Eager Blog post image for 'How To Collect Feedback From Day One'

How To Collect Feedback From Day One

Every interaction we have with a company or its brand is part of an ongoing conversation. Nowadays, a lot of these interactions take place over the web, and there, unfortunately, the conversation can get a little one-sided.

How many times have you felt frustrated with a website and wanted to say something, but didn’t know how or where?

Now, more than ever before, companies are pushing out changes to their websites fast: adding new features, changing layouts, re-designing flows. If your users are having trouble keeping up, don’t you want to know?

Short and simple: if you run your business online, you need provide a straight-forward way for your customers to heap praise or voice their concerns. You want to make sure you’re giving your users a voice, not only so you can learn and improve, but also so they feel heard.

Icons for various website feedback products

There are a lot of great tools out there for collecting feedback. Although there are so many that the choice can become a little overwhelming. To pick the right one, you’ll want to consider a number of factors including: What information do you want to collect? When and where do you want to collect it? How do you want to respond to the feedback you receive? How large is your company and how much are you willing to spend?

Stepping back there are a few major categories of options. Narrowing your choice to one of these can simplify things a bit.

1. Live Chat

A live chat tool gives your visitors a way to talk to you in real time through a chat interface displayed on your website. What’s great about these services is that they’re super lightweight for your users. All they have to do is click a box and enter their name and then they’re chatting away. The downside with these services is that some users might not be comfortable having a live conversation with you about an issue they’re having. In addition, you might not have the resources to provide this type of support through your website. If you want to try one, I’d recommend Chatra or Zopim. They both have a free tier, look great, and are simple to set up.

“How many times have you felt frustrated with a website and wanted to say something, but didn’t know how or where?”

2. Forum

Another great way to gather feedback and build a community is with a forum. Forums are heavier, and typically require your users to register with a third party, but can be a great long-term way of building a relationship with your customers and making sure their voices are heard. Perhaps the best of these is the aptly named UserVoice, which allows users to post suggestions and others to comment and vote on them. So for example a user could post the suggestion, “Allow coupon codes to be entered before checkout, so updated prices can be seen on product pages”. As the upvotes start stacking up and you decide to accept the suggestion, you can respond to all of the interested users at once. UserVoice has a ton of features, but it also comes with a hefty pricetag: it’s $499/mo for the entry-level forum software.

3. Feedback button

There are a number of products out there that add a simple feedback button to your site to let visitors send you a note. What’s great about these is that like live chat, they’re lightweight and don’t require your user to create an account with a third party. However, a lot of these tools tend to be kind of bloated with features. Usabilla, for example, has a lot of great features. But if you try it out on their homepage, you’ll see that they ask you what seems like a never ending list of questions before letting you finally hit “Send”. If there’s one thing that you can be sure of it’s that users don’t want to do any more work than absolutely necessary (and why should they?!). So at the very least, any tool you use should provide a way of giving feedback quickly and easilly.

So which tool should you choose?

These are all great products, so if they suit your needs, definitely check them out. But if you’re looking for something a little leaner, I think I’ve got the simple solution you might be looking for.

You see, I too have been frustrated with the complexity of the other offerings out there. I wanted a feedback tool which catered to someone who doesn’t know exactly what information they should be collecting yet, but still wants to collect something.

I wanted a way to simply take the temperature of my users to see roughly how I’m doing. And perhaps most importantly, I wanted a solution to this problem I’d actually use. I wanted a solution I could start using on any website, from day one, without having to weigh all of the options.

So I built Feedback, a tool which does just that. Here’s what it looks like on the NY Times website:

Feedback app example on NY Times - step one

Feedback, with a capital “F”

Feedback is dead simple for you, and it’s dead simple for your visitors. Let’s start with your visitors, because they’re most important. ;)

For every page you choose to install Feedback on, they’ll see a small button with the word “Feedback” (or any other text you choose). When a visitor clicks this button, they’ll be presented with a question you write and three smileys to respond with.

After they select a smiley, they’ll be prompted with a question you set to get more detail about why they were feeling positive, negative, or neutral. They fill out their email address and hit send, and that’s it. A few seconds later an email arrives in your inbox with the feedback they provided.

Feedback app example on NY Times - step two

Adding Feedback to your site

Installing Feedback couldn’t be easier too. Here are the required steps:

  1. First, specify the email address for Feedback to send the responses to.
  2. ...

Whoops. That’s it! :P All of the other steps are optional.

Feedback app example on NY Times - step one

If you want to, you can customize the color, placement, and text of the Feedback button. You can change the header text and question text of course. And you can customize the follow-up question for each of the three types of respones. But all of these are optional, so if you like the defaults we chose, just enter your email address and hit “Install”.

Thanks so much for reading! If you were previously having choice paralysis with all of the feedback options out there, I sincerely hope that Feedback can become your go-to option when spinning up a new site.

And if you didn’t already notice, it’s running on this page, so you can try it out yourself. It’s that blue button to your right. ;)

Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Check it out

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