5 mistakes that we all make when collecting feedback

Original author: Des Traynor
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It’s rare that it makes sense to receive feedback from all consumers, and there is never any reason to receive it immediately.

At the beginning of a new project, or especially when you have mastered new products, there is a desire to interview all your consumers to find out the state of things. This is most often the wrong way. In fact, there are five common mistakes that are made over and over again. Intercom makes receiving information from the consumer an extremely simple matter, and as a result, it is easy to arm yourself with feedback forms. Here we give five simple ways to manage consumer information:


When a survey is conducted of all consumers, the specifics are not taken into account at all. You throw in one heap both those who found out about you yesterday and regular customers. Those who use your products constantly, and those who register only to find out the prices. Those who use only one function of your products with those who use them all. This is a failure.

Solution: There is a way to collect better feedback. Here are a few examples:

- If you want to increase the influx of new customers, be interested in the opinions of only those who have recently become them.
- If you want to improve a property, be interested in the opinions of only those who use it.
- If you want to understand why people do not use any function, be interested in the opinions of those who do not use it.
- If you want to find an area of ​​interest, be interested in the opinion of only active users who use all the functions of your products.


The standard approach to obtaining information from the consumer is that it is requested when necessary. But this means that when you realize that you need it, you will have to sit back and wait a week until it reaches you. In order to compensate for this, you create a wide network, ask dozens of questions and wait. If you are completely naive, you process each response received immediately after receipt, rather than waiting and conducting a comprehensive analysis of the entire amount of information. In this case, it is a double-edged sword: firstly, you will never have information from the consumer when you need it, and secondly, you will only know about problems when you ask about them. Thus, you will not see a gradual deterioration in the attitude towards your product.

Solution: Regularly interview consumers. The simplest, but no less effective way of doing this is to interrogate users on the 30th, 60th, 120th, 365th day, etc. For example, if you have a calendar tool, you can ask the opinions of users for the first, twentieth and fiftieth times of using your product. As the user continues to use your product, feedback grows stronger. Feedback from the first use shows that the incomprehensible in your product, the twentieth shows disappointment, and the fiftieth indicates limitations.


With regard to paragraph 1, it is easy to accept that all requests are equivalent, regardless of the state of the account. Roughly speaking, this is true within certain thresholds (for example, from $ 50 to $ 500), however, there is a noticeable difference between users who pay for your product and users who use it for free. Free users who have been with you for a long time are only able to share thoughts on how to improve the free segment of your product, which rarely coincides with the interests of the business. Usually a free segment exists in order to attract a buyer and try to sell him a more expensive product. You will not constantly listen to hypothetical feedback: “I will buy a paid account if ...”, “I will buy a paid account when ...”. This behavior is of little use, you need to take information from there,


- To improve the product only for paid users, be interested in the opinion of only paid users.
- To find out what makes people switch from free to paid accounts, take an interest in the opinions of customers who switched.
- If you suddenly want to improve a free product, be interested in the opinions of only free users. I think they will want more features for free.


It is often said that many individual cases are not data yet, but this does not mean that disparate information is useless. Many individual cases are a hypothesis or a chronicle. This is something that is easy to verify. So, if five users write to you one day and ask you to simplify the form of events on the calendar, you will not assume that these five users are all users and you will not urgently launch a project to simplify the form. To begin with, you should try to check whether these five users represent the interests of all. You turn to calendar users and see what happens.

Solution: Look at each set of information from users as a hypothesis, and check it before execution. And as soon as you make sure that the problem really exists, the next step should not be “creating the necessary solution”, but the need to go even deeper. And that brings us to the last point.


To paraphrase Confucius when a user points to the moon, a naive production manager examines a finger. The parable of faster horses is often used to justify that the client does not need to be listened to, but this is a big mistake. If the buyer says that he needs a faster horse, he actually says that speed is a key parameter of transport. So all you have to do is figure out how to give them what they want. In the previous example, five of our girlfriend's clients complained about a new, too complex form of event. She could spend a week writing normal language input, or finalizing the UX of that form, but it turned out that none of this would help. When she asked the users of the calendar for an opinion, she quickly found out that the problem was not in the complexity of the form, but in how often to use it. The situation was saved, in fact, by the use of recurring events and the facilitation of cloning events.

Solution: Be careful, user requests are an explosive mixture of their design skills, knowledge of your product, and their understanding of the current problem. They do not know anything about your vision of the product, about what functions you are currently developing, and what is generally technologically possible. Therefore, it is extremely important to soar to a level or two above the user's point of view, to where your goals and interests are visible, as well as advantages for all your users.

However, all of the above makes no sense if the request to screw one or another function falls into the bullseye. This request fits perfectly into the picture of the world as you see it. In such a situation, you can skip the above steps, namely checking, abstracting and collecting statistics, and trust your instinct. Your intuition gives you a great opportunity to cut the corner, as if you were a real user of the product, and constantly keep your finger on the pulse of your clientele.

And in any incomprehensible situation, be interested in the opinions of consumers - this makes you smarter.

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