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Every interaction with your customers provides valuable feedback to your tech startup.

A formal customer feedback process is something any business can benefit from, and includes everything from customer satisfaction surveys to systems for documenting unsolicited feedback. Here’s how to leverage both in a way that lets you listen to customers and grow your business.


Obtaining Customer Feedback

There are two primary ways to garner feedback: formally through a survey, and informally by recording customer service interactions. Every tech startup should utilize both methods in order to optimize business, but as one blogger cautions, be prepared to use the information you get. “There’s no point in gathering customer feedback if you don’t plan to follow through,” writes Gregory Ciotti.

In order to utilize customer feedback in a meaningful way, you first need to determine what part of the customer experience you want to measure. User experience, product performance, and functionality (i.e., does your technology meet all the needs of the user) are all common areas that a business will seek feedback on.

The 5 Top Ways to Collect Customer Feedback

  1. Long form-based surveys
  2. Short in-app surveys
  3. Phone calls
  4. Transactional emails
  5. Net Promoter Score Surveys

Consider the mindset of good customer service as you solicit feedback from your clients. You want to make it easy on them to share their opinion with you. Surveys can be fun, visually appealing, and distributed on multiple platforms. This is especially true as you consider your two primary channels for customer feedback: formal and informal.

A more formal survey may consist of methods like an in-app feedback form or a well-designed web page that is visually appealing. An informal survey should be done in a capacity that makes your customer feel heard. Slack, phone calls, and in-person visits are great ways to obtain unique feedback. In every case, remember that the easier it is for your consumer to give feedback, the easier it is to receive it. When no good method of obtaining customer feedback is in place, many dissenters will simply remain silent (and take their business elsewhere).

Leverage Feedback to Improve Your Business

Once you’ve collected feedback from customers, how will you use it? The following business goals can be improved upon with the valuable insights that customers have given you:

After awhile of running customer feedback campaigns, you may feel the data you harvest isn’t as valuable as you wish. Communication technology company Intercom, who essentially have perfected the art of effective communication, learned firsthand that customer feedback isn’t always straightforward. When Intercom rolled out a new maps feature, they noticed most users were sidestepping the intended use of the maps feature (tracking new users geographically) and using the map instead to show off the location of their customers. “Ultimately it’s about vanity and helping people by making (the map) easier to share,” says the co-founder and VP of Customer Success for Intercom.


For a growing SaaS company, keeping customers around for the long term is crucial to success.” – Fletcher Richman, CEO & Cofounder of BubbleIQ


Intercom’s experience isn’t uncommon for technology startups, but it’s important to consider that feedback isn’t always from a traditional survey. Sometimes, a company needs to ascertain customer needs – even if that consumer cannot fully communicate it. Applying a set of metrics to the data you collect from customer feedback surveys is the best way to measure effectiveness.

Separating What Your Customer Needs from What They Want

Maybe the most important metric your tech startup can utilize is Voice of the Customer. This allows you to hear what your customers are truly saying by listening to what they need and separating it from what they want. Categorizing this kind of feedback from a consumer helps many different areas of your startup, allow you to quickly evaluate new concepts, and spot early warning signs for your product.

Voice of the Customer: Needs are “important critical features” and Wants are “expectations of the product or service over and beyond the needs.” (source)

But as Jeff Bezos points out, when data and anecdotes (customer feedback) disagree, “the anecdotes are usually right.” Bezos still utilizes a consumer-facing email address and says he sees “most” of the emails that come to it. Although Amazon measures nearly every aspect of its business with data, Bezos says “you do need the data, but then you need to check that data with your intuition and your instincts.”

HubSpot recommends involving several departments when determining Voice of the Customer: customer success, operations, and product development. “Working together, these groups can identify and improve all stages of the customer journey by improving the products and services used by the customers.”

Concentrating on the Voice of the Customer analysis may help you learn more about the non-verbal cues from a consumer and what they mean. But no matter how you approach customer feedback, research shows that simply asking consumers for their input makes them far more likely to be loyal.

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