What does it mean to “close the loop”?
If we’re talking electricity, it takes a closed loop to complete the circuit and light up the room. The same can be said for user feedback. If you’ve sent out in-app customer experience surveys, you’ve begun the feedback process. And that’s great—the feedback that comes from surveys will help you build a more agile, successful product. But getting answers is just one part of the equation. If you want that spark, you’re going to have to close the loop. And to close the loop, you’ll need to respond to your users, keep the conversation going, and reach the heart of their issues.
So let’s talk about how best to close that loop, build relationships with your users, and get a 360° view of your product.
Should you reply to every user feedback survey response?
Well, that depends on how many survey respondents you have. For some brands, this is quite feasible. For others, not so much. A product manager with hundreds of messages awaiting responses is going to be a busy, tired product manager.
But get this—regardless of your sample size, it’s still possible to make every user feel appreciated. If you’re using an in-app survey tool like Instabug, it’s easy to add a thank you message to the end of every survey. You can even customize the message depending on the type of survey response you receive; for example, you can write your own thank you sign-offs for each category of NPS responses you get. Promoters typically get a thank you note and an invitation to rate the app on the app store. Detractors usually see a thank you message accompanied by an apology and a request to get in touch and share their thoughts. Survey sign-offs are a great way to make your job easier right out of the gate.
When it comes to manual, unscripted replies, many companies have a designated threshold for which users require responses and which don’t. Yours could be, for example, people who gave you an NPS score of six or below. Or people who appear to be at high risk of churning. Or people who specifically ask a question or clearly have some kind of unresolved concern. If an issue surfaces that your customer support team usually addresses, you can forward it to the appropriate team member. Whatever you choose, do your best not to leave out people who seem like they’d appreciate your product more if they could speak with you one-on-one.
Try to respond to your at-risk customers as soon as possible. They may not be expecting a response, but if you manage to get back to them within 24 hours, their experience and survey answers will still be fresh in their minds.
Use a positive tone when responding to user feedback surveys
If your users are enthusiastic about your app, it’s easy to respond with a light, positive tone. It’s when they’re less thrilled that you need to measure your responses a little more carefully.
When writing back to someone who is unhappy or critical of your app, keep your tone polite and helpful. Shelve any defensive thoughts—now is the time to unearth the user’s perspective and figure out how you can address their concerns. View this as an opportunity to discover your app’s blind spots. By keeping in touch with your users, you’re continuously validating your product strategy throughout its lifetime as well as addressing what doesn’t work.
One more thing about gracefully accepting negative feedback; this is the best way to get it. It’s definitely better to hear about your app’s weak points in a private message rather than a public review. Not only will you have a chance to resolve the situation away from the public eye, but you have a strong opportunity to win over a detractor, address their concerns, and convert them into an enthusiastic promoter.
Ask the right questions when responding to user feedback surveys
Let’s talk about feature requests, because these actually tend to be common customer questions. Oftentimes when someone is disappointed with your app, it’s because the app isn’t accomplishing the specific goal they had in mind. Your users then come to you asking for a feature that doesn’t exist yet.
Before you tell them yes or no, start asking questions. Ask specifically what they want to accomplish with this feature. You might discover that they can accomplish their goals through another means and be able to suggest a workaround for them.
Even in cases where you can’t offer a suitable workaround, keep probing to find out why the user wants a specific feature. You might be able to think of a better way to solve their problem than the one they had suggested.
Follow-up questions aren’t just for negative feedback or feature requests. If someone says they love a feature, don’t stop there. Find out what made them love it, discover how it made their lives easier. You could unearth a hidden benefit that you haven’t been marketing but that people love anyway. Understanding user perspectives and motivations will help you get in touch with how they think so you can put yourself in their shoes when you develop and evaluate your product.
Re-examine your top-of-funnel messaging
Users should be asked what they’re trying to accomplish not just so you can identify potential solutions, but also so that you can uncover potential areas where miscommunication may be happening. Is there somewhere where users are being disappointed by false expectations or something being unclear in your marketing materials? This applies to your app copy, app store description, in-app popups, announcements, and marketing.
Knowing where your users’ expectations came from will help you pinpoint issues and refine your content. Make sure your marketing messaging aligns with what your users are getting. If you’re observing a disconnect, find out where people are getting inaccurate messaging and correct it, or update your selling points.
Build relationships with your users
Every conversation you continue with a survey respondent is a golden opportunity to create a fan. Writing back to them sends a loud and clear message that you’re personally interested in their experience and opinions. You also have a one-on-one chance to solve their problems, hear their concerns, and make them feel valued.
When you make personal connections with your users, it becomes natural for them to feel more personally and emotionally involved in your product development. Talk can turn an upset detractor or an apathetic passive into a cheerful promoter of your app. People also tend to be more responsive and forgiving when they see evidence that you’re paying attention to them.
Record and analyze your feedback
When you receive insightful feedback, take note. Tag and organize your feedback so you can see patterns in your data. Instabug allows you to tag individual users with custom attributes so you can recall information, segment, and target more easily.
Feedback is also important data that can be analyzed. One of the most common types of feedback you’ll get from surveys is feature requests. Feature requests can be plotted on an impact-effort matrix, which makes it easy to visualize which features should end up on your roadmap. You can get more details on impact-effort matrices, root cause analysis, and other qualitative analysis strategies from our User Feedback Manual. When you sit down and analyze your feedback, you’ll get closer to identifying your real challenges and priorities.
Don't forget to follow up
One of the most important steps of post-survey correspondence is actually solving the problem and closing the loop. If something isn’t your problem to solve, forward issues to the appropriate team member. Then get in touch and let the user know that they’ve been forwarded to a colleague. Tell them when they can expect a response; it’s always important to set and then adhere to expectations.
Something else you can do is come back to old chats occasionally. If something stands out to you or you discussed a feature in the pipeline, tag your conversation or log it in a spreadsheet. Keep track of your conversations, so you can come back to the user and let them know about new updates or solutions. They’ll be impressed you thought of them. Sometimes this can also bring back churned users or prompt passives to convert to promoters and leave you good reviews.
Getting in touch, asking questions, and following up are the three keys to excellent feedback experiences. Your users will appreciate the effort, and you’ll build a better app out of the benefits you receive.
- Best practices to gather user feedback
- The basics of user feedback surveys for mobile apps
- How to segment and target your surveys with Instabug