Effective collection of user feedback is one of the most (if not the most!) valuable resources for growth in SaaS.
Today we’re going over the best user feedback solutions so that you can hone in on the issues that actually matter. Moreover, good feedback tools and practice will equip you with data that is truly actionable.
Taking a hard look at customer feedback and be daunting, complex, and at times heartbreaking. But chin up! Focused in-app user feedback tools like microsurveys are a great way to alleviate the pain, and in this article, we’ll explore how to use them as well as all the other whats, whens, whys, and hows of customer feedback.
With that let’s jump right into this comprehensive guide on feedback.
- User feedback is data you collect on what users think of your product and their experience with your company.
- User feedback can help guide product improvements, back up business decisions, and reduce churn.
- Proactive feedback includes point-of-conversion surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS surveys), and product-market fit user feedback surveys.
- Eliciting user feedback should be proactive, reactive, and ongoing.
- You should collect feedback when: developing a new feature, users engage with a new feature for the first time, users decide to downgrade or cancel, and in continuous cycles for product improvement.
- Feedback can be collected in-app, on your website, via email, and through observation. Check your goals for feedback data to see which makes the most sense.
- When analyzing feedback, categorize data by user journey stage, persona and job to be done, and theme.
- The purpose of collecting feedback is to give you data for action. Be sure to follow up with users and turn their feedback into user experience improvements.
- Collect feedback directly inside your product using microsurveys and customer satisfaction surveys built without code using Userpilot
What is user feedback?
User feedback is the data you collect on customer evaluation of your product and/or services. This usually takes the form of customer sentiment about how well your company’s efforts are meeting their needs.
Whether positive or negative, collecting user feedback is crucial for product improvements and growth. Knowing what customers like, dislike, or require from your product can help you know exactly what aspects to expand or adjust.
Before we look at how to collect and utilize feedback, let’s take a moment to understand specifically why it’s so important to your business.
Why is user feedback important for SaaS businesses?
Your kneejerk reaction to the term “feedback” might be that it’s a value judgment: Customers think my product is “good” or “bad”.
But that’s not the best way to think about it.
Rather, think of feedback as a tool for building stronger relationships with your customers. Just as in personal relationships, communicating about what’s working and what isn’t is key to a better relationship. In this sense, feedback is the “voice of the customer”, and listening to that voice helps you know how well the relationship is going.
Customer feedback helps you address concerns and improve your product so that it delivers more value, thus establishing a relationship that the customer wants to remain part of. Or, if customers are happy, feedback helps you find out why and expand those points of satisfaction.
User feedback is the foundation for improving your product
It’s important to know whether customers are satisfied with your product or not. However, it’s even better to know what specific aspects of the product are causing frustration or joy.
Making the effort to truly understand the finer points of the user experience will give you a focused lens for exploring product improvements. After all, customers may be using your product in ways you’ve never imagined; even if a feature isn’t broken, it may not be working right for your customer.
User feedback surveys are an excellent way to drill down to these specific areas of opportunity for delivering or enhancing value.
User feedback backs up your decision with data
Making changes to your product can be a big investment of financial and human resources. Just as you might look up restaurant reviews before going out to dinner, getting your customer reviews (feedback) is a good way to reduce the risk of a costly blunder.
If a large chunk of your customer base is saying they like your product but get lost in the UI, it’s a good bet that your resources will be better spent on the interface than adding new features. Plus, having this hard data makes it much easier to get the rest of your team on board to make needed changes.
User feedback helps you reduce churn
When used effectively, feedback is a powerful way to identify obstacles to product adoption and reduce churn rate. And while it may not be your favorite reading materials, negative user feedback is where many of your churn-fighting insights can come from.
Ignoring negative feedback can be devastating to your product and brand. Just check out these statistics:
88% of buyers are influenced by reviews!
That means a negative review is going to reach a lot of potential customers. Nevertheless, a bad review posted after a user has already churned is still an opportunity to learn and improve. Better yet, you can potentially avoid the churn if you elicit feedback earlier via tools like microsurveys. Getting that negative feedback before a user churns gives you the chance to make things right and keep the user on board.
Types of SaaS user feedback
When collecting user feedback it’s important to consider when you’re collecting it and what purpose the data serves. To this end, feedback can be divided into three stages with different feedback types that work best at each stage.
Proactive user feedback involves actively seeking user sentiment about their experience with your product. Typically you elicit this relatively soon after purchase through proactive onboarding. The aim is to discover and resolve potential obstacles to strong product adoption.
Point of conversion feedback survey
A point of conversion survey comes immediately after a customer has paid. These surveys are a good time to ask about the payment experience and, crucially, what tipped the customer toward conversion. Answers to these questions will help you streamline the user journey from interest to adoption.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback survey
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey comes into play once a customer has had some time to experience your product after the onboarding process. The survey’s core question (“How likely are you to recommend our product to others?”) reveals customer satisfaction and buy-in with a product on a personal level, through qualitative and quantitative data.
In short, NPS measured customer loyalty on a scale of 0 to 10.
Net Promoter Score is a useful metric for meaningful insights into your customer onboarding process and the overall value your customer derives from the product. But it also gives an important indication of your progress toward community-led growth.
To tap into actionable insights and leverage user feedback to its full potential, always add a follow-up question to your Net promoter score survey and collect qualitative feedback data too.
After all, a high NPS score shows that a user is happy to be associated with your product; joining a community around that product is just a small step from there, while the qualitative data gives you meaningful user insights into what makes them happy or not.
Product-Market Fit feedback survey
In a Product-Market fit survey, you ask customers how disappointed they would be if they could no longer use your product. This is pretty much the opposite of a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey and it’s meant to be used by startup businesses who haven’t achieved PMF, therefore, no customer loyalty to measure.
Startup advisor, Sean Ellis introduced the Product-Market Fit (PMF) survey to determine whether a startup has achieved product-market fit or not. The PMF score is calculated by asking users ”How would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percentage of users who answer ”very disappointed”.
With this survey, you’re looking for at least 40% of your customers to say that they would be “very disappointed”. Otherwise, it’s a clear signal that your product isn’t effectively meeting customer needs.
But don’t despair if you have a sizeable number of people who wouldn’t be disappointed – including follow-up questions in the survey and analyze customer feedback this way, can give you some good insights on how you can pivot your product and transform it into something users want to buy.
Reactive feedback is collected after existing customers have had a specific product experience or service interaction. Feedback at this stage tends to measure how well particular features or support efforts are received.
Let’s look at the main types of feedback that fall into the reactive category.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) feedback survey
Collect feedback through a CSAT survey and measures customer satisfaction immediately after an in-app experience or team interaction.
For instance, you might ask how helpful the customer found their interaction with your customer success of customer service departments was. Or maybe your product team needs accurate feedback on a new feature.
This kind of feedback generates specific data for understanding where the customer may be finding obstacles or friction points with your product. It’s also worth remembering that a user’s depth of engagement with a product changes throughout the user journey, and so triggering additional CSAT surveys at different milestones can help you monitor how the journey is progressing.
Continuous incoming feedback from actual customers using specific features on top of user interviews is the main user research your product team needs to constantly improve your product.
Customer effort score (CES) feedback survey
Of course, you know how to use your product easily and effectively. But do your customers?
Customer effort score (CES) surveys trigger after users perform a specific task and collect feedback on how much effort the task required. CES is a good indicator of customer experience too since a product that is hard to use is probably not user-friendly which leads to poor customer experience.
Users may like your product, but if they’re finding it inconvenient to use then they’re more likely to look for alternatives.
Ask follow-up questions based on the user’s rating to better understand where friction points are and how to improve them.
Churn feedback survey
It would be great if you never had the opportunity to trigger a churn survey, but odds are that you will.
It’s important to gather negative experience feedback from customers that are about to churn.
The churn feedback form can be placed inside the product or be sent via email when a user chooses to downgrade or cancel a subscription as a way of collecting valuable feedback and improve retention.
Churn surveys should be brief and easy to engage with – if the users are on their way out, they probably don’t want to write you a novel and explain their pain points or bad customer experiences.
The primary aim here is to understand why the user isn’t getting sufficient value from your product so you can plan efficient product improvements and avoid similar patterns with new customers.
On-demand ongoing feedback
All the feedback touchpoints we’ve covered so far have been defined by you or your team. But what about when the user has an issue and wants to give feedback without being prompted?
This is where it’s important to provide an easy-to-access tool for users to communicate their experience.
Users may experience obstacles in your app that create pain points but may not warrant creating a support ticket. Allowing users to send feedback quickly and easily makes it much more likely that you’ll learn about such customer frustrations. Otherwise, by the time a survey is triggered, they may have forgotten about that submit button that was hard to find or a particular page that displays weirdly.
When to collect user feedback
Deciding when to collect customer feedback works best when considering the user’s context. Asking for general feedback can give you a sense of overall user sentiment, but you’re unlikely to get much actionable data. Rather, consider the user experience – where are they on the user journey map and how do specific features or updates affect their product use?
Asking specific questions about the user’s experience yields specific, actionable data about your product. Power users will likely have a different perspective on a feature update compared to basic users. Taking these variations into account when you elicit feedback will strengthen your product analytics and help you build better engagement across user segments. Collecting feedback inside your product is a great way to get this kind of contextual data by targeting surveys on particular features, experiences, and user segments.
To help narrow things down further, here are a few key moments when you should collect feedback.
Gather feedback when developing a new feature
While you don’t necessarily want users to dictate every decision you make, they can still be a powerful resource when it comes to developing new features. Your product’s features only deliver value if they meet a real need, and a great way to see how well you achieve this is by asking your users.
Collecting user feedback on potential new features can reveal unanticipated ways that they plan to actually use your product. Getting the scoop on what users expect from a new feature can help you start delivering more value than if you rely on guesswork alone.
In this case, it’s best to be selective about which users you let trial a new feature. Brand-new users and pros are likely to have very different expectations for added functionality. Be sure to consider which segment of users will be in the best position to give feedback relevant to your development goals.
Ask for feedback after users engaged with a feature for the first time
After collecting users’ ideas on what they’d like to see added to your product, don’t forget to consult them once the development is put in place! Getting positive feedback once a customer has used a new feature for the first time will show you whether it’s actually delivering the value you hoped it would.
The most effective way to collect this data is with feature surveys. After a user has tried a new feature, give them a quick one- or two-question survey to get their impressions.
Ask for feedback when users want to cancel or downgrade their account
As I mentioned earlier, churn surveys are an effective way to get a handle on the causes of churn. When a user has chosen to stop using some or all of your products, start collecting user feedback with a short survey to find out why.
You can use feedback channels such as email or your own product to deliver the churn survey.
Contextual inside the product surveys are best because they trigger right when the user clicks the “Cancel” button and show right there, where they are. This gives you a much better completion rate than email surveys, which users may not see until much later. It also creates the possibility that users may change their minds if the survey causes them to consider the value they’ll lose without the product.
Ask for feedback regularly for continuous improvement
Product and feature development shouldn’t end after launch. Just as ongoing product improvement is important, so is ongoing feedback collection! Customers may find that their usage patterns and needs shift once they’ve more fully adopted your product.
Microsurveys that trigger after users have longer-term experience with your product will help you see how well it’s delivering value with sustained use. Check out our microsurvey templates to see how they can help you with ongoing feedback and improvement.
How to collect user feedback?
Some of the most common feedback form formats include:
- Picklists: Think multiple-choice. Users pick one option from a list.
- Multi-select: Similar to picklists, but users can choose more than one option.
- Rating scale: Product star reviews are an example of rating scales, as are NPS surveys. These are useful for getting quantitative data on user sentiment.
- Open text: Free-response questions that often follow quantitative questions to get at the “why” of user answers.
These are the types of user feedback, but where should you implement them? Your choice of feedback venue largely depends on your goals for the resulting data. Let’s break down the options to see how each works:
Collect user feedback inside the app
Microsurveys are the bread and butter of collecting feedback inside your product. You can set them to trigger after specific user behaviors so that there’s no lag between the user experience and their feedback. This makes for better engagement and stronger experience recollection than email surveys.
Use them to collect granular, user-specific feedback. You can use the data collected to help segment users, discover usage patterns based on persona, see which features are providing the most value, and much more.
Check the example below, where Postfity is using a micro survey inside their welcome screen to collect relevant user persona information. This will help them personalize the onboarding process for new users and increase activation.
Collect user feedback on the website
Is your website helping drive user conversion? Feedback forms on your website can help you find out what’s driving web traffic, and where there might be barriers or drivers of conversion. Consider asking questions like:
- How did you hear about our product?
- What’s keeping you from signing up today?
- What helped you decide to sign up?
Collect user feedback using email
Email may not have quite the engagement factor that in-product surveys do, but they still have a place in feedback collection. Asking questions via email can be a good avenue for collecting more holistic user sentiment since users are outside of the app. It’s also a good way to reach customers who may not be regularly active on your app.
Collect user feedback through observation
User feedback doesn’t always have to come from surveys and questions. You can gain valuable insights from observing customer interactions-what users actually do with your product.
Session recordings are a useful way of finding out exactly why a user may have had a positive or negative experience with your product. The user may not understand why a feature isn’t providing value or functionality for them, but by observing their usage behavior you may be able to offer support.
Product usage analytics are another way of seeing what users actually do without having to ask them. Again, it’s quite possible that users think they’re utilizing your product features to the fullest, but analyzing their usage patterns can reveal where engagement may be lacking. These analytics also have the benefit of being objective, specific, and efficient, which may not always be the case with users feedback.
You can also gather customer feedback through user interviews and usability testing when you are looking for particular answers, but we will be focusing on collecting feedback using automated feedback forms in this article.
How to analyze and act on user feedback
Okay, so maybe you’ve got tons of user feedback. What to do with it? Properly categorizing and analyzing feedback will transform it into a stockpile of actionable data.
Analyze user feedback by where the user is in the journey
Different users have different needs and priorities. Identify and define these as you create your user journey map. Doing so will help you recognize key user characteristics and aid in customer segmentation.
When a user offers feedback on a subject that’s relevant to where they are (or are heading) on the user journey, pay particular attention:
- New Users – Look for anything preventing/promoting Activation; issues relating to Time To First Value; difficulties with Primary Onboarding, etc.
- Trusted Long-Term Users – Loyal customers often have much insight into use cases, familiarity with features, and Knowledge Base material. Or they may be calling for new features or failing to get continually high levels of value.
- Power Users – Although power user feedback can lead you astray, power users who understand and advocate for your service can give valuable help in designing your future roadmap.
Analyze user feedback by user persona and job-to-be-done
User persona and job-to-be-done have a significant impact on how a customer uses your product. For example, a product manager needs a different array of functionality than a UX designer.
In other words, different features will provide different levels of value depending on the user. Categorizing feedback this way is useful because it ensures you only consider feedback from users for whom the target element of your product is relevant.
Analyze user feedback by grouping responses into themes
For most SaaS businesses, issues you’ll receive feedback about include:
- Software bugs
- Usability issues
- User knowledge/customer success problems with educational solutions
- New feature requests
- Product insight
- Pricing and billing issues
Categorizing feedback into themes like these will help you start to see patterns. Some themes are more relevant for your customer success team, others are important to your product manager or product marketing managers. Comparing between themes and within themes can reveal which support and development efforts should be prioritized and which teams need to take action.
To see this in action, take a look at how Userpilot lets you tag and group NPS survey responses:
Analyzing the results is as simple as viewing which themes come up most frequently in user feedback.
How to act on user feedback
All the effort you put into collecting, organizing, and analyzing user feedback is only worthwhile if you manage to do something with it.
Once you’ve analyzed the feedback as discussed above, make sure to:
- Close the feedback loop: Don’t leave your users hanging! Respond to their feedback to offer thanks and support if necessary. Make sure they know you appreciate their feedback.
- Create automated responses to churn surveys and offer alternatives to leaving the product.
- Use churn survey results to improve your product and/or services to reduce future churn.
- Communicate, support, and follow up with users to turn detractors into promoters. Use an effective NPS feedback tool to find where these opportunities are.
In-app user feedback tools
Now that you understand how to collect, analyze, and use feedback, we’ll highlight some of our favorite customer feedback tools that will help you get the most out of it.
Best in-app user feedback tool: Userpilot
Userpilot lets you integrate microsurveys (including NPS surveys) into user onboarding experiences without writing a line of code. You can also add qualitative follow-up questions and then let Userpilot organize the data for you based on keywords and tags.
Using Userpilot you can segment your target audience based on the answers on the feedback form or NPS scores, and then you can launch follow-up experiences to address specific user concerns using the same tool.
All this makes collecting and acting on user feedback a painless, smooth process.
Best user feedback tool for website and session recordings: Hotjar
Hotjar is a behavioral analytics tool that lets you record user activity on your website. Watch user clicks, scrolls, and form fills to spot adoption journey friction, potential UX bugs, or user bounce points.
Hotjar also offers widgets for NPS and multiple-choice surveys, as well as a handy form analysis tool that shows which fields take too much user time.
Best user feedback tool for email: Typeform
Typeform brings useful flexibility to creating long-form email surveys. This is thanks to its logic jumps which allow you to ask different questions depending on user answers. The result is a tool that lets you achieve some great depth with user feedback as well as user segmentation.
I hope by now you’re convinced that customer feedback is nothing to be afraid of. Gathering user sentiment and utilizing it to improve the customer experience is invaluable to SaaS – after all, you’ve made a product for your customers, why not let them help you make it better?
Don’t forget: all feedback is valuable if you use it correctly. Taking context into account when eliciting, collecting, and analyzing feedback is the most fundamental thing you can do to help it start yielding actionable data. Asking the right question to the right person at the right time can turn a confusing heap of sentiment into a goldmine of usable information.
Do microsurveys and feedback analytics sound like just what your product needs? Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can make the most of user feedback!