November 6, 2020

Listening to your users is essential for building a successful product. Here's how you can effectively collect and analyse user feedback

Harry Lucas @hlucas

Customer feedback is crucial to building a product customers love.

In this post, we will dive deeper into how you can effectively collect and act on feedback to ensure you aren't wasting your time and effort.

I'm currently building and going to start posting more of these 'how to' posts as I go along - if you like this one please let me know or if you'd like changes to future ones.

🤷 Why do this?

  • Listening to your users is essential to building a product that solves problems
  • Products that solve problems are easier to sell
  • Products that solve problems get to product market fit easier
  • Collecting feedback can help you understand where you're going wrong, especially when it comes to churn
  • It helps increase your conversion rate = lower CaC
  • It helps decrease your churn rate = Longer LTV

🙋 Whose doing this well?

  • Superhuman famously sent out product market fit surveys to find out what was working from their users - helping them get to PMF and scale to a wildly successful company
  • Wavve realised they were working on the wrong thing after listening to their users and pivoted and started making over $100k MRR.
  • Slack understands the importance of large scale qualitiative feedback to help decide on new features and lacking areas

⚡️ How do you do this?

Asking the right questions:

Firstly you need a way to collect your feedback - but asking the right questions is just as important.

  • Don't just ask what:

    • Asking what will lead you only find out what your users think you should do.
    • Henry Ford (famously) maybe said 'If I asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse'
    • Getting the what is still important because you can definitely learn from it but the most important is the why
    • This tells you the job to be done. What problem are they trying to actually solve.
    • Doesn't always have to be a what's missing - can also be what's working
  • Example What Questions:

    • How would you improve X?
    • If you could add one thing to X, what would it be?
    • What is missing from X that's stopping you from loving it?
    • How can we make X better for you?
    • What feature do you love most about X?
  • More importantly, the above must be followed up with a why question:

    • What would this help you achieve?
    • Why do you want this?
    • What problem does this solve for you that we currently don't solve?
    • Why are you trying to do that?
    • Why do you love that feature? What does it help you do?

Collecting the feedback:

  • Highest ROI:

    • Customer calls
    • Reach out to your existing users
    • Arrange a call with them
    • Might need to offer them a giftcard in exchange for their time (Amazon vouchers work well for this!)
      • Example Message:
      • 'Hey X, Just wanted to send you a quick email to ask for a favor. We are really trying to improve XYZ and make it the best possible Y out there. But in order to do that, we need some feedback from users like yourself to see what's working and what isn't. So we're asking for your help and if you'd have time for a quick 5 - 10 minute call (in exchange for an Amazon giftcard). This is a great way for you to get somef features your looking for in the product and to help shape its future direction'
  • More Automated - setup a typeform and sent it to your users:

    • Visit setup an account
    • Click 'New Typeform'
    • Select 'Start from scratch'
    • Give it a name, select feedback form and other for the dropdowns
    • Add your questions
      • Try and keep it short - I like to go with 1 positive and negative along with probing.
      • Add a welcome screen thanking / explaining
    • Hit publish
    • Send it to existing customers VIA your normal communication means (email, in app messaging etc.)


Analyzing Feedback

  • There are multiple ways to do this
  • I've created a very basic airtable that's a good starting point: View Here
  • Quite simple
    • Add each user's response on a new row
    • It will automatically group by the users email (just for clarity)
  • There is also a column for the users Segment
    • This is incredibly important part of the process
    • Whilst listening to everyone and everything is great for getting vauge ideas, focusing on your target segments early on is crucial
    • Why? You are building the product for them.
    • They are the ones who you are going to be selling to.
    • They are therefore the ones whose requests you should be considering with more weight
    • Other segments might have valid ideas, but they might also be coming in with different motives.
      • E.g. if you are building an accounting app for small businesses, but also have personal household users using it for their household finance, their suggestions are going to be more focused on what they want, which does'n't align with the segment whose problem you are trying to solve. E.g. they might want household budgets, but for small businesses this feature is useless.
    • Over time, once you feel like you have adequately served their needs, then you can start expanding the target segment (and start the process over again).
  • Enter the response text and the question they are answering
  • In the final column, you want to tag the response.
  • You're not necessarily looking to take what they say at face value.
  • Try and really understand what they are asking for.
    • To take the Henry Ford example again, when they say they are asking for a faster horse, what they really want is a faster means of transportation.
    • They only say horse because that is the context in which they know
    • It's up to you to come up with the optimal solution
    • For example here instead of tagging with 'faster horse' you might simply tag with 'faster'
    • This removes the solution from tag, and allows you to come up with that later.
    • Someone else might also have a response that's along the lines of 'I want to stop being so late' which again can be tagged with faster.
  • Afer time you will see the PIE chart on the right slowly start to fill up with the most common tags
  • But before you start diving in and building ideas from this you need to filter by your target segment
    • I can not reiterate this enough!
    • To do so, click the filters in the top menu, and add one with the field as
      'Segment' and 'Value' as your target segment
  • This will give you an indication of areas which are important to your target segment.


  • If this is a core feature of your product, and a tag is popular, then double down on this. This is what your users are loving, so make sure you keep it up.
  • If it's something you are lacking then then look into coming up with ideas around this
    • Talk to your users who suggested these ideas - try and have deeper conversations with them. Really understand the problem they are trying to solve and create ideas from that

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