Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What can I do to get customers to contact me and give feedback on my application?

I sell a downloadable Windows desktop application, I also have a web application that is under development (so I'm primarily interested in solutions that are applicable to a desktop application but also want to know about web application solutions).

I want feedback from my users about my application, currently I get a tiny amount of feedback (and all feedback seems to come from the same small group of customers), what can I do to get more people to send me feedback?

What I already did:

  • I have a contact form on the web site, a link to that form is in the top navigation bar on every page on the site.

  • I have my e-mail address in the footer on the bottom of every page on the site.

  • I have a "Send Feedback" entry on the application's main menu that goes to the contact form.

  • I have a "Tell us what you think" button in the app's about box, my e-mail address is also on the about box.

  • I regularly post on my blog trying to encourage feedback (example: I'm finalizing the feature list for next version - if you have suggestions now would be a good time to send them to me)

  • I also have an uninstall survey when you uninstall the app

share|improve this question
    
"a tiny amount of feedback (and all feedback seems to come from the same small group of customers)" is expected. Of course it could be great if you could find a way to increase it. But you shouldn't think that you are doing something wrong and the right solution will give you tons of feedback; rather, this is what everybody gets, and you'd need a miracle to have a high feedback ratio. –  Rumi P. Feb 25 at 13:25

8 Answers 8

You can add incentives for feedbacks. Give them discounts on support.

Your best bet usually is to ask for a phone number. The best feedback you are going to get will always be through voice.

share|improve this answer

There is the possibility that the customers do want to provide feedback and are trying to, but when they click to send you some feedback the form is to daunting.

  • Make sure your feedback form is clean, clear, concise.

  • Try A/B testing your feedback form, rearrange the questions, re-word the questions, etc.

  • Get rid of any questions that are not specifically related to the customer feedback

  • Email and comment is perfect!

  • Comment only if they are in the software app itself, you should already have the info you need.

  • Are you asking question that where you could get the info from somewhere else? ie.: users name when they registered, tied to the software reg key. Or email, etc.

It's hard to believe that your app is sooo good that no one needs to contact you, no offense ;), but ultimately maybe it is.

How many people are using it actively at any given moment? If a specific number of users are consistently giving you feedback, that may well be 25% of your base, which is a good percentage of involved users. If you have 100 people actively using your app, and 25 are giving feedback, your in good shape. Those numbers aren't set in stone, I'm just using them to prove a point. There is the possibility that the percentage of users already providing feedback may well be enough to be considered your "base".

Hope that helps, good luck with your web based app in the future too!

share|improve this answer

I've tried many of the same things that you have over the past 15 years, and they all get rarely used. What has worked best for us are two things:

  • Forums. It's where most of our customers go for tech support most of the time, and it's a great opportunity to engage them while you've got their attention.

  • Trade Shows. We value them as much for the feedback that we get as we do for new business -- expensive, yet invaluable.

share|improve this answer
    
If I get a low number of support requests wouldn't the forums be a "ghost town" and make it look like the I don't have any customers? –  Nir Oct 20 '10 at 14:15
1  
Yes, it might, at least initially. But if all posted questions are answered in a timely fashion, it will encourage your few posters to post more and get the ball rolling. From my perspective, the main thing that I look for when I visit a forum is not the total number of questions, but rather how many are meaningfully answered. I run if I see a forum with questions but few or no answers. –  Hisham Oct 20 '10 at 15:47
    
+1 for trade shows. For forums, you might want to post yourself, e.g. use it like a project blog. The date of last post is a pretty good indicator for how fast I can expect any response at all. –  peterchen Oct 22 '10 at 21:24

In addition to the changes you can do to your page to raise the visibility of the feedback button and make it easier to perform, you cn also look into a product called GetSatisfaction that allows you to make a community around your product. There is a Free Community edition that will allow you to test the product to see if it is of any help.

share|improve this answer

What sort of feedback you want? If it's about usability, just do usability testing. No amount of feedback is going to replace that. If it's about features, do your user research - find out about the process your app aims to be part of. Observation generally trumps opinions.

If you just want words from your users, check this answer on a similar question

share|improve this answer

Something that frequently puts me off providing feedback (*) is when I come across some kind of customer survey where every question is mandatory - even the intrusive ones.

Having a survey to complete is a great thing - I'll happily fill it in.

But, if any of the mandatory questions ask for information I'm not happy to provide - or if the multichoice options don't match my opinion - you'll lose all of the information I might provide.

Keep it simple, make it easy and you'll get the information.

(*) I crave good feedback myself, so I'm pretty proactive about trying to give feedback to others.

share|improve this answer
  • Trade Shows, as Hisham suggested. The talks with your existing customers are at least as valuable as acquiring new ones. They are usually very expensive, firts time go as a visitor to see which options for product presentation besides a booth you have. With software, it's a bit easier, though: you just need a laptop.

  • Beta programs. It doesn't even have to be a "real" beta, just ask your customers who wants to test the next release before it goes public. Staged releases help quality, the customers get some exclusiveness (and new features earlier), which you can turn into a moral obligation to tell you mroe about product use. You'll usually get contact with your most heavy users.

  • Public Bug Tracker, and "Report a bug" / "Request a feature" e.g. in the "Help" menu. Convert the anger into feedback. You might accumulate your core user base through this, which you can then redirect to a forum (or you use a forum for these reports, WholeTomato does that very well).

Don't expect to much, though. Customers will talk to you when they have a problem: either with your product, or one they think your product should solve. Trade shows can break this ice - but also, only for those customers who go to trade shows.

share|improve this answer

First you have to make the distinction between feedback and help as they require different language and timing.

Feedback

IMHO feedback and help should be metrics driven. That will help you find out when is the time to send and email. Services like Mixpanel can send automatic email based on the completion of certain funnels or actions. But you can also setup your site to trigger form based on some actions.

Support

About support/help form, make sure to ask about the current mood of the person seeking for help, it will help you figure out how to answer the person (you won't answer an angry or desperate person the same way as a wondering or happy one).

It's also a good practice to have some kind of help center/Q&A because as it will prevent you from having similar request for help all the time.

Improvements/suggestions

A good way to figure out what your users want is to implement a feature voting system where users can vote for specific feature and ask for new ones. (User voice service does exactly that)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.