The Issue: Feedback Retention
We constantly ask users for feedback, but rarely are they told that their feedback is being used. So, why would they continue to give feedback?
Observations in Overwatch
When you play online games, like Overwatch, you often run into moments where players are disrupting the match. Sometimes they lose on purpose, they are abusive in chat, or they are inactive for the whole match.
What do you do? Report.
Players get reported by teammates and opponents when they disrupt and negatively impact the game. The reporting system then tracks all user reports against a player, then uses that data to decide whether or not to ban that player.
This reporting system is one tool that helps maintain healthy interactions in the game by punishing players with consistently bad behaviour.
In some games users don’t report often enough. They state it’s because they don’t think their reports are acted upon. User feedback works in much the same way; if users don’t feel like their feedback is acted upon, will they continue to give it?
Blizzard, the studio that created Overwatch, solved this by telling users when their report leads to action. When a user reports a player, if the reporting system punishes that player, the user who made the report receives a message that states…
The user gave feedback. The feedback is acted upon. The user is thanked.
Why this matters
Users don’t usually get the kind of reinforcement for their feedback that says “We did this because of you”.
I searched “How to encourage user feedback”, the most popular articles focused on getting feedback with calls, emails, social media and surveys — these are the articles most will read when working on ways to encourage user feedback.
Those methods are great for receiving feedback the first time, but what about user feedback retention? User feedback retention is when you get the same users to continuously give you feedback.
As they continue to use our products, their usage becomes more sophisticated, and their feedback more valuable. These users could open windows into insights our teams are not aware of.
How do we encourage users to continuously give feedback?
The popular user feedback cycle:
Receive > Analyze > Develop > Test > Implement
So, how can we do better? Thank the users.
Currently, software teams release patch notes or new onboarding pop ups telling users about the latest updates — updates that are often based on user feedback. We should go the extra mile and thank those users for their feedback so they know we are actively utilizing it.
By thanking the user for their feedback when it’s implemented, they will know their feedback is being taken seriously.
Some tools — like UserVoice — allow users to post feedback in a forum that can then be upvoted by other users. The tool collects the user information, which can then be used to contact them if we want to follow up, update them with the changes, or thank them for their feedback.
If the most upvoted piece of feedback was 148 upvotes on “Add a PayPal payment method”, and our team adds in a PayPal payment method, we should thank those 148 users for their feedback.
Our users now know their feedback is being actively heard and will return with more feedback now that they know you are listening.
The improved user feedback cycle:
Receive > Analyze > Develop > Test > Implement > Thank the users
Read this for more options of how to communicate product changes.
*I am not affiliated with UserVoice or Blizzard Entertainment, I’m just a user.*