Question

What's the best way to get feedback about a design or product?

Do you have a favorite survey or poll tool to get feedback, or a unique process to get actionable insights from your users about your design, product features, pricing, and more?

There was an interesting discussion recently about tools to organize customer feedback—but what's your favorite way to get the feedback in the first place?

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tmvst's avatar
6 months ago

I might be a bit biased here, but in my opinion, the best way to get feedback is a discussion with your customers. No amount of surveys can replace a good conversation. And when you're able to get multiple opinions from a couple of different customers, there's a jackpot right there.

A software product is never done, you need constant feedback on anything your product is missing or getting wrong. These things may also change in time. You might tap into a slightly different market, so your customers' priorities may change. It's not sustainable to just keep sending surveys.

How open are you to feedback and how you follow up are important factors that can make or break your product. Some companies use a public Trello board, but I found that to be messy and off-brand. It can be a good solution if you're on a tight budget, though.

Shameless, but relevant plug: I'm working on a tool called FeedBear (https://www.feedbear.com) that helps companies manage feedback efficiently.

11 points
mattpluggedin's avatar
@mattpluggedin (replying to @tmvst )
6 months ago

Like the website... Curious how this differs from Canny.io, Nolt.io, FeatureUpvote and the many other (free and paid) tools doing this same thing?

4 points
tmvst's avatar
@tmvst (replying to @mattpluggedin )
6 months ago

Thank you. I try not to focus on the competition much. Canny is the only one I knew before starting FeedBear and I wanted to create something more simple, aimed at small companies and startups.

Also, when there's a market, you can always find somebody doing the same thing. I think that's good – competition is beneficial to the customer.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @tmvst )
6 months ago

Agreed on talking to people. Even more than open-ended survey response questions, talking to people gives the space for them to open up and say things you might have not thought to ask. And at the very least you can get their perspective and establish where they're coming from, and see the feedback in that light.

We've done a bit of both at Capiche so far, with phone and email conversations, survey forms (via Typeform), and a very basic Google Forms-based poll for a feature request feedback. Each have their good points.

So FeedBear's more built around organizing feedback once you've gathered it from other places?

1 point
tmvst's avatar
@tmvst (replying to @maguay )
6 months ago

You can use it like that, but it's capable of covering the entire feedback loop.

  1. People can submit feedback, vote for what they like (to minimize duplicates) and discuss ideas to refine them.

  2. When you update the status of an idea, it's automatically reflected on the roadmap and subscribed people get an email notification.

  3. You can use the Changelog to announce bigger updates that require more explanation

3 points
christine__zhu's avatar
6 months ago

In a B2B SaaS product setting, I get user feedback from:
1. In-app feedback system like Delighted
2. Customer support sends me Qs from customers that they don’t have an answer for
3. Internal experts like sales engineers

From all 3 sources, I reach out to each customer independently to offer to better understand their issue and plop a Calendly link to make it easy for them to book a quick chat. I use these opportunities to ask key questions :)

6 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @christine__zhu )
4 months ago

Customer support sends me Qs from customers that they don’t have an answer for

This is such an important one. So much important product insight comes to customer support, and way too often support teams aren’t given channels to voice those into the product org.

Can’t remember where I first heard this story (maybe from @roelofbotha), but apparently a huge inflection point for PayPal was when they added a simple HTML widget for people to drop a PayPal button into their EBay pages, and the idea came via a customer support rep who observed a common sticking point and suggested this idea.

2 points
miko1993mp's avatar
6 months ago

I think @tmvst has made a great point about actually talking with your customers, but it's time-consuming and downright impossible to talk with anyone. So, surveys are a great way to start a conversation and can give rise to meaningful discussions with your customers. Once you know who to talk with and what to discuss, it's easier and and the results are more meaningful and actionable.

When it comes to getting product feedback through surveys, I'd say you need to have the capacity to target surveys with minute precision in a web-app environment (i.e. showing surveys when a specific action is completed) and follow up with your customers individually (i.e. knowing who gave you each answer). It's important that a survey tool integrate with your current tech stack perfectly through a multitude of native integrations such as with Google Analytics, Segment and Intercom.

I know some of you guys mentioned SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo and Typeform and even praised Typeform for showing one question at a time. There’s one product that combines all those features, though (shameless self-promotion) I’m on their team: Survicate (https://survicate.com).

  • You can surveys across multiple digital touchpoints (email, mobile app, web) but in the case of product surveys, Survicate surveys can be deployed both in-product (web app) and on a website, and there multiple finer targeting option such as sampling to make sure you're showing a survey to the people that matter most
  • You can identify your respondents, target only logged-in users, feed custom product attributes into Survicate
  • Survicate integrates natively with software such as Segment, FullStory, Google Analytics and more
  • You can make sure your in-product or website surveys are unobtrusive and show them as minimized. As with Typeform, there's only one question at a time.

Here's a possible scenario where Survicate’s useful to get to get product feedback:

  1. I'm a Product Manager and I'd like to ask app users about what features they'd like us to introduce next.
  2. I want to target only those of my app users who have the Intercom integration enabled, as I'm looking for feature ideas regarding the Intercom integration.
  3. I don't want to delegate this to my devs.
  4. I want the survey to be unobtrusive, easy to answer, and I want survey results to flow into Slack in real time and feed to Intercom as well.

The above, and the more complex scenarios and use cases can easily be achieved with Survicate.

5 points
mattpluggedin's avatar
6 months ago

For straight surveys with closed ended questions then more "traditional" tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Forms and/or SurveyGizmo work wonders. I don't see any reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to these approaches.

Since others are posting shameless plugs, I'll do the same... I'm developing a tool called Soundingbird (https://soundingbird.com) that helps you have ongoing discussions with your customers/users about new features, mockups, pricing, etc. Will put Capiche users to the front of the line if you're interested in trying it out.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mattpluggedin )
6 months ago

Love Typeform for surveys since it only shows one question at a time. Google Forms is my next pick for its simplicity and since it saves everything to Google Sheets by default which gives it a huge built-in advantage in putting your survey results to work.

What was your inspiration behind Soundingbird and what makes it unique from other feedback tools?

1 point
mattpluggedin's avatar
@mattpluggedin (replying to @maguay )
4 months ago

Soundingbird came from the struggles I’ve had (and witnessed) with capturing quick qualitative feedback on a product. User/customer interviews are awesome, but they take a lot of time to recruit, conduct and analyze.

Soundingbird lets you set up an invite-only “sounding board” with your users/customers to bounce ideas off of them. Any time you need some quick qual/quant input from users on a product decision you just post something and get feedback right away.

It’s not a replacement for doing surveys or interviews, but a nice complement and easy way for product creators to get user feedback to make smart product decisions.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mattpluggedin )
4 months ago

That's a great idea. Any chance you use that for customer quotes, too, as @MelanieCrissey was looking for a tool for that?

1 point
mattpluggedin's avatar
@mattpluggedin (replying to @maguay )
4 months ago

It could be used to collect the quotes and get permission to use them publicly, but what @MelanieCrissey is asking for in that question needs more of a "custom" solution I would think...

2 points
ClarityWave's avatar
6 months ago

This is a tricky question for us. One would think that being a surveying tool (for employees) we would be equipped to easily survey our own customers but we're not. We have looked at some tools out there to help us with this but, to be perfectly honest, we usually get feedback in one of three ways:

1) During a demo with a prospect. This is usually very valuable because we're dealing with feedback that is completely fresh and unbiased. The prospect has never seen our system and may already have some ideas of what they want. Not even two days ago I got a killer feature idea from someone who had been doing some research into our competitors and gave me some great insights of things she didn't find in any other system.
2) Asking our power users. I always open a line of communication with our clients via WhatsApp and they are very generous with their suggestions and recommendations. Of course, we are a B2B solution so we don't have thousands of individual users.
3) We sometimes use Intercom to shoot a quick survey to some users based on specific behavior criteria.

4 points
sonix15's avatar
6 months ago

I have got to agree with the ongoing conversation - when it comes to a niche product and tool, a conversation works wonders. That's what we do. Of course with a small set of audience and customers and users, it's possible. But as that grows, it gets harder. It's also always helpful to create a culture of feedback and conversation in the company. Post sales team and product consultants should be encouraged to be brilliant listeners.

For surveys, feature requests and collecting data, we always use our own product Zonka Feedback (https://www.zonkafeedback.com). We started off as a Tablet & Kiosk Feedback System, expanded to Email and SMS feedback and are now very soon (next week) rolling out Web Embed and Web Widgets + extensive reporting and ability to close the feedback loop.

The benefit of using a Feedback Tool are many -
1. You can survey everybody
2. Set up alerts for different responses and different teams
3. See reports immediately - to know what's working, what isn't
4. Reach out to customers and close the feedback loop

But having said that, if you can - nothing like a personal conversation!

4 points
rstocker99's avatar
6 months ago

Survey can be valuable and you should run them but they only drawn from the pool of users that respond to surveys. How often do you get survey requests? How often do you respond. How excited are you to do it?

It's best to think of feedback as a system with a bunch of different "traps" or "channels" that you will systematically tap into and centralize vs. "running surveys".

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  1. You are already getting a lot of feedback but it's locked up in support tickets, sales call CRM records etc. Frontline people are talking to customers and prospects all day every day. Having a process that captures and integrates that feedback is super important and will generate a ton of value.

  2. You already have a lot of ambient product feedback from actual usage via tools like Fullstory. Watch those sessions and capture the insights.

  3. Put a way to submit feedback directly in the product. This can be as simple as button with the word "Feedback" on it in the global nav that opens a form and emails it to feedback@mycompany.com or similar.

  4. Think about key points in the customer journey where you want feedback. E.g. right after someone signs up, churns, fails to activate, adds their credit card, comes up "closed lost" etc. Then automate reaching out to those people with a personalized and human plain text email asking the question you want to get feedback on.

  5. For feedback on specific aspects of your product or plans for future changes look at the people that use that part of the product the most or who ought to use that part of the product given their segment but don't and then email them a personalized message asking them what you want to know or if they will jump on a call. For example, "Hi there you have a ton foos but you never use the baz feature which seems like it would be really helpful. Is there something about it that doesn't work for you?".

Also, there's no getting around it. The best way to get feedback is to actually have one-on-one conversations with customers, prospects, lost customers etc. The administrative overhead (outreach emails, meeting scheduling etc.) and "urgent" day-to-day activities tend to get in the way of having as many of those conversations as we ought to. The number of times I've said to myself, "I wish I hadn't had that conversation with the customer" is zero. You always learn something.

There are smart "hacks" that make that less painful. They basically boil down to setting up some automation to send the right kind of emails to the right people at the right time. Take a look at this blog post from Dan Wolchonok of Reforge to see an example of what that looks like.

Lastly feedback is considerably less valuable if you aren't centralizing it and segmenting it. If you just let it wash over you then recency and confirmation bias tend to take over. This post outlines a few approaches on how to centralize your feedback.

2 points
barrald's avatar
5 months ago

For design feedback especially, you should check out Maze (https://maze.design/). It makes user testing very simple, and integrates directly with Figma, Sketch, etc.

One neat thing is they have their own "panel" of users that you can tap into for really reasonable prices, if you want to get broader feedback or don't have a critical mass of current users.

2 points
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