Collecting & Analyzing User Feedback: A Complete Guide

No matter what your business is, the key to success is actively listening to the people who use your product. Getting honest user feedback is the best way to see how well your product meets their needs. That’s why at Nickelled we include customer satisfaction surveys at the end of each of our onboarding guides! With that said, in this guide to user feedback, we’ll look at:

  • Why user feedback is so important
  • Who, when, and how to ask for user feedback
  • Four key formats for collecting user feedback
  • Best practices for collecting user feedback, and
  • How to analyze user feedback

Why Is User Feedback So Important?

User feedback is the information you get from your customers about your product. Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s essential to your business’s growth to collect, analyze and take action on it. As an important part of your SaaS customer engagement strategy, user feedback allows you to:

  • See what you’re doing well. Positive feedback shows you what you should be doing more of.
  • Find any product issues. Users will detect problems that your team may have missed in testing.
  • Learn about product adoption. Find and fix the pain points where users are abandoning your product with qualitative data about churn.
  • Optimize user & customer experience. Discover where the user journey could be smoother and make meaningful changes to improve their experience. 
  • Improve segmentation & personalization. Learn more about your users, the segments they fall into, and why they’re using your product to better target their needs.
  • Research new features. Users know what they want, and may well have ideas for improvement that your team hasn’t thought of.
  • Build communication and trust with users. Taking action on their feedback shows your users you value them and gives them a sense of importance.
  • Get testimonials to attract potential customers. Turning positive user feedback into testimonials is one of the best marketing techniques and has been proven to increase conversion by 34%.

Who, When & How to Ask For User Feedback

Who to Ask For Feedback

Targeting the right people to ask for feedback will result in more accurate data. Who the “right people” are depends on what, when, and why you’re asking for feedback. For example, a focus group of potential customers based on your target user persona should be asked for feedback during the product development phase. Whereas to learn more about product adoption and dropoff, you should focus feedback questions on the users who are churning. 

It’s also important to segment your users into separate groups reflecting their wants and needs. Consider the following to segment your users before asking for feedback:

  • Demographics & occupation: e.g. age, education level, are they a decision-maker in their company?
  • Location
  • Purchase history: are they on a free trial, a one-time buyer, or a repeat buyer?
  • Device information: device type, OS, app version
  • User behavior: timing and frequency of product use; user goals; customer lifetime value

When & How to Ask For Feedback

The short answer for when to ask for user feedback is: constantly! To really make the most of what your users have to say, you should ask for feedback proactively, reactively, and on-demand.

Proactive user feedback is carried out in the development phase of your project and early in your user’s experience:

  • When? During ideation and development of your product to assess the market need, user need, and how your SaaS meets these, ensuring a successful product release.
  • Who? A focus group of potential users.
  • How? Observing people using your product; email surveys to learn about them and measure their satisfaction levels.
  • When? Early in the user experience to see what you can do better: after sign-up, after purchase, triggered by using a key feature, during onboarding, like in the post-guide feedback example from Nickelled below.
  • Who? New users.
  • How? Email surveys and in-app or on-site surveys.
Post-guide feedback example

Proactive user feedback surveys like the above are used at the end of each of our product tours on Nickelled, and our users can choose whether they want to include them or not. They’re quick ways to assess user satisfaction after completing a guide.

After answering with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down whether the guide was helpful, users are prompted to select a reason why not from the multi-choice list, or given an open text box to provide positive feedback. These feedback surveys allow us to continuously monitor the efficacy of our guides and make proactive improvements before users complain.

Reactive user feedback is triggered by a user action, for example, opening a support ticket, complaining, or churning.

  • When? In reaction to a user action: contacting the support team, downgrading their plan, closing their account, making a complaint.
  • Who? Users who have encountered a problem.
  • How? Surveys via email, in-app or on-site, and through in-app messaging. Negative feedback is also often given via external forums like social media and review platforms.
Happiness survey from Plum

The above example is an exit-intent survey sent via email from banking app Plum. This 6-question survey combines multi-choice questions, rating scales, and open text boxes to learn why users are closing their accounts so the company can prevent future churn.

On-demand user feedback is carried out continuously throughout the user lifetime. 

  • When? Continuously, whenever the user wants to give feedback.
  • Who? All users, segmented.
  • How? Quick and simple in-app or on-site integrated survey widgets; also on external forums like social media, rating sites, and even app stores, like the below feedback for photo editing app VSCO.
VSCO app store feedback

4 Key Formats for Collecting User Feedback

As mentioned above, there are several different ways to collect and measure user feedback. The main formats are multi-choice lists, rating scales, open text, and observation. The first three feedback methods can be surveyed via email, on your app, platform, or website, or as part of a messaging system. This section looks at the benefits of each key format and when to implement them to optimize your user feedback.

  1. Multi-choice list
Multi-choice list
  • The user picks one or multiple options that apply to them.
  • They give qualitative data, structured answers, and are quick and simple for users to complete.
  • They’re useful to solicit information about your users to segment them and to find out more about your customer experience e.g. “where did you hear about us?”.
  • They’re also useful to get feedback on your product e.g. “was this article helpful?”, “did this service meet your needs?”.
  • As in the examples above, use multi-choice questions in combination with yes/no surveys to get more information about why your user has given positive or negative feedback.
  1. Rating scales
Rating scale for user feedback
  • NPS: Net promoter score is a 1-10 scale that sorts customers into promoters (9 or 10), passives (7 or 8), and detractors (0-6) based on how likely they are to recommend your product to others. It’s one of the most widely used methods of user feedback and is useful to assess customer loyalty.

Send NPS surveys immediately after a customer service interaction or after a customer uses a new feature to see how they feel about the experience. NPS is most helpful to measure your own improvement, so use your previous scores as a benchmark, rather than comparing it against other businesses.

An NPS survey
  • Likert scale: measure a range of sentiments in response to a particular statement, giving more detail than a binary rating. They’re flexible: you can use them to measure agreement, satisfaction, or frequency. They usually have 5 or 7 options, including a neutral option.

Use them in proactive and reactive feedback surveys. Ensure your questions are clear and specific like in the example above of a customer effort survey from Plum’s exit-intent survey. This allows you to pinpoint precise areas of your product or service that require improvement.

  • 5-star scale: these allow users to rate your product or service on a scale of 1 to 5. As they’re so widely used across different industries, these are a quick and easy way of measuring user satisfaction.

Like Likert scales, 5-star scales are best used with targeted questions in proactive and reactive feedback surveys. Provided you get a high score, they’re also useful to market your success and popularity to potential new customers.

Binary feedback ratings
  • Binary rating: the most simple user feedback surveys, these are often seen as in-app widgets or email-embedded surveys with yes/no or thumbs up/thumbs down options.

Implement them throughout your UX after a user has completed a particular process, whether it’s using a new feature, onboarding, or contacting the support team. Follow them up with a multi-choice list or an open text box asking them to give more information so you can get qualitative data on how they feel.

  1. Open text
    • The best way to get qualitative feedback in the user’s own words about your products and services.
    • However, they’re more time-consuming for the user. Use open text boxes as a follow-up to quantitative surveys to understand why users gave you a certain rating, and consider incentivizing them to encourage participation.
    • Great for positive user testimonials, however when given via external forums, especially social media, open text user feedback is often negative.
  1. Observation/involuntary feedback
    • The most accurate way to learn how and where users are having issues with your products and services is by observing them.
    • Could mean physical observation, for example of usability tests with a focus group during product development.
    • Or observation of user activity, for example, dropoff rate, goal completion rate, and product adoption, via your product’s analytics tools.

Best Practices for Collecting User Feedback

  • Define what you want to learn from your users. Create a goal for your feedback to target your questions, whether it’s increasing user retention by asking why users are abandoning certain processes, or optimizing your marketing campaign by asking how they found you.
  • Segment your users. Different users have different needs and expectations from your products and services and their feedback will reflect this. Target users who will be most impacted by the subject matter.
  • Keep your questions concise. Use clear language, ensure the survey is succinct and won’t take too much of the users’ time, and avoid using leading questions. Tell your users how long it will take to complete the survey. Start with more general questions to gauge users’ overall feelings before following up with more specific, targeted questions to collect qualitative data. 
  • Incentivize the feedback process. Showing users that you’re taking action on their feedback is a great incentive for them to voice their opinion. With that said, it’s not always possible to demonstrate that immediately.

Gamifying or incentivizing the process with monetary rewards, discounts, extended trial periods, or other in-app assets is a great way to increase response rates to your requests for user feedback. The below example from Octoparse does just that by entering survey responders into a prize draw.

Octoparse incentivizing customers

How to Analyze User Feedback

  • Group feedback into common themes and categories. Characterize qualitative and quantitative user feedback by context, keywords, and sentiment as well as by the area of your product or service they’re referring to.
  • Assess volume and repetition patterns. If a large number of survey responses reveal the same answer, you know the feedback is not an outlier and requires prioritized action.
  • Analyze user feedback metrics. Compare your scores to previous surveys. Use this quantitative data to back up patterns you’ve found in user behavior data and qualitative feedback.
  • NPS
  • Goal completion rate
  • Customer effort score
  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Compare with user behavior analytics. Continuous analysis of churn, dropoff, and feature adoption will also help you find blind spots in your feedback where you can implement surveys in the future.
  • Create a product development plan. Prioritize your user feedback based on the patterns you’ve found in analysis. Use this to develop your product roadmap.
  • Take action. There’s no use in collecting and analyzing user feedback if you’re not going to put it into practice. Make improvements to your product and service based on what your users want and need.

Leverage Your User Feedback To Improve Your Product

If you didn’t know it before, you do now: collecting and analyzing user feedback is essential to your product’s success. It allows you to improve your product, service, and processes; shows your users you value them, and provides really useful marketing assets. With that said, check out our four great templates to get honest product feedback to start leveraging your users’ opinions for business growth.

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