The Ultimate Guide to Product Feedback for Product Managers
Customers don't just want to be valued—they want to be understood.
What’s the best way to understand your customers? By listening to them.
Surprisingly, 42% of companies skip this step and don't survey customers for feedback, according to HubSpot research.
Good user experiences start with your product feedback process. How you collect, analyze, and apply product feedback provided by your customers influences their experience and perception of your brand. By implementing product feedback, you’ll show commitment to your users, lay the foundation for customer loyalty, and ensure you’re creating the most useful features for your customers.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about product feedback so that you can turn it into valuable solutions your customers will love to use.
What is Product Feedback?
Before we jump in, let’s briefly define product feedback.
You probably know product feedback (also called user feedback) is the information end users share with you about your product or their experiences using it.
This feedback funnels in from many different sources. Sometimes it’s responses to customer experience surveys such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS survey) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). Other times, it comes from user interviews, product feedback surveys, social media feedback, or pain points users share with your customer-facing teams.
Ultimately, product feedback drives your product development strategy and is essential for maintaining product-market fit.
Why is Product Feedback Important?
Collecting product feedback can help you, and your team understand your users' perspectives and can help you uncover opportunities to improve. It’s your ticket to product market clarity, successful development, and building customer-centric products.
Let’s explore a few ways feedback can impact your products.
Informs Your Product Decisions
The main reason product feedback matters? Each piece of feedback gives you insights into users’ likes and dislikes, helps you spot industry trends, and teaches you what product features are most important to your users.
At scale, product feedback can help you uncover the right product opportunities. Making product decisions without input from your users is like going on a road trip without a map or GPS.
Creates a Competitive Advantage
As your users’ needs evolve, so will your market. With a continuous flow of product feedback, you’ll stay on top of changing needs in your space—allowing you to respond proactively before a competitor beats you to the punch.
Reinforces Customer Centricity
Your feedback program reflects your brand values. Listening to your users’ input sends them a clear message: we care and have your best interests in mind.
Customer centricity builds trust, creates loyal customers, and improves customer retention. A well-developed feedback program (and a reputation for making customer-centric decisions) sets you apart from other brands in your space.
Keeps Your Teams Aligned
Feedback belongs to more than just product managers and product teams. When everyone on your team can access user feedback, you can focus on improving your CX to create your best product together. With these customer insights, each team can work toward improving the customer journey.
We recommend a centralized product feedback tool to help you share real-time updates while keeping everyone on track toward the same goals.
The 5 Types of User Feedback
While there are many different types of feedback, most fall into one of five categories: feature requests, data insights, pain points, praise, and bug reports.
Each type of feedback is equally important for product decisions—and combining multiple types of feedback will give you an excellent big-picture view of what’s best for your customers.
Feature requests are user requests to improve your product via useful new features.
These requests can pop up anywhere, but they’re usually shared with customer support teams, requested on social media, or mentioned in user feedback surveys or in-app feedback widgets.
Feature requests are essential because they give you a clear picture of your users’ needs. They spell out exactly what users need to make their work easier, eliminating any guesswork on your part.
When you get feedback requests, having a system in place for evaluating and prioritizing is helpful. As you receive feedback requests, you might consider the following:
- How likely is this feature to positively impact most (if not all) of your users?
- Does it align with your company’s vision for the product?
- Is it feasible? If so, how easy is it to implement this feature?
Pain points are the challenges users have with your product. Perhaps your users feel confused when accessing a particular area of your product or find certain tasks difficult to complete. Although pain points may seem negative, they’re an excellent opportunity to prove your commitment to your users.
Like feature requests, pain points come from many sources. You can source them from in-product feedback widgets, beta tests, and open-ended questions in surveys. They may also come from chats with influential users, 1:1 customer interviews, focus groups, and conversations with customer-facing teams.
Pain points give you a shortcut to customer satisfaction. When you address user obstacles, you improve CX and overall satisfaction.
When users share their pain points, it’s important to act as quickly as you can. Let’s say one of your SaaS integrations isn’t working properly—a simple adjustment from your engineering team may be all it takes to demonstrate responsiveness to your customers’ needs.
Unfortunately, not all pain points are quick fixes. In that case, prioritize them based on user impact and alignment with product goals. Be sure to keep in touch with the users who share them as you make progress.
Ah, the glowing review—everyone’s favorite kind of feedback. It’s a great feeling when customers share ways that your product shines, but it also points to the best ways to nurture your customer relationships. Why? Positive reviews point to what your users value. For example, if several users praise your company's fast bug fixes, you'll know your core users value responsiveness.
Praise can be found in plenty of places. You’ll often find positive feedback in online reviews, social media comments and DMs, emails, and conversations with customer-facing teams.
As you evaluate this feedback, take note of what your customers love about your products. Then, make it a priority to nurture those qualities and features. This will help you connect with your customers and foster a sense of loyalty.
Bug reports include specific examples of what happens when your product isn’t working as it should. They often include details about errors or what users were doing when they happened.
These reports often come through automated crash reports, support tickets, and in-app feedback widgets. Customers may also report bugs via reviews, feedback forms, social media, and by chatting with customer support teams.
Acting on bug reports quickly keeps your product quality high while reinforcing your responsiveness to user requests.
When you get bug reports, inform your engineering team. Have them investigate where your customers are running into obstacles, then compare that data with other feedback. Does this bug point to a common CX problem or align with a feature request? If so, ask your developers to brainstorm solutions that address multiple needs.
Insights go beyond what users say in surveys and reveal what they actually do while using your product. These data and behavior-based findings help you develop great products with new or updated features.
For example, you might discover users interacting with your product in unexpected ways during beta testing. Armed with valuable insights, you can proactively build features that improve those workflows. Or a review of your metrics might point to a rarely-used feature that can be cut or improved.
Because insights address both user behavior and metrics, you’ll see them come in from several sources—like beta testing, focus groups, product metrics, and engagement metrics.
When you analyze insights, it’s helpful to combine them with other feedback to get a zoomed-out perspective of user needs. For example, combining data insights and pain points can help you decide which feature requests to address because you can see which ones will likely make the most significant impact on your users.
Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback
Now that you’ve got an idea of each feedback type and how it works, it’s time to start collecting data. Before you start, we recommend having a few things in place. These best practices will help you get the most out of your feedback:
- Make user feedback an organization-wide priority. While it’s standard for product management to manage and organize user feedback, we recommend involving every team. Doing so promotes internal alignment and a shared understanding of customer needs.
- Get input from a reasonable percentage of your total user base. Capturing a wide variety of perspectives prevents you from making decisions based on the vocal minority. Leverage multiple feedback channels to get input from more of your users.
- Ask internal stakeholders to contribute feedback. Other teams (especially those in customer-facing roles) may have a unique understanding of customer pain points and needs that can help you build more valuable products.
- Don’t make extra work for yourself. Find a way to capture and aggregate feedback from all the different channels you’re leveraging in a single place. While you can work with your data manually, we recommend looking for a tool that helps you capture, analyze, and act on data efficiently.
- Follow up on user feedback. Responding to user feedback promptly shows your customers you’re actively listening and considering their ideas.
Analyzing and Acting on User Feedback
As you create a repository of feedback from your users, you’ll want to define how you’ll make sense of the input you receive.
Try focusing on ways to quantify your qualitative feedback (like feature requests). Doing so will help prioritize the most critical customer needs.
When you’re trying to identify the most crucial feedback to act on, analyze the context and dig into customer data. Try to understand what requests benefit the vast majority of your users, not just a few who pipe up with feedback.
You might consider:
- Frequency. How often does the request come up?
- Timeliness. Is this something that just became important to many users? Or, have users been occasionally asking for it over a long period of time?
- User segments. Which segments of your users are making the request? Are they target segments? Paid or unpaid users?
- Accounts. How many different customer accounts have made the request? What is the revenue associated with those accounts? Are they target accounts?
Not sure how acting on a request will impact your user base? Don’t be afraid to ask users for more input!
Closing the Feedback Loop
Closing the feedback loop boils down to one thing—following up with your users after they leave feedback.
This follow-up is critical to product success. Why? It keeps lines of communication open and encourages future feedback that will improve your product.
We recommend touching base with your users at a few critical points:
- When you receive their requests. Act quickly to acknowledge feedback and let your users know you're looking into it. Creating feedback workflows can help to determine what should be fielded with an automated response and what requires a more human touch.
- When you won't be pursuing a suggestion. Not all requests are viable, and your users understand that. Let them know you appreciate their idea, but you won't be working on it now. If it makes sense to explain why you're passing on the idea, do so.
- When you have a plan of action. Once you've mapped out the next steps, share them with your users. They'll be excited to know you're making product improvements based on their ideas.
- When you implement a solution. Make sure users know you've addressed their feedback by announcing your features, fixes, and product updates.
After you've closed a feedback loop, thank users again for their thoughts and ideas. Nurture further conversation by letting them know you'd love their opinions on your feature or solution.
Choose the Right Tools to Improve Your Product Feedback Strategy
User feedback is the lifeblood of successful products—but efficient feedback management can be tricky without the right tools.
UserVoice is a user feedback platform that can help you level up your understanding of customer needs without the hassle of manually organizing feedback. With a tool like UserVoice, you can double down on your commitment to customer-centricity, improve org alignment on product priorities, and deliver better products.
With countless integrations (including Salesforce, Jira, and Zendesk) and easy-to-use analysis tools, UserVoice will quickly make sense of your user feedback. Find your most popular feature requests and keep users in the loop as you make progress toward their requests.
Not sure if UserVoice is right for you? Try our free trial and see for yourself!