You won’t build the best product on the market based solely on intuition. You need to interact with your customers to learn more about how they actually feel about your product, including what they expect from it.
Does it meet their needs? Have they adopted it properly? How can you improve its usability?
There are countless questions that only your customers can answer. And they won’t help you unless you ask them.
Furthermore, gathering product feedback isn’t enough to create a great SaaS product. You need to put the feedback into action.
Throughout this guide, we’ll not only look at techniques for collecting product feedback but also tell you how to use it to make informed product decisions. In short, we’ll cover the following:
- What is product feedback?
- The types of product feedback you should be aware of
- Who uses product feedback?
- Using product feedback in different development stages
- How to collect (useful) product feedback
- How to use product feedback to make informed product decisions
- 3 examples of companies that successfully used product feedback
Smartlook provides you with qualitative and quantitative data so you can get the entire picture as it relates to the customer experience. Back product feedback with real-time user insights from Smartlook to build an app customers love. Start a full-featured, 30-day trial (no credit card required), or book a demo to see how Smartlook can help you collect product feedback and put it into action.
What is product feedback?
Product feedback is the information that customers give to a company regarding their experience using their product. This can be anything from positive suggestions on social media to negative feedback or tips for improvement.
Product feedback helps you understand what your customers want from your product, including what improvements you can make to meet their needs. You can use it to guide future product development and marketing efforts to ultimately achieve better customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The types of product feedback you should be aware of
Product feedback takes different and sometimes unexpected forms. Essentially, every customer interaction, no matter how small, can lead to valuable feedback that you can use to improve your product.
The most useful types of product feedback include:
- Feature requests: Feedback from customers regarding specific features they would like to see. Feature requests help guide the product roadmap so you can prioritize new features
- Bug reports: Feedback about technical issues or errors that customers encounter while using your product. This type of feedback helps product teams address issues quickly
- User experience (UX) feedback: Feedback about how easy or difficult a product is to use. UX feedback helps product teams improve the overall user experience and identify pain points or areas for improvement. This kind of feedback may come in various forms — from qualitative data, like in-moment customer surveys, to quantitative data, like user engagement metrics
- Sales objections: You have a chance to collect valuable product feedback during the demo process. For instance, if respondents consistently express confusion about a particular feature, your product team could consider redesigning the feature or creating additional resources to help them understand how to use it
- NPS surveys: A net promoter score survey is a questionnaire that rates the likelihood that your existing customers will recommend your brand to their network. By monitoring NPS scores over time, you can track changes in customer sentiment to see how product updates affect customer satisfaction
Some forms of product feedback flow in organically, and others can only be obtained with active user research.
Who uses product feedback?
Almost every department and team across your organization (with the exception of accountants and HR reps) benefits from timely product feedback. Here’s the proof:
- Product development: This team uses product feedback, like feature requests and bug reports, to understand what features and functionality are most important to customers. They also use it to identify areas for improvement and to make data-driven decisions about product development
- Customer support: Support teams rely on product feedback to identify common problems that customers face. They work to address these issues through training, product improvement, and updates to user documentation
- Marketing: Marketers use product feedback to understand how a product is perceived in the market, identify key selling points, and create targeted messaging that resonates with potential customers
- Sales: Honest product feedback helps sales managers understand the needs of potential customers. It also helps them identify objections and concerns so they can tailor their sales strategy for maximum results
- UX/UI: UX and UI designers should collect product feedback to identify areas where the product interface is confusing or difficult to use to make changes that will improve the overall user experience
- Executives: Managers and C-level executives use product feedback to understand how their product fits into the market, identify areas where they can differentiate themselves from competitors, and make decisions involving investment in product development and marketing
That said, product feedback is a cross-department sport. It should be accessible to everyone in the organization so that every team can incorporate VoC into their strategy. That’s why you need to choose product feedback tools that support collaboration and easy information sharing, like Smartlook.
Your teams will incorporate product feedback throughout the entire development process, which can be roughly split into pre-development and post-development phases.
Using customer feedback in the pre-development stage
Incorporating customer feedback in the pre-development stage is an important aspect of building new products that meet the needs of users. In this stage, you should use customer feedback to determine product-market fit, prioritize features, and adjust your UI before developing the actual product.
As we’re focusing specifically on product feedback, there isn’t much data you can collect without having an actual product. However, you can (and should) create a prototype — an interactive representation of your future product — to display to focus groups and to gather the first pieces of customer feedback.
The insights you’ll receive in this stage will help you fine-tune product design, refine functionality, and add more features to your product roadmap.
In the pre-development stage, it’s primarily designers, developers, and marketers that are involved in feedback collection.
Using customer feedback in the post-launch stage
Gathering and analyzing customer feedback after product launch will help you understand how your product is received in the market.
This feedback helps the entire organization identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to improve the product over time.
For example, after analyzing product feedback post-launch, your marketing team may discover they’ve been targeting the wrong audience and need to rethink product positioning. At the same time, UI/UX teams can use the feedback to identify usability-related issues and make changes to the product’s interface for a better user experience.
Post-launch feedback collection is an ongoing process that should never end — if you want to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction. Below, we’ve highlighted the best strategies for collecting the type of product feedback that adds value.
How to collect (useful) product feedback
Here are six tips for gathering actionable product feedback:
- Identify your weaknesses
Before you start collecting feedback, you need to determine what you hope to learn from it. What’s the key problem you want to resolve by collecting product feedback?
Is it low customer retention or poor feature adoption? By collecting customer feedback, you’ll have the key to almost any problem your product team is facing. However, you need to identify the core issue first.
Once you know your pain point (there may be many, but you need to focus on one at a time), you can start researching. But don’t rush into creating surveys right away. First, dig deeper into the issue to come up with more targeted questions.
This is where a product experience insights tool like Smartlook can help. Say, you’ve implemented a new feature. Do your customers enjoy it? Before asking them about it, check Smartlook’s events to see how users are interacting with it. Spot a problem with feature adoption? It’s time to ask users about what’s preventing them from using specific features (see tip #2).
- Implement in-app questionnaires
In-app questionnaires are a great way to gather feedback from users. Tools like Survicate and Intercom allow you to set up in-app survey widgets to gather customer opinions in real-time. They’re also equipped with plenty of question templates to help you get started if you feel lost.
Use in-product micro surveys to ask users about specific workflows or to measure customer satisfaction. With a good survey tool, you’ll be able to choose from a number of questions and specify when and where your surveys are displayed.
Did you know that Survicate integrates with Smartlook? Now, you can easily connect survey responses with web sessions in Smartlook, keeping all of the necessary data at hand.
- Send customer surveys via email
With email surveys, you can gather feedback from loyal customers (because only loyal customers will open your emails).
Keep your surveys short and simple, focused on specific aspects of your product, so your audience doesn’t bounce on the fifteenth page. This is also your chance to gather more information than you otherwise could with a short in-app survey. So take advantage of it!
Be sure to ask several open-ended questions to understand the true VoC.
- Pay attention to the reviews
The most valuable product feedback is already out there. This includes unsolicited feedback from sales conversations, reviews on G2 or Capterra, social media mentions, and customer support tickets.
Check customer communication channels for feedback on topics or features you’re currently researching — there’s a good chance you’ll discover valuable insights without having to perform further research.
- Call your loyal customers
Need more insights? Talk to your most loyal customers in person. These people are already experienced with your product and are more likely to share feedback that will help you improve it.
To start, identify your most loyal customers by analyzing data relating to purchase frequency, customer lifetime value, and customer retention rates. Reach out to them directly and ask if they’re willing to provide you with feedback over a call.
During the call, ask a set of open-ended questions so they can have room to go into detail. The types of questions you’ll ask depends on the goal of your research, but consider these to get started:
- What do you like most about the product?
- What annoys you about the product?
- What prevents you from using [specific product feature]?
- What other problems would you like the product to solve for you?
- Run customer exit surveys
Lastly, don’t forget to question customers who are leaving your product or service. Exit surveys will provide you with in-depth insight into why your customers churn and what you can do to improve the overall product experience.
Set up automation that triggers an exit survey when a person cancels their subscription — it’s best to send these along with a cancelation confirmation message to increase response rates.
Ask questions about why they left, what could have been improved, and how likely they are to recommend your product to others (after all, they may be delighted with your product). Analyze the responses you receive and look for common themes or issues that need to be addressed.
How to use product feedback to make informed product decisions
What should you do with all the feedback you receive? Take the following three steps:
- Turn to visual insights
Earlier, we recommended that you check product experience insights before creating surveys. But you can approach this the other way around. Visual insights, like session recordings or a funnel analysis, will help you understand why customers said what they said.
For instance, once you’ve collected customer feedback via an NPS survey, you’ll need to turn to customer insights from Smartlook to see the reasons behind your score.
Was the customer not using the tool correctly? Or did they just overlook the feature? What was their customer journey prior to the rating? Without recordings, you can only guess.
Likewise, if a survey is prompted by the use of a specific feature you want to collect product feedback about, then you can see exactly what the user was struggling with, including the way they tried to use it. A lot can be lost when you do not have a visual representation of what they’re describing. Moreover, when surveys rely on multiple choice questions or number scales, recordings provide useful context for what the rating is most likely referring to.”
- Prioritize items on your product roadmap
You won’t be able to tackle every item on your roadmap in response to customer feedback from the start. You’ll need to identify the most pressing needs and work on them first.
One approach to prioritizing your roadmap based on feedback is through the use of a value vs. effort prioritization matrix.
A value vs. effort prioritization matrix allows you to visually map out which features or areas for improvement you should prioritize based on two key factors: impact (or value) and effort. Impact refers to how much a feature or improvement will positively impact your customers, while effort refers to how difficult or time-consuming it will be to implement.
Should you decide to follow this matrix, you’ll need to do the following:
- Categorize feedback: Categorize the feedback you receive into different themes or areas. This will help you identify the most pressing needs and the areas where your customers are most interested in seeing improvement
- Define impact and effort: Define what impact and effort mean in relation to your product. For example, impact could be measured by the number of customers affected or the potential impact on revenue, while effort could be measured by estimated development time or resources allocated
- Score each item: Score each item on your product roadmap on a scale from 1-5 for impact and effort. You can use a spreadsheet or other tools to help you organize and calculate scores
- Plot the items: Plot each item on a graph, with impact on the X-axis and effort on the Y-axis. The items with the highest impact and lowest effort will fall into the top right quadrant and should be prioritized first
By doing so, you’ll objectively prioritize your product roadmap based on customer feedback. Now, you’re ready to act.
- Act on product feedback
Here are a few product changes you may find on your roadmap after analyzing customer feedback:
- Adding new features or functionality to address customer needs
- Making adjustments to the user interface to improve usability
- Improving performance or speed to enhance the customer experience
- Streamlining the checkout process to reduce friction and improve conversions
- integration with other tools to increase the value of your product
- Offering more customization options to better meet customer needs
- Refining the onboarding process with tooltips and guided tours
Start by addressing the most urgent items on your roadmap based on the matrix you built earlier. As you make changes, don’t forget to monitor how users respond to them. Create a product feedback loop to continuously collect product feedback and build a great product that never becomes outdated.
3 Examples of companies that successfully used product feedback
Let’s see how other companies used product feedback to boost customer satisfaction.
CricHeroes: tracking user behavior to increase retention
CricHeroes, a sports media company, collects user journey insights to improve the entire product experience, from creating a seamless onboarding process to updating their user interface.
The company uses Smartlook to collect quantitative data regarding the user experience and make informed decisions on product improvement.
For example, by watching session recordings and in-app events, the CricHeroes product team discovered that users were leaving their website quickly after signing up. They used this data to dig deeper into the reasons behind the issue and identified a critical flaw in the onboarding process.
The team redesigned the onboarding flow to be more intuitive and user-friendly, reducing the number of steps required to get started. They also added more personalized content, including recommended articles based on user interests.
After implementing these changes, CricHeroes saw a 50% increase in user engagement and a 30% increase in retention rates.
Product feedback also helped the company create a more streamlined checkout process for premium content, which resulted in a 25% increase in premium content purchases.
CricHeroes continues to use customer feedback to guide product development and deliver a more user-friendly and engaging product.
Twilio: collecting user feedback to prioritize product experiments
Twilio, a cloud communications platform, employs product feedback to gather user opinions relating to new features and updates to ensure they’re meeting the needs of their customers.
The company releases a new functionality almost every week. In short, they needed to find a way to validate the numerous ideas their cross-functional team was bringing to the table. To address the challenge, Twilio implemented Qualaroo’s Question Engine.
The product team uses a combination of Qualaroo feedback surveys and user interviews to ask targeted questions about what users want to achieve with Twilio. With this feedback, the Twilio team can make data-backed decisions, prioritize hypotheses, and deliver the features that are most likely to drive a positive impact.
Agendor: distributing NPS surveys to improve the product experience
Agendor, a CRM software company, was determined to bring the voice of the customer (VoC) to its product development strategy. That’s why they turned to Survicate’s in-product surveys.
The company started distributing in-app NPS surveys to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of its product strategy. They also use Survicate’s targeting options to control who sees their feedback forms and when. This allows their product team to drive higher response rates and get more reliable results.
By gathering product feedback with in-app surveys, Agendor got ideas for how to optimize their onboarding process and managed to get their roadmap back on the right track.
Agendor continues to use NPS surveys to collect feedback from their users and guide product development and customer support.
Improve your product with user insights
Product development never ends. To remain competitive and keep up with rapidly changing customer needs, you need to gather product feedback continuously. Only by listening to your customers and making changes based on their feedback can you create a product users stick with.
Combine the power of tools like Survicate and Smartlook to collect quantitative product experience-related data and decode it with help from qualitative feedback. Sign up for a full-featured, 30-day trial of Smartlook today!