Everyone can agree by now that collecting feedback and feature requests is the first best thing you can do to improve and grow your business. However, collecting feedback isn't enough, you also need to act on it to maintain customer trust and build stronger relationships.
Here are the eight best practices for collecting customer feedback and ways to make them work.
1. Make it easy
The most important aspect of collecting feedback is to make it easy for your users to send feedback your way. Making sure that your method of collecting feedback is as simple and frictionless as possible, will improve your feedback volume and quality.
It is crucial to provide an open feedback form for your users, during their normal workflow in your application. This helps you capture real-time feedback that is more insightful compared to sending periodical surveys and counting on users to share their feedback later on. Having an open channel for feedback will also give your users the confidence that their feedback is welcome and will be addressed.
Hard ways for users to send feedback:
- feedback portal that requires additional signup
Easy ways for users to send feedback:
- live chat
- in product form
- embeddable feedback widget
Feedback is an important aspect of your business, so similar to your signup process, it should be as easy and frictionless as possible.
Your product is definitely the best place to collect feedback as you don’t want to interrupt your user’s workflow by having them leave the application to go to a website or to send an email.
The goal of collecting feedback is to not interrupt the user, but rather provide an easy way for them to share if they want to. So instead of sending email campaigns, in-app survey questions or floating notifications, stick to a non-intrusive but easy to find button or menu link that will open a pop-up with a simple form.
If you want to improve or maintain your feedback volume, make it clear that you are listening to your users and acting on their feedback. Since 95% of companies don’t respond to feedback, users assume it's not wanted, and are more reticent in giving it. Make it clear that the objective of getting their feedback is to help them better achieve their goals and make their lives better.
2. Prompt reply
We just covered the importance of assuring users that their feedback is wanted and welcomed. As your business grows and scales it is crucial to not lose your personal touch with your customers. An easy way to do that is by having a prompt reply to every piece of feedback and feature request that you receive.
Replying to your users' feedback shows them that you are listening to them, that their feedback is welcomed and appreciated and is what builds trust and customer relationships.
Close the loop with your customers. They took the time to give you feedback, for free, so the least you could do is follow up. Even if you don’t act on it, it shows that they’re being heard and encourages them for future feedback.
Replying to users also gives you the opportunity to ask more questions regarding the feedback, or if the user is asking for a feature that you are about to release, you can let them know and give them early access in return for more feedback.
3. Ask for more insights
You want to always ask more questions and to dig deeper. Ask "why" and about their current processes, how they are currently solving this pain point and "how would you imagine this to work".
If you don't talk to your customers to fully understand their problems, you risk not really solving them and only treating the symptoms instead of the underlying cause.
4. Thank the user
You should always thank the user for their feedback. It doesn't matter if it's positive or negative. You want to show your appreciation for their feedback and see it as wanting to help.
You don't have to lie and say it's a good or bad suggestion, and you don't have to prove them wrong and defend your product. You simply have to acknowledge it, thank them for providing their input or wanting to help, and make them feel heard.
Taking the time to thank everyone for their feedback nurtures your happy users and helps turn them into advocates. It creates a connection to you and your product and they will be more likely to support it and recommend it. Thank you notes (in this case a thank you message) is a greater motivation and show of appreciation than any monetary reward.
5. Be honest with your customers
Most often than not, you see companies having a default reply to feature requests and it implies a generic "will look over it/add it to the roadmap". The problem with that is that you are giving your customer false hope and they might keep coming back asking when their feature request will be implemented since they were told it's in the roadmap.
A better approach is being honest with your customers. If you don't know if the feature will ever take part in the roadmap say that the team will look at it and take consideration of it but you can't make any promises. If you are not sure when it will be released say that right now you have other priorities in the pipeline and that the team will take a look after they are completed. If you know that the feature will not be implemented you can politely refuse and simply let the user know that their feature request is not in your scope of features or not part of your product vision.
Customers love being followed up. It shows them that they matter to your business and you appreciate them. Following up to users can be time-consuming which is why most services skip it altogether. But it's important that you follow up with users and show progress, accountability, and transparency.
Always get back to your users, let them know you implemented something they suggested and ask for further feedback. This gives them a sense of being heard. The fact that they have a say in your application's user experience and product roadmap makes them more connected to your product and encourages them to participate even more and provide more feedback.
This is what is going to help you build a strong relationship with your users and turn them into promoters for your product.
A tip would be to also follow up with lost leads and churned customers. Showing constant progress and devotion to users might just win them back, even if they switched to a competitor.
7. Constant improvements
Collecting feedback and feature requests should be more than an annual or quarterly campaign. It should be a constant effort to listen to your customers and act upon their feedback. Users' needs and expectations evolve with time so providing the best customer experience is a forever going task that should become a routine.
Include customer feedback constantly into your product roadmap. Some suggestions are small improvements while others are game-changing features. Ideally, you would balance your roadmap with the two, but even when you are focused on other things it's important to add a few small improvements to your releases.
This shows constant progress and improvement to your customers and it is a delight. It proves that you are not only focused on bringing new customers and expanding to new niches, but you also improve your product bit by bit for your existing customers.
This is what keeps customers happy and churn low.
8. Welcome negative feedback
Inevitably, you will also get some negative feedback. Don't sweep it under the rug and most definitely don't delete and disregard it. You should be open to it. Ask the user why they feel that way and how they think you could improve in that area. See if there is anything immediate you can do to help/comfort them.
By replying to negative feedback you show the customer that you care about them, and it makes them feel heard and safe. Don't disregard what they are saying. Yes, they might need more support or care from you, and probably have their expectations too high, but once won over they will be your biggest fans.
The fact that the user gave you feedback instead of just switching to a different service means that they are still interested in your product, and there is still hope. Replying to negative feedback can be a very effective way to prevent churn.
Try to bridge the gap between you and your customers by communicating closer with them and thinking about them as members of your team instead of strangers.
Need an easy way to collect feature requests?Sign Up for Acute