Customers are your product’s most honest critics, as well as its strongest advocates, making their feedback an invaluable source of truth for your business.
In this post, we’ll review the different types of feedback that customers can provide as well as how to use it to improve your customer experience and support key development decisions.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback is the input, insights, comments, and opinions provided by users of a product or service.
This type of feedback is extremely valuable because it allows the business to bypass assumptions and guesswork. Instead, it offers a direct window into customer experiences and perceptions.
This means that the data from these interactions can be analyzed and leveraged to:
- Identify actual customer pain points.
- Predict and mitigate churn.
- Identify and resolve issues.
- Pinpoint opportunities for optimization.
- Develop product offerings in the right direction.
10 Types of Customer Feedback
Here are ten types of feedback classified by the form/method of feedback collection.
1. Customer Survey Responses
Surveys are one of the most popular tools for actively generating customer feedback because they are cost-effective, scalable, and relatively easy to set up. Surveys are also incredibly versatile across various use cases, from understanding top-level customer sentiment to collecting granular, focused feedback.
For example, Hubspot’s customer feedback software allows users to conduct Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, typically used to gauge customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The platform also allows for Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys, typically used to measure the effort customers exert to use a product or feature.
That said, surveys do have limitations.
First, they offer limited context around the data they collect, which makes it hard to understand the underlying motivations or specific pain points behind customer responses. This data could also be inaccurate or unrepresentative due to various factors, such as how the questions are phrased, discrepancies in each respondent’s understanding of the questions, and non-response bias.
Pro tip: A great way to overcome “context” limitation is to narrow the focus of your survey. Start with a big “premise question,” such as “how happy are you with your experience,” then follow up with “context” questions, which progressively drill down into the respondents’ answers.
Customer Survey Example
This is a simple example of a survey that gauges customer satisfaction.
Some things worth noting include the simplicity of the survey design and the clarity of the instructions, which ensures the respondents immediately understand what they need to do and aren’t overwhelmed with options.
This survey is also extremely low-effort, which makes respondents more likely to participate.
2. Customer Reviews
Reviews are a “naturally occurring” form of feedback. Regardless of whether the business actively prompts them to do so, some of a product’s user base will naturally share their opinions and experiences.
This feedback is critical because it provides insights directly from the customer’s perspective, which can identify pain points, improve the customer experience, and create a better product overall.
What makes reviews a fascinating form of feedback is that they are often shared publicly, extending their significance beyond the business itself. This “public exposure” means that reviews hold weight within the community of existing users and influence potential customers who often rely on this information to make purchase decisions.
For these reasons, it’s vital for businesses to closely monitor, respond to, and address concerns raised in customer reviews. Here are some places customers are likely to leave reviews:
- Social Media Platforms
- Review Aggregator Sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.)
- Discussion Forums (Reddit, niche communities)
- Vendors (Online Retailers, mobile app stores, etc.)
- Google Reviews
- Business Websites
Pro tip: While having a ton of 5-star reviews is excellent, how your business handles negative feedback is just as important. Here are some best practices to bear in mind:
- Acknowledge the feedback publicly.
- Don’t get defensive or respond emotionally.
- If it was your mistake, take ownership of it – if not, provide a clear and empathetic explanation.
- Offer a resolution or solution.
- Follow up if necessary.
Customer Review Example
These positive user reviews of Hubspot’s CRM tell us some things.
First, one of Hubspot’s key competitors is Salesforce. But more importantly, testing the product before purchase is a critical factor that helps users decide between competitors.
Also, these reviews show that “ease of use” is one of the platform’s key competitive advantages.
3. Bug or Error Reports
Even the best products can sometimes encounter hiccups or bugs. By allowing users to send error reports to your team automatically or manually, businesses can take proactive measures to catch and fix these issues before they become more significant problems.
The feedback from these reports is used to identify and prioritize bugs, resolve user issues more efficiently, and inform future development decisions.
But other than the technical benefits of bug reports, letting users share their feedback in these situations is important. It gives them a sense of control when dealing with an otherwise frustrating situation. Plus, it shows them that their experiences matter and their concerns will be taken seriously.
Pro tip: You don’t want to dismiss this type of feedback as purely a “technical” matter. Humanizing this experience by creating an empathetic process for submitting reports and following up after the fact can go a long way.
Error Report Example
This bug report form does an excellent job of prompting users to provide context to their report. This information comes in handy when diagnosing why and how an error occurred.
However, the form could be improved in a few areas.
Like many error report forms, the design could be a bit more aesthetically pleasing. The tone and language of the page also feel impersonal. Overall, it gives the impression that little consideration was put into the user experience.
4. Feature Requests
As the name implies, a feature request is when users ask for a new feature to be added to the product.
This type of feedback is especially beneficial for product teams because it helps them understand user needs and preferences, validate ideas, and identify gaps in their current product offering. Ultimately, this feedback guides product development and shapes the product roadmap.
Feature requests are also helpful to other teams because it provides insight into customer preferences and pain points, which guide or inform strategic decisions. Creating opportunities for users to submit and discuss feature requests is a non-negotiable for any customer-centric business. Not only does this show that the business values user input and is committed to improving its products, but it’s also a powerful tool for building a community among users.
Pro tip: Make it easy for users to communicate their feature requests. Some of the simplest ways to do this include setting up community forums, creating dedicated feature request forms, and sending out surveys.
Feature Request Example
There are a couple of things worth noting about this feature request.
First, this was just one of many requests posted in Coda’s community forum, which shows that Coda’s users have an active platform to communicate ideas.
Also, the conversations in this community are structured as threads, which allow users and Coda to see how much engagement (views, replies, and likes) a request has received.
5. Product Ratings
Product ratings gauge a user’s satisfaction with a product or experience. This can be considered a simplified type of feedback because it measures satisfaction without necessarily adding context to the information provided. While users might be encouraged to explain their rating, it’s rarely mandatory.
It’s worth mentioning that product ratings typically occur at the point of service or purchase. For example, a user might be asked to rate the quality of a product from one star to five stars after a product is delivered. Likewise, after a service interaction, a customer might be asked to rate the experience with the sales rep on a scale of one to five.
This type of feedback can be extremely valuable for several reasons:
- Gathering feedback right after the sale or service experience is the closest approximation to real-time feedback.
- Averaged ratings can measure current product performance and even predict future performance.
- Similar to reviews, product ratings are public, which means positive ratings can significantly enhance the public perception and credibility of the product.
Pro tip: Actively encourage users to leave reviews alongside their ratings. Avoid making it mandatory to maintain engagement, but explore creative options to encourage customers to share feedback. Consider offering incentives like discounts or redeemable points.
Product Rating Pop-up Example
This product rating form uses a simple scale to gauge customer service performance. It also indicates how the scale works, with one being the worst and five being the best. While this might seem unnecessary, preventing any potential confusion is crucial.
However, the form also adds unnecessary friction to the ratings process. Requesting additional information from the user, most of which should already be available on the support ticket, gives them more work to do.
6. Customer Support Interactions
Customer support interactions are tricky to manage because they typically happen after a user hits a roadblock with the product and is understandably frustrated. However, these interactions are goldmines for collecting valuable customer feedback and insights.
Unlike surveys, ratings, etc., customer support interactions provide a rare opportunity to collect feedback in real-time. Some examples of these interactions include phone calls, live chat, email correspondence, social media interactions, and webinars.
Support calls allow agents to dig for context around the feedback they’re getting while the customer is more likely to provide unfiltered, genuine reactions. This creates the perfect opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the customer experience, validate feedback from other channels, and reveal patterns highlighting issues affecting multiple users.
Pro tip: Consider using a customer support tool to help you capture and analyze support interactions. For example, Hubspot’s conversational intelligence tool uses artificial intelligence to analyze customer interactions and identify trends across tracked calls.
Customer Support Interaction Example
Live chat is one of the best ways to provide on-demand support for customers. Unlike support calls, these are a bit more low-effort for the customer and are immediately accessible within the product.
Additionally, chat conversations are typically written, eliminating the need to transcribe the support interaction for analysis.
7. In-App Feedback
There should be several ways for users to pass along feedback without leaving or closing your application. These methods include those already covered in previous sections, such as surveys, ratings, and support interactions.
However, feedback gathered within an app provides unique opportunities that can’t be replicated outside the app environment. For example, support interactions within the app allow the users to provide real-time context for their feedback, like sharing screen recordings and pinpointing specific elements or features.
Likewise, the business can tailor feedback methods to specific features, functionalities, and experiences within the app. For example, the user could be prompted to rate the design of a page they’re currently on or fill out a request form for a specific product that’s part of a more extensive product suite.
Enabling in-app feedback allows businesses to generate targeted, granular feedback that might not be possible otherwise.
Pro tip: Remember not to interrupt the user experience when incorporating in-app feedback. Finding the right moments is essential, like after a user has completed a task or had a positive interaction. A seamless and user-friendly experience should be your top priority.
In-app Feedback Example
The Windows in-app feedback page keeps things simple. It asks users to give a quick summary of their feedback with an option for more detail if needed. This encourages users to provide concise feedback while accommodating those who want to elaborate further.
However, there’s room for improvement here.
All feedback buttons across all apps on Windows devices lead users to this page, which isn’t necessarily a problem. However, dynamically personalizing the page’s content based on the app the user is coming from would have been nice. As it is, it gives the feeling that the user’s feedback might simply get lost in a sea of thousands.
8. Customer Interviews
Like customer support interactions, customer interviews provide the opportunity to dig into user feedback, uncover context, and gain deeper insights into the customer’s perspective. However, unlike support calls, the business must proactively initiate these interactions.
Another key difference is that customer interviews allow the business to uncover targeted insights on specific issues, unlike support interactions, where feedback simply arises organically. Rather than allowing the customer to lead the conversation, the talking points are strategically aligned with predetermined objectives, and the host steers the conversation toward specific topics.
As you might expect, this method is more hands-on compared to the others covered in this post. It also requires a more deliberate and planned approach because of the logistics of setting up these interviews.
However, because these interviews allow for a more controlled and directed approach to gathering feedback, they uncover insights that might not surface through more passive channels.
Pro tip: Aim for a well-rounded set of questions when preparing your interview guide. Some should be open-ended to encourage in-depth discussion, while others can focus more on specific areas based on your objectives.
Customer Interview Example
There are a couple of best practices to take away from this interview script.
First, you must explore any challenges or pain points the customer brings up. Don’t shy away from discussing what you could do better.
Also, it’s important to encourage customers to share stories and give real-world examples to get more context and depth to their feedback.
Finally, don’t be afraid to pick your customer’s brain. Probe for suggestions and encourage customers to share their ideas.
9. Social Media Mentions
In 2021, a Statista survey found that the top three most popular social media platforms (at the time), YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, were used by 81%, 69%, and 40% of U.S. adults, respectively.
Your customers are on social media; there’s absolutely no debate about that. But even more important is that your customers constantly share important feedback on these platforms.
There are generally two types of feedback that can be collected on social media:
- Feedback about the brand or business.
- Feedback about the topics relevant to the brand or business (competitors, niche, industry, etc.).
The easiest way to find this feedback is by simply typing a search query (your business name, industry, etc.) into any social media platform search bar. However, you’ll soon find this is grossly ineffective at any significant scale and for any extended period.
Option two is using a social media monitoring tool or service. For example, HubSpot offers a social media monitoring tool that allows users to monitor mentions and trigger email alerts for specific keywords.
But aside from simply monitoring the conversation, social media can also be a handy tool for actively soliciting feedback from your audience. The easy way to do this would be to simply ask for feedback in a post or use one of the native feedback tools like polls and community posts.
Alternatively, you can promote other feedback collection methods like surveys on your social media platforms and encourage your customers to participate.
Pro tip: Don’t limit your media monitoring to tagged mentions of your product or brand. Most organic product mentions in natural conversations don’t involve tagging the businesses or brands. However, these untagged mentions are hidden gems for understanding true user sentiments and how your product is perceived in the wild.
Social Media Mention Example
This is a great example of an organic social media mention for Ahref’s. The user casually brings up the tool in conversation and just so happens to provide some great insights.
For example, this post highlights that Ahrefs can rely on something other than price-based incentives to win customers because some users are willing to pay more in exchange for what they perceive to be equivalent value.
10. Customer Behavioral Data Insights
Behavioral data is an often overlooked source of customer feedback because it doesn’t actively involve the customer.
Unlike the other methods, which collect customer feedback through what they “say,” behavioral data allows businesses to collect feedback from customers by analyzing what they “do.”
This means that businesses analyze and draw meaning from the actions, interactions, and patterns exhibited by users or customers when they engage with a product or platform.
For example, suppose an online retailer observes that many users don’t complete their orders when shopping on their mobile devices. In that case, this data becomes feedback that there is a problem with the mobile shopping experience. The retailer can even dig further into the data to find where the users are dropping off and identify pain points.
And this is one of the most significant advantages of this method of collecting feedback.
Behavioral insights rely on data, allowing businesses to eliminate many of the biases present in other forms of feedback and significantly increase the accuracy of their findings. For example, rather than asking survey users to determine whether some elements on a web page are helpful, heatmaps and click tracking tools can simply show you if they click on those elements.
Likewise, rather than organizing a user interview panel to collect feedback about your website’s UX, a session recording tool can capture actual user sessions and allow you to filter these sessions by user attributes, behaviors, etc.
Pro tip: Before investing in significant changes to your site or product, use behavioral analytics tools to validate your ideas on a smaller scale. For example, create a landing page rather than the actual resource to see if anyone clicks on it. As a rule of thumb, think of every idea as a hypothesis subject to proper analysis and testing.
Customer Behavioral Data Insight Example
This click map from Hotjar provides some interesting feedback.
It showed that people who land on this page do two things — check open positions and read through the content under the “how we work” slider. However, they don’t engage with the video in the center of the page.
Interestingly, the video was added as part of a redesign, and the team assumed it would receive decent engagement. This shows that ideas are assumptions, and feedback is a great way to validate or disprove them.
Unlocking the Power of Customer Feedback
Throughout this post, you’ve learned about numerous types of feedback that can be accessed regardless of your specific use case, resources, or company size. No matter which you choose, the key is to start leveraging feedback today. Every form of feedback on this list is a potential treasure trove of insights that can supercharge your business decisions.