How do you keep innovating after the initial release of your product/service? How can you keep up with market trends? How can you ensure your competitors don't eat into your market share? These are all significant and vital questions company owners and CEOs regularly ask themselves, and the answer to all of them, in one way or another, includes the collection and analysis of customer feedback.
Collecting customer feedback has become the cornerstone of many business strategies due to all the benefits they confer, and businesses looking to innovate and stay relevant need to pay attention to it.
However, what makes things complicated is there isn't a predetermined path to make collecting user feedback successful. How can you make sure you're collecting an appropriate amount of feedback? How to avoid bias in your samples? How can you distinguish the signal from the noise? You have to have convincing answers to all these questions if you want your effort to be successful.
In this article, we'll help you with just that: We'll go over everything you need to know about the user feedback collection process, its competitive advantage, common pitfalls you need to avoid, and steps you need to take to be successful. Continue reading and find out!
Why is User Feedback Important?
Understanding the purpose, the raison d'etre, of user feedback is the first step in crafting a successful process that works. Without having a comprehensive understanding of why user feedback is so important, you can't devise a process that answers all of your company's needs. And this is what we'll address in this section.
#1 Understanding Your Userbase
How can you judge if developing a new feature is worth investing in? How can you make sure changes made to your services won't result in overwhelming negative feedback? How can you gauge userbase satisfaction and learn when it is time to change course? The reality is, that without deeply understanding your user base, their demographics, and their needs, you simply can't learn the answer to these questions.
To avoid that, you can use user feedback to get a proper understanding of your user base. What is the demographic of your app/service's users? How do they feel about your company at this moment? What features/changes do they like to see? What do they think of your company's direction? These are all questions you can easily answer by properly collecting and analyzing user feedback.
#2 Adapting Your Software/Service
The business world is rife with companies that have suffered massive financial blowback after introducing features and changes that their users didn't like. At the extremes, these changes have killed some businesses entirely.
If you want long-term success, it isn't enough to have a decent product your customers like at the moment, you also need to evolve and adapt your software/service to the market. But making changes isn't easy, and you need a way to measure what works and what doesn't.
This is where user feedback comes in. You can employ a variety of measures and tactics to learn how users will respect changes to your product. This could include simple A/B testing, it can be done directly through customer surveys and focus groups, or it can be done through relying on forums, feature requests, etc. The possibilities are endless, and they all start with user feedback.
#3 Correcting Errors
Course correcting is an important aspect of the management of every successful business, but it isn't easy. Most businesses don't have a good idea of where they stand with their customers, and when they do, it is already too late to course correct.
Having a proper understanding of the sentiments of your users, what they like, and what they dislike about your software is essential if you want to stay relevant. Not only correcting errors but catching them as soon as they happen is far more difficult than it might seem. By connecting with the user community of your app and ensuring you stay abreast of the latest developments by continuously collecting proactive feedback, you can improve customer satisfaction and nib errors in the bud before they impact user usage and retention rates.
How to Properly Collect User Feedback?
Now that we have gone over the most prominent reasons why collecting feedback is important, it is time to go over exactly how you collect user feedback. Though the process might sound easy and routine at first glance, there are a large number of common pitfalls businesses fall into. In this section, we'll go over them and show how exactly you can avoid them yourself.
#1 Rely on Multiple Feedback Channels
Avoiding sample bias, ensuring you collect both qualitative and quantitative data, and being proactive when gathering feedback are all very important and necessary if you want the user feedback you gather to be valuable. By relying on multiple channels to collect user feedback, you avoid some common mistakes that can be very detrimental to the process:
- Avoiding bias: When you collect feedback, you must diversify your sources. As a simple example, if you have an app that's on both Android and iOS, and you receive the majority of your feedback from iOS users while most of your user base is on Android, this could give you a very false image of how the average user views your app. This is true for a multitude of other scenarios as well. Diversified user feedback helps you build a holistic image of your user base instead of relying on crude generalizations and shorthand.
- Being proactive: By relying on real-time channels and community forums, you can get proactive user insights that you can act on right away. You can find errors impacting customer experience without them snowballing. These valuable insights are generally not generated by relying on traditional methods of collecting user feedback alone.
- Qualitative feedback: There's a tendency to rely on quantitative data alone, as it appears to be less biased and more reliable. Though there's some truth to this, qualitative feedback is still very important and gives unique insights into user behavior. Some aspects of your service/app simply can't be captured through data alone, and for these, you need to rely on surveys, customer interviews, etc.
#2 Provide Actionable Insights: Data Isn't Enough
Collecting user feedback isn't enough - how are you going to analyze them? How are you going to turn the information into actionable insights? And how are you going to incorporate them into the business development process? These are all important questions you need to carefully consider when designing a process to analyze user experience.
Here, there are a few things you can do to make sure the process is successful:
- Create clear metrics and milestones: you need to have clear definitions of customer success. Is it customer loyalty? Customer satisfaction rates? New customer adoption rates? Only after defining your goals clearly, can you devise successful ways to measure the relevant user experience. Without having clear goals, you'll collect a bunch of unfiltered feedback that can't be turned into actionable insights.
- Take a holistic approach: to provide actionable insight, you need to take into account all aspects of a customer's experience. This includes negative experiences, it includes the experience of potential users, and it includes ways local users interact with your service. These are all important parts of the picture, and you need them all to form a complete view of what your potential and existing users want and need.
- Approach the process as a team: feedback collection can't be done in an insular environment. All teams of the company, including the developers, researchers, and marketers need to be on board and involved in the process. There are aspects of user feedback relevant for each time, and only they'll be able to implement it. Neglecting this would mean the valuable insights you worked so hard to collect will go to waste as it goes unimplemented due to a lack of communication.
#2 Provide Actionable Insights: Data Isn't Enough
Collecting user feedback, cleaning it up, analyzing it for patterns, and then turning it into actionable results are not easy tasks, and many large companies have dedicated entire teams to this task alone. If you are a small to medium-sized company, you simply don't have the resources to do that.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't collect user feedback. Far from it. Companies at their early stages of development are most in need of customer feedback collection processes that allow them to stay innovative, relevant, and competitive.
To this end, you should employ all the tools at your disposal to ensure the process goes smoothly. You can rely on 3rd party software and tools that help you collect, sort, and analyze user feedback for example. You can outsource the process building to experts in the field. You have many options that you can rely on to make sure it is a success, and you need to take them all into account before going forward. A feedback collection process could determine the future of your company, and you can't afford to take it lightly.
User Feedback FAQ
Why Is User Feedback Important?
Measuring and understanding user feedback means you understand your user base. It means you understand common user behavior. Ideally, it not only gives you insight into what works and what doesn't regarding your products and services, but it also helps inform the future direction of your company and reveal potential untapped markets. Many businesses have failed because they do not understand their users and haven't given proper weight to user feedback. Your company shouldn't join their ranks.
How Do You Conduct User Feedback?
Though simple in theory, conducting user feedback collection processes is far from simple. There are two key principles you need to keep in mind if you want to be successful.
- Make sure the feedback you collect is representative of both your users and potential users. It should include both positive and negative feedback, and it should be done through multiple channels like in-app feedback, digital channels, surveys, etc. to avoid bias.
- Make sure you turn the information you collect through feedback processes into actionable insights your company can implement. Without the feedback resulting in real changes reflected in the company's processes, it doesn't mean anything.
By making sure these two key principles inform your efforts, your user feedback collection should be successful.
- Releasecat Team
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