The best way to collect user feedback

· 4 min read
The best way to collect user feedback

Generic feedback formThis feedback form should look familiar. Most apps and websites have one.

It’s actually a very costly way to collect feedback: it creates a ton of urgent, manual work.

What should you do instead? Let your users vote on feedback.

This switch will save you time and money, help you make better product decisions, and your users will love it.

How can a little form be so costly?

The problem isn’t the form itself — it’s what happens after the form is filled out. It creates a mountain of requests. Full-time jobs are made just to process these requests, keep track of what was said, and respond in a timely manner.

At best, a spreadsheet is maintained to keep track of how many people ask for specific features. At worst, one person is responsible for remembering “a lot of people have mentioned this bug recently.”

Either way, valuable information gets lost. Not to mention the cost! Headcount is expensive and suboptimal product decisions hurt growth.

Canned responses are demoralizing

Responding to every piece of feedback isn’t feasible. There’s too much. Companies optimize this process by sending canned responses.

This message is clearly automated. The user’s left wondering “Did anybody read my feedback? Are they going to build my feature?” Who knows. 😕

How demoralizing. Why would they ever want to give feedback again?

If people don’t feel like you care about what they have to say, they’ll stop caring about you. This hurts the strength of your brand, which can have devastating impact on growth.

Live chat has the same problem

Don’t get me wrong — live chat is a great, lightweight way to communicate with your users. It‘s just a costly medium to use for feedback.

Live chat is essentially the same flow as the feedback form. It still generates tons of urgent, manual work for your support team.

Consider how people typically use live chat — with their friends. They’re used to getting a personal, timely response. With canned responses and multi-hour delays, you’re only setting them up for disappointment.

Let users vote on feedback instead

Let’s say you let your users vote on which new features your team should build. Users can vote with the click of a button, so collecting this data requires zero effort.


If you associate each vote with a user id, you know exactly who is voting. In other words, you know exactly which users want which features.

Remember that spreadsheet? The one that keeps track of which users want which features? The one that most support/product teams create and maintain manually? We now have more complete data, but with a tiny fraction of the effort.

Keep users in the loop

Not only does letting users vote eliminate tons of support work, it also leaves you with something very manageable. Responding to just the top 5% of requests addresses 50% of votes.

This makes it feasible to write detailed responses. By doing so, users will know you’re listening. They’ll love being involved in your product development process. They’ll specifically mention that you’re great at responding to feedback — in 5 star app reviews, and when they tell their friends about your product.

Great customer service sets you apart from your competition and boosts word-of-mouth growth.

Dive into the data

Now that you’ve got a beautiful pile of organized data, you can easily answer questions like:

  • What are my top 5 feature requests?
  • Which features does our customer, Nike, care about?
  • Which customers want feature “Sync across all my devices”?

You can even take it a step further. Your CRM knows all sorts of stuff about your users. It’s not a huge leap to plug into that to do some “feedback segmentation”. This would mean only seeing votes from:

  • Enterprise customers
  • Churned users
  • Qualified leads

This filtering is especially helpful when your team is focused on a specific goal like “reduce churn” or “drive enterprise sales”.

What are you waiting for?

Most companies do feedback wrong. It creates unnecessary work for them and demoralizes their users.

But there’s a simple solution. By letting your users vote on feedback, you get more complete data for a tiny fraction of the effort. And your users will love you for it.

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Andrew Rasmussen

Hi, I'm a co-founder of Canny. Before that, I was a software engineer at Facebook. I love JavaScript, rock climbing, nerding out about the future, and SaaS.

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Andrew Rasmussen

Hi, I'm a co-founder of Canny. Before that, I was a software engineer at Facebook. I love JavaScript, rock climbing, nerding out about the future, and SaaS.

All Posts · Twitter

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

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