The Secret to Getting Great Feedback from Your Users

Everyone would love to know what all their customers are thinking when using their product. Unfortunately, no one has invented telepathy yet, so the best alternative has been in-app chat windows, pop up micro surveys and feedback apps. Unfortunately, they are all fatally flawed.

App Chat windows require you to have an employee on chat at the time the customer wants to talk. They also interrupt the flow of whatever a customer is doing; they may not want to have an entire conversation with someone just because they have a little feedback. It’s also a challenge to have the employee in the conversation think like the product, sales, or technical person that would be best suited for having such a discussion.

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Pop up micro surveys, like our own KISSinsights, are great when you have a specific question to ask, but lack the flexibility to be a catch-all for your entire site or product. They also can be annoying, as they interrupt what the user is doing when they trigger the activity that makes the micro survey show up.

pop up micro surveys

Feedback apps seem great in theory. Just drop some code on your page and have a button for people to click to submit feedback. Unfortunately, when you click them you’re confronted with a number of options that distract a user from giving feedback. Most of the feedback apps also show other user feature requests and suggestions, which promotes group thinking and interrupts the user from what they were already working on.

feedback apps

Despite all these options, we decided to Keep It Simple and create our own in-house solution. At the bottom of every page of our main site, you’ll find a feedback box:

in page website feedback

This simple In Page Feedback box is at the bottom of every page when logged into KISSmetrics. Implementing feedback requests this way has a few key advantages for us:

  • No Interruptions – This box is always there, but never in the way. If you enter feedback, you never leave the page you were working on.
  • Single Option – We don’t bog people down with drop downs, login interfaces and menus; instead they just have a box to enter and we piece the rest together on our back end.
  • No Integration – We didn’t have to spend any time integrating another app into our system.
  • Infinite Customer Data – By being an internal tool, we can easily link all of our customer data from the user that submitted the feedback including the page they were on when submitting the feedback, their username and email address as well as any customer data we have in our database.
  • Infinite Access – The feedback submissions are sent out via email (see below), so they can be easily sent to any team member with all the customer data they need to act appropriately.

website feedback response

The Results

Since implementing this in February of 2011, we’ve received over 3,200 suggestions from our users. Today, 30-40 users of KISSmetrics send us feedback every week using this box. This feedback provides many benefits for us: It catches a few support and bug requests that didn’t come through our normal help button, gives us a ton of great product feedback and occasionally even includes positive reactions we can share with the team on a feature people really like.

As the Product Manager here at KISSmetrics, I regularly use it as another touch point to interact with customers. Even if we’re unlikely to build a feature they request, I enjoy reaching out to learn more about what motivated their request and let them know someone is listening.

Often times, these interactions lead to opportunities for deeper customer development discussions around the use of our product.  I also use Gmail labels for the most common requests so that when we do start work on that feature, I already have some feedback handy and some customers I’m sure will be interested in discussing it.

Our CEO, Hiten Shah also reads them to stay in touch with customers, while our entire design team reads these to better understand how their designs are working (or not) for customers.

How to Implement

Now that you’re all excited about the process, you’re probably asking how you too can have a feedback box on your site. Straight from the engineers that built it comes this advice:

  • Have your feedback form submit an AJAX request to your server that stores the feedback given and a few other things in the database including: The user account ID, The user’s browser, The page the user was on when they submitted the feedback.
  • Create an admin page that groups the support items by feature (determined by URL.)
  • Make sure an email is also sent when feedback is submitted.

Ready to use this? Already doing it?

Our In Page Feedback box acts as another way for us to be a customer-driven, Lean Startup. We’ve seen our friends at PicPlum are using a similar In Page Feedback box, but would love to hear if anyone else has tried it.

picplum user feedback

About the Author: Jason Evanish is the Product Manager at KISSmetrics. You can find him on Twitter at @evanish.

  1. Great post, Jason. I think we’ll definitely be looking into this.

  2. I’ll have it check with our SEO. Thanks

  3. These suggestions are all great! Thank

  4. Congrats on your first post, Jason!

  5. You say you got 3200 suggestions in February, and 30-40 suggestions a week, sounds like great numbers. But how many uniques are you getting in this time frame? Would be nice to know the complete stats so we can gauge how well our implementations of this approach are working in comparison.

    • Hi Ben,

      The 3,200 suggestions are since February 2011 (so spread over 17 months). We find that we hear from a wide variety of customers; I don’t have uniques (we don’t measure that closely because we’ve never felt a need to) but I can tell you that in my 3 months here, we don’t see anyone sending an overwhelming amount of feedback. Instead, it’s a steady flow of feedback from different users across just about every section of the product.

      If you have more questions, please let me know.

      Thanks,
      Jason

      • My main question is how many users as a percentage are actually giving you feedback? Is it 1%, 10% 30%? How effective is this technique.

        I have no idea how much traffic you get, you could get a few tens of million hits a month in which case these numbers are really small, or you could get a few tens of thousands, in which case this technique is the best thing since sliced bread. My point is without the percentages or an indication of the amount of traffic that was required to generate that much feedback I have no way of judging the effectiveness of this technique.

  6. Great Idea, Added to the TODO list.

  7. I can’t actually find this feature on your site. Could you point to a page that has it?

    • Aaron,

      You need to be logged into our product (either in trial or a paying customer) to see it. The screenshot above with our name in the shot also shows you what it looks like.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  8. same with me: can’t find the feature implemented… where can we see it? thanks!

    • Chrispy,

      You need to be logged into our product (either in trial or a paying customer) to see it. The screenshot above with our name in the shot also shows you what it looks like. It’s literally part of the footer on every one of the pages.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  9. As Ben, above, points, it’d be great to have a bit more information on what % of active users on your app have posted feedback.

    Also, as a KM user, I’ve used the feedback form to report a bug or an issue, not only pure feedback or ideas for new features. Do you usually make an analysis to separate issues from feedback from new feature requests? if so, would you be able to share with us what is the % of each category?

    Thanks,
    Lucas

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