Once user feedback starts rolling in on a newly-released app or feature, you’ll want to use it to start optimizing your solutions, and fast. Before you can do that, you’ll have to learn to collect, filter, and identify the most valuable feedback, so that you’re working with the best possible material. Check out these tips to get the most out of your user feedback:
Look for specifics.
Generic feedback from users doesn’t help you create better solutions, whether the feedback is constructive or positive.
Broad constructive statements from users like, “This is difficult to use,” don’t tell you what the actual problem is that you need to solve, while general positive reviews like, “It works great,” don’t tell you what the app is doing well, so that you can learn from your successes.
Without accurate data on both what’s succeeding and what could be improved in your app, there’s no guarantee that future iterations will adequately meet user needs.
...but don’t abandon generic feedback altogether.
Even when feedback isn’t as specific as you want it to be, it can be a stepping stone to discovering areas of opportunity. Instead of casting broad statements aside, drill down deeper: ask users specifically why they feel an app does or doesn’t meet their needs.
From there, you’ll uncover much more valuable insights, you might even find that a problem is not because of an app, but because of a process. If you still end up with vague responses, help users articulate their needs with questions like these:
- What is your process for getting work done?
- What steps in that process are absolutely necessary? Are there steps that could be added or taken away?
- How does this app help you achieve your goals? In what ways does it make you more or less productive?
Tips from Intuit's story:
Group Product Manager,
Intuit, the force behind household names like Mint, TurboTax, and QuickBooks knew that they had a problem with their sales software. Salespeople lamented that the three tools they used didn’t actually help them sell, and Intuit struggled to get them to use the tools at all. After digging deeper into why users felt unproductive and didn’t use the apps, the problems became clear: a disparate workflow, with data siloed in three different places, and time wasted waiting for data to be transferred between systems.The average sales cycle with a new customer took about 20 minutes and 50 clicks. After Intuit understood why its salespeople were struggling with the software, the company was able to solve the problem. Read more about how Intuit unified their user interface here.
Check the feedback source.
Sometimes, complaints from users arise when a feature or app is being used in ways outside of what was intended. You might have an app, for example, initially designed for one team or department, that’s been slightly modified for another team’s use. But if the other team’s needs are drastically different, you might see more negative feedback and feature requests from that team. That’s when you’ll want to start asking questions like:
- Does this team need its own app? Would that be feasible?
- If a new app isn’t feasible, in what other ways might we customize the user experience (UX)?
- What kind of productivity gains might we see with a made-to-order UX?
AEI creates multiple custom user interfaces (UIs):
AEI discovered the power of customized UX after creating new UIs for users in ten different departments, who were previously all using the same software, with the same functionality, even though users needed to see vastly different information.
For example, each constituent record has hundreds of fields, but using the standard interface forced users to scroll through long lists of information to view details relevant to their jobs. The result after AEI rolled out custom UIs? “Tears of joy.” Learn how AEI customized their UIs here.
Focus on trends, not outliers.
Like with most data sets, the most reliable information is found in the patterns, not in isolated incidents. If just one or a few users report an issue (depending on the number of users and the frequency of the issue), it might not indicate a problem with an app, but may be attributed to other unrelated factors, like planned outages or user error.
Additionally, a low number of reports on an issue can also indicate that while it is an issue, it might not be as urgent as those that are trending. You’ll want to evaluate this based on your individual business, of course, but this can be a guiding principle.
NAIS find several clients need new feature:
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a nonprofit that provides resources for school and board leaders, discovered a trend among multiple clients when using the software NAIS provided: clients needed a way view more financial aid applicants on a single page.With NAIS’s software, their clients could only load 25-50 applicants at a time.
There was a button that allowed them to view more, but it was so confusing that NAIS had to provide additional training just to use the program.
Additionally, with single-pick filters, clients couldn’t view more than one type of applicant at a time, for example, there wasn’t an option to see 5th and 6th grade applicants at once. After updating the applicant tabs and introducing multi-pick filters, NAIS was able to give clients a better user experience. Watch the video here.
Ditch your ego to get constructive feedback.
Though we might not voice it at work, we know it’s true: some people just like to complain.
You know those comments, the snarky ones that don’t actually help you make your service better, made by users who just can’t be satisfied with anything they use. Should they be ignored completely? Not so fast. Just like with generic feedback, there’s an opportunity here to get valuable information if we can set aside our egos.
Yes, a user who provides a snarky review could be a person who’s impossible to please, but they could also just be frustrated. By digging deeper, you might find what’s causing the frustration, and prevent further negative comments.
Medical claims processor finds users frustrated due to complex system
In many companies, processing health care claims can be a task rife with frustration. And it was definitely true for this mid-sized medical claims service provider.
When the company tasked OpenGate Consulting with uncovering what caused their claim processors so much frustration, OpenGate discovered that data-entry personnel spent more time manually entering pages of procedure codes than reviewing customer medical claims.
Specifically, the estimated average time for handling a single claim was 15 minutes. Entering a claim could take up to eight hours. The company’s process was so complicated and error-prone that it required multiple reviews to ensure accuracy. No wonder users were frustrated!
Ask bigger questions.
Feedback is worthless if you can’t use it to improve your processes, your tools, and ultimately, your business. To get the most out of what your users say, be prepared to ask for details and think about issues on a larger scale.