Product Management | 3 min read

It's not your customers' job to give you feedback

A few different times I've heard people in our trial say: "We're setting this up to see how much feedback our users submit."

It makes me cringe. So many companies implement feedback strategies that are incredibly lazy.
Lazy dogs are cute. Lazy humans aren't.

These kinds of strategies are ones that put the burden on the user. You know, things like surveys and voting portals. Like if you just blast everyone with a survey or put a link on your site to a third party app they can go to in order to submit feedback, they're just expecting to gather all of this high quality feedback that's going to move their business/product in the right direction.

Not going to happen. If that's your only strategy, you're going to be incredibly disappointed in the result.
Source: Intercom

Users have never had more things vying for their time and attention.The majority of your users will ignore your survey emails and won't have the time to browse through a noisy idea forum. It's not your customers' job to give you feedback (e.g. feature requests). Stop acting like it is. It's everyone's job in the organization to dig it up. So how do you do this?

Engage your users within your product

Hopefully you're already doing this, but you should employ processes and technologies that make it easy for your customers to communicate with you inside your product (e.g. use Intercom). If you want to make it easy for them to chat with you about a problem they're having, right when they have it (in your product), then you must do this.

Dig deeper into problems

Congrats! Unprompted, your customer told you about their problem or challenge. But so many people stop there. Don't stop. Instead, ask questions to figure out the "why", because there's likely a feature request when you peel back the layers of their problem (this is the best kind of feedback 👍). At Userfeed (and Intercom) we follow the job stories framework which helps us figure out the situation, the motivation, and the desired outcome:

[ When _____ ] [ I want to _____ ] [So I can _____ ]

Track everything

If the only place you're tracking feedback is your surveys and voter forums, you're dropping the ball on the majority of your customer interactions. Additionally, if your product team is the only team that's tracking feedback, you're missing out on key insights and potential revenue sitting right in front of you. Make it easy for other teams to push feedback to the product team (and no, that doesn't mean sending them a Slack message).

Attach data to tracked feedback

If all you track is a description of the feedback, you have nothing. Feedback is important because it can help you prioritize. However, if you don't include data (user, conversations, etc.) along with the feedback, you can't prioritize and you will struggle to design a solution to the problem. Here's some simple data to capture: # of users that have requested (segmented by lead or paid user), # of companies represented, revenue associated with those users, and related conversations to refer back to for context. Overlay things like effort and strategic fit with your vision, and you're well on your way to making better product decisions.

Don't be lazy

The more rigor you put into the feedback gathering process, the more quality insights you will find and the easier it will be to close the loop with customers (after all, that's their goal when they give you the feedback: to get something back). There's so many great tools to gather feedback now, but none of them can replace good old-fashioned, one-on-one engagement with users. Don't be lazy, be the best feedback gatherer the world has ever seen 😜 💪


If you're looking for a lightweight tool that aligns with the strategies above, check out Userfeed for free ❤️

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