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Getting meaningful and actionable feedback from surveys

A few best practices for designing surveys that encourage users to provide meaningful and actionable feedback.

May 30, 2023
Rahul Mallapur

Having conversed with hundreds of product managers about the importance of effective feedback mechanisms in building customer-centric products, we've seen common questions emerge time and again. To address these recurring topics, we're launching our 'Product Manager FAQ' series. In this series, we'll share actionable advice from our experiences helping 100+ companies craft products that truly resonate with their customers. Join us as we delve into the power of customer feedback and its pivotal role in successful product management.

Have you ever wondered how to design feedback collection mechanisms that inspire users to share valuable insights? It's a question that frequently arises among product managers seeking to create products that truly resonate with their users. In this blog post, we'll delve into one of the most commonly asked questions in the realm of product development: What are the best practices for designing feedback collection mechanisms that encourage users to provide meaningful and actionable feedback?

Here we unpack a few practical strategies and expert insights to help you unlock the potential of user feedback.

1. Clearly define the objective of the feedback study.

It is crucial to establish a clear and concise objective statement for your feedback study. By doing so, you can effectively identify the goals and research questions you aim to address.

For example, an objective statement like "Understanding the pain points of web users regarding the search feature" provides a specific focus for your study and ensures that your analysis centers around relevant data points.

2. Ask for feedback in context.

Identify key moments in the user journey where feedback would be most valuable and strategically target those moments. For instance, if you have a question about why users are not taking a specific product action, ask them when they should be taking that action but haven't done so. Similarly, if you want to evaluate a hypothesis regarding user pain points related to a particular feature, ask them while they are actively using that feature.

By aligning your questions with the user's experience and specific contexts, you can gather more relevant and insightful feedback.

Events and properties in Blitzllama enable you to launch in-app surveys in context

3. Target relevant users for feedback.

Focus on users who are directly relevant to your study to ensure accurate and actionable feedback. Including irrelevant users may introduce false positives. For instance, to improve the shoe shopping experience on your e-commerce app, specifically ask users who have gone through the shoe shopping process.

4. Empathize with your users by speaking their language.

To establish a strong connection with your users, communicate with them in a language they are comfortable with. If your target audience is comfortable with Hinglish (a blend of Hindi and English), consider using Hinglish terminology and phrases they would easily understand. By using their language, you create a more relatable and inclusive feedback collection experience, fostering better understanding and engagement with your users.

5. Encourage open-ended responses.

While quantitative rating scales offer valuable data, incorporating open-ended questions allows users to freely express their thoughts in their own words. By posing open-ended questions, you invite users to provide qualitative insights that capture valuable details and offer deeper context. This qualitative feedback complements the quantitative data, providing a more comprehensive understanding of user perspectives. It allows users to articulate their experiences, concerns, and suggestions in a way that quantitative measures alone cannot capture. Embracing open-ended responses enriches the feedback collection process and enhances your ability to uncover nuanced user insights.

Blitzllama’s AI auto-generates insights from textual data

6. Provide context in your feedback request.

When soliciting feedback, it is important to provide context to users about why you are asking for their input and how you plan to use it. This helps users understand the purpose and value of their feedback. However, it is crucial to be mindful of not asking leading questions, as there is a fine line between providing context and unintentionally biasing the responses. Strive for transparency and clarity in your request to ensure users feel comfortable providing honest and unbiased feedback.

Taking a note about contextualizing feedback requests from The Mom Test, a book by Rob Fitzpatrick. Let's say you're developing a new mobile app that helps people track their daily exercise routines. To gather feedback on your app's user interface, you might approach a potential user and ask, "When you're using exercise apps, what are the main challenges you face with their interfaces?"

In this example, the feedback request is contextualized within the user's experience with exercise apps. By framing the question in this way, you're providing context and guiding the user to share their pain points specifically related to app interfaces. This approach encourages the user to think about their personal experiences and offers insights directly related to your app's UI.

You can add the context as a description too

7. Use a native-looking survey widget.

Ensure your survey widget blends seamlessly with your product's interface, preventing user confusion. Additionally, make it easy for users to dismiss the survey, maintaining engagement from interested participants.

Blitzllama provides a ton of customization options

8. Keep surveys short and focused.

Respect users' time by keeping surveys concise, ideally with 4-5 questions max. Ensure questions are clear, simple, and to the point. Lengthy surveys with numerous questions can deter users from completing them or result in hurried and less thoughtful responses. Prioritize the most important questions to gather actionable insights efficiently. By keeping surveys focused, you maximize user participation and increase the likelihood of obtaining meaningful feedback.

9. Avoid excessive survey requests.

Prevent survey fatigue and maintain high response rates by refraining from bombarding users with frequent feedback requests. A good guideline is to limit survey frequency to once per week for highly engaged users and once per month for less engaged users. By striking the right balance, you can sustain user engagement and maximize the quality of feedback received.

Precisely control the survey frequency with Blitzllama

10. Always acknowledge and appreciate the feedback.

Show genuine appreciation for user feedback by promptly acknowledging their contributions and expressing gratitude. A simple gesture such as "Thank you for your time! Your feedback is invaluable to our team" goes a long way in fostering a positive relationship with users.

Additionally, whenever possible, provide updates on the actions taken based on user feedback. This demonstrates that their input is valued and that their voices have an impact on product improvements. By fostering a sense of community and actively involving users in the feedback process, you encourage ongoing engagement and further contributions.

Create follow-up cohorts with ease

11. Use incentives thoughtfully to encourage feedback.

Incentivizing users with rewards, such as app credits or discounts, can motivate them to provide feedback. However, be cautious as incentives may inadvertently influence responses toward what you want to hear.

When offering incentives, carefully consider the potential impact on the authenticity and quality of the feedback received. Strive to strike a balance between encouraging user participation and maintaining the integrity of the feedback collected.