In this blog post, we’ll explore 7 ways product managers can get the best of both worlds in terms of collecting and managing high quantities of quality user feedback:
So if you’re looking to build better products, faster, read on!
User feedback is the lifeblood of today’s product development lifecycle. As a product manager of a web application or website, a key part of your role is to be the champion of your users and what they need from your product. Unless you want to rely on assumptions and guesswork, you have to continuously collect, assess, prioritize and action as much user feedback as you can to build a better product.
Only by truly understanding users’ requirements in realtime are you able to create features and validate product decisions that add value to their lives and meet common product management KPIs like user satisfaction, engagement, retention, Net Promoter Score and product-market fit.
However, according to ProductBoard’s excellent 2022 Excellence Report, over 50% of product teams do not have a process for capturing feedback from their customers (26% do not even have any kind of systematic approach to capturing feedback). Only 12% successfully capture feedback from all available sources and only 14% effectively categorize feedback to help prioritize the features that will add the greatest value.
The challenge many product managers face is that even if they can collect user feedback, they do not have the ability to categorize and convert it into actionable insights for activities like product roadmapping and customer support. For many, user feedback becomes a hindrance rather than the springboard for success that it should be.
But when you’re spinning so many plates, how do you go about collecting and managing a higher volume of user feedback efficiently, without it getting tangled up and slowing you down?
Understanding the importance of user feedback
User feedback is information provided by users of a product or service that can be used to improve the quality of that product or service. It can take many forms, including online reviews, surveys, customer support interactions, and user testing.
As a product manager user feedback helps you to:
- Understand what your users need from your product;
- Build greater empathy with your users;
- Make better decisions about what product features to build; and
- How to improve the overall user experience.
There are many ways to collect user feedback, but it’s important to choose the right method for each situation.
For example, surveys are great for getting quantitative data about how customers feel about your product, but they might not be as effective for uncovering detailed insights about specific areas of improvement. On the other hand, customer support interactions can highlight any problems that users are having, but they that may not be representative of the broader users-base.
The most important thing is to make sure that you’re collecting user feedback on a regular basis and using it to inform your product decisions. By doing so, you’ll be able to build better products faster and increase long-term customer value.
How to collect and manage more of the right type of user feedback
It can be difficult to know what type of feedback to capture, and how to go about collecting it. Here are some tips on how to capture the right type of user feedback:
1. Define your goals
Before you start collecting user feedback, it’s important to define your goals, such as:
- What do you hope to achieve by collecting user feedback?
- What type of information are you looking for?
By defining your goals upfront, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on collecting the right type of feedback.
2. Identify your target audience
Who are you trying to collect feedback from? Your target audience will dictate the type of feedback you need to collect.
- If you are trying to improve the usability of your website, you will need to focus on collecting feedback from users who actually use your website; or
- If you are trying to reduce churn, how can you capture feedback from users that may be leaving or dissatisfied?
3. Use multiple methods
There are many different ways to collect user feedback. To get a comprehensive picture of how your users feel, use a mix of methods, such as:
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
- Usage Metrics
- Observation & Heat Mapping
- In-app, frictionless feedback
- Online Reviews
- Social Media
- Communities & Forums
- Panels & Focus Groups
- Customer Service Teams
- Bug Reports
- Feature Requests
- General Comments
- Ideas & Feedback Portal
4. Be active in forums and online communities
Forums and online communities are a great place to capture sentiment and feedback related to your product or industry. These platforms allow you to hear directly from users about their experiences with your product and what they would like to see improved. Because they are talking with their peers and not with you directly, their feedback can come with a different perspective.
5. Make it easy for users to give feedback
‘Frictionless feedback’ means making it as easy as possible for users to provide feedback. Make sure you provide clear instructions on how they can give feedback, and make sure there are multiple channels available (e.g., email, phone, online form).
Get richer, more actionable insights with contextual and visual user feedback
It can be difficult to get an accurate picture of what your users mean just from reading text-based feedback. Visual and contextual user feedback can help to identify issues and manage feature requests that may not be clear from a text description alone. Additionally being able to see how users interact with the product can help build empathy and insight from the user’s perspective.
There are a few different ways to collect visual and contextual user feedback, including:
- Observation and heatmaps
You can observe user behavior using heatmaps automatically show you where users are clicking on a page or scrolling to, and this information can be used to track what features are being used most often as well as understanding how you can improve the usability of a site or application. However, observation can take time to set up and manage and heatmaps are not conclusive, often requiring follow-up and further information.
- User generated screenshots and videos
When a user reports an issue or asks for a feature you can ask them to use a third-party screen capture application to record what was happening with images or videos to provide greater visual context. This can help to identify areas of confusion or frustration for users. But it also presents a siginifcant hurdle as they need to need to do the capture and submit it, so you and your team need to manage that process, which can take time and effort.
- Using an in-app feedback tool
An in-app feedback tool, like Userback, can automatically capture comprehensive contextual session and system information while allowing users to seamlessly provide annotated screenshots and videos without leaving the product environment.
Inform your ideas and validate your product decisions
User feedback is a crucial ingredient in the product development process, as it:
- Informs your ideas;
- Validates your product decisions;
- Makes sure that you keep your product roadmap on the right track.
Surveys, interviews, focus groups, forums and online communities, make it easy for users to give feedback and when you ask the right questions, this information can prove invaluable in coming up with features and functionality that add true value for users.
You should avoid leading questions and instead focus on open-ended questions that will elicit detailed responses. Additionally, try to get feedback from a diverse group of users to make sure a well-rounded perspective.
Once user feedback has been collected, you need to assess and analyze it. This can be done by looking for patterns and common themes, helping you to identify areas that need improvement and make more informed decisions about your product.
Untangle user feedback knots by streamlining the user feedback lifecycle and integrating it with existing workflows
When you capture more user feedback from more sources, it can be difficult to manage and make use of all the feedback you receive. Get it wrong and you’ll find your feedback loops quickly become feedback knots… impossible to untangle, let alone action! It’s important to ensure that feedback is as clear as possible and managed consistently so that you do not have to waste precious time trying to make sense of it.
A centralized user feedback management system, like Userback, allows you to track and manage customer feedback all in one place. It also provides valuable insights into what users are saying about your product, what they want, and how they feel. Userback help you to streamline and automate the capture, triage, assessment, prioritization, assignment, action and follow-up on user feedback. With off-the-shelf APIs and custom webhooks you can seamlessly integrate Userback’s user feedback management into your existing workflows and project management processes.
Download our free eBook to see how your user feedback loop might be getting tied up in knots and discover what you can do to “Untangle the User Feedback Knot”.
Turn user feedback into actionable insights
Collecting user feedback is only half the battle — it’s important to know how to efficiently turn it into actionable insights. Here are some pointers to get you started on efficiently turning feedback into actionable insights.
- Don’t try to do it all yourself!
User feedback management is a huge task — it’s hard work and you can’t afford to get it wrong! You either need a team and/or an automated process that can help with collecting, sorting, and analyzing all the data, then you increase the likelihood of building a better product, faster.
- Get organized
Create a system for tracking and managing all the different pieces of feedback you receive. This could be as simple as using a manual spreadsheet, an online tool like Trello or Asana or an integrated in-app platform like Userback. The important thing is that you have a way to keep track of everything so nothing falls through the cracks.
- Look for the bigger patterns that affect more users
When analyzing feedback, focus on identifying key themes and patterns rather than getting bogged down in the details.
- Take time to understand your users
Don’t just look at the data. Where possible talk to your users and try to understand their needs and wants from their perspective. This will help you empathize with them and build better products that meet their needs.
Quality and quantity — get the best of both worlds
Because user feedback is traditionally time-consuming to manage, product managers used to have to compromise between quantity or quality of feedback. You could capture lots of feedback, but it might be inconsistent, incomplete or incomprehensible. If you wanted really rich and insightful feedback it was usually hard work and time-consuming, so you couldn’t collect or manage much.
To facilitate your ability to gather and manage a high quantity of quality feedback try these:
- Make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Open-ended questions are often more helpful than yes/no or multiple choice questions.
- Be specific in your request for feedback.
The more specific you are, the more targeted and useful the feedback will be.
- Ask users how they would feel if they could not use your product or service.
This question can help surface areas where users are particularly satisfied or dissatisfied with your product.
In addition to focusing on quality, it’s also important to manage user feedback efficiently so that you can quickly identify patterns and take action on them.
Some tips for efficient user feedback management include:
- Use a tool like Userback to collect and organize responses
This will make it easier to spot patterns and analyze data.
- Create separate categories, sheets or tables for different types of feedback
This will help you triage and prioritize responses such as feature requests, bug reports and customer support inquiries more effectively.
- Follow up with users who provide detailed feedback
This shows that you value their input and helps you gather additional information that can be helpful in decision-making.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to understanding what users are looking for and turning user feedback into actionable insights that will help you build better products, faster! This ultimately leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as higher profits for the company.
Userback is a market-leading user feedback platform helping 20,000+ software teams to understand what customers need so they can build better web applications, faster.
Userback streamlines and automates the realtime in-app collection, evaluation and management of visual feedback and contextual surveys. Userback can be used standalone or seamlessly integrated into existing business workflows to allow product managers and developers to validate ideas, optimize product-market fit, refine roadmaps, prioritize features, fix bugs and deliver value with greater insight, impact and efficiency.
Founded in Australia in 2016, Userback is backed by Craft Ventures.