn a lot about where problems are and how your customers think!
Best for: All businesses. Virtually all products use this channel, it's just a matter of leveraging your emails to find the feedback.
Surveys are a set of questions that you can send to a large number of users to request feedback. This is a great method for quickly collecting a data from many users. Use-cases for surveys include: general sentiment about your product, finding out about usability issues, or collecting supplementary or demographic information.
Long form surveys are typically sent via email. These are surveys that comprise of multiple questions, but make sure they are still succinct and have a purpose. Survey questions should be short and to the point, without unnecessary phrasing. These could be sent in batch to your email newsletter, or via transactional email after a user completes a specific action.
In-app surveys are a type of survey that is conducted within the app itself, usually through a pop-up in the app. This type of survey can be used to ask targeted questions to collect data about user experience or other customer satisfaction metrics that can help improve the app. You could also integrate surveys at a specific point in the flow of their customer journey. For example, during onboarding, or when they have requested to cancel (also known as an exit survey or a churn survey). When running the survey through an app where you know the identity of the user, you can target the questions, personalize the questions, and segment the responses by user traits.
Short popup surveys on a marketing site or landing page are a good way of gathering information from non-customers. Non-customers can provide invaluable feedback about your brand. They likely aren't very familiar with your product yet, so their feedback is honest and unbiased. Feedback from these non-customers can help you resolve conversion issues or change your copy to suit the needs of your target market.
When creating a survey, be sure to keep it brief and to the point. Users will be more likely to respond if the survey is quick and easy to complete. You should also make sure that the questions are relevant to your app and its users.
Regardless of the type of survey, make sure to include some questions that are open-ended, so that you can collect feedback in the user's own words. They may say something that you hadn't considered!
Best for: Products with a high number of users. You'll need a good amount of survey responses to be able to make sense of survey results.
Another way to gather feedback is to add a feedback button to your website or app. By having a feedback collection form so close to the source of user interactions, the user will be more likely to submit feedback, and their thoughts will be freshest in their mind. It's quick and easy - customers can provide their feedback with just a few clicks of a button. This makes it easy for them to share their thoughts and suggestions.
In order for you to allow collect feedback within your app, you will need to use a customer feedback tool like Embarkable, which lets you add a feedback form to your website in minutes.
Once you have added the feedback button, make sure to monitor the comments that are submitted. Respond to users who have left feedback, and thank them for their comments. This will show users that you value their input and are working to improve your website based on their suggestions.
Best for: Software businesses that have an app
A usability test is a technique used in user-centered design to evaluate a product by testing it with users. It involves observing users as they interact with the product, and asking them questions about their thoughts and feelings. The results of a usability test can help designers identify problems with the product and make changes to improve its usability.
The key is review the results from these tests and understand what the user is trying to do, and what they are struggling with. A good test administrator will be able to hone in on these struggles and ask good questions to identify key issues.
Best for: Mature apps
User research in the form of customer interviews is the most effective way to gather dense, qualitative customer feedback. Customer interviews are one on one interviews that you conduct with your customers, or prospective customers. They can be done in person, over video conference, or over the phone. The key is: you are talking to the person directly. Generally 15 or 30 minutes, they are extremely valuable because you are able to get a dense amount of information in a short time. User interviews also dig deeper into the emotional responses of customers. For example, in an in-depth interview, a customer can explain the reasons behind their rating, what made them decide to buy the product, and how they feel about the experience overall. Such insights are often not captured in surveys and may be lost or inaccurate in the analysis.
By having a real-time talk with your user, you are able to immediately ask follow up questions when something isn't clear, or when you've heard something that surprised you. If the call is done with video or in person, you can also garner some information by the user's facial expressions or body language.
Interviewers must ensure that the interviewee gets the majority of the talking time in order to gain valuable information. This is vital in extracting relevant information from the customer. While interviewing, first build rapport with the interviewee and get to know them better. The customer should feel that the interviewer is interested in what he or she is hearing. A customer may be honest when giving an answer that is based on subjective factors, so be careful to avoid any situation where the interviewer might be overbearing.
Make an effort to schedule customer interviews regularly. It may seem like a hassle, but it's well worth the effort. If possible, ask to record the interview so that you can review later or share with your team, and generate a transcript. If that's not possible or the user doesn't agree, make sure to take copious notes during the call. You could also have another person from your team on the call as a note-taker.
Best for: All businesses. It's always useful to talk to your customers!
Gathering customer feedback on social media is an excellent way to improve customer service and gain valuable insight for your entire organization. With billions of people using social media daily, you should make it a point to create a social media profile for your business.
You'll need to invest time and effort into this channel to gain active social media users that follow your brand. By interacting with them on social media, you can ensure that your users will feel heard. By interacting with them, you'll build trust and encourage future engagement. It also gives you the chance to get valuable feedback on what your customers are saying about your business and products.
There are a number of different ways you can use social media to get feedback from your customers. You can ask them to answer questions or fill out surveys on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. You can also run contests and giveaways on social media, and ask participants to provide feedback in order to be entered into the contest.
Another great way to get feedback from your customers is by monitoring their conversations on social media. You can use tools like Hootsuite or SocialMention to track conversations about your company, products, or services.
Best for: Businesses targeting consumers
On-site activity is the measurement of a user's engagement with a website or app. This is typically done through analytics, which track how users interact with a site or app and generates reports that show what parts of the app are being used more frequently. This information can help product owners understand what content is most engaging to their audience and make changes to their site or app accordingly.
Some services even offer website visitor session recordings, which are a way of recording and reviewing the activity of individual website visitors. This includes all clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements, as well as the text entered into any form fields. This information can be used to see what pages they visited, how long they stayed on each page, and what actions they took. This data can be used to improve the website design and content in order to better engage and convert users.
Best for: Apps with a lot of users
Live chat is an engagement and support channel that generates a huge amount of data that can help identify common customer problems. It is important to note the main takeaway of each chat, since chats often include a lot of discussion that is not directly related to feedback. One way of doing this is by categorizing conversations. Tallying the categories will help you determine the biggest concerns or information gaps. These insights can help you focus your development efforts.
While live chats are an effective tool for collecting customer feedback, it's important to remember that customers have different preferences when it comes to how they are approached. A friendly, conversational tone is often justified, but there are always exceptions to every rule. The best way to get real customer feedback is to be as specific as possible. You must remember that live chat is a natural conversation, so a friendly tone is necessary.
Best for: Customer-support focused teams
If you have a sales team, this is a great source of information. Your sales team talks to customers, or potential customers, every day. Following up with existing customers is a great way to get feedback on their experience - what went well, and what went poorly. If you have a specific aspect of your product you are curious about, you could also ask your salespeople to bring up those questions during follow ups.
As well, sales will talk to people who are not your customers yet. This is a good opportunity to hear about any reservations about your product, or what might not be clear in the marketing materials. If the potential client is actively shopping for a solution, you can also get some feedback on the competition, and how your product stacks up.
Either way, don't let the feedback from sales calls go to waste. Just like the customer interviews, try to record the calls and keep detailed notes of each interaction. It will also help you build relationships with your customers, as well as identify strengths and weaknesses. By reviewing notes, you can improve your customer service, your product, and your business.
Best for: Products targeting enterprise customers
Feedback on other sites takes many forms, including reviews, ratings, and discussion forums. These platforms allow customers to share their experiences with a product, both good and bad. This feedback can be valuable for businesses, as it can help them understand what works and what doesn't, and identify areas for improvement.
This feedback can be difficult to track because it is posted on many different websites, and there is often no notification to the company that feedback has been posted.
Best for: All businesses, if you have time to monitor online.
A feature upvote board is a web forum in which users can post feature requests for your product. Users can "upvote" the posts to indicate their opinion. Users can also leave freeform text feedback on these boards, which can be helpful to provide context for why the want the feature.
These boards can be a great way for users to leave feedback. They can also build a sense of community and transparency, since these boards are typically public.
Beware, feature upvote boards can also have some downsides.
Best for: Companies looking to be transparent.
First of all, you don't need to confine yourself to just one channel! Go ahead and implement several of them if you have the bandwidth. Early in a product lifecycle, a product manager or founder may chase a single user to get a conversion, so customer interviews make sense here. As the product and user base grows, it may make sense to introduce surveys so that you can reach more of your audience.
What's really important is that you use customer feedback to make your product better. The challenge is being able to see trends in the insights that your users have provided. Since there is so much feedback streaming in through many different channels, it can be difficult to keep track of it all.
Consider investing in a customer feedback tool that will help you manage and track customer feedback. A tool that consolidates your feedback into a central feedback repository will help see which insights are common and which ones are one-off requests. This makes it much easier for you to focus on building a better product roadmap. Ensure that the voice of the customer is heard - at the beginning, and throughout the decision making process!
Embarkable is a product management platform that connects customer feedback to product goals to help you decide what to build, and why. It lets you consolidate feedback from many different sources so that you'll have more confidence in what to build, and a stronger understanding of your customer needs. Spend less time searching for the right insight, more time building the feature that makes the customer happy, and drive your business forward.
In addition to building roadmaps and managing product launches, Embarkable allows you to monitor a single stream of incoming feedback to keep a pulse on what users are saying - something that would be much too time consuming to do manually. When you have different team members handling support or social media, Embarkable offers peace of mind because you'll know that critical feedback isn't falling through the cracks.