Customer Feedback: What you need to know about collecting & using it in a SaaS

SaaS (software as a service) is very close to taking over the world. By the end of 2022, 99% of companies are expected to be using 1-2 software in their daily lives. That would bring more than 140$ billion from companies in search of new solutions, with a growth of 11% compared with 2021.

Which on the one hand is great news, on the other, competition is constant and increasing at a fast pace. For example, in 2020, there were already more than 8,000 SaaS just working with marketing.

Source: ChiefMartec

That’s why constant innovation and differentiation are essential for any product that wants to win in the market. One of the best ways to be constantly innovating is simply listening to your customers feedback.

That’s why in this post, we’re going to focus on teaching the different types of feedback and lessons you can get from your customers, how to organize them, and increase engagement with your users.

Types of feedback to collect in SaaS companies

Although every type of information, suggestion, or opinion from a customer can be classified as feedback, it has different goals and moments to capture.

For feedback to be useful it needs to be captured at the moment it comes from your customer. That’s the only way you can get the most value from the Product <=> Customer interaction. Therefore, the types will be connected to the moment when the information is collected.

Pre-Prototype

It’s the moment before creating any product. At this moment you are trying to understand more about your customer and their needs. Any feedback coming at this time will not be tied to a solution. It focuses on the problem that is happening with a potential customer.

Best way to collect this feedback: Although several companies can perform this role of market research, at the end of the day, the best option is to simply talk with that customer. Whether through a call or even visiting a place where you will find several people with that characteristic. You have access to pieces of information much more valuable than only a form or a contracted company could provide.

Prototype

At this stage, you are looking to create a new solution that will attack a new pain that your customers have reported or that during some conversations you noticed was important.

You need to have some kind of prototype to present. Either in low or high fidelity (something like an Adobe XD or Figma). This prototype will be the target of the interview.

Best way to collect this feedback: In both cases, the best way is to talk directly to your target users. The process should be very simple to introduce the prototype and ask open-ended questions so that you gather as much insight into the prototype. This type of interview can be done in person or even in a Zoom call.

Pre-launch

Whether in a pre-release or a beta release, this moment serves both to validate the product created, as well as to test whether the solution will withstand the use of its consumers.

This is a great time for you to engage with the community around your product, looking for power users or beta users to test and take advantage of the new feature.

An easy way to simplify this is through a feature request board. Simply search for which users indicated that improvement. They’ll be more open to testing the new feature and it also serves as a bonus for the feedback provided.

Best way to collect this feedback: The best way is to have a platform for your community, whether using Product Gears or even a slack, subreddit, or even a Facebook group. At this moment, you’ll be able to advertise and communicate with your base while collecting valuable information to improve your product.

After launch

By launching a new feature to production, you are trying to help fix a pain for your customer. However, until the usage is done, there is no way to be sure that what you are launching is 100% correct. Besides, you still don’t know if the quality and functionalities present are enough for your target user.

It is exactly these questions that you will focus on answering when collecting feedback at this time.

Best way to collect this feedback: At this point, you can either collect feedback on your feedback board. But it also collects it within your product, so you don’t need your user to leave the page to be able to provide you with more information.

Day to day

During the day to day, your customers will encounter several “issues” with your SaaS. Whether it’s a new pain that isn’t resolved by the current product, or a UX issue that wasn’t clear during the design process.

In both cases, they are constant improvements that will gradually evolve the product and make it even better than the competition.

How to collect this feedback: The best way is to create a community around your users. They want to be part of the construction and know that their voice is heard. So it’s best to use a platform for collecting feature ideas. Then link it with your communication with your user. (Your website or app, onboarding emails, transactional emails, etc.)

How to improve engagement in giving feedback

First of all, you need to understand that getting feedback is like getting a hell of a gift. Your users, especially if it is in B2B, are always busy. So whether filling out a form or even during an interview, they are deciding to stop investing their time in another activity to give you tips on how to improve.

This is why it is so hard to maintain constant engagement in any feedback-gathering process and why you should always be encouraging and thankful.

Here are some tips on how to keep communities providing feedback.

1. Make it as simple as possible to give some feedback

It’s common that in an attempt to make the company’s processes more professional, it also increases its bureaucracy. Even impacting the process of collecting feedback.

In some SaaS, the feedback should go to the Customer Success team in others in the Product team. Or worse, no one except for the sales team should have direct contact with its users. All of this makes it much more complicated for your customer to give a suggestion.

To solve that, teach your user to know where they can give feedback. Make it clear and easy to use.

2. Keep communication open

If your customer has spent their time to give you some feedback, give that time back to communicate with them.

Not every suggestion will be built. But it is still important to communicate if it will be made, if it is planned or if it is simply not the company’s focus.

Finally, if something has been built, announce it back. Tell them what was created or will be released. So your customers know that your SaaS is evolving in real-time.

3. Reward your users

If you know that giving feedback is a gift, then how about giving a gift back.

This is one of the best ways to encourage your power users to engage more and give more insight into what the problems are with your SaaS.

However we are not talking about money, giving money ends up making this process a “work” and gives the incentive to offer poor quality feedback in exchange for money.

But you can offer some tuition for free, a Gift Card or some swag from the company. In some cases even offer to be beta users on some very important functionality.

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