Getting Feedback On Products/Services From A Community

May 4, 2012Comments Off on Getting Feedback On Products/Services From A Community

Let's split community feedback on your products/services into two types; prompted and unprompted. 

Prompted feedback happens when you ask members to give you feedback. Forum questions, surveys, focus groups etc are all prompted feedback.

Unprompted is when it comes up in community discussions (or complaints).

The difference between the two is pretty important. 

Prompted feedback is dangerous. You learn members think about the issue. You get their position on the issue. But you don't typically get their strength/depth of interest about it. I might think that the widget should come in blue, but I don't care about it. It doesn't change my buying habits. 

Worst, you might get negative inputs from people that continue to buy the product/service without hesitating. That's not so useful. You might spend time and money changing things which members have no interest in.

Or, in the very worst scenario, you might ask members for feedback which then you're not able to implement (thus alienating the very supporters that gave you that feedback).

Unprompted feedback is more useful to identify potential problems. Members gave feedback without you asking. The issue affects them so much that they had to tell you about it. That's important.

This presents a challenge. You need to have the internal mechanisms to respond to this. You can't change the product/service to suit every individual. You need a criteria. At what point do you escalate an issue?

This usually means after {x} posts within {x} days. 10 complaints over 10 days is very different from 10 complaints in one day. 

What is your criteria? When/how do you react?

Better to decide sooner than later. 

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