Different types of customer feedback (and what to do with them)

· 13 min read
Different types of customer feedback (and what to do with them)

Paying attention to what your customers are saying is the best thing you can do for your business. Regardless of the nature of the communication, it’s all valuable.

That said, there are many different types of customer feedback.

Some are obvious, like feature requests. Others are more subtle, like questions about your product. Some types of customer feedback you reach out for specifically, and some you don’t.

Is one kind of feedback more important than another? And, how should you go about addressing the different types of feedback that you get?

Today, we’ll be talking about the different types of customer feedback, and what to do with them.

The two main types of customer feedback:

  • Feedback customers give you without you asking (like bug reports)
  • Feedback you reach out for (like customer surveys)
different types of customer feedback

At a glance, it might seem like feedback you ask for is more important and actionable.

But, there’s often a lot of value in the feedback you get without asking for it. This includes forms of communication that you might not be paying as much attention to.

Customer feedback type #1: Feedback you get without asking

These are the types of customer feedback you don’t reach out for yourself:

  • Feature requests
  • Bug reports
  • Questions
  • Reviews on public sites
  • Praise
The types of customer feedback you get without asking

Let’s go through and discuss each of these.

Feature requests

Feature requests are ideas for how you can improve your product or service. They usually come from a pain point on the customers’ side—they want to do something, but can’t.

So, they request a new feature.

Feature requests are one of the most useful types of customer feedback

Why this type of customer feedback matters

Implementing features that your customers want adds value. The more value you deliver, the more successful your business will become.

So, feedback requests are an incredibly important thing to track and monitor.

Not all feature requests will make sense for your business. But, the reasonable ones are a goldmine for building your future roadmap. You should keep track of every feature request you get, and see which fit into your roadmap.

You can use Canny to easily track and prioritize customer feedback. We’ve also written about how to prioritize customer feedback by using a roadmap.

Use Canny to track and manage customer feedback

Avatar

Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

All Posts

Feature requests are some of the most valuable types of feedback that customers can give you. They give you a clear understanding of what your customers really want. Tracking feature requests keeps your roadmap organized and prioritized for more value.

Bug reports

Bugs are problems that your customers run into while using your product. They can vary from small UI issues to your entire site being down.

A buggy product will almost certainly lead to churn. And, churn is the biggest enemy of every software business. If your product doesn’t work, customers can’t access the value of it. If they can’t access the value, they’ll leave.

The first thing to do with a bug report is to confirm it exists:

  • Ask how the user ran into the issue
  • See if you can you reproduce it yourself

If you can reproduce it, consider whether you’ll fix the bug:

  • Who is this affecting? All customers, or a select few?
  • How severe is the bug? Are certain features unusable?
  • How much time/money would it cost to fix it?

If a bug is easy to fix, you should squish it. This shows your customers that you care about their experience. It shows that you take their feedback seriously.

Try to keep ahead of bug reports by using a notification service for issues. We use Sentry for this.

Why this type of customer feedback matters

Bug reports show what is and isn’t working, of course. But, they’re also insight into the ways your customers are using your product.

It’s good practice to consider what’s causing the issue and how you can avoid it in the future. For example, there might be a unit test you can write to ensure the problem never happens again.

This type of customer feedback comes directly from your engaged user base. Sure, it shows what you need to fix. But, it also shows how your customers are using your tool. And, you can show that you’re invested in giving customers a good experience with your product. Being proactive about technical issues drives customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Questions

At every step of the customer journey, people will have questions:

  • What does your product do?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do I get set up?

…and so on.

Your landing page, documentation, or product itself should answer most of these questions.

But, there will still be times when people can’t find the answer they’re looking for. That’s when they reach out to you.
Questions aren’t “intended” to be feedback. But, if you think about it, in a way, they are.

Why this type of customer feedback matters

Receiving a question means you could make something clearer. If everything was clear, your customer wouldn’t have a question to begin with.

If you start hearing the same question over and over, it’s worth answering. This might be within your product, in a help center article, or with an FAQs page. It’ll save time for you, and your customers—win-win.

Reviews on public sites

Review sites give your users the chance to talk about your company indirectly. Unfortunately, they often do this when they’re already mad about something.

You have no control over this. Unless it’s untrue or inappropriate, everyone has the right to express an opinion.

They’re not always bad, though:

Canny customer review on Capterra
A review of Canny on Capterra

Why this type of customer feedback matters

It’s important to keep an eye on what users are saying about your product.

You can either browse them by hand, or set up mention notifications.

Monitoring this type of customer feedback matters for a few reasons. At a basic level, it shows what your customers like and don’t like. But beyond that, it gives you a chance to publicly address concerns and ask for more input.

Always record the feedback, and respond with a thank you—whether it’s negative or positive. With positive reviews, you can always ask if there’s anything at all they would like changed.

With negative ones, ask to discuss it further. You may be able to resolve whatever triggered the bad review. Brownie points if you go back and let whoever complained know when you’ve fixed the issues.

Praise

This is when a customer tells you about a great experience they had with your company.

Praise is a good sign. Someone took the time to say nice things about your company. That means they must appreciate what you do a lot.

Canny product review on Twitter

Why this type of customer feedback matters

A customer who goes out of their way to offer unsolicited praise might be willing to share more feedback. This can help you grow and improve.

Praise is nice to receive, but don’t let yourself get lazy. You should still check whether there’s any constructive feedback you can get out of it.

With every nice comment, ask if there’s anything at all you could still improve on. You can also ask for help with getting the word out:

  • See if they’ll leave a review on GetApp, G2Crowd, or Capterra.
  • Ask for a testimonial for social proof.
  • See if they’d be willing to be featured as a case study on your website.
  • Ask if they know anyone who might want to use your product.

Don’t be pushy about this. You don’t want to ruin the good impression they have of you by being annoying.

Customer feedback type #2: Feedback you reach out for

These are the types of customer feedback you specifically ask for:

  • NPS responses
  • Ratings (in-app)
  • Sales objections
  • Churn reasons
  • Customer surveys
  • Onboarding feedback
  • Feedback after a support interaction
Types of customer feedback you reach out for

NPS responses

The NPS (net promoter score) is a popular way to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The NPS survey is simple:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?
  • Why did you choose that score?

Using the net promotor score to gather customer feedback for Canny

Customers are then split up into three categories:

Promoters (9-10)

These are your most loyal customers. They’re least likely to churn, and most likely to speak well about your brand to others.

There are many ways you can use this to your advantage:

  • See if they’re willing to leave reviews on GetApp, G2Crowd, Capterra, or similar.
  • Ask them for a testimonial or case study that you can put on your website.
  • Point them to a referral program if you have one.

And, most importantly, express your gratitude loud and clear.

Passives (7-8)

Passives are having an “okay” experience with your product. They aren’t about to churn, but they aren’t loyal, either. Promotion-wise, they aren’t likely to speak about your brand to other people at all.

Figure out how you can turn them into promoters instead of passives. Read why they chose a passive score, and see if there are any quick wins to be had.

If they didn’t give an explanation, reach out and ask what you could do to provide them with a stellar experience.

Detractors (1-6)

Detractors are the most urgent customers to deal with. They’re most likely to churn and say negative things about your brand.

Figure out how you can turn their negative experience into a positive one by reaching out. Why did they choose that score, and what can you do to fix it?

Ratings (in-app)

In-app ratings are another quick easy way to ask for feedback.

In-app ratings to gather customer feedback

You can trigger a rating action at any time, or after the user completes a specific action. Like NPS, you should always ask for an extra comment explaining the rating.

Sales objections

This is what a prospect tells you when they decide not to buy your product or service. If one customer has a sales objection, it’s likely that others will have the same one.

That’s why it’s important to ask, “Why not?”

Here are some typical objections you might hear:

  • Pricing: “It’s too expensive. We’re going with X instead.”
  • Product: “It’s missing a critical feature or integration. We’re going with X instead.”
  • Demand: “We don’t need it right now, we’re going to hold off.”

“Dealbreakers” are very similar to sales objections. This is when a lead tells you they want to buy, but need feature X for it.

Hearing a lot of the same sales objections or dealbreakers? You might want to consider building the feature or making the change.

These are all valid reasons for no sale. And, not every objection needs addressing. But, you should always track these objections and keep a list of them. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns, and easy ways to stop losing customers.

Churn reasons

This is what a customer tells you when they’ve decided to stop using your product. It’s like sales objections—the only difference is they’re already your customer.

Here are some common reasons that customers churn:

  • Engagement: “We aren’t using it.”‘
  • Shutting Down: “Our company ran out of money. We’re shutting down.”
  • Competition: “We’re going to use X instead.”

It’s important that you find out why a customer decided to cancel. Don’t let them leave without telling you why.

At Canny, we have people message us on Intercom to cancel their subscription. This way, we get to have a (brief) conversation with everyone who cancels.

Gathering customer feedback during cancellation

As long as we cancel their subscription immediately, they’re generally happy to elaborate. It’s also a nice way to end the customer relationship.

Collecting this type of feedback eliminates guesswork. You don’t have to wonder why a customer decided to stop using your product.

Keep track of reasons why people churn, and its consequences to your bottom line in a spreadsheet. Soon, you’ll start noticing common reasons for cancelling, and eliminate them.

Customer surveys

Customer surveys are generally sent via email to existing customers. It’s a regular feedback request (usually done once or twice a year, depending on the company).

Surveying customers is one of the more obvious ways of collecting feedback. The purpose of a survey is to ask questions about the customers’ satisfaction.

The downside? It’s a bigger ask. Surveys are more labor-heavy for customers than other feedback types. Especially if you compare them to something like an NPS survey, which takes a few seconds.

This means that need to format the surveys carefully:

  • Ask the right questions for constructive answers
  • Appreciate the effort
  • Always respond with an option to talk further

As for formatting customer surveys, start with this SurveyMonkey article. It covers which customer survey questions are the most (and least) productive.

canny-backstage

Come backstage, where we share an honest look into building Canny. You’ll be the first to know when we post new content.

Avatar

Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

All Posts

Onboarding feedback

Onboarding is one of the most crucial stages of your customers’ lifecycle.

It’s their first impression with you. They will definitely have questions, as well as valuable feedback.

During onboarding, make sure your customers:

  • Are supported throughout the process (ask them if they need help before they have to reach out)
  • Have the option to easily give initial feedback
Customer feedback during onboarding

Send regular (but not too regular) messages during the trial/onboarding stage:

  • A getting started guide
  • Not a lot of activity—why?
  • Didn’t set up—why?
  • Not extending trial or becoming a customer after onboarding—why?

Feedback during onboarding is valuable because it’s very raw. The customers who are just getting to know your product have no bias.

Record all valuable feedback from onboarding customers, and use it to make the experience smoother.

Feedback after a support interaction

Some companies choose to add the option to rate a support interaction after it happens.

Asking for feedback after customer support
Source: Help Scout

This feedback is low-effort for your customer, but it still gives you an idea about how you’re doing.

This feedback is more related to your support interactions than your customers’ experience with the product. But, it’ll still give you valuable insight into how you can improve.

Once you have enough data, you can start calculating your customer satisfaction score.

Takeaway: Collecting many different types of customer feedback is valuable

Many companies treat customer service and feedback like a cost. Cost is generally something you should try and minimize.

Don’t be one of those companies.

Feedback is an opportunity and a gift. It’ll help you provide value and improve your business from every angle.

Your customer is taking time out of their busy day to tell you how you’re doing, and how you can do better. You should appreciate and encourage it, not disregard it.

We’ve gone into more detail on how to get feedback, even if you’re an early-stage business and don’t yet have a super-engaged user base. And, if you’re looking for a way to keep track of multiple types of feedback from different sources, you can try Canny free for 14 days.

Which types of customer feedback have been most valuable for your business? Leave us a comment and let us know, or connect with us on Twitter.

Avatar

Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

All Posts

Canny is a user feedback tool. We help software companies track feedback to build better products.

Leave a comment

avatar
wpDiscuz
© Canny 2020
Privacy · Terms · Security
canny-backstage

Come backstage, where we share an honest look into building Canny. You’ll be the first to know when we post new content.

Avatar

Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

All Posts