Why You Should Know The Different Types Of Feedback
You want to pride yourself in being a customer-centric organization? Then you need to listen to your customer’s feedback. Here is a guideline on the different types of product feedback.
As a company, you often believe that you know your product best. However, it is often neglected that it is not you who has to use the product, but above all your customers. You may lose sight of the essentials and develop your product the way you would like it to be, instead of paying attention to the needs of your customers. It is therefore not surprising that one in five products does not meet the needs of its users.
So what can you do to combat your own biases in product development? The answer is as simple as it is comprehensive: feedback.
The fact that you are reading this shows that you care about your product and your customers. You understand that being a customer-centric organization is increasingly important in a nowadays overcrowded marketplace.
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Whether you already have a feedback process implemented or not, it is important to know what types of feedback are out there. Only this way you can make sure, that you are using the right channel and method to collect feedback for your company.
Generally, there are two types of feedback, the one you went out of your way to collect and the one that came your way without asking for it. In Product management both are very important but just like most things in life, every type has its pros and cons.
Solicited Product Feedback
The feedback you actively request is also referred to as solicited feedback. It can come in two forms, quantitative (in numbers, such as scores) and qualitative (in text, such as interviews).
Sometimes customers are not aware of the fact that companies listen to their feedback. This might be because they have made bad experiences with other companies in the past. For many users feedback is equal to reviews, and it serves more purpose to other buyers rather than themselves. This is where solicited feedback comes in. Actively asking for feedback not only shows your customers that you care about their opinion, but also that you want to improve your product to their liking. In the end, both sides, you and your customers, profit from the insights you collected and that’s why this type of feedback is so important and why we focus on it in the following guide.
Here are some of the most relevant methods of requested product feedback and why they might (or might not) be right for you:
Customer Surveys are a quick and useful way to gain knowledge about specific topics regarding your product. Setting up a process for feedback surveys is often time-saving and continuous. Customer surveys are a great way to help you get feedback quickly on a specific part of your product. It can be implemented as a continuous process and can run alongside your constant product improvements.
Once in place, it is a great source of information, as it offers a great overview due to scores and structured questions. However, the information only relates to specific aspects and can only be utilized for such. If you are looking for more, or deeper information customer interviews will be necessary.
The most popular customer surveys are the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT).
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): The NPS measures customer experience and can also predict business growth. Customers are asked to rate how likely they would recommend the product to a friend on a scale of 0-10. The NPS is typically send periodically. Depending on your product, field, or number of customers you could send them out monthly, quarterly or one or twice a year.
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT): While the NPS measures customer loyalty the CSAT focusses on the customer satisfaction. The CSAT typically asks “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with (product)?” and uses a scale of 1-5.
|Quick and easy set up||Only focus on a specific aspect|
|Continuous and periodically sendable||low response rates|
|cheap run and setup||Needs other measures to deliver deeper insights|
|Wide Target Range|
If you are looking for deeper and broader insights, customer interviews are a helpful way to get those. Since you are talking to your customers with this type, either in person or on the phone, you have the opportunity to dig deep and reassure you get all the information you need.
Those interviews can either be held in a one-on-one setting or as a focus group. The interviews often focus on a small target group, as it is very time-consuming to carry out and analyze. It is therefore advisable to only talk to the customers who are of great importance.
|Deep insights into a specific issue||Not scalable|
|Discovering unknown unknowns||Time-consuming to run and setup|
|Insights about new product features||Expensive to run and setup|
|Difficult to analyze results|
|Inconclusive or biased|
Feedback pages are a type of forum, that you offer your customers as a place to leave feedback, vote on other people’s feedback, and feature suggestions, and can interact with your users. They are easy to set up and offer your customers a central place to voice their opinion.
Some providers of feedback pages offer analyzing and reporting tools that help you keep an overview of collected feedback. A good feedback software will also provide prioritization tools that show you information about your customers, like the revenue they bring to the company or visualize insights for you.
|Quick to set up||Informing customers about it|
|Cost-effective||Identity of the customer (depending on the tool)|
|Deep insights||Not just product feedback|
|Automatic analyzing the results (depending on the tool)|
Unsolicited product feedback
The second type of feedback is unrequested or unsolicited feedback. Just like the name suggests, it is the feedback that you did not actively and directly ask for. It is typically written, but can also be spoken. This type of feedback requires a higher effort to collect and analyze, as it can show up on various channels and has a big range in quality.
Let’s have a look at the most common forms of unrequested or voluntary feedback.
Communities and Forums
Next to feedback pages, which are also a type of forum, there are communities and platforms out there that provide feedback unsolicited.
Reddit or Quora are examples of forums that frequently contain feedback regarding products.
If you are looking to use this feedback for your product, you should start where your and your competitors’ customers frequent.
|Cost-effective||Identity of customer unknown|
|no target audience selected|
|Difficult process setup and analysis|
Another way that feedback comes in, is via your support or customer care team. If people need help, they often go right to the source, by calling or emailing your company directly.
This is a great way to find out what your customers truly care about and what isn’t working for them.
|inhouse||Not just product feedback|
|Real customer information||Verbal feedback difficult to access|
|Difficult to analyze|
Reviews can in some cases be solicited, but most times customers share their experience with other potential buyers.
Countless platforms and websites capture reviews. However, you should only focus on the ones most relevant to your business.
If you are a software company you should take a look at comparison platforms like Capterra and G2, while in other businesses the go-to reviews can be Google, Amazon, or Trustpilot. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask yourself where they would hang out.
Info-Box: If you want to collect reviews from many different sides, find a solution that helps you gather those insights in one place and lets you analyze them quickly.
|Often in stars/score||Emotional/fake (no customer information)|
|Tools can help keep the effort low||biased|
|Lack of deeper information|
|Directed at other buyers, not product|
At the end of the day, your business can only thrive if you have happy customers. Listening to their experiences is a great way to show your users that you are a customer-centric company that cares about their insights. Many types of feedback are easy to set up and offer general to deep information about your product that you might not have thought of yet. All in all, it’s a great way for both, you and your customers, to benefit.
After deciding on one or more types of feedback you want to work with, it is time to implement an effective feedback process. To successfully do this, you first need to know how, who, and when to ask for feedback.
Learn more about how to ask for feedback in our article How to ask for Product Feedback.