How to Ask for Product Feedback
The quality of your product feedback depends on many factors. Here are a few helpful tipps on how to ask for valuable user insights and insure high quality feedback.
The most important thing in feedback management is implementing an effective feedback process. This may seem overwhelming at first, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Before you can start collecting solicited product feedback, you need to determine what results or insights you hope to achieve. A clearly stated intent is necessary for useful feedback and will help in the long run.
To do this, address the question of what you would like to improve. Try to be as detailed as possible about what exactly you want to optimize. Is it a new feature, the design, an update, or do you want to make large-scale changes? Together with your team, ask yourself what aspects of the product would benefit most from feedback.
Once you’ve established your goal, you can move forward in the process and ask the next row of questions:
Who do I ask for solicited feedback?
When is the perfect timing?
Where can I collect it?
And lastly: How do I collect feedback?
Table of contents
Who to Ask for Feedback
Not all feedback is equally valuable. The quality of it depends on many factors. One of them is the target audience of the survey. The first thought here is probably to either survey all customers or to pick out the customers who represent the typical users on average.
The approach is not wrong in theory and may result in you getting a lot of feedback. However, a lot of feedback does not automatically mean valuable feedback. It can also mean that too much valuable time goes into filtering valuable and less insightful data.
It can be advantageous to draw on other customer segments. From a business perspective, for example, it also makes sense to target the big players and major customers. Even if they do not represent the average customer, they are an important source of revenue for your company.
Especially in B2B companies, this can have the positive side effect that by improving the product for one big company, it is very likely to make it more attractive to other big companies as well.
The golden rule in selecting a feedback group, in short, is that the users providing feedback understand the pain points that your product is trying to solve.
When to Ask for Feedback?
After you and your team have thought about who you want to contact, you should now pay attention to the right timing. If you ring up your customers and randomly ask them for feedback on your product you will most likely get the answer “I am busy right now”.
The right timing is very important, as it has a huge impact on the value of the insights you gain. If users you ask for feedback are busy, you may not get an honest answer, or in the worst case, no answer at all.
To not waste time trying to get feedback from your users, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind:
- Find the natural midpoint. Give new customers time to get to know the product. But don’t miss the boat and wait too long to ask for feedback. Otherwise, you may be faced with dissatisfied users who want to turn away from the company. Find the middle, where your customers want to continue using the products, so they can benefit directly from improvements.
- Meet them halfway. The easiest way to meet your customers halfway is by offering them to give you feedback when it’s most convenient for them. That way, they can decide for themselves if and when they want to share their insights with you.
Where to Ask for Feedback?
Several factors have an impact on the quality of feedback. So does the channel through which you collect your feedback. After all, different channels are suited for different feedback types and serve unique target groups. Therefore, it is advisable to always consider the context of the feedback.
Typically, if you are looking to build a feedback process you will find that many times only one channel will not be sufficient to collect the specific insights you need. It is common to use more than one channel for gathering insights.
If you are looking for ad hoc feedback, e-mails might be the right way for you. This channel has the advantage of precisely selecting your target audience before sending a feedback request.
For this channel, it is common to conduct a product feedback survey. Online survey tools or self-build solutions allow to quickly send out questionnaires or feedback forms.
The downside of this channel is that you may reach your customers at a time when they are not using your product and therefore the quality of the content may vary. Also, the response rate to e-mail feedback requests is typically not very high.
This channel is especially important because you can reach your customers directly. This is where they come to use your product, perhaps even on a daily basis. While your customers are using your product, they may notice something they should provide feedback on, such as a missing feature or a bug in the product. If you offer your users to give feedback here directly, you can expect a high value of quality insights.
Phone or In-Person Interviews
The main advantage of interviews, whether by phone or in person, is that they provide deeper insights into certain topics. There is an opportunity to follow up if there is any ambiguity. However, they are often difficult to scale and expensive to execute.
When you turn to social media channels to gather feedback, you benefit from mostly unfiltered and thus often truthful comments. However, this type of feedback is often impulsive and unstructured, and it’s time-consuming to wade through the jungle of feedback.
There are countless social media platforms, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your product some platforms might be more useful to you than others. For example, some companies will find Instagram polls very helpful while others will have a larger audience on Twitter and could, therefore, start a threat there.
A typical channel to collect feedback is through your support or customer care department. In some companies, there is already some sort of system in place to deal with general customer feedback. These departments often use tools like Jira or Zendesk for support tickets, or feedback comes in through calls or emails.
If you want to use this channel for feedback it is important to set up a process, so everything lands in one central place, that all involved team members have access to.
Product Feedback Tools
Another way for your customers to give you feedback is by using product feedback tools. Like Userwell, these tools offer your customers a platform to post their insights and ideas regarding the improvement of your product.
The benefit of feedback tools is that you can make sure that you don’t get the same feedback more than once but rather have a clear overview of what was requested by many without the hassle of going through thousands of messages.
How to Ask for Feedback?
The last question to answer now is how to collect feedback.
What questions, metrics, and methods can you use to get the information you are looking for? To answer this we have to take a look at two types of feedback, closed and open-ended questions. Once you have decided on one or more methods we can start collecting product feedback.
There are a number of different rating systems to choose from. Let’s dive in and see what they have to offer:
- 5-Star Rating: This is probably the most common rating scale. You simply ask your customers to rate a feature, service, or experience on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). It offers a quick and simple overview but doesn’t give any deeper insights.
- Symmetric Scale: A symmetric scale, as its name suggests, consists of an even number of options to rate a feature, service, or experience. Removing the middle option has the benefit of getting a clear tendency in your feedback. It is best to describe each number on the scale for this system to make it clearer to the feedbacker.
- NPS: As mentioned before, NPS is commonly used to measure customer loyalty. However, the scale itself can also be used for product feedback. On a scale from 0-10 customers are asked how likely they would recommend the product to a friend or colleague. A score above 9 would categorize a user as a “promoter, a score from 7 or 8 classifies them as “passives”, and a score of or below 6 means they are “detractors”. According to their loyalty level, you can then follow up with different segments of users.
- Binary Rating: This system is commonly used, due to the high response rate. Giving your customers a simple choice between good and bad, or thumps up and thumps down is, therefore, a great way to collect data and get a general overview quickly and easily. However, it does not provide any detailed information about the customer’s choice.
- Checklist: Offering a set of adjectives to describe your product is a great way to collect feedback that is a bit more descriptive, while still having the benefits of a quantitative survey. However, the preset adjectives might not display your customers’ true feelings about your product and can therefore be misleading.
While rating systems rely on numeric scales, open text feedback focuses on verbal insights.
Even though open-ended questions can be a pain to analyze, you will generate the most insights from this method. In practice, an open-ended question is often paired with other numeric methods.
- Feedback forms: Feedback forms typically have a set of predefined questions combining numeric ratings and text questions. They are quick and easy to set up but typically have a lower response rate.
- Feedback pages: While preset questions, whether they are open-ended or closed, focus on specific aspects, feedback pages allow your users to share what they think is worth mentioning. Analyzing the feedback, you receive via those pages can be very time-consuming or time-saving, depending on if you are using a product feedback tool that offers an analysis feature and duplicate check.
Once you have determined which channels and type(s) of questions you want to use for collecting feedback, you are one step closer to an efficient feedback process. Always keep in mind that you need to find the natural midpoint along their customer journey and ask them halfway for feedback.
By keeping these few important key aspects in mind you will be able to gather feedback that adds value and can help improve your product.
The next step in setting up a product feedback process is categorizing and analyzing your gathered feedback. After all, the feedback you get is only as good as the actionable insights you gain from them.
So, what do we do with all the gathered insights? In our next article, we show you a step-by-step guide on how to analyze product feedback and derive actionable tasks from them. Learn more here.