Though as a product owner you may think you know better than your users in which direction to move business, listening to your customers’ opinions is essential at all stages of the product life cycle.
Gathering qualitative insights from users helps business owners to validate their idea at the research phase, and lets the brand evolve, scale and improve together with users’ needs and preferences during the rest of the product’s lifespan. After all, in the first place, your product exists to solve clients’ problems.
As a SaaS design agency, we perfectly understand why user feedback is important as we base each of our design decisions on user research to help businesses develop products that people love and need.
In this article, we are going to explain the importance of customer feedback, provide you with possible ways to collect it, and give an action plan on what to do after you’ve gathered the reviews.
The importance of customer feedback for business
We all know that putting positive users’ feedback on your product/service website makes your company look more trustworthy. Many businesses do so.
But is it the only benefit you can get from collecting customers’ reviews? Of course not. Here are 4 more reasons why feedback from customers is beneficial for your business’s prosperity.
- It shows areas for improvement
Sheer guessing or the feeling of your heart is not a reliable basis for making any business decisions while gathering user feedback can go a long way in deciding which product area to optimize.
Capturing users’ thoughts about your company’s product helps you track overall customer satisfaction and provide a clear understanding of what customers want in particular. Use the collected information to identify problem areas and efficiently solve the issues users face. When users have a positive experience, they will not only come back again and again for your product or service, but also will recommend it to their friends and family.
For example, to resolve the onboarding issue (high customer churn after the free trial version), Groove, a SaaS customer service software, decided to add one question to their welcome email: “Why did you sign up for Groove?”
Numerous answers from their potential customers not only guided the company on how to set a better onboarding experience but also helped them find out what product features customers expect to see in their software.
- It promotes customer loyalty
In the age of smartphones, customers conduct more research than ever before. According to a study by marketing agency Fan & Fuel (2016), 90% of online customers read reviews before making a purchase decision. 84% of people trust online opinions and reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 74% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust local businesses more.
Customers look to testimonials to better understand the product. The more positive reviews you have, the better. Regardless of your industry, positive feedback will increase your company's credibility and help build your reputation as a market leader.
- It helps you develop a better customer experience
A satisfied customer is the one who quickly and easily solved their problem with the help of your product/service. A well-thought-out customer experience (CX) at each touchpoint is a factor that provides successful achievement of the user's goal. Consequently, the better customer experience you provide, the happier your users are, the more successful your business is.
To make CX better, you need to know what areas work bad, and what needs to be improved first. The easiest and most effective way to find this out is to ask those who use the product and experience all issues in real life.
For instance, as a part of our user-centered design process at Textmagic, we turned to users’ feedback each time we created a prototype. It allowed us to come up with new ideas and improvements that eventually helped us create an intuitive and consistent user experience for a complex client experience platform.
- It makes users feel valuable
By taking the time to review your product, users are more likely to feel loyal to you and keep coming back. By leaving feedback and thus establishing a relationship with the company, customers feel they are part of the organization and you value their opinions.
Customers kind of fulfill their public duty to other clients by giving them reliable information about their experience with your service, and at the same time giving the business a motivation to become better for their clients.
In 2018, Mozilla decided to rebrand Firefox. For that purpose, they created two variants of design systems and asked their users to choose which they liked more. This way, by involving customers in the Firefox growth, Mozilla increased users’ loyalty and gave a sense of familiarity to a new design.
How to collect user feedback
After we’ve discussed why collecting feedback from customers is important, it’s time to move to more practical knowledge and learn some effective methods that promote users to cooperate with you.
A survey is one of the most commonly used methods for collecting feedback. You need to create a list of questions and send it to customers via email, put it in-app, or ask through your UX customer support team. Moreover, there are a lot of survey tools that simplify this process, like Surveymonkey, SurveyKing, Google Forms, and others.
However, designing a survey that is informative is quite challenging. After all, you need to:
- make the person want to answer. For example, Slack shows you a small intro before the survey that makes you feel valuable and states the exact amount of time the user has to spend.
- don’t get your users bored or frightened with questions. For instance, Uber keeps their in-app polls short and straight to the point to keep users engaged.
- in case you want to get user feedback on a website/app make sure it appears on a relevant screen that a user is viewing at that moment. Google Meet asks about audio and video quality right after you left the meeting.
Gathering feedback with the help of live chats is fast and easy, as you actually don’t have to ask or convince customers to do anything. Users start chatting with you when they need it: at the time they face some difficulty, have a question, notice some changes in the product’s work, and so on.
One more advantage of live chats is that in this short live conversation you can quickly ask an important question too. Such customer feedback is important to define a direction for improving small, ongoing issues.
To learn details about user problems, it’s better to directly talk to users. These can be live conversations or in correspondence. Interviews allow you to receive higher-quality feedback. Open dialogue provides an opportunity to understand feelings underlying user decisions and the public's reaction to the brand or company decisions.
Follow these tips when conducting user interviews:
- Use open-ended questions - how? why? what can you advise? Such questions provide a clear understanding of the picture and help to identify product weak points
- Start the conversation with broader questions about the brand, and then about the product itself
- Be an active listener. To get helpful ideas, it is important to be open and receptive. Reflect on the key points you hear from customers.
Customer feedback is essential for UX researchers as well. While surveys and live chats mostly help to identify minor issues that customers regularly face, conducting usability testing can help a UX researcher to reveal problems that you and your users even don’t know about, and this way to make the user experience better.
To understand how important feedback is in user research, let’s take the example of Shopify. With the help of usability testing, they wanted to find out how to make Expert Profiles on the Shopify Experts Marketplace more valuable for users.
Collecting user feedback through usability testing led them to the following result:
Social media and specialized platforms
Don’t neglect the importance of gathering feedback from different sources including social media and websites that focus on your specific industry.
On social networks, user activity is usually much higher than on corporate websites. People love expressing their feelings on various social platforms. There is also more trust in reviews there, since you can always go to the author's profile and make sure that this is not a bot, but a person.
Phone calls are not that popular nowadays, as more and more people prefer to type rather than speak. Still, customer phone calls are a very personalized way to get feedback. The key point here is that the call must be sincere, and questions for feedback are not a mere formality.
To get the most out of this method, reach out to clients at the right time. Research has shown that people are more likely to respond from 10 to 11 am and from 4 to 5 pm, while from 7 to 10 am is the worst time to call.
The greatest advantage of this method is that you get first-hand feedback. What's more, by hearing voices and tone of your customers, you can feel their satisfaction level.
Use customers’ reviews effectively
Collecting user feedback alone has no use if you do nothing with it. To start benefiting, you should learn how to act upon this valuable data.
Here are five basic steps on your further actions:
- Classify feedback. As soon as you have a number of insights from users, your task is to segment them into meaningful groups so that you can easily analyze and prioritize issues. For this purpose, you can order them in accordance with buyer personas as each customer type has its wants and needs or according to their problem area.
- Add some analytical data. It’s often difficult to define what change to implement first, and you probably won’t be able to complete each user request. To put the right priorities, back up the feedback with analytical data. For example, you can support your ideas with usability metrics.
- Incorporate user feedback into your product roadmap. Product roadmaps explain to different team members not only what you are developing, but also why you are building this or that feature. Your employees will regularly use a roadmap to align with the company strategy. That’s why supporting goals in a product roadmap by user feedback can help workers have a better understanding of what they are doing and why.
- Share the insight. To successfully achieve your business goals, your whole team should understand in which direction you move and why. To have a strong understanding of common objectives, make sure everyone in your team has access to all documents that contain feedback (product roadmaps, buyer personas, and so on).
- Bring in the changes. Final step is obvious, but the most important at the same time. The purpose of asking users for feedback is to turn it into action. The problem here is not to spend your time and budget on something that won’t bring value to your business and users. That’s why, follow the above steps to correctly choose which change to implement.
Instead of summing all the information we’ve learned in this post, we’d like to give you some brief, but actionable recommendations on how to improve your business with the feedback. Maybe such pieces of advice sound obvious, but companies often forget about them from time to time.
- Always thank your user for the feedback.
- Make sure you react to each review you receive and customers feel you care.
- Track your competitors’ reviews.
- Offer a reward to encourage users to express their opinion.
- Never ignore negative feedback.
- Let each of your team members access user feedback.
- Let your users know about changes you’ve made based on their feedback.
At Eleken, we help our clients not only design their products, but go through every step of SaaS product design including collecting customer feedback surveys. Learn more about our product design process.