Ways to Obtain User Feedback

Everyone reading this will know that obtaining feedback from users is a core part of a product manager’s job. So how does one go about getting that feedback. Manually talking to users is one option but that won’t scale. How many users is to possible to talk to and how do you eliminate selection bias while choosing them?

This post outlines some ways to get user feedback through digital ways.

1. Google Analytics: This one tool gives most of the problems associated with determining site level behaviour. It is possible to find out how many people visited a particular site, sources of traffic, etc.

2. Heatmap: This is one my favourite tools. If you have seen the use of the hot spot technology in cricket, heatmap is a similar. It gives a visual representation about which portion of a webpage attracted more attention from users (attention as defined by clicks made by the user).

3. Feedback Widget: This one is visible on most help/FAQ pages. A small widget collects feedback from users by asking them to give stars to users to indicate the effectiveness of the content on a webpage.

4. Suggestion Box: This is a simple ‘Give your feedback & Help improve the site’ kind of feedback box. If a user spends a lot of time on a website, then it makes sense to ask him directly what he feels about a website. A popup or modal window opens up and asks the user in a polite way if he wants to help improve the site.

5.  Vote Feature: This feedback collection mechanism works in some cases where a decision based on user preference is good to have. To help visualize this feature better, imagine the following situation. If Zomato were to launch their services in another city tomorrow, which one should they choose out of 3 possible options? The best way would be to ask the users. A small widget saying ‘Vote for the next city you want to see on Zomato.com’ will help make a better choice. In fact, Eric Ries talks about a lot of similar examples in his book – The Lean Startup.

6. Classic Contact Us/Help Icon: There are several perspectives on this method. Some argue that users don’t use Helpline Chat Windows or Contact Us features on website, as they perceive the associated promise with those features are not strong enough. But I’m of the opinion that this method’s success depends on the nature of the product. And in most cases it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have this feature and find ways to creatively integrate it into the product.

7.  Gamifiy: Although not a separate way by itself, gamifying or incentivizing users to share more information about themselves is a technique that is in vogue and increasingly in use.

When in doubt, ask the user!

Edit: Reading further on this topic, led me to this website – www.usertesting.com. This site crowdsources feedback. Although I’m not convinced about its accuracy, it might be helpful to some.

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