The Secret To Building An Outstanding Product Is Your Users’ Feedback
The secret is out if it even was a secret, to begin with. Judging by the way many companies operate regarding their product improvement it still had to be one, right?
Many companies struggle with just the thought of collecting feedback from their users. The whole process can be overwhelming.
On the one hand, companies struggle with not receiving any helpful feedback to improve their product while others drown in the amount of feedback they receive.
Every good Product Manager knows just how important valuable feedback from customers is. The real question is how do you get to the point where you can build a great product tailored to your users’ needs?
It’s time we do something about this! So, let’s deep dive into this challenge and try and solve the dilemma.
Table of contents
- Who, What, When, Where, and How?
- How To Handle User Feedback
Who, What, When, Where, and How?
There is a lot to unpack here. Just the thought of collecting feedback from your users can be overwhelming. It starts with the number of opportunities you have for collecting it and ends with the many, many insights you will get.
What is for sure though, a proactive approach to gathering user feedback will help you stay on track to fulfilling your customer’s needs through your products. Not just one time only, but throughout your customer’s lifecycle.
Before you start gathering user feedback regarding your product, you need to determine what outcomes or insights you are hoping for. A clearly phrased intention is necessary if you want clear and useful feedback. This step will especially help you in the long run.
To pinpoint your intentions, it can help to ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- What would we like to improve? In Product Management, you will of course focus on product-specific topics like design and features. Try to break them down as detailed as you see fit. Ask yourself what aspects of the product would most benefit from feedback.
- How do we plan to collect the insights? User feedback is always nice to have, but it can be useless if no effective actions come from it.
- What feedback channel works best for our goals? Well, this is the question you came here for, so let’s find out.
Who Should I Collect User Feedback From?
The first and most obvious thought regarding this question is to pick out the customers that represent your typical users across the board. However, it can benefit you to loosen your restrictions on who the perfect user is, and here is why.
First of all, it can be quite tricky to find the perfect user group that ticks all the boxes. Depending on the width of your product. Look for other characteristics in your feedback group that help overcome this hurdle.
Secondly, you can benefit from people outside of your bubble. Your product will be designed to be understood by your average user. But what about the customers that match the norm? It can be helpful to include their ideas and inputs as well to create a better product.
From a business point of view, it also makes sense to address the big players and key accounts. Even if these don’t represent the average of your customers, they are an important source of income for your company.
Especially if you work in the B2B sector, it can have the positive side effect that by improving your product for one big company chances are you are making it also more attractive for other big companies.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that the user who gives you feedback understands the pain points your product tries to solve.
When Should I Collect User Feedback?
If you ring up your customers and randomly ask them for their feedback on your product you will most likely get the answer “I am busy right now”.
The right timing when collecting feedback is very important as it has a lot of impact on the value of the given insights. If the user you are asking feedback from is busy you might 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:
Give new customers time to get to know your product and don’t be too hectic to ask them for feedback. If it is their first time using it, they probably have other things to think about than give you feedback right away. Let them get settled in first. This will also be in favor of the quality of your feedback.
While it’s not good to rush your customers, you should also not wait forever to ask them for their feedback. In the end, they might be facing an unhappy user that wants to churn. Asking them for feedback at this point will not improve your customer relationship.
Instead, try to find the natural midpoint. This is usually the time users are most happy to provide feedback as they want to keep using your products and therefore benefit directly from improvements.
Where Should I Collect User Feedback?
Now that you know when and who to ask for feedback it is also important to know where, since this might have an impact on the content of your feedback. Different channels serve different target groups. Therefore, it is wise to always consider the context of the feedback you are seeking.
In the following, you can find some channels that are suitable to collect product feedback from your users.
If you are looking for ad hoc feedback and not planning for a permanent feedback loop, E-mails might be right for you. This channel has the advantage that you can select your target audience precisely before sending out a feedback request.
Typically mail surveys contain a link to a survey about your product. The downside to this channel is, that you might reach your customers when they are not using your product right this second and therefore the quality of the content can vary. Also, the response rate to email feedback requests typically is not very high.
This channel is especially important since this is where you can reach your customers directly. This is where they come to use your product, maybe even on a daily basis.
While your customers are using your product, they might notice something worth giving feedback about, like a missing feature or a bug. If you offer your users to give feedback here directly you can count on a high value in the quality of the insights.
Product feedback tools
Another channel to offer your users a way to give you feedback is by using product feedback tools. Like Userwell, these tools offer your customers a platform where they can post their insights and ideas regarding the improvement of your product.
The benefit of feedback pages 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 features are needed by many without the hassle of going through thousands of messages.
How To Handle User Feedback
If you have come this far, congratulations! You now have some valuable feedback from your users that can help you improve your product. But the feedback you got is only as good as the actionable insights you get out of them.
Here are a few tips on how you can gather your feedback and derive beneficial improvements:
Gather Your User Feedback In One Place
If you have used more than one channel or have a sizable amount of emails collected make sure to bring them together in one place. This can for example be an excel sheet. If you are already using a feedback tool all of your insights will already be in one place, which will save you a lot of time.
Identify Who Gave You Feedback
The way your product is used might differ from customer to customer. This, of course, also becomes evident in your feedback. There are two main things to take under consideration when it comes to the “who”: the job the feedbacker has and if they are a paying customer.
If your target audience for example is marketing managers, the feedback of a sales manager may not reflect your typical user base. It is also important to differentiate between free and paying users. The reason behind this is obvious – building something for non-paying customers will not earn any revenue.
Additionally, paying users are often more focused on improving the product itself while free customers prefer a wider range of features.
Userwell enables you to see the revenue of customers when they post feedback, so you can make sure a decision based on this insight will be rentable.
Separate The Wheat From The Chaff
As a product manager, you will know best what path your product wants to follow. However, it might happen that the feedback you get does not fit in your product vision.
If you are building software for astronauts, for example, you will probably not have any intentions to expand it to the field of banking and finance. Stay on the yellow brick road, but it doesn’t hurt to look around and see what is out there.
Are There More?
If you get feedback from one person only about a new feature, for example, don’t base your entire roadmap on just that. Instead, if you think the feature is a good idea, ask others specifically if they would like to see this feature in the future too. Maybe some of them have just found a workaround to solve the problem, but the problem still exists.
If you use a product feedback tool like Userwell, this can be easily done by voting or commenting on an idea on your feedback page.
Even though it can seem overwhelming at first, collecting customer feedback is an important part of your product improvement process. By asking for feedback proactively or supplying your customers with a feedback page, your business will grow and increase your customer satisfaction.
Besides preventing churn and engaging customers, it helps you to prioritize internally. So, take this secret and tell it to the world or keep it to yourself and be happy to know, that you are building a product that your users love.