Planning a custom software development project is half the work. Before you start, answer the following questions: “What does the target audience expect to see?”, “Do consumers want to work with my app?” How do you find the answers? Collect user feedback, so that you can use it to plan improvements and enhance your software.
The importance of customer feedback for a business
Brands see reviews on mobile and web apps as a social proof tool. They confirm that a product really solves customer problems and clients highly value its quality.
This is an effective persuasion tactic, as 95% of people read online reviews before buying something. 58% of customers will pay more for products with positive reviews. But persuasion isn’t the only use of product user feedback in business.
At least, entrepreneurs can use the power of customer feedback to:
- See in which direction they should develop their software solutions
Many reviews tell how to develop a product and detect lacking functionality and software components that need optimization. A business owner can thus understand if there are problems with an app and solve them promptly.
An example of this is teamwork aimed at onboarding clients of the Groove cloud platform. The firm saw many users leaving after being introduced to the free version.
To figure out what was wrong, marketers added the question “Why did you subscribe to Groove?” to the welcome email. Responses from active subscribers helped them learn how to redesign the onboarding process to reduce customer churn. By addressing the issues of interaction with the software, the team got positive results.
- Improve the quality of service
The target audience’s attitude to a software product determines CX and the success of a business. If people understand how to work with an app and make it solve problems, they stay with a brand.
That’s why it’s important to survey consumers to find out at what stage of the interaction there are inconsistencies. You should know:
— whether your marketing materials are relevant;
— if sales run properly;
— whether the onboarding mechanism is correct;
— if your software is of high quality (in terms of UX/UI design, performance, and security);
— how quickly and professionally the support service works, and so on.
By working with feedback, a business will understand what CX areas should be improved to increase engagement and sales.
- Make customers feel appreciated
When users share feedback and see that a business is improving a product subsequently, they feel appreciated. They keep on leaving comments to influence changes in the software.
An example of customer engagement is Mozilla’s 2018 Firefox rebranding. The company’s UX/UI specialists offered two design choices for discussion. By voting, people chose the one they liked more and helped the business decide on a prototype.
When it is necessary to collect user feedback
It is essential to “test the ground” before starting a custom software development project. But what should you do if a product has already been launched or has stayed on the market for a long time? When do you collect user feedback?
You should carry out this activity throughout the software development cycle and after you have released a product to the market:
— At the stage of testing an idea
Before starting development, business owners should ask users how they plan to exploit their software solution and what features they need. This information will:
- orient a business on how to create an app so that it meets the actual needs of the target audience;
- allow owners to prioritize features properly and not overpay for the development and release of irrelevant functions;
- help avoid mistakes in advance. Their correction at the final project stage would cost enormous sums of money.
— In the process of software development
As a rule, outsourcing firms use Agile methodologies for development, creating products iteratively, and regularly releasing new versions of their software. This consistent work allows for collecting user feedback on a website during the SDLC period.
Consumers evaluate an app and take part in user acceptance testing. Developers take their feedback into account and create an improvement plan for subsequent iterations.
— During the support phase
When you have launched your product, this does not mean that you can happily forget about it. The audience is gradually expanding, and new trends and innovative platforms appear on the market.
A software owner should constantly develop their product. They should evaluate feedback from their growing audience, update functions, and introduce new technologies. Otherwise, the app will become obsolete, and the audience will leave it for more advanced analogues.
Six user feedback methods that help improve a software solution
To determine what users think of a software product, you need to ask them. Use one of the six different methods or a combination of them.
#1. Survey new and regular customers
How do you know if your target audience is satisfied with your software? Prepare a list of questions and send them out by email, place them as an online survey on the site, or ask them through the support service. You can also use special tools to communicate with the target audience – Surveymonkey, QuestionPro or AskNicely.
When creating a questionnaire, you should keep in mind several important issues:
— set a goal to understand what the information is being collected for;
— surveys should not be long, so as not to waste participants’ time;
— the simpler a survey, the more willingly a person will complete it. Do not ask too many open-ended questions;
— motivate respondents to answer by stressing the value of their opinion or offering them pleasant bonuses (a discount, a free month’s subscription, a promo code);
— send a survey to new participants after 3-4 months of their using the app, when they are familiar with its functions;
— survey regular customers once every six months or every month after the release of updates;
— apply a survey logic that triggers the next question depending on the answer (for example, if a person didn’t like the software, ask them “Why?”).
Segment the information you get into groups so that you can quickly process, prioritize, and consider it.
#2. Use information from live chats
Collecting user feedback through the site’s built-in chat rooms is convenient because users contact the support team themselves. They have urgent issues to solve through a consultation.
A conversation with an agent will show what a customer would like to change in the software, whether it is easy to interact with the program, and what functions they lack. For example, if most people cannot find separate pages on your site, optimize the navigation.
Such feedback guides a business on how to improve a product to reduce the number of inquiries on a particular problem.
#3. Organize a user interview
An interview is a conversation with a consumer, mainly comprising open-ended questions. Managers call customers by phone, text them via messengers, or arrange video meetings.
A consumer communicates directly with an interviewer, so they give more detailed answers than in a questionnaire. The manager can ask follow-up questions to get to the core of a problem, understand the client’s manner of thought, and look at the software through their eyes.
When preparing for an interview, as well as for a survey, respect the rule of brevity. A script should take no more than 10 minutes to read, and the conversation itself should last no more than 1.5 hours. Set the duration of the interview in advance and warn a user about recording their feedback.
You can use tools for the automatic conversion of speech into a transcript to process the received information more easily. Managers enter answers into tables and use filters to sort data. You only need to study answers by topic and decide what needs to be improved in your software.
Through interviews, a business gets a full understanding of what users care about and how to retain them.
#4. Schedule user acceptance testing
User acceptance testing is a more complex version of an interview. First, a participant interacts with an app under the supervision of organizers and then provides feedback on how comfortable they are with the product.
The organizer thinks through the testing purpose beforehand: for example, they need to evaluate a prototype, study the customer journey, or compare two variants of a landing page.
The initiator formulates the hypothesis they want to test: “To keep visitors from leaving the product catalogue, you need to add a filter by price. Customers don’t see the filter, can’t sort products by price, and leave the page. Is this true?”
Next, the manager draws up tasks for users to complete. The company invites respondents – representatives from different segments of the target audience. They work with the software, and their interaction with the platform is recorded. Comments given during the work with the app or afterwards are also recorded.
The organizers analyse the work of the participants, their comments and suggestions, and compare the hypothesis with the actual state of affairs. They conclude how to enhance the usability to improve the product.
#5. Study product user feedback from different sources
Asking for an opinion is more difficult than collecting existing reviews from various sources. Social networks, company directory sites, and thematic forums can be “habitats” for information.
Do not underestimate the importance of gathering feedback from different sources. On other sites, users usually behave more actively. People like to express their opinions on social networks and thematic rating platforms. There, you will also find constructive criticism from people who report problems.
To collect existing comments, use software that automatically tracks customer feedback: Trustpilot, Mention, Rannko, and similar programs.
#6. Compare feedback to analytics
If a company uses analytics tools that collect data from an app and present information about a business, it can also apply them to “communicate” with the target audience.
Feedback collected through interviews, surveys, and testing may have a small margin of error. People give more positive answers, trying to please the interviewers, or they forget to mention important details. Therefore, use analytics tools to observe how visitors behave on pages. Statistics will allow you to see:
— where users are coming from;
— which page people visit more often;
— under what conditions they abandon the cart;
— how many visitors view more than one page;
— whether they complete an action on a landing page.
These indicators show whether there are any difficulties with a software product and what needs to be improved.
What should you do after you have collected feedback?
For the collected information to be valuable and start working in favour of your product, conduct a user feedback analysis:
— divide the authors of feedback into separate groups and note their wishes and needs;
— determine what functionality should be added to your software;
— prioritize functions considering the analytics;
— add feedback to the product roadmap, so that the team of a software developers company you cooperate with understands why they need to implement a particular function;
— consider the wishes of your customers and inform them about the implemented changes.
Working with feedback is a valuable practice. By considering it, a company spends time and budget only on things that benefit customers and the business. It supports lean and smart software development.
Therefore, communicate with users, keep track of positive and negative reviews, and thank consumers for any feedback. After all, digital business is an area where constructive criticism helps companies develop and stay competitive for a long time.