Developing software solutions or digital platforms takes painstaking work, long hours invested in planning, designing the architecture, product roadmaps, product management, customer journey map, and even market research – you know it well. When it is finally out there and people start using your digital product, it’s time to celebrate. Or is it? Truth be said, stress stretches a lot longer after the launch. It becomes about customer engagement, how users perceive and adopt your product or service, and how well it answers their needs because it all translates into subscriptions, contracts, or commissions from sales.
So how can you make sure your software or platform is customer success? By getting user feedback and analysing it. How do you do that with hundreds of feedback threads coming from at least three channels? Not reading them one by one – unless your team has that much time and focus to spend. The good news is that technology allows us to automate this process, by using customer feedback software.
What is a customer feedback tool?
Simply put, this type of feedback tool is none other than software that analyses customer satisfaction based on product feedback.
Such customer feedback software works with customer data from various feedback collection tools, mostly focused on qualitative input: satisfaction surveys, consumer reviews, social media mentions, emails, helpdesk tickets, etc.
Customers’ feedback can come in many ways. NPS scores are still popular, along with CSAT and CES (Customer Effort Score). However, these measurements tell you how much (likeliness to recommend, the effort to use, etc.), but not why or what. This means you can find out that 30% of your customers are rather unlikely to recommend your product or services. But can you understand why? What is the pain point? What do you need to do to improve your product?
This kind of customer insight comes from qualitative feedback, namely customer stories, the texts users write about their interaction with the product or service. Be it in a survey you
dropped them or via emails, they take the time to send messages in chatbots, online reviews, comments, or reporting tools – it is this kind of customer insight that is most valuable.
But to make sense of the myriad of texts your support and product teams get, you need feedback analytics software to sort out the pain points and the actual user experience.
The importance of collecting customer feedback
You may wonder why is it important to pay so much attention to collecting feedback from customers, instead of further developing your digital product the way you know best?
If you think that having a highly functional SaS or e-commerce platform is enough to offer top experiences for the user, you may want to think again. As a recent Adweek and Accenture research has revealed, only 8% of the customers say the brands they used have offered them superior experience, while 80% of the brands are convinced they actually have managed to dazzle their customers. The gap is hard to ignore.
Back in 2018, a survey by Oracle revealed that personalised service and enhanced customer engagement can lead to an increase of up to 30% in customer loyalty. Fast forward some years, having experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and the lock-down months, we saw the online interaction rocketing – from online shopping to management tools for remote work and the digitising of so many other services.
Research from Periscope by McKinsey shows how, in 2020, US e-commerce has undergone 10 years’ growth in only 3 months time. According to an analysis by Zendesk, 65% of customers would rather buy from a company that provides easy, fast online transactions. The same analysis shows that of 15 countries, in 14 of them over 40% of the consumers consider the customer experience more important than they did the previous year.
Given these trends, Accenture analysts conclude that companies should no longer talk about customer experience only, but take a “Business of Experience” approach. It means that not only the user-product interaction is important, but the entirety of emotions a business generates through all its interactions with its current and potential customers.
And what better way to shape those interactions than having understood what consumers feel about the company, service, or team? This is where sentiment analysis tools take the stage as a type of feedback analytics software, bringing light to what the users want. Besides a better understanding of what clients appreciate and what they don’t in their interactions with your digital product, such feedback tools help you prioritise feature development or improvement.
What is the best way to collect customer feedback?
It is hard to point out one way that works best for feedback collection and analysis. But, surely, you need both approaches: to obtain user feedback and to interpret it, to understand what customers feel so you can transform that input into an actionable plan to reach more customers and keep the existing ones.
First, you should figure out what you want to find out or measure through feedback data. Which step of the customer journey do you need to analyse? What aspect of the interaction? Is it the ease of using your app or platform? Is it the degree to which the user achieved its objectives? Is it friendliness? The design? Behavior analytics? The cost/value ratio? The probability to sign up/ upgrade/ come back? For all these questions, there are different customer feedback tools to obtain the answers.
What tools can be used to gather user feedback?
There is a wide range of user feedback tools that pay attention to the ”voice of customers”, collecting consumer insights directly or indirectly: surveys, email, contact forms, chatbots, website behaviour analytics, support platforms, reviews, etc.
The most common way to obtain feedback is to get consumers’ opinions about their experience with your software solutions or website. Bear in mind that consumers offer their opinions in two ways: when they are asked (in which case it is you who controls which aspects to investigate) and by their own initiative.
Pro-active feedback can occur in two circumstances:
1. either when the users had an extraordinary experience and felt the need to congratulate you;
2. or, in most cases, when they encounter a major discomfort. Then, the frustration is usually so high that it drives them to take the time to write about their complaints.
As satisfying as it appears in the first instance, it is the second one – the complaining – that is most useful to you. Sounds counterintuitive? Not at all; setting aside the possible unpleasant articulation, it is this kind of information that points out clearly what the user needs and expects. Even if they don’t manage to express it clearly, you can use sentiment analysis software to sort out and categorise the pain points.
Main ways to collect customer feedback
The customer feedback surveys have been with us since the beginnings of market research and they haven’t lost their relevance. Why? Because they provide you with control over what subjects to investigate, while to respondents they offer a structured and relatively comfortable way to express their opinion.
To work efficiently and get a high answer rate, surveys should have no more than 10 questions. There are plenty of survey types that help you get a large number of responses. If they don’t cover what you need to explore, you can always use customized surveys. Send them by email or use in-app surveys. Just make sure your research objectives are clear and the employment of surveys is well-targeted. For instance, it is best to use in-app questioners when the customer has just finished using a certain feature, as the experience is still fresh. E-mail long-form surveys work best with engaged customers, who are willing to take the time to write relevant answers.
Such scores, like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Scores are based on numeric ratings of the user experience and the probability of recommending the product to other people. They are still largely used and work well from a quantitative point of view. They can offer a fast overview of the general perception. However, they shouldn’t be used alone. These scores don’t help indicate what exactly didn’t satisfy the user and what its expectations are.
Chatbots are a fast, easy way of interaction between the user and your software or platform. They are an enhanced, interactive version of the Help page; and just like the Help section of a website or app, it is used when the consumer reaches an impasse.
The input collected by these chatbots is relevant because it is the first contact point where the user indicates what does not work well or what features it expects. But to make it a valuable resource, all those conversations need to be sorted out and conclusions organised by pain point categories. And there are tools that specialise in this kind of operation.
If you ask your friends how they chose their holiday accommodation or restaurant for their anniversary, the most probable answer will be “by review checking”. Reviews are very important for customers when deciding to sign up or buy. These are opinions willingly offered by other clients, who describe their personal experiences – thus, a trustworthy source.
For you, as a product owner or manager, they are equally important. Yes, reviews are subjective, some may have been written in the heat of the moment and don’t favour your brand. But they are honest and speak of specific, personal interactions. If you manage to “read” between the lines and through the emotions, you’ll get valuable indications of the users’ needs and expectations, along with the product features that you need to keep, drop or improve.
A ticketing system is a great way to discover bugs and feature improvement ideas. It is more function-oriented and you can expect users to offer input on specific features. From this point of view, it is a valuable feedback resource. However, it can get overwhelming if you deal with hundreds of users who send very specific tickets. You cannot possibly tackle all the details. For that, you need a tool to analyse and sort out the main complaints.
Website feedback widgets
These widgets help customers indicate a difficulty or suggestions upon the use of your app or website. Some even allow visual feedback; people can use screen recorder or screen captures and instantly report what doesn’t work or would like to be different. For your product developers, this kind of visual input is precious – it requires less effort to understand what the user wants.
Top 7 customer feedback tools you should try
Here we’ll list the tools we think will add value to your business by getting the most out of your consumers’ feedback, whether it is about collecting feedback or analysing it.
Not to brag, but it is the most accurate feedback analytics software that assesses customer happiness. It works with your existing feedback collection tools (reviews, email, ticketing, chat) and, powered by AI, it automatically tags product feedback by topic and sentiment. It provides, as key features, actionable insight such as data-driven roadmap prioritization and revenue analytics for customer pain points.
Feedier is an experience management solution used to “listen” to the Voice of Customers with the help of interactive, gamified forms, nps csat scores, and the automated analysis of user input.
InMoment is a VoC platform for customer experience optimization that has features for social media reviews, surveys, as well as employee engagement. It is cloud-based and combines direct feedback with indirect and inferred input.
Hubspot’s tool provides customer feedback surveys that are powered by their CRM. It allows you to build customized surveys and measure satisfaction scores.
SurveyMonkey stays years in a row as one of the best-known survey tools. It is best suited for focused inquiries, though, rather than measuring the overall satisfaction.
Trustpilot is a review platform that is free to use for consumers. Companies can use it to send review invitations to their clients, distribute reviews around their communication channels and get data reports from real-time insights.
Qualtrics is famous for experience management, acting on multiple levels: the capture of experience insights across the entire organisation (customer, product, employees), feedback processing, and automated workflow alerts.
What is the best feedback tool?
Again, hard to say. Of course, we are inclined to recommend our sentiment analysis software as the best way to get valuable insight from all the feedback threads your company receives. Automated processes powered by AI help you see clearly how users feel about your software or website, which are the pain points, and how to prioritise feature fixes.
Still, to name the best feedback tool it’s up to you, depending on what your company and product team needs. It involves considering the budget, the type of user interaction you have and seek, your previous experiences with other feedback tools, your business objectives, and your product roadmap.
If it were to make recommendations, we’d underline that:
1. You should choose the feedback collection tool that your users are more likely to embrace and that can provide the kind of answers that you seek.
2. Align your budget with the costs of the tools you want to use so that you get the best value for your money.
3. Make sure that the feedback analysis is a top priority; otherwise, you may end up with hundreds of customer messages, some satisfaction scores, and colourful graphics, but no real grasp of what you need to fix first or develop further.