How to Get Product Feedback Without Annoying Your Customers
Product feedback is essential. It’s crucial to improving your product, and ultimately, your entire company.
Of course, most businesses understand this—it’s why the average consumer is sick of being asked for feedback! It is now easier than ever to bother customers with requests to complete a “brief” seven-page survey.
With that kind of air around feedback, it’s also harder than ever to request it. But it is possible. It just takes a bit of creativity, some tech-savvy, and empathy for your users.
We’ve compiled 7 methods for getting feedback that won’t irritate your users. But first, let’s breakdown what we mean by “product feedback.”
What is Product Feedback?
Product feedback is the response you get from your users about your product. In the simplest terms, it’s the information that tells you how much they did or did not like it.
A user can easily say “like” or “dislike,” but the true art of receiving product feedback is discerning the why.
To uncover the “why,” it helps to understand the two types of feedback:
Quantitative data: This is feedback based on data and measurable statistics. A few examples include page clicks, successful checkouts, or a recording of your user’s screen.
Qualitative data: Feedback straight from the customer’s mouth (or keyboard). It’s everything that quantitative data isn’t: reasons for liking or disliking, suggestions, general feelings, and whatever else your user is willing to verbalize.
Source: Heisenberg Media
Why Product Feedback is Important
To grow your product, it needs a direction.
If your product is the vehicle, then your product feedback is the roadmap.
The right kind of product feedback helps you to understand your customer, to anticipate their needs, and to make your product the best it can be.
By asking your users the right questions, you can get answers that provide insight into everything you need to improve your product:
- Why aren’t website visitors making a purchase?
- What do our users think of our competitors?
- Are they able to perform basic functions in the application without trouble?
- Why do they prefer to use one feature over another?
Of course, you won’t be getting any answers if they’re not willing to answer them. That’s why knowing how to ask is so important.
How to Get Product Feedback
In order to get a well-rounded picture of your feedback, it’s crucial to receive both qualitative and quantitative feedback.
That’s because both types of feedback have their limits. No amount of data can substitute a human being telling you how they feel. On the other hand, people do tend to behave differently than they claim, so it’s essential to “fact check” them.
Below are several methods that can get you both types of data. We use a combination of passive and direct approaches that you can include in your feedback strategy.
1. Keep It Simple and Friendly
Take this as a rule of thumb for any of your customer feedback interactions: you need to keep things brief and user-friendly.
Example: Use a poll
Polls are quick, easy, and fun—they’re perfect for brevity and a fun user experience. Best of all, people love taking them to see what everyone else picked.
You can use a poll to ask a single pressing user feedback questions while providing three to five options for answers. You can be as fun or as serious as you’d like with your questions, just remember to keep it brief (and don’t be afraid to make it fun).
Integrating your feedback seamlessly into what the user’s already doing will make your feedback survey feel like the next natural step. At the same time, your questions need to be sharp and to the point.
Keep these two principles in mind when formulating your product feedback requests:
Phrase your questions better
The way you ask for things makes all the difference.
Let’s say that your user makes it all the way through your checkout process, but stops just short of confirming the order. A pop up window asking “Why are you leaving?” sounds more like an accusation than a question. Rather than be pressed to make up an excuse, your user will likely just leave altogether.
Instead, try asking “What could we have done differently?” Not only is this question more appealing (almost apologetic), but the way it’s phrased highlights what you’re really asking for.
Use good timing
Imagine if you were asked to give feedback on a product—after you’ve only been using it for two minutes. Not only is it going to create an interruption, you’ll also have wasted the opportunity to get a response.
Make sure that your surveys or popups for feedback are appropriately timed in accordance with the user’s experience. For example, don’t ask for feedback on a certain feature until the user has finished completing a task associated with it. If it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment, have the survey appear after a set amount of time has elapsed.
2. Social Media Monitoring and Listening
What’s social media if not a place for people to express their opinion? It’s the perfect environment for collecting feedback—and you might not even have to ask for it. Listening can provide a wealth of information that you might not be able to get from your users. This is useful if, for example, you want to see how a feature used by a competitor was received.
1. Thank you so much!
2. Our Mobile team is pretty incredible so we're sending this over to them, it'll make their day.
3. Thanks for taking the time to share feedback with us, it's how we make things better!
4. Thank you, thank you, thank you again. 💕 https://t.co/hxU3JeMcM6
— SurveyMonkey (@SurveyMonkey) May 30, 2019
There’s always a handful of people on social media who have no problem voicing their pleasure (or displeasure) over a brand or product, either in their own personal corner or in a company’s comment section.
Sprout Social explains the difference between social media monitoring and social media listening, two techniques you can use to receive feedback from social media.
Social media monitoring involves finding mentions of your brand and addressing the feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. Replying to this kind of feedback is much easier since their concerns are already out in the open.
You can then have a conversation to uncover the motivation for the feedback. Choosing to reply can even boost your favor with users, since it’s not always expected for brands to respond.
Social media listening, on the other hand, is a way of deciphering information and feedback in the industry to gain more clarity about your own product.
3. Analyze the Data
You can’t annoy your users if you don’t actually speak to them! That’s where collecting and analyzing data comes in. In this case, we’re not talking about data that you would receive from surveys. Rather, we mean the data that you can collect from sources like your website or application.
Just keep in mind that this kind of data is merely an observation of what your users are already doing—it’s not a replacement for receiving feedback straight from a user’s mouth. It’s great for validating a hypothesis, but not so great for discovering an epiphany.
Depending on what you’re testing, there are a range of tools available to help you collect data.
Session replays allow you to see a recording of the actions your users took on your website or app. Not only will it allow you to step into the shoes of your users, but some session replay software even helps draw conclusions for you. MouseFlow is an invaluable tool that will save you the trouble of having to organize and conduct usability tests.
Record clicks, bounce rates, and a user’s journey through your website. This can help you find any “stuck points” that are tripping up your users from taking a desired action. Make sure to recruit the help of an analyst—this kind of feedback is all about reading the numbers.
To find real insights, go beyond analyzing who stuck around and who didn’t. Userbrain suggests monitoring several on-site behaviors, such as:
- Button tracking
- Destination URL tracking
- Time on page
- Behavior flows
Image source: Marketlytics
4. Use Live Chat Support
If your customer faces a problem with your application, don’t expect them to leave a bad a review. It’s far more likely that they’ll just leave and never come back.
But if you’re using live chat support, it’s possible to catch those users before they disappear. Prominent live support can answer your user’s questions right when they need it.
Simply providing an area for customer support is not enough. Super Office found that 79% of customers “prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy” of response that it can offer in comparison to email and social media.
Plus, a live chat conversation doubles as a place to receive immediate feedback. A well-trained live chat representative can ask the right questions to get crucial information about the user’s problem.
Image credit: HelpCrunch
5. Offer a Reward
Who wouldn’t want to receive a reward for completing a survey?
Survey Monkey explains that even your most “hard-to-reach audiences” will be compelled to take your survey if you know how to ask the right questions and how to reward them.
Plus, now that you’ve received your user’s commitment, they’ll be far more receptive to answering your harder questions and spending more time to formulate their answers.
However, you need to be careful with the kind of prizes you offer. An incentive that’s too broad can attract the wrong kind of users to your survey.
For example, offering a $20 Amazon gift card for a survey is an attractive offer to just about anyone—but you don’t want just anyone filling out your user feedback surveys.
A thorough understanding of your audience—and a reward that uniquely benefits them alone—can help improve your response rates.
Image credit: Zurb
6. Use Pop Ups the Right Way
Pop ups used to be one of the most annoying things about the internet, but now, they’ve become incredibly powerful tools for generating feedback.
Of course, pop ups can still be annoying if you don’t use them properly. A pop up that takes up the entire screen while the user is in the middle of using your application or browsing your website is one of the worst ways to use a pop up.
Learning to use pop ups properly, and using them at the right time, can make all the difference in receiving feedback.
- When and where the pop up is triggered
- The design and style of the form
- How the questions and answers are written
7. Call Your Customers
That’s right—a direct call to your customer might be one of the least annoying wants to ask for feedback. Sounds hard to believe, right? You’d be surprised just how effective a direct call can be when done properly.
Remember to make it clear that this call is for the benefit of the customer. If it sounds like just another sales call, it can have the opposite effect.
HubSpot found that the best times to make a call is between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If that doesn’t work, between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm is a good alternative.
There are many ways to get product feedback without being annoying—you just have to use the right approach depending on the kind of data you want.
No matter your approach, always remember to take the user into consideration—that can go a long way in helping you get feedback without souring the user’s perception of you.