7 Ways to Collect Customer Feedback to Step Up Your Product
Customer feedback is the key to delivering a product that matches the expectations of your audience and makes them come back for more.
Every PM knows that their success depends on developing products that align with users’ expectations and needs. However, over 49% of product managers report struggling to validate whether or not the product they’re building fits the needs of their market.
That’s why you need to get serious about collecting customer feedback if you want to develop the best product on the market. This input will provide invaluable insights into what features customers want and will help you identify ways to stand out from the competition.
To get you started, we’re going over seven methods of getting customer feedback that every product manager should be aware of.
1. Run Beta Tests
Beta tests — showing your product or feature to a subset of users — provide you with feedback on an upcoming release before a big public rollout. It’s a controlled environment in which you see whether users will use your new product/feature and identify blind spots that you need to fix before going into full production.
To craft meaningful tests, map out the logistics of collecting and analyzing feedback from beta users before doing your partial rollout:
- Understand the value of the product or feature you’re releasing. Be clear about the challenge your product is solving so you can clearly explain the purpose of your future release to beta users and build excitement around participating in the test.
- Be attentive to beta users’ needs: Be ready to help beta users with product questions or concerns so they can see the value of your product. This responsiveness will also help you identify common product struggles that need to be minimized before a full release.
- Use forms to collect feedback: Set up an online form with various questions for beta users to answer based on their experience. For example, you can ask the beta user if they felt compelled to buy after using your new feature. Or, if they didn’t like your product, ask them why they wouldn’t use it again.
- Evaluate the feedback: Once the beta trial is over, sit down with your team and analyze the users’ feedback. Ensure that every department gets their hands on the feedback to provide their thoughts on what next steps to take in the product roadmap.
With the right strategy for running your beta tests, you’ll save yourself plenty of time and effort from building a product that users don’t want.
2. Run Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a score out of 10 that measures how likely a customer is to recommend your product to others. It’s an excellent way to understand the quality of your software and how satisfied users are with your company.
Here’s what different NPS scores indicate about your product:
- Promoters (Score 9–10): These are the users who will keep on coming back to your product for more.
- Passives (Score 7–8): These are satisfied users who are happy with your product but might still consider what the competition is offering.
- Detractors (Score 0–6): These are unhappy customers who might discourage others from using your product.
A good time to ask a customer to respond to your NPS survey is when they’ve finished their onboarding, as that gives them time to get a first impression of your product. You can either run your NPS survey in-app or set up an automated email that goes to users after they take certain actions.
When a user gives their NPS score, don’t forget to show them your gratitude. In the example below, a Baremetrics rep thanks the customer for providing an NPS score of their product and asks them if they could spread the word via a pre-written tweet:
While NPS surveys are easy to implement, keep in mind that there isn’t an opportunity to ask follow-up questions with this method. If you’re looking for more in-depth responses, consider conducting customer interviews (see #6).
3. Take a Look at Your Competitors’ Reviews
You and your competitors target the same customers, so the reviews they receive can provide helpful information for your own company.
Monitor competitors’ ratings, and you’ll be able to see what draws customers to these platforms. This process could inspire features or updates in your own product to improve the user experience.
It also helps to notice trends in the main complaints that customers have about your competition. Use this negative feedback to your advantage by tweaking your own product experience to avoid the same issues.
4. Monitor Online User Feedback
Monitoring what users are saying about your company online is a reliable way to measure your reputation. Whether their comments are negative or positive, they provide valuable insights into what you can do to improve your product.
Here are a few of the various monitoring tools you can use to keep track of your online reputation:
- Google Alerts is a software solution that allows you to keep track of any online mentions relevant to your brand. As soon as feedback is provided online about your company (regardless if it’s positive or negative), Google will instantly follow up and let you know via notifications.
- Mention is a tool that helps analyze user feedback from different social media channels. As a plus, you can even monitor what your target audience is saying about the competition to see how your user feedback compares.
- Brandwatch allows companies to research millions of topics relevant to their industry and leverage analytics to understand the growth behind topics. You can then easily export that data to Excel, PPT, PDF, or the Brandwatch API.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with each different platform. From there, you can choose the one that you think best fits your need.
5. Include a Feature Request Option in the Product
Collect user feedback by allowing users to send your company feature requests in-app. This request option in your product shows customers that you value their feedback and helps you better understand their needs in the product experience.
Here’s an example of what that looks like from Usersnap:
In the example above, the customer gets to provide feedback on which feature they’re missing and how that feature would solve their challenges. They can also fill in their email address if they want the company to get back to them.
A feature request page is especially beneficial for new startups that don’t fully grasp their customers’ needs. As you work on tweaking your product to match the expectation of your audience, getting feature requests from users will help identify the functionalities you should be building.
However, you want to know how to prioritize feature requests properly. Otherwise, you’ll end up building countless features that don’t really add value to your product. To prioritize your feature requests, ask yourself these questions:
- Which features will make the most impact on the product experience? When taking ideas from feature requests, you want to focus on building features that will boost retention and improve user satisfaction — not the ones that are only “good to have.”
- How frequently is a feature requested? If the same feature request keeps on popping up from users, it’s a good sign that it’s something you need to implement to meet their needs.
- Which features fit your current product development budget? Before building any feature recommended by users, make sure you have enough resources to build it, such as enough members on your development team.
When applying this tactic, take the time once a week to look at all the feature requests you received and discuss them with your team. Use the factors above to then make a decision about which features you should build.
6. Conduct Customer Interviews
To collect customer feedback, simply reach out to users directly. Interviews are a human way to learn more about customer needs and whether your product does a good job of meeting their expectations.
Customer interviews are ideal for any company, but they’re an especially great way to collect feedback if you’re a small startup with few customers. Interviews do take time to conduct, but that’s not an issue if you have a small list of customers. They’re also a great option if you don’t have advanced sales and marketing tools to collect customer data but still need to learn what your audience needs.
Get the most out of your customer interviews by:
- Having an open mind. Give the customer enough space to express their thoughts—regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. Even the harshest feedback will help you find ways to improve your product.
- Creating a list of questions. Don’t try to improvise the entire interview. You’ll get more value out of the conversation with questions ready to go in advance. You might ask what areas of the product are causing the most friction or what made the user choose your product over the competition.
- Don't exceed 30–45 minutes. Don’t take too much of the customer’s time during the interview. Product managers have very busy schedules and need to make the most of their limited time. That’s why you should stick to a 30–45 minute timeframe during customer interviews.
- Recording the conversation. This will make it easier for you to share the interviews with other team members who will provide feedback on next steps based on the conversation.
By applying the tips above, your customer interviews will become invaluable sources of actionable feedback.
7. Review Customer Service Conversations
Past customer service conversations from channels such as live chat, phone calls, or emails can be goldmines for collecting user feedback.
Let’s say that a frequent complaint in customer service conversations is that one of your features keeps on glitching and doesn’t work correctly. Your team can use this feedback to focus on debugging and fixing the problem.
If the customer service team uses a CRM like Zendesk, they can share tickets with you over the platform or via a Slack integration.
Take Your Product to the Next Level With Customer Feedback
There are only upsides when it comes to collecting customer feedback. The process shows users that you care about meeting their needs. You can also use customer feedback to strengthen relationships with users and improve your product and brand messaging.
Even if you receive negative customer feedback, it’s not the end of the world. Reach out to the customer, apologize for the bad experience, and try to make it right. Their input may be hard to stomach, but it’s still valuable information that you can use to make product improvements.