How to collect and manage customer feedback to improve your SaaS product
Last updated 18th December 2020
This article assumes that you have already launched, or are about to launch, your SaaS product. There are a ton of resources out there for how to build an audience and validate ideas before writing code. This article is not one of them. Instead, this article will dive into the details of how to go about gathering feedback to help you improve your Saas product and reach the point of product-market fit - essentially, in the words of YCombinator when you begin to make something people want.
Why is customer feedback important to building great products?
One of the best ways to ensure that you are continually improving your product and trending towards product-market fit is to listen to your users and customers. They have already signed-up and are (hopefully) using your minimum viable product (MVP). This means they had a job in mind that they wanted to hire your SaaS product to solve. So it is therefore time to extract as much honest feedback from them as you can.
At the beginning, you should do as Paul Graham suggests and “do things that don’t scale” . This means manually reaching out to every single person who sign-ups and trials your Saas product. Find out more about their businesses and what they are trying to solve with your product.
Collecting qualitative feedback from your customers can be an important aspect in understanding the story that data analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Amplitude are trying to tell you.
During email or video chats with them, make sure you note down all of their comments and insights. The chances are there will be a bunch of product feedback implicitly in their comments.
What questions should I ask when collecting customer feedback?
If you are unsure of how to approach these calls with your customers and how to ask for feedback, we recommend the following two resources:
- Eric Migicovsky's (YCombinator) talk about How to talk to users
- The Mom Test by YC Alum Rob Fitzpatrick
This is also the first point at which you will begin to need to get organized with how you are structuring feedback. You should begin to collect all feedback in a single repository, along with which user provided it. It is important to attribute feedback to specific users and companies so that you can later segment feedback to target the personas that are driving revenue growth. You can either dump these insights into a spreadsheet or employ the services of a dedicated tool (hint: we’re biased and recommend you try hiring Noora for this purpose).
What are the channels where customers will provide feedback?
During the course of building a SaaS product and company you will receive both direct and indirect feedback.
- Direct feedback is when a user will reach out to you and ask specifically with customer feedback calling for changes or improvements to the product. These can either be large feature requests or minor issues that are impacting their ability to get the most from your product.
- Indirect feedback is when the user will provide customer feedback during the course of another interaction - either via email, support tickets in Intercom or HelpScout or during a demo or onboarding call.
Experience tells us that whilst direct feedback is by its very nature always captured and reaches the product management team, usually indirect feedback falls in the hands of a customer service team or sales team and will either stop there or be sent on Slack and eventually get lost in the general noise of building a product and running a company. This is where a lot of quality feedback can be lost from the customer feedback loop.
This is why it is essential to put in place a process where all of the indirect customer feedback is captured in your feedback repository. If you fail to capture every piece of feedback you will struggle to identify trends and patterns in your customer interactions.
What are the best ways to manage customer feedback?
You should use a product feedback management tool that supports collecting both the customer feedback methods we've method so far.
Direct feedback channel #1 - Customer feedback and feature voting portal
To capture direct feedback, you should set-up a customer feedback portal that allows your community of users to post their feedback publicly. Customer feedback portals such as Noora provide a simple feedback form that the user can fill in. This feedback can be related to product issues or feature requests. By creating this customer feedback channel you can then have a direct conversation with your most committed users. By engaging with the users who are providing this type of feedback, you will be able to save valuable time by diving into the specific use cases that the customer is trying to solve.
Gather feature requests and feedback from a feature voting portal
Direct feedback channel #2 - Public roadmap
In order to gather feedback on backlog items that you have already got planned for your product roadmap, the tool you choose should also support you publishing a public roadmap. This should show at a glance the features that you've recently shipped, as well as the ones that are upcoming. These can either be ideas you add yourself or ones that your customers have provided and that you have promoted to the roadmap. Noora also makes it simple to buid customer loyalty by automatically sending a follow up email when you update the status on one of their ideas.
Sharing your product roadmap is a breeze with Noora
Direct feedback channel #3 - Customer Feedback Surveys
You should also consider directly asking your customers via feedback surveys for their feedback. Noora lets you send via email or in-app/on-site (recommended because of the improved response rate) either Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys or Product-Market Fit surveys. The pop up will also capture valuable feedback from the open ended questions around how you can improve your product.
Product-Market fit surveys are included with Noora
Indirect feedback channels - Insights
As we've already covered, a lot of meaningful feedback will originate indirectly from your customer interactions (for example as email feedback). A tool such as Noora provides you with a free Google Chrome browser extension that allows you to easily highlight text from your emails, support tickets, Slack and social channels and store it as an "insight" against the contact that has provided it.
Once you are able to spot a trend in the insights data that you are collecting, Noora enables you to tag these insights to any product ideas that might end up being promoted to your product roadmap.
Your indirect feedback collection process should also include capturing positive feedback. Noora's Slack integration means that as you add any positive feedback from emails or customer interviews, it will be broadcast to the rest of your team. A great way to boost morale!
This article has covered how the two channels of feedback - direct and indirect - differ from one another, as well as how to set-up the right tools to allow you to manage and organize the feedback from both channels. If you are ready to improve your customer experience and customer satisfaction and gain even more happy customers, now might be a good time to sign-up for a free 14 day trial of Noora.