How to Analyze User Feedback: A Step-by-Step Guide
Product managers understand the importance of effective feedback analysis, which can be used for:
- Informing product decisions.
- Influencing continuous product improvement.
- Improving customer retention.
- Increasing your average customer’s lifetime value.
At UserVitals we also know just how difficult feedback analysis can be. You are often dealing with large volumes of feedback that isn’t immediately actionable and needs to be properly categorized. This article will answer how to conduct feedback analysis that effectively informs your product decisions and subsequently helps decrease churn rate.
Create a feedback system
Not having enough user feedback is rarely a problem for product managers. Most of you will have at least five customer touch bases:
- Contact center solution
- Complaints center
- Surveys or poll
- Live chat/online chat
- Public platforms: social media, Google ratings etc.
Collecting and managing different feedbacks from these channels can be overwhelming. But with a good feedback system you can streamline and organize this feedback without missing important information.
You can use platforms like UserVitals to capture, organize and filter user feedback from any platform, making your life that much easier.
Segment your user base
Analyzing your feedback through segmentation allows you to understand how customers are interacting with your product and how to improve upon your various efforts, including on marketing, sales and product development.
There’s a good chance that you have many types of users with different behaviors. Some might use your product daily, while others use it every now and then, some may be paying premium subscription rates, while others are on your free plan. Each type of user will have different needs.
Divide your users into groups with similarities. There are many ways that you can segment your user base:
- Profitability or purchasing history: paid vs. free or makes frequent purchases vs. have never purchased.
- Demographic: age, gender, ethnicity, income, ethnicity, relationship status, education.
- Location: time zone, address. Maybe you have users that travel frequently.
- Device: consider which variables for optimization are most pertinent for your SaaS. Consider segmentation according to device type (phone, desktop, tablet), operating system.
- Behaviors: how many times do they use your product per week/month? You can define how much usage determines whether they are casual, core or super users, and segment them accordingly.
You can take just one or a combination of these factors to create your user segments.
Once you have segmented your user base you can analyze your feedback accordingly. For example:
- Do regular users frequently use certain product features that occasional users haven’t discovered yet? Why?
- Have users in a certain demographic highlighted similar difficulties with certain features?
You can ask your user segments further questions to get insight into their feedback. UserVitals gives you the flexibility to collect private feedback simply by sending a link to selected users.
Remember that all the factors you use to segment your user base are subject to change over time. Both your users’ habits and your SaaS will evolve. You will find that users graduate from one segment to another. Analyze feedback through segmentation and adapt to your users’ changing behaviors.
Build feedback categories
Many product managers opt for top-level workarounds for feedback analysis such as word clouds or frequency tables. What this can fail to do is provide teams with insights that are actionable.
Common mistakes when analyzing feedback are:
- Predefining which themes you will categorize your feedback into: this can lead to overlooking feedback that doesn’t fit into a specific theme.
- Grouping written feedback into a single bucket: written feedback is often complex, containing more than one piece of information.
- Forgetting to check for feedback accuracy.
- Relying too heavily on quantitative data: although this offers clear-cut answers it may improperly represent the target population if not used well.
Qualitative feedback gives you the tools to analyze the root causes of your user’s issues or concerns. Be careful, as this type of feedback can often be open-ended or unstructured. Categorizing your feedback into themes is a powerful tool for qualitative feedback analysis.
Pulling your feedback into categories empowers you to analyze results and create an action plan based on your key findings. It also ensures your analysis is more efficient because it captures all feedback received and what is being said between the lines.
Categories that you may find useful to consider are:
- Context: Analyze your data within the context of your internal business metrics in order to provide actionable insight. Plus, have meetings with relevant teams for valuable insights to gain insight into user comments and analyze root cause.
- Keywords: Examine what issues your users are commenting on. Extract the keywords from this feedback and group it accordingly.
- Sentiment: Is the feedback positive, negative or neutral? Remember to break down written feedback as it will comprise a range of adjectives and modifiers that change the sentiment of the feedback. Correctly identifying the sentiment will identify trends, patterns and actions to be taken. Use text analytics alongside sentiment analytics to optimize what you’re getting from the feedback.
- Themes: These usually relate to aspects of your product. The themes you decide to break your feedback into will depend on the feedback received. Your themes could be:
- Product features: functionalities, capabilities or visual characteristics.
- Team: development, testing, UX.
- Unmet customer needs.
Themes are particularly useful when feedback insights require action from multiple teams. Set themes that are team or department wide, and make your subthemes more team specific. For example, if your theme is the product feature “user profile”, a possible sub-theme could be “user login not working”.
- Like sentiment, written feedback will often include several themes. Separate these out to find insights on how to increase customer loyalty and user lifespan.
- Cross reference themes with sentiment to identify areas for organizational improvement.
- Analyze volume and repetition: measuring this will reveal the weighting and priorities of your feedback.
- Triangulate your feedback with operational user data, such as the customer’s lifetime value and engagement rate, as this allows you to identify patterns that lead to upsells or decreased churn rate.
Once you have categorized your feedback, label it to inform your roadmap using the MoSCoW method touched on in our recent article.
- Must-Have: feedback that needs to be dealt with first, essential for product function.
- Should-Have: feedback that impacts a new product or feature but if not addressed, the product will continue to function. Address these once the must-haves have been dealt with.
- Could-Have: feedback that isn’t necessary to act upon. Action would lead to improvement but is not of high priority.
- Won't-Have: this feedback is not something that needs to be acted upon.
Create a knowledge base to gather feedback insights
Create a source of truth that future product managers can use to understand the types of feedback given in the past, the product decisions and actions taken to tackle them, and the results.
Create a report of products and services and their related feedback. This is invaluable to identify and track:
- Product strengths. Peter F. Drucker recommends writing down all of your key decisions and actions, plus the results that you expect to achieve. After a few years of documenting your feedback analysis you will see which decisions and actions met or exceeded original expectations. This highlights your product strengths.
- Trends and patterns. For example, reporting brand mentions, keywords or themes gives you a snapshot of what is happening with your product/in the market over time.
Share your analyzed results and close the feedback loop
In order to keep your users engaged in the product experience you need to provide transparency into what your team is working on.
84% of people say that being treated like a human being rather than a number helps to secure them as a customer. If a user has informed you of their pain point(s) they want to know it is being dealt with.
Being transparent about your product roadmap will help your users’ appreciate your priorities.
The UserVitals public roadmap serves this purpose and subsequently encourages further feedback from your users and stakeholders.
Be empowered by your user feedback analysis
Without effective analysis, key insights slip through the cracks and you miss out on creating solutions that will decrease churn rate and increase your average user’s lifetime value.
One solution is to build effective feedback loops into your product roadmap that capture and compile all your user feedback in one place. Then you can look for patterns and correlations that indicate your strengths and areas for improvement.
Make sure that you’re showing your users that you care about what they have to say and make changes accordingly.
With a good customer feedback CRM tool to automate analysis you'll free up time to tackle the issues presented, test and retest your solutions and secure user satisfaction.