When it comes to building an awesome product, your job is never done. Ever.
There is no end state in which everything is perfect and everyone is happy. Product development is not something you check off your to-do list—it’s a way of life.
The good news: You don’t have to do it all on your own. There are a whole bunch of people standing by, ready to tell you exactly what you need to push your product to the next level. Who are they? Your users—the people who already love your product and just want to see it get better and better.
Getting honest, detailed feedback from this key group is one of the most powerful and effective ways to ensure that your product updates, enhancements, and pivots are moving you in the right direction.
To take full advantage of the opportunity, however, you have to approach the conversation somewhat carefully. A clumsy or ill-timed ask can cost you big time in lost credibility. To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve collected 6 outstanding examples of feedback requests done right. But first, let’s take a closer look at exactly which users you want to engage.
Which users should you ask for feedback?
While there are valid reasons to talk to users at different points in the customer journey, when you’re looking for guidance on how to evolve your product, you really want to be talking with the people who know it best. This means finding a way to target your questions the loyal, regular users who are committed to your product and have a strong understanding of its value.
These users are your regulars and champions, as defined by our Product-Led Growth Flywheel. The Product-Led Growth Flywheel is a framework that consists of 4 sequential user segments—evaluators, beginners, regulars, and champions—and the key actions these users take to graduate from one stage to the next: activate, adopt, adore, and advocate.
Users in the adore and advocate stages of the user journey are able to provide the most valuable customer feedback because they are the ones who are most familiar with your product and its use cases.
Regulars are just what the name implies. Like the folks who have a usual order at the local coffee shop, these users are logging into your product frequently and consistently. They rely on your product to help them perform key tasks, and they are interested in learning what else it can do to make their jobs easier. When you need to bounce ideas off someone, these users should be your go-to audience. Their self-serving curiosity about new features and functionalities combined with their tendency to have Opinions-with-a-capital-O about how things should work make them an ideal feedback group.
Similarly, your champions know your product inside and out. They love it enough to rave about it to friends and colleagues. They wear your branded merchandise. If your product went belly up, they would hold a funeral (possibly with bagpipes). These users actively encourage you to be the best you can be. They are dialed into what’s happening with your product and always cheering you on. These users are the ones most likely to push your product to new heights with pie-in-the-sky thinking that can drive true innovation.
In-app questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms
Whether you’re trying to gauge responses to a feature update, crowdsource new ideas, or just figure out what your most loyal users are thinking, in-app questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms are a great way to solicit and collect customer feedback.
Some tips to ensure the best user experience and highest quality feedback:
Tell people how long the survey will take People are busy. They may want to help you out, but will hesitate if they think they might be signing on for a 20-minute ordeal. If your survey is longer than a few questions, let them know up front.
Include a progress indicator On a related note, longer surveys should always include a progress bar or counter to tell people how far they’ve come and how far they have to go. People like to know where they are in a process.
Keep surveys short and sweet Except in a few very specific cases (which usually involve a more formal invitation) brevity is your friend. Don’t try to ask all your questions at once. Do the legwork to figure out which questions are most critical right now, and focus on those. You can run another survey later, which—bonus—can be informed by the first one.
Pay attention to design details Looks matter—the user experience matters even more. Leave white space and label form fields clearly. Use images and copy to bring some brand personality into play.
Minimize the number of mandatory fields Something is better than nothing. Don’t get greedy and demand all or nothing. Let the user decide what they want to share. No one likes to be “required” to do anything, least of all someone who is essentially doing you a favor.
Avoid asking for information you already have Asking people for data you already have on file is a complete waste of their time. Don’t waste their time. Full stop.
Make it mobile friendly Make the user experience a good one for people who are on the go. If your product has a mobile experience, your feedback tools should be compatible.
Optional: Offer an incentive People like “free” things. In certain cases, it may be worth your while to offer some kind of thank you gift (a modest product upgrade, an entry into a raffle, a gift card, etc.).
1. How Patagonia gathers precise feedback
Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company known for its attention to detail and commitment to the environment. They pay attention to all the little things that make their clothing special. Likewise, they go to extra lengths to make sure that their customer feedback is as specific as possible.
In a previous iteration of Patagonia’s website UX, they let users set the context for their feedback by indicating what kind of feedback they wanted to provide and which part of the page it related to. This allowed Patagonia to more easily zero in on exactly what needs to be addressed.
This sort of highly specific feedback—which lets users hone in on UI elements or parts of a page, even if they don’t have the language for it—can be especially helpful during new UI rollouts, beta testing, etc.
2. How PatientSky asks users to evaluate their experience
PatientSky develops innovative IT solutions for both patients and healthcare practitioners in Norway. They routinely use their product to gather contextual feedback from users on a variety of topics. For example, they used Appcues to create an in-app survey to ask users about their experience with the PatientSky demo.
By collecting information about whether users found the demo helpful and how they thought the demo environment could be improved, PatientSky was able to identify what they needed to do to deliver an experience that more closely matched what their users wanted.
3. How Evernote takes feedback one step at a time
Evernote helps users organize their information across a variety of devices in an experience that includes a desktop application, a website, a browser widget, a mobile app, and compatibility with the Apple Watch. The breadth of their product offering increases the number of possible touch points.
To help them track how their product is performing across all those different channels , Evernote uses short in-app questionnaires to collect device-specific data.
By focusing each survey on a specific user experience, Evernote is able to capture more meaningful insights, which can then be applied at a device level. This questionnaire is also a great example of progressive disclosure—a technique that leads with a single question to ensure that users perceive the survey as quick and easy, before following up with another quick series of questions.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys
The net promoter score (NPS) survey is a very particular kind of survey that is especially well-suited to regular and champion users. An NPS survey is a single-question affair that simply asks the user how likely, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being highly likely), they are to recommend your product.
This simple question is one of the most helpful tools you have to measure customer satisfaction. Scores are usually broken down into 3 categories: detractors (0 to 6), passives (7 to 8), and promoters (9 to 10).
NPS is sometimes criticized as an oversimplification of user sentiment, but it’s an important indicator to track because a high score means that a user is willing to stick their neck out for you. And that can be a big deal.
Example 4: How Adobe manages constant change
Adobe’s extensive suite of products is always evolving in order to keep up with user needs and advancements in technology. They use NPS surveys at critical junctures to gauge user satisfaction.
Their classic version of the NPS survey gives respondents the option to provide an additional explanation of why they gave a particular score. This is not only a good way to capture additional feedback details, it’s also empowering for the user who may have a strong opinion one way or the other.
Other nice details on this survey include the way it’s positioned as a humble request for assistance, and the inclusion of checkboxes that allow the user to indicate whether or not they would like to grant Adobe permission for follow-up conversations.
Example 5: How Customer.io shows good manners
Customer.io, a popular email automation tool, includes robust analytics capabilities to power optimization experiments. They use an in-app NPS survey to keep close tabs on customer satisfaction, which is extremely important in a competitive market like theirs.
A subtle but nice touch on this NPS survey is the placement. Instead of presenting it in the middle of the user experience, it pops up politely at the bottom of the screen, allowing users to complete their task before responding.
When reaching out to regular users, it’s important to remember that they’ve logged into your product to do something—UI patterns that catch the eye but don’t interrupt workflow are typically a good call for non-urgent communication like this.
Example 6: How PatientSky addresses low NPS scores
Coming back to PatientSky, their approach to NPS includes an important best practice: following up with users who give a low NPS score.PatientSky used Appcues to follows up with their detractors by targeting the following flow to users who responded to the NPS survey with a score of 0 to 6.
Not only does this tactic demonstrate to their users that the company is committed to delivering a better experience, but it also gives PatientSky a very effective way to collect critical additional customer feedback that they can use to tackle specific issues.
Ready to hear what your users have to say?
In-app questionnaires, NPS surveys, and customer feedback forms should be a go-to strategy in your PM toolkit. These flexible, convenient, and user-friendly experiences will help you get to the bottom of what’s working and what’s not faster than almost any other tactic out there.
And by focusing your outreach to the people who love your product the most, you will be sure to get the most detailed and honest feedback you could hope for.