Editor’s note: The following is a guest post. If you’re interested in writing a piece for us, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer feedback is all around us. If you’re a customer facing company you get ranted at on Twitter, receive direct emails from all kinds of customers, App Store reviews, and also through your immediate friends if they use your products. Even though there are loads of feedback around you, it is hard to understand what the users really want and make the effort of your developer team count.
The first step to actually understand how your users feel, is to spend 10 minutes everyday looking at raw feedback everyday. There are multiple ways to do this…
App store/Play store reports: The iOS and Android app stores have built in powerful tools to help you understand the user reviews. Setup a daily report from the respective app store and browse through some of the reviews you get. Here’s a snapshot of the highlights section on the play store:
Twitter: Although most twitter reviews are rants, it remains an important channel since you get to see what influencers are saying about your product. How influencers are grading your product on social media has a deep impact on perception of your product. You can do a quick search with the keyword of your product and read what people are saying, do this twice every week.
Looking at raw feedback everyday enables you to understand what are the immediate pain points for your users. Remember, if a user is writing a review for your product on the App store or Twitter – they are either supremely happy or deeply disappointed. People in the middle don’t write reviews. So keep these channels a priority always and look at them everyday.
You might also be interested in: Customer Feedback Loops: The Tools You Need
While raw feedback keeps you on your toes everyday, it is not very actionable (unless there are obvious mistakes). You need to get deeper into the raw feedback to differentiate the “needs” from the “wants”. You need to answer questions like, ‘is service a problem or is our customer support not good?‘ Is the user using the product as it is meant to be? To do this, look for consistent themes across the raw feedback you’ve received.
There are multiple ways to identify themes:
- Google play store has the ability to identify themes from your play store reviews.
- AI based tools are coming up which read your user feedback and generate insights.
Once you have identified broad themes, plot them against these two vectors
- How frequently is the problem showing up?
- How painful is it for your users?
You should be able to fill this matrix with your themes.
The purpose of this matrix is to help you prioritize which problems should you solve first:
- The problem themes in the top-right quadrant (1) are the most critical ones so they should get top priority
- The themes which appear in the top-left & the bottom-right quadrants are both next in line. You need to make a call to choose between depending on what you feel is important.
- The bottom-left quadrant should never be touched.
Over time as you practice this regularly, themes will move quadrants and new themes will start showing. So you will always be on top of what your users are experiencing.
Identifying and prioritizing the problem themes is only half the problem. Now you need to really nail the problem. While implementation will vary for each problem, here are a few fundamentals when you get into implementing user feedback:
- Talk to your users. Most of the time people will be talking about symptoms and not the real problem. Never take their word for it. Get on a call with the people who reported the problem and try to look beyond the obvious. Ask them questions about why they think it’s a problem. Keep asking the “why” question till you get to the bottom of the issue. It is imperative that you understand the underlying problem before you start solving it or you will end up just transferring the problem under a different theme.
- Get a first version out fast. While you would want to have a perfect implementation of the solution, it is rarely helpful. Don’t wait for the ideal answer to solve an issue. Get the cheapest and fastest version out for problems in quadrant one. Remember solving the user dissatisfaction today is more important than getting the perfect answer. Once you’ve put out the first answer, look how users are responding to it. Your user’s response will automatically tell you what to do next.
- Iterate fast. Once you have a got a version out, go back to the quadrant again and see whether your implementation has shifted the quadrant. This way you’re always solving the most important problems for you users.
Sometimes problems may take long periods to move quadrants since they’re fundamentals which can’t be impacted immediately. In those cases, you will need to look deeper and see if you’re headed in the right direction. There will be early indicators which can tell you about how your solution is working.
The above framework applies to most user feedback. However, you should modify this to suit your product and company.
Meet The Author
Udit Gupta is the ex Head of Product at Zomato – he oversaw the food delivery product. It involved acquiring new customers through non-traditional channels, launching new product lines and improving the overall customer retention of the product. He is now building his own startup backed by Y Combinator.